Like everyone, I was shocked and saddened by the death of famous comedian and actor Robin Williams. He was my generation's Charlie Chaplin. His movies were part of the backdrop of my generation's childhood, adolecence, and early adulthood. Over the past days, I have watched the many touching tributes to him, but I have discovered a disturbing trend in the comments of those who knew him well. Many of those who knew him for countless years expressed that they did not see his suicide coming, that he had his addictions under control, and that they did not know he was in such pain. One close friend of his, actor Rob Schneider expressed concern that Williams had been taking a Parkinson's disease drug that had suicide listed as a side effect. This struck a nerve with me. The media has reported VERY LITTLE on this VERY IMPORTANT link. This information is especially pertinent to those of us that have mental health issues. Prescription drugs have side effects sometimes very grave ones, and god only knows how many deaths are chalked up to "depression" when in actuality it is the pharmaceutical companies that should be held accountable. I have had my own personal experiences with the side effects of depression/anxiety medication. Some medications can and do make people who are normally not suicidal have suicidal thoughts. The sad thing is they make so much money off of the meds there has to be a class action lawsuit for these pills to be taken off the market. These pills are a double edged sword. In many cases there is a severe need for a medication, any medication to remove the pain associated with mental and physical illnesses. On the other edge of the sword is we do not know the the long term effects of these fairly new medications. We have to keep ourselves informed and make sure the media exposes the dangers of medications. Few people seem aware but Parkinson's and depression are also LINKED. It is believed that the lower levels of seretonin play a role in this. Now with this in mind, I feel it appropriate to highlight (in honor of Robin Williams)  NON MEDICINAL ways to increase your serotonin so you can theoretically decrease your chances of developing Parkinsons. Naturally. No drugs. Here are the ones I have found after scouring the internet. THINKING POSITIVE THOUGHTS- The chicken before the egg? Does serotonin cause you to be positive or does thinking positive cause you to produce serotonin. Either way MOOD THERAPY helps. EXPOSURE TO LIGHT. Sunlight, light baths. Many people with depression/anxiety have vitamin D deficiency and need more exposure to light. EXERCISE- Face it, it FLOODS your brain with happy chemicals, the ones you need, and for those of us with anxiety that fight and flight response builds up a need to release tension, exercise helps you work it out. DIET- eating foods that are serotonin boosters, foods rich in tryptophan, food low in sugar,caffiene, syrups, and saturated fats.  One thing that I made the decision to do after hearing this information in light of what I believe to be the big pharma murder of Robin Williams, was to purchase a treadmill. Everyday when I walk on it, I will remember that I am walking to naturally beat these mental illnesses that have robbed so many of their health and happiness. Every step, though simple, is like a little kick in the face of those horrible people that allow medications to KILL PEOPLE and not take them off the market because they care more about stock value than moral values. Maybe that sounds extreme, but over the course of 8 years I was put on zanax, wellbutrin, lexapro, zoloft, prozac, lithium, and another one I don't remember the name of because it has been so long, and all of those before the age of 30. That is extreme. The pill culture is extreme. Now, if you can find a pill that works, and leaves you with no side effects keep taking it, you found the magic pill. I know for many of us that has yet to happen, and won't. The option is there and I am thankful for that, but the risks are there too and the media and our society need to make sure that those risks are highlighted and addressed especially when the opportunity presents itself. The suspicious death of Robin Williams gave us that opportunity and we should be asking why. Not why did he do it, but why did this side effect happen to him and noone talked about. After all he did for others, we owe that to him. 

Published in Diary
Tuesday, 19 August 2014 12:11

I don't know why it happens...

I don't know why it happens or when/why it even started.

There was a time I was barely motivated to leave the house. Then I finally took a huge step, moved out from my home country, started a new job (employment options are rare in my country) and at this point in my life, I feel as if I am so closer to where I want to be, finally able to progress in my career. I have quite some amazing friends and a few love options which I am not ready to pursue yet.

However, it doesn't seem to matter how perfect my life is at a certain point, or even how satisfied I consider to be; it 'keeps coming'. Out of nowhere, the shortness of breath, the lump in the throat, the dizziness and the tingling... the need of running away from everyone who is around me and lock myself inside the nearest room, toilet, etc. until it goes away. It used to be harder before.... Nowadays, I believe I am able to control it, I'd say I am able to recover from any panic attack in a matter of a few minutes if I can manage to be alone for that amount of time without anyone noticing that 'there is something wrong with me'. I cannot even explain. Nobody else even seems to understand. I cannot even seem to understand myself. The last time I was in the doctor, I told her that I feel perfectly fine, I feel happy. Why is this happening then? I have gone through several physical exams to ensure nothing else was wrong with me. Heart, lungs, everything is working fine. Doctor says 'underlying issues'.

I can deal with stress, I can deal with being nervous about something in specific, as long as I know what 'it' is. However, dealing with this..it's unbearable. Knowing that something is haunting me and I cannot seem to figure out what it is...

 

 

Published in Diary
Sunday, 22 June 2014 18:58

Recent realizations

So I was preparing for en exam, and I finally, for the first time I ever, I was ahead of time. I had set myself a goal, and it was that after reading the paper through one last time, I would have done what I could. Done what was really possible to expect of me. And it wasn't an intellectual goal. It was a goal I felt deep inside matched my capacity. It was legal. It was proper. It was right. My mind knew it and my body knew it.

After I had read the last page I was filed with joy. The most joy I had felt in a log time - it being the exam period and all. I flirted with my girlfriend and ran around the apartment, chasing after her; the both of us laughing. At that time, I was happy. There could be no doubt about it. It was an undeniable fact.

The fun got a bit more relaxed and it was time for dinner. We agreed to order takeout, and I would be the one fetching it. I didn't mind; I live quite close by and I was envigorated and happy. On my way to the restaurant, I felt something. It was a stinging sensation deep in the pit of my stomach - I knew it all too well. It was the feeling I get when my mind touches a thought that is unpleasant. There was something different about it though. It was less intense. It was as if my body was in a high state of joy and undeniable happiness, that lessened the impact. The stinging feeling quickly subsided, giving way for more of the good feelings. Can you tell me what it is? Is it chemicals floating through my system, which make otherwise very intense and unpleasant feeling feel quite small and insignificant? I must research that. In any case, that was my experience. And I didn't mind.

But here's the thing: through the undeniable and pleasant feeling of joy and happiness, what I could also feel by the stinging, was the body reacting to the mind saying something like: "I know you've done very well today, mister, but... There is a chance that in spite of all of your efforts, all of your joy, your grand victory today...... That it will go horribly wrong at the exam tomorrow. That something doesn't go as planned. That there is danger." AND OF COURSE IT'S TRUE. It's absolutely true. No one can predict the future. Maybe I will get hit by a car on my way to the exam tomorrow. Maybe I will get a migraine (after all, I haven't been eating well in this period) which would force me to skip it the exam. Maybe I will just have a bad day where nothing that comes out of my mouth makes sense (it's happened before). It's true. And it's not even a specific fear. It's just a strong conviction that there is indeed something dangerous in those 3 hours - something in that somewhat short period of time that is scary. It's like a dark forest. The mind cannot see through it - and doesn't need to. It just strongly belives that there's a catastrophy hidden somewhere inside the forest.

This stinging feeling got more insisting, and it came up more and more frequently. "Something will go wrong tomorrow, there's a very real chance it might", the mind kept telling me. Of course that wasn't what it was actually saying. It's just me trying to put into words what I was experiencing. What was going on was more along the lines of some part of me was afraid. So very afraid. It has seen true, unthinkable, unimaginable pain. A good metaphor would be a little dog in utter despair, whimpering as it expects the worst. And what I experience is this part of me communicating this desperate whimpering in the only way it can: through bodily sensations. Only trying to protect me.

The body has built around this foundation. It has shaped who I am today. The dog has whimpered a great many times, and while keeping it safe, avoiding all the unpleasant experiences, it has carved itself deep neural pathways. Pathways that the mind travels more than willingly - almost automatically. It has taken its toll on my self confidence. The pleasant feelings are like a very porous castle, waiting to crum

The new thing here is the added space around the experience that gave me some clarity and insight into what was going wrong.

And I envy those people who can look at the dark forest and say "I don't know what is inthere. But I have a strong conviction that whatever is, I have conquered before. So there's no need to worry too much."

 

I didn't finish this post. Maybe I will in the future.

Published in Diary
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