Mental health, Parenting

Ugly Truth 30: Today My Son Was Diagnosed

Dear Readers, Today, I fell to tears on my way home from work after a losing sleep battle at 5am, chronic pain, and the challenge of another trying day for my son. Today, Zachary was diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Today, I grieve for my son; for the way things will always be harder for him, for the way he can not yet apply insight toward his behavior, for the friends and caregivers who will misunderstand him and unwittingly make things worse, for the way he covers his ears when noises are too loud, for the way his IQ soars but his social life suffers, for the way I fiercely attempt to guard his self-esteem, for the way I fear I wont be vigilant enough, for those who will and do pressure us into difficult decisions, for the way he severely grapples to regulate his emotions, for the songs he sings that so many will mishear, for the constant redirection of a conformist society, for the way his intelligence will always lend itself to his awareness that he is different. If you don’t believe in these diagnoses, do me a favor and keep your opinion to yourself. I can assure you our pain as a family is very real, but it is not unattended. Zachary has received hundreds of hours of counseling, various therapies, behavior intervention plans, the benefits of countless round table committee meetings by his cheerleaders, and accommodations as his progression and challenges fluctuate. For now, I will have to rest in the years of education and instinct I have invested in. I will have to rest in the competence of the team, physicians, teachers and loving family that surround him. For now, I will have to rest in the knowledge that even when I am imperfect, I am enough. Final Summation: The ability to comfort yourself is invaluable. **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!
Mental health

Ugly Truth 024: Medication May Make Things Worse

“The beginning of an attack I always experienced as a swell lurching up from unseen depths, similar to the physical sensation of standing waist-high in the sea when there are no waves but all of a sudden the great body of water heaves itself up as if the planet has shifted a fraction on its axis. That was the signal for me that the nature of reality was about to terrifyingly change.” Glenn Haybittle, The Tree House

Dear Readers,

I have had two panic attacks in three days. This is very unusual, even for me. I suppose if I take into account all the changes in my life recently (or the incredible stress), it makes sense. Still, wisdom is completely useless in the face of clinical grade fear.

Panic Attacks are characterized by severe physical symptoms which may include anxiety. However, Anxiety Attacks and Panic Attacks are not the same.

After doing some digging I realized I was having an adverse reaction to the Trazodone I was taking. Often times I believe the symptoms I experience stem from the natural course of my mental illness, however, it is important to remember that there are many contributing factors that can influence or change your psychology. Choosing pharmaceuticals as a course of intervention is never easy. Aside from the stigma attached to medication, there is the expense, the inconvenience, and the side effects. I was treating my insomnia and depression, but at what cost? I soon found myself increasingly anxious, agitated and angry. If you know me at all you know my demeanor is quite pleasant and bittersweet, so to appear angry and discontent in front of my friends and family was a pretty big indicator that something was off. I didn’t want to believe it because I was experiencing relief, but I had to acknowledge that I was also trembling with a depression-rage so profound that few understand it. While teetering on the edge of full blown panic attacks and heartbreaking impulses, you tend to find yourself faced with a pretty obvious decision. To be sure, I researched the side effects of this medication. It wasn’t until I scrolled to the bottom to the less likely slash call-your-doctor-right-away-if list of side effects that a light bulb turned on. Suddenly there it was, everything I had been feeling, laid out right in front of me. Black Box Label Warnings for Trazodone include:

  • Worsening depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • A severe rash or hives
  • Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • A painful erection that will not go away (priapism)
  • Panic attack
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Fainting
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding
  • Seizure

So, mystery solved. Fortunately, Trazodone has a decent elimination half life so it took only 2-3 days to detox safely from this medication. My insomnia returned, but at least I didn’t want to scratch the face off of everyone I saw or leap from a tall building. The truth is, your diagnosis may not always provide an obvious explanation for your psychological experience. If you or a loved one has a rapid noticeable change in demeanor related to behavior or mental heath, it may be time for a med check.

As always, thank you for reading.

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!

Mental health

5 Tips on Maintaining Friendships When You Have Bipolar Disorder

Dear Readers,

Relationships of all kinds have their moments of turbulence, even those we cherish most. However, mental health conditions can often produce an added source of friction due to the very nature of the illness. Those characterized by misconceptions or delusions, Bipolar Disorder for example, can compound the difficulties associated with miscommunication or avoidance even further. I’m certain we can all recall moments of escalation with those we love that were exacerbated by our psychological state at the time.

As someone living with Mixed Bipolar Disorder, I can attest to the unique challenges sprung forth from the seat of agitation, which may present itself in both manic or depressed states, as well as dangerously persistent mixed episodes. It becomes all too easy to misunderstand, say things we don’t mean, and act poorly on our impulses when engaging with others with these added features. Fortunately, the Optimum Performance Institute offers up wholesome tools to aid in conflict resolution in the presence of Bipolar Disorder.

5 Tips on Maintaining Friendships When You Have Bipolar Disorder from Optimum Performance Institute

” …What are the distinguishing factors between the relationships that have failed and those that have gone on to flourish? We all experience emotional ups and downs. For those with bipolar, these experiences may be more pronounced. What is it that keeps friends together despite the symptoms of bipolar when so many others fizzle out? I believe with the right tools, support, and practice, people with bipolar can maintain healthy friendships. “

COMMUNICATION
When feeling the need to isolate, it’s perfectly acceptable to tell a friend that you need some “me” time or that you need space. No need to go into details, just gently assure your friend that it isn’t anything they said or did. In addition, be accepting and supportive when your friend needs alone time as well. Setting healthy boundaries in this way prevents misunderstandings.

LEVELS OF FRIENDSHIP
Having a different friend, or friendly acquaintance, for different needs is very healthy. Accept that not everyone has to be your “BFF.” For example, one friend may be your support group friend, another your study buddy, another your roommate, etc. You may not see them every day, but you know exactly who will help you out when you are overwhelmed by that big exam coming up!

SUPPORT TEAM
When you need support, take a moment to be mindful of the kind of support you need, and take appropriate action. Establish your own go-to support team so that you are not “unloading” on one person, since this will likely push that person away after long. For example, a therapist, doctor, counselor, life coach, sponsor, or peer from your mental health program are all appropriate people to turn to in addition to family and friends.

COMING OUT
The decision whether to tell someone about your illness can be a tough one. Fear and stigma can cloud your friend’s mind when hearing the word “bipolar.” At the same time, keeping your friend may be easier when they know about your condition, and it may be easier for you to communicate. The choice is yours only when you are ready. If you have a hard time trusting a friend with this personal information, try finding a support group or mental health program.

MAKING AMENDS
Sometimes when an episode of depression or mania come along, we do or say things that we didn’t mean. This also happens to people who do not suffer from bipolar disorder. When feeling better again, it’s important to make amends as soon as possible. When apologizing, state what for, and then reassure them. Don’t make promises you can’t keep, however assure them you are getting treatment and working on it. If they want to talk about it, make sure to actively LISTEN in return. Validate their feelings. Everyone wants to feel heard. Your friend may need some space before they are ready to talk, or even after talking. In this case, be mindful of tip one.

Discuss:

How has Bipolar Disorder affected your friendships? How might you navigate these waters differently with the above knowledge?

**If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at contact@deskraven.com!**

For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide!

In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!