Mental health

Ugly Truth 007: Psychomotor Agitation Hurts

Psychomotor agitation is an increase in purposeless physical activity often associated with depressive and manic episodes of bipolar disorder. It’s a classic symptom that most people readily associate with mania: restlessness, pacing, tapping fingers, dashing about meaninglessly, or abruptly starting and stopping tasks. While psychomotor agitation can take many forms and vary in severity, it is an indication of a mental tension that cannot be managed and one that manifests physically with frenetic activity. – Marcia Purse, VeryWell Mind Good Evening Readers, Welcome back to 100 ugly truths about mental health! Last night I began to sink after I triggered myself while reading some old writings. Suddenly I was flung into the flashbacks of the memories I was revisiting. The walls around me soon fell away and I found myself off the ground. I reached for my loved ones in attempt to take my own advice. I flailed while trying to remember my coping skills, but I was just no match for my slipping mood. It wasn’t long before I jumped to distraction, whirling through my nightly routine without ever actually accomplishing anything. I was spinning, frantic, agitated and growing angrier with each passing moment. What was happening to me? When you’re diagnosed with a mental health condition it provokes a sort of self examination. It is a natural response to want to peel away the dysfunction from your personality. I crave understanding and logic when faced with the mystery of madness, so I excused myself for a breath of fresh air after confessing to my partner that I was unwell. It never takes Google long to come up with an explanation, and there it was, psychomotor agitation. This symptom is generally associated with mood disorders, PTSD, and anxiety. Similar to the relationship between panic attacks and fear, psychomotor agitation is a physical manifestation of internal events. The truth is if you or your loved ones don’t have the insight to spot this, you may not understand why you feel the way you do. Fortunately, because this symptom is physical it doesn’t take long for other people to notice. My partner will often point out that my face is changing and I’m not quite myself. My eyebrows will furrow, my lips will purse, and I commonly catch myself in an angry cleaning frenzy. As indicated above, abruptly starting and stopping tasks is a hallmark of this frenetic energy. It can be very draining, damaging even, causing you to act unlike yourself and possibly hurting others in your path. The truth is this is something I’ve only recently started working on. Mindfulness is a lifestyle people use for many reasons, but the practice of self awareness is key when managing mental illness. You have to hold yourself accountable if meaningful change is ever going to happen. This agitation carried over into my morning and I was filled with regret when I was unable to process the loud clangings of my 7 year old. Ultimately, I couldn’t shake it on my own and turned to medication. Relationships are often a social tool. They are extensions and reflections of ourselves. When I lived alone I had a very hard time with symptom management because I didn’t have an informing audience. The truth is, sometimes it takes an exterior observation to see more clearly. Insofar, isolation has been my most powerful coping skill when agitation occurs. Isolation is often seen as a maladaptive behavior, but under these circumstances it is a useful way to decompress and protect loved ones from your irrational anger. How do you cope with agitation? Have friends or loved ones ever pointed out your strange behavior? This evening, I challenge you to quiet your defense mechanisms and be receptive to the truth. **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 006: Mental Illness Isn’t Trendy

“Stigma against mental illness is a scourge with many faces.”
Elyn R. Saks
Good Afternoon Readers, Today I read an out-pouring of depression authored by another blogger that so resonated with me. She described the loneliness, the worthlessness, and the lack of familial support she was experiencing. She was expressing fear for losing her job after repetitive no call-no shows. She described the inability to get out of bed and the love of her husband. It all sounded so familiar. It reminded me next of a comment I read elsewhere that proclaimed concern for mental illness becoming a trend, or an excuse for poor behavior. When suddenly it all came together in one final thought: Who on earth would ever choose this? While depression is fairly common, it can manifest itself in many ways creating trenches of misunderstanding even among its sufferers. I will use myself as an example. I have Bipolar Disorder. Bipolar Depression is not the same as Unipolar Depression. What’s more, I do not experience typical manic depressive mood swings. I experience mixed states. In a mixed episode, symptoms of both mania and depression exist simultaneously. For me, depression may present itself in the classic form of fatigue, grief, loss of interest, and suicidal thoughts – OR – it may present as irritability, agitation, anger, guilt or rage. I believe this variability is why I went misdiagnosed for a decade, and why stigma continues to thrive. Mixed episodes are markedly difficult to spot and stigma finds fuel in misinformation. We fear what we do not understand, and remain a generally discriminating species as a result. I have to bully myself every morning to do what I need to, and cry through it more often than not. I suffer from irrational fears and false beliefs. Under extreme stress I hallucinate, have panic attacks and nightmares. I have considerable mood swings, paranoia, and insomnia. I have chronic pain, flashbacks, and anxiety so severe it changes my vitals. If you think this is trendy, then perhaps you should see a doctor yourself. Perhaps the concept that one should “snap out of it” or “get over it” has been addressed by the rising mental health awareness in recent years. Perhaps the number of diagnoses have increased because our detection has improved, and we now know the importance of early intervention. The truth is, mental illness is not a trend or an excuse. It is a valid medical condition that responds to treatment. Have you ever been marginalized because of mental illness? **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!