Mental Mondays #11: Preventing Suicide

Robin Wlliams

Robin Wlliams

In the past week, two suicides have rocked my community and my facebook newsfeed. First, a local mother, Jennifer Huston, went missing. When they found her they ruled her death a suicide. Not long after, Robin Williams shocked the world with his death as well.

In all the discussions I’ve seen, something has been bothering me. I wasn’t able to put my finger on it until now.

I am someone who has dealt with suicidal ideation, depression, mania, and mixed states, as it appears Robin Williams may have. I will probably revisit that periodically as long as … Continue reading Mental Mondays #11: Preventing Suicide

Mental Mondays #10: How Food Has Changed My Moods

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

I imagine this is the one you’ve been waiting for. The idea that just eating a certain way for a while will totally heal our guts and brains, making us stable and happy forever and ever is a tantalizing thought.

That dream of an end result is not where I’m at (yet?). It may never be where I end up. But in the meantime, the progress toward healing my gut & rebalancing gut flora with diet has made a big difference in the way my bipolar disorder plays out. Slowly, research is emerging that corroborates this connection.

I’ve waited over … Continue reading Mental Mondays #10: How Food Changed My Moods

Mental Mondays #9 - Recognizing Behaviors & Physical Changes

I’ve repeatedly alluded to the importance of recognizing the signs that your mood is shifting early on. While there are plenty of tip-offs in our thinking, our bodies play a role, too. Once you start paying attention, you’ll start being able to see physical signs that your mood is about to change before it happens. That gives you a chance to start taking steps to protect yourself and others from your messed up mental state before it happens. You may even be able to minimize the duration and intensity of your mental symptoms if you catch them right away.

Common … Continue reading Mental Mondays #9 – Recognizing Behaviors & Physical Changes

Mental Mondays #8: Laughing At Ourselves

This food allergy and gut dysbiosis business is serious stuff. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with it, though. When we first started our gluten-free & GAPS journey, we had to be careful about self-deprecating humor. It made people take our needs less seriously. On top of that the kids didn’t really get it – instead of lightening the mood, it made them feel worse. They needed a lot of support in order to feel empowered about their diet.

But I was pleasantly surprised yesterday when I found this parody of allergy-free cooking & Les Misérables and it … Continue reading Mental Mondays #8: Laughing At Ourselves

Mental Mondays #7: Recognizing Reality

Recognizing Reality

If you’ve never experienced a delusional thought or hallucination, it might be hard to imagine having and believing them. But that’s exactly what happens to people like me. In fact, these delusions and hallucinations seem more real than reality!

Recognizing Reality

But many people who will never have a hallucination experience warped perceptions of reality from time to time, especially if they are prone to depression, hypomania, or mania.

The key to preventing a full blown episode is recognizing the earliest signs of your mind getting out of balance. Once you are far out of balance, it will take extreme … Continue reading Mental Mondays #7: Recognizing Reality

Mental Mondays #6 - Mixed States

Mania and Mixed States

Where we left off last time, my journey out of depression had just begun. But it wasn’t going to be a smooth ride.

Mania and Mixed States

Remember: I am not a doctor of any kind, I am not giving medical or therapeutic advice, and I do not recommend stopping any medications which your doctor has prescribed based on the experiences I share. If you are inspired to try something I’ve tried, please consult about it in person with qualified health care practitioners before making any changes!

Once I started climbing out of depression, I started to feel normal. But … Continue reading Mental Mondays #6 – Mixed States

Mental Mondays #5: Fluctuating Abilities

Can't Speak

I’ll get back to the story of how my bipolar disorder unfolded next time, but this week I want to take a break and share something different with you.

It happens to me, too

Ariane Zurcher writes for the Huffington Post on life with autism. In this two part series, “Non-Speaking (At Times) Autistic Provides Insight Into Communication Differences,” she interviews Paula Durbin-Westby. Paula is an adult living with autism, a mother, and a disability rights activist who sometimes can not speak.

A video of Paula when she can not speak is embedded in part 2 of the interview. … Continue reading Mental Mondays #5: Fluctuating Abilities

Mental Mondays #4: The Power of Gratitude

I'm Joy, and I'm living with bipolar disorder

When we left off last week I was in a state of total collapse. I’d been depressed for months, and it had finally gotten to the point where I felt suicidal and could no longer care for my basic needs. I don’t think I’m being dramatic when I say I truly believe that I would have died if no one intervened.

I’m Joy, and I’m living with bipolar disorder

Fortunately, my apartment manager did. I had met her through my ex-fiancee’s church (which I joined), then moved into the apartment complex she managed. Despite my breakup, she and I became … Continue reading Mental Mondays #4: The Power of Gratitude

Mental Mondays #3 - Major Depression

This is the only picture I have from that year. I look happy, but this was just a couple months before my total collapse. I was having a good moment in the midst of misery.

Last week I told you a bit about the symptoms I experienced as a child, that are often comorbid with bipolar disorder. But bipolar hadn’t dramatically affected my life just yet. That was about to change. I was 21 years old and engaged to be married. He left.

Before I start – I want to let you know – This post could be very triggering, and you may wish not to read it. It is the story of what happened when I was 21 years old – now I’m 37 and doing much better. I haven’t found all my … Continue reading Mental Mondays #3 – Major Depression

Mental Mondays #2 - Bipolar Beginnings

Joy as a Little Kid

Joy as a Little Kid

Looking back, it’s easy to see so many signs that pointed to an eventual problem with bipolar disorder. But at the time, I thought I was completely normal and justified in all my moods and perceptions.

Lately there has been a push to diagnose children with bipolar disorder. I don’t know if the description would have fit back when I was a kid, but I certainly experienced a lot of symptoms that are common among people with bipolar and comorbid with the condition. This ties in with Dr. Natasha’s hypothesis that many conditions have some … Continue reading Mental Mondays #2 – Bipolar Beginnings

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