Posts tagged with: mental health

Triggered depression

Surreal ray of light
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Depression is not caused by a single factor. Three factors must be present for a woman to live with this mental illness. Depression is a combination of psychological factors, genetics and personal biology.

With that in mind, a past traumatic experience can be a psychological factor that “triggers” a depressive episode. Oftentimes, if a woman suffers an overwhelmingly stressful psychological event, depression can be “triggered” later in life, especially when she hasn’t sought help in dealing with the event.

I spent quite a while trying to explain this technically, but it doesn’t come out right. Therefore, welcome to your author’s world and let her explain to you her own triggered depression*.

In January of my 1998 I had my first depressive episode. I’d rather not discuss the trigger here, but let’s just say it was enough to scar me for life. In February of 2007 my divorce was finalized (on Valentine’s Day, ironically!) and I was devastated that it actually happened.

January and February have been notoriously depressive months for me. Even if things are going great, underneath the smile, the promise of in-state tuition, the possibility of starting fresh in a new town, a big dark cloud still lingers over it all. I’ve become accustomed to this, but people new to my life aren’t. They don’t understand that it’s not something I can change and it’s just something I’m learning to deal with.

Depression can be triggered by sights, sounds, situations, and even times of year. This is different than Seasonal Affective Disorder, as it can happen in the sunniest times of year. It’s not a vitamin D related depression. It’s a personal seasonal depression. It’s triggered depression.

*”triggered depression” is not a technical term. It is a term I’m using here to explain the situation.

Other depression posts:
Tanning no cure for seasonal depression
Depression: Defect or defense mechanism

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Why is my eye twitching?

A phoropter in use.
Image via Wikipedia

Two weeks ago now my left eyelid began twitching. I was at work and suddenly it was like I was winking at my coworkers. Sorry, PB, I am not flirting with you, I just have a random facial tic today. And the next day, and a week later, and still, two weeks today, I am still twitching.

A friend told me that some extra potassium might help. So I had a few bananas. I don’t like bananas so it took some bravery to eat the darned thing. The eye? It continued to twitch.

Same friend told me that the twitch could be stress related. I can’t really get rid of stress, but even while in South Carolina, not doing anything responsible (well, okay, I was only somewhat responsible, but no where near stressed out!) and the eye? It continued to twitch.

Same friend gave me a third suggestion that it was probably because I wasn’t sleeping enough. Well, for the past three nights I’ve been able to get at least 10 hours of sleep … and that’s a lot of sleep for me. The eye? It has continued to twitch.

Nothing I do seems to make this eye stop twitching, so like the recent Charley horse, I began my Google searching to learn about what’s going on.

About.com explains that “a twitch sometimes develops during times of increased stress.” I don’t think that was my case. A twitch “has also been associated with high caffeine intake[s]” (which wasn’t me the days that it began (might have been since then, though)), “fatigue” (I have been dealing with excessive fatigue for over a year now, and so suddenly developing the twitch doesn’t fit this) “or excessive squinting” (which is definitely not me.

My favorite sentence of the twitch explanation? “An eyelid twitch is usually a sign that you need to take a break and relax.” Yeah, uh, okay. I did that. It didn’t work.

Solutions to this eye twitch include an antihistamine drop (which is a migraine trigger for me, so that’s out), a warm compress or an eyelid massage. I’m giving the twitch 24 more hours to vacate the building, and then I break out the eyelid massaging and warm compresses. The twitch is getting annoying!

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Abortions are not “non-events”

Albert Wynn and Gloria Feldt on the steps of t...
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I am pro-abortion.

That’s a scary sentiment to put on the internet, but it’s the truth. I have never been put in the situation where I had to make a personal decision, but I’ve had friends and loved ones who have. I have no right to say what they do with their body is right or wrong, and so I vote pro-abortion.

Even being pro-abortion, I know that abortions aren’t “non-events.” For many women they are highly emotional experiences leaning towards traumatic, even. Apparently there are pro-abortionists out there, though, claiming that abortions are non-events. Science has proven them wrong.

Read more about the recently released study here:
Abortion myth about depression falls before science
New Mental Health Studies Dispel Myth That Abortion Is A ‘Non-Event’
Abortion Increases Women’s Mental Health Problems: New Study

There are still people out there claiming that there is no emotional link, however:
New Report Finds No Link Between Abortion/Depression

What do you think?

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Overwhelmation!

mental health week
Image by meerar via Flickr

Hi! You’ve reached Women’s Health, but currently I’m away from my desk

Right now I am:

  • working 40 hours a week at one job,
  • being trained for new duties at that job,
  • working 10 hours a week at another job,
  • handling a huge and somewhat mentally overwhelming project at that job,
  • trying to write enough to keep me sane,
  • going to church four or five days a week,
  • attempting to have a life outside of that stuff,
  • mentally preparing myself for a family reunion/my grams’ memorial service this weekend and
  • breathing deeply.

I may be missing in action for a couple of days while I try to screw my head back onto my neck (it ran away about 37 minutes ago. While I am gone, I suggest you check out the following sites which I adore:

I will return as soon as I can find that head (SHOOT! Did someone leave the front door open?) and I will be back to spamming your reader with women’s health news!

Until then, tell me what you do to keep your stress level down!

~Sarah

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Seasonal Affective Disorder: The Basics

February 2, 2007
Image via Wikipedia

I mentioned yesterday that Oregonians are about to face a serious lack of sunshine and it will take it’s toll on many of us.

Seasonal affective disorder, otherwise known as SAD, is caused by a lack of sunlight during the “dark days” of winter. Bright light therapy, antidepressants and counseling have been known to help get through those days.

Some of the symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder include:

  • depression – if you notice you’re feeling blue, sad, and without joy with no reason to feel this way; it could be a sign
  • lack of energy – nothing is exciting anymore, life is blah, and you just want to vegetate in your favorite char watching television; it could be a sign
  • general malaise – something is wrong and you can’t figure it out, it could be a sign
  • weight gain – the lack of energy (not doing your indoor workouts?) and comfort foods put together equals expanding waistline; it could be a sign
  • a need for more sleep – along with the lack of energy, if all you want to do is sleep; it could be a sign
  • difficulty concentrating – your brain has shut down, you can’t keep your facts straight, and your work is suddenly suffering; it could be a sign

If mid-fall you realize that you’re just not feeling right, these signs might be something to watch out for. I recommend you call your physician and talk to him or her about your symptoms and suggesting that it might be SAD; please remember you can be happy!

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Women’s health blogs I love

In fall 2004, Ellen Simonetti was fired for wh...
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Instead of five challenges (does anyone actually do the challenges but me?) I am sharing five blogs I think you should check out this week! Let me know what you think!

  1. Breaking the Mirror –  For any woman who has lived with an eating disorder, or knows someone else who has, this blog is a great resource with personal stories that make it readable. Angelique‘s recent entry on running five miles hit home for me. I love the personal touches that Angelique includes in her blog and absolutely recommend you check out this place!
  2. FitSugar.com – this website is all-inclusive with regards to health and fitness. Everything from celebrity fitness to polls to tech information, this site is fun, informative and pretty to look at, too!
  3. Mental Health Notes – Alicia is such a positive advocate for mental health awareness that she makes me feel weak in my own efforts. With giveaways, links, personal stories and lots of encouragement, Alicia is a one-woman therapy group who always welcomes new readers!
  4. Women’s Health & Fitness Guide – when I first found this website, I was overwhelmed with all of the information. There is a lot of writing on this site, but it is easy to read, informative and educational. Writing for Weight Loss Success has been a very impactful entry for my life since I haven’t been able to run like I would like to!
  5. Women’s Health News – exactly what the blog title reads. Need a source for women’s health news? This blog is for you.
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A Proper Sit Up

The human rectus abdominis muscle of the human...
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Tight absTo strengthen abdominal muscles, trainers oftentimes recommend doing sit-ups, however, they rarely stress doing sit-ups with proper form. You can do thousands of sit-ups and work your neck, your back, your hip flexors even, but never your abdominal muscles.

I scoured the internet looking for a sit up that I felt used ONLY my abdominal muscles and really made me work and found a fantastic one. Check out this YouTube video to see a proper form sit-up being done, and use your abs this week! Let me know how it goes, and we’ll discuss push-ups here soon!

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Outta my way!

Logo of the United States National Institute o...
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Dear Life,
Last week you really got in my way. You demanded attention, you were needy and I’m pretty sure you even cried a lot. I think you owe my blog readers an apology. You required so much attention, I left my readers alone for an entire week. I rarely have to do that, and when you make me do so, I feel bad. They might have missed me, they might have needed to hear about a cool workout on Wednesday, or some emotional health news on Thursday, or maybe they just wanted to be challenged on Friday; but no, you took me away. Please, I love you, life, but can you cool it? Can you stop being so emotionally needy and let me take care of my pals? I’d really appreciate it!

Love,
Sarah

Dear Reader(s),
Sometimes life gets in the way of working. This was the case last week. This week I’m working on pre-posting some stuff in case of a repeat. I’ll talk a bit about what happened in either Tuesday or Thursday’s entry and shed some light on my situation. Thanks for sticking by me!
Sarah

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Panic & Anxiety

Desi Sangye Gyat...
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http://techzoogle.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/panic%20button.jpgFor a few weeks, on Thoughtful Thursdays, I’m going to address anxiety and panic, and the disorders that accompany them.  I don’t believe that the conditions are becoming more common, but I do believe the diagnoses are becoming more readily assigned to those seeking help. Both are being diagnosed more and more often and myths surrounding the conditions that I’d like to set some things straight.

First: Anxiety is different than fear.

When you are afraid, your fearfulness is directed towards an outside entity or situation. When you are anxious the focus is more than likely internal instead. It seems to be a response to something distant, even vague and quite possibly unknown. Anxiety affects your whole being causing a psychological, behavioral & physiological reaction. Rather than leaving all anxiety treatment up to medication, a patient must be willing to address all three aspects of the anxiety:

  1. Change how you talk to yourself. This “self-talk” can disrupt your entire life,
  2. Reduce the way your body physiologically reacts to anxiety, and
  3. Stop avoiding the anxiety-causing situations.

We’ll address these at a later date, but for now I’d like to go back to the issue at hand; anxiety.

Second: Panic attacks are real. There are many different levels of anxiety, from a smidgen of worry to full-blown panic attacks. Panic attacks may bring about certain reactions in particular situations.

If you encounter a situation which induces these feelings, on more than one occasion, you should address your primary care physician. Next week we’ll spend some time dissecting general panic disorder in comparison to panic attacks. Stick around for some more fun!

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Abortion, partner violence and overspending

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Creative Commons License photo credit: pingnews.com

No evidence that single abortion causes significant mental conditions, APA task force report says – “An American Psychological Association task force review of more than 150 studies has found that although women who choose to terminate unplanned pregnancies might have feelings of grief and loss, the relative risk of mental health problems is no greater if they have a single abortion than if they deliver that pregnancy …”

New study highlights importance for women to know their risk of heart disease – “A new study published in the July/August 2008 issue of Journal of Women’s Health highlights the importance of women knowing their own risk factors for cardiovascular disease, and cautions that a frequently used risk assessment tool could lead to false reassurance that a woman is at low risk for heart problems.”

Partner violence – huge reproductive health impact – “Three-quarters of women who had been beaten while pregnant had been beaten by the same person (usually the father of the child) before they were pregnant. For most of these women, the violence stayed the same or got worse after they became pregnant.”

Breast cancer is women’s top health concern – “… developing breast cancer is women’s top health concern, with 51 percent stating they worry about it versus those who worry about heart attack (48%), diabetes (42%) and lung cancer (31%).”

Women shopping themselves bankrupt – “Ignoring empty bank balances and poor economic forecasts, the “urge to splurge” generation of 18- to 35-year-old women have become binge shoppers, caught in a web of spiralling debt. Driven by a new wave of influential high-end fashion magazines and celebrity role models, they are maxing out their credit cards on uncontrolled shopping sprees.”

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