Thursday, December 24, 2009

You Have the Power

Change the channel.  But you never know what's going to be on the other channel until you give it a try.  Don't worry, it's not your fault if the TV guide is wrong.  But you have to change the channel to find new shows, just like in life.  If you stay on the same channel all of the time, you're missing opportunities.

Are you afraid to change the channel?  How many channels does your TV have?

Don't change the channel unless you are absolutely sure you will like what's on that channel..... Is that possible?

There are a lot of things in life you don't have control over, but you do have the power to change the channel. And you don't even need a remote.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Physical Problems can cause Mental Illness

The connection between physical ailments, such as viruses, and mental illness, is a topic I'm always interested in.

The January/February 2010 Scientific American Mind magazine has two short articles about this connection:

- An article about strep throat causing OCD like symptoms in children.  This is called "pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with strep," abbreviated PANDAS.  Now researchers have induced PANDAS in mice.

- An article about bodily inflammation (for example, from arthritis) causing greater memory loss in Alzheimer's patients compared to those without inflammation.  The memory loss is even worse if the patient also has an infection.  This might suggest that there is also an immune response going on in the brain, which causes mental problems.  

The article says that in healthy brains, this might just cause us to "feel under the weather"...... What about in Bipolar brains?  Perhaps viruses really do trigger depressive or manic episodes?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Lithium Orotate

I used to take Lithium Carbonate, which is the prescription form of lithium, commonly prescribed for Bipolar Disorder.  I took it for over a year, and then I began getting a tremor from it.  

I decided to try Lithium Orotate.  To my surprise, this has been working as well as the Lithium Carbonate.  Except I don't have the tremor side effect.  

I don't notice any side effects with Lithium Orotate.  I do notice problems if I don't take it though, so I take it regularly.  I take it as seriously as I would take a prescribed medication.  

It doesn't make me feel drugged, or less motivated, or less creative, or anything negative. It just makes me feel normal.  Oh, I still occasionally have Bipolar Disorder related mood problems, but certainly not as severe as without the lithium.  Lithium orotate is not a cure, but it comes close.  It reduces many of my symptoms of both mania and depression.

I buy the 120 mg dosage (containing 4.8mg of elemental lithium) by Advanced Research.  For awhile I was only taking 3 pills day, but I now I take 4 pills a day.  I take 2 pills in the morning and 2 in the evening.  It is hard to figure out the correct dosage. I think it has to do with individual differences and perhaps how much you weigh.  Some people only take one or two pills a day.  Best to consult your doctor.

I buy this Lithium Orotate from  If you haven't shopped at iherb before, you can get a $5 coupon for your first order by using this referral code: LIN282 

There isn't any scientific proof that Lithium Orotate really works.  Doing some internet searching, I've actually found more links about how it doesn't work than about how it does.  However, there are many positive reviews on iherb.  

By the way, it is also sold under the brand name Serenity

Wikipedia does have a useful summary of it here.  It has also been used to treat alcoholism, aggression, and more.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Is it Mental or Physical?

That's often the question that comes after I say to my love (or he says to me), "I don't feel good."

Sometimes, it is hard to tell.

Nausea caused by anxiety.  Or nausea causing anxiety?

Feeling depressed because of being worn down by a cold.   Or just happening to have a cold and being depressed at the same time.

Can cold viruses cause depression or other mental changes?  I don't know... Sometimes I think so.  But it has been pointed out to me that people don't usually feel good when they are sick.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Creating Crisis

Feeling frustrated. Making a bigger deal out of something than it really is. Escalating. Repeating your problem, your worry, exaggerating it, raising your voice, trying to get other people to pay attention. Trying to get other people to also be upset. Getting them to join in.  Trying to get them to feel how you feel.  Because you don't feel good.  Seriously.

People turn something into a crisis that doesn't have to be a crisis.  You may be tempted to do it yourself. To cause a fit, or to escalate a worry, to draw people in, to get a response, to get something to happen.

Don't do it.  It's better just to slow down and pause and say, “I feel ___.”  [Fill in with the emotion.]  So many times, those simple words have turned my day around.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

What do you like to do?

I've been keeping a list of the things I do lately that give me that warm, fuzzy feeling, or that excited accomplished feeling, or that content I-could-do-this-all-day feeling.

I've never kept track before, but since I'd like to find my life passion someday, I thought keeping a list was a good start. I ignore the “but I'm not really good at that” thoughts that pop up in my brain and just plow onwards.

This is a good activity, because it is thought provoking, and generally positive thing to be thinking about.  It's also a small step in the process of finding my life calling, which is really a huge thing that can seem overwhelming.

It is possible to cope with some of those crazy bipolar moods and down depressive thoughts by working on changing oneself.   I've worked on it quite a bit.  Now, when I have a thought that I don't want, I recognize it as a thought that is wrong, and I don't act on it.  Instead, I divert that negative or positive energy into something that I can do.

For example, if you have the desire to do something illegal or unethical (or something that will cause problems for you or your family), and you can recognize that you are having these desires because they are driven by your Bipolar disorder, then you can decide not to act on it, but instead, put that energy into doing something that is 'right.'

It's going to be different for every person, but you have to want to do the right thing out of a deep driven desire to do the right thing, not because it is simply right.  You might find that desire in a relationship with a spouse or a child, or with God, or in your desire not to repeat the past.. But you have to want the change for youself.

I didn't always understand this, and I did things without understanding what kind of person I wanted to be.  Now, I don't do things that aren't “right” because I want to be truthful to myself about what kind of person I am.  I think it does help if you have someone like a partner that you love who you don't want to hurt or disappoint.

This process of doing one thing instead of something else is called sublimation.  I didn't know it was called sublimation until I read this squidoo page, which quotes this definition for sublimate: “To divert the energy associated with (an unacceptable impulse or drive) into a personally and socially acceptable activity.”

Here's my example that I just made up:
Perhaps you liked to steal things from stores.   Perhaps, you decide that you don't want to steal anymore, because you are a really kind, good-hearted person and you want to do good things, not bad things. So you decide that you won't act on those feelings. But instead, you decide you will take that desire to do something and do something positive.  Perhaps instead of stealing, you spend your energy and enthusiasm buying toys to donate to needy children...

I think you have to find something that you really like doing to replace that thing that isn't so good.

If you're depressed, doing something that focuses on another person might be easiest because it takes you away from wallowing in your negative feelings about yourself.  I've found that helping others is one of the things that really makes me happiest.

Or you may find that expressing yourself through art might be the way to cope with your moods.  Or perhaps by excelling in the business or political world.  Staying busy is a good way of coping....

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Get Me Through December

I am wavering between feeling perfectly normal and feeling mildly down.  Yesterday I was sure that I had cured Bipolar disorder.  Today I think it is still hanging around.  Here are some lyrics for this month:

Artist: Alison Krauss
Song: Get Me Through December

Get me through December
A promise I'll remember
Get me through December
So I can start again.

I've been to the mountain left my tracks in the snow
Where souls have been lost and the walking wounded go
I've taken the pain no girl should endure
But faith can move mountains
But faith can move mountains of that I am sure

* Music is one of my favorite treatments for these moods...  Try it if you haven't already :)  You can listen to people who feel the same way as you, or people who feel much happier or sadder :)  The myriad of sounds helps me focus and helps take away anxiety, loneliness, sadness, and all kinds of feelings.  I think it is a great way to relax.