Straight Talk on Mental Illness II

This evening I held another live Facebook event where I shared my story of PTSD. If you’d like to watch the video the event link is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/110256096139209/permalink/111144446050374/

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Overall Facts of Mental Illness

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about 1 out of 5 adults in the United States experience mental illness in a given year. That’s about 43.8 million people.

1 out of 25 adults suffers from a serious mental illness that affects they daily lives and can actually be debilitating. That’s 9 million people.

A little over 1% of adults in the United States lives with schizophrenia.

About 2.6% of adults in the United States suffers from bipolar disorder.

16 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

A little over 18% of adults suffers from an anxiety disorder like PTSD, OCD, and phobias.

Out of those adults who experience substance abuse, about 20 million people, about 50% of them had a mental illness.

10.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.

About 26% of homeless adults living in shelters have a serious mental illness.

About 24% of state prisoners have a recent history of a mental illness.

Depression is the 1st leading cause of disability worldwide.

About $193 billion is lost in earnings every year due to serious mental illness.

90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

For adults it is important that you talk with your doctor, connect with other families, learn more about mental illness and visit sites like NAMI.org.

20% of teenagers 13-18, live with a mental health condition. Mood disorder exists in about 11% percent of the teenage population. Then 10% have either a behavioral or conduct disorder. Anxiety disorders exists in about 8% percent of youth.

In ages 10-24 suicided is the 3rd leading cause of death.
Of all lifetime cases of mental illness, about 50% begin by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Ten years is about the delay between onset of symptoms.

By age 14, about 37% of students with a mental illness drop out of school.

About 70% of youth in state and juvenile systems have a mental illness.

Warning signs to look out for are:
Feeling very sad and with drawn
Trying to either harm or kill oneself and making plans to do so
Severe mood swings that cause relationship problems
Drastic changes in behavior, personality and sleeping habits
Risk taking behaviors that can cause harm to one’s self or others
Not eating, eating disorders, severe weight gain or loss
Extreme difficulties in concentrating that can lead to failure in school
Intense worries or fears that affects daily activities

The four things to do for teens talk to their pediatrician, get a referral to a mental health specialist, work with the school, and connect with other families.

To read a little more on these statics you can visit: http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers

There are those with chronic illnesses such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, cancer, aids, heart disease, Parkinson’s Disease, lupus, ect. Also suffer from mental illness. After a diagnosis of a chronic illness it may be hard to process or think that you will have this illness indefinitely, especially if you’re suffering from pain. You may feel anxious about future treatment options and feel down about your new limitations. You may find it hard to accept and adapt to your new reality and cope with any changes that take place. Your favorite activities may be harder to do.

All of this can cause depression. Signs of depression (mood and physical), whether you have a chronic illness or not, are:
• Feeling sad, irritable, or anxious
• Feeling empty, hopeless, guilty, or worthless
• Loss of pleasure in usually-enjoyed hobbies or activities, including sex
• Fatigue and decreased energy, feeling listless
• Trouble concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
• Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much. Waking too early
• Eating too much or not wanting to eat at all, possibly with unplanned weight gain or loss
• Thoughts of death, suicide or suicide attempts
• Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

<https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/chronic-illness-mental-health/index.shtml>

People with a chronic illness have a greater chance of mental illness. Depression is treatable even while you have other conditions and will enhance your day to day life. Treatment usually involves antidepressants and CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and in severe cases, electroconvulsive therapy.

So while have a mental illness in itself is trying and some days seem impossible to get through, there is hope.

Straight Talk on Mental Illness

This morning my mind was just flipping out idea after idea for what I could do for this blog as well as a video ministry. I have decided to do a series called Straight Talk on Mental Illness. I’ll address the facts of mental illness as well as go into details on some of the mental illnesses I have encountered. I’ll be drawing on facts as well as personal experience.

I have only begun brainstorming this morning but I’ll list the ideas I have so far:

  1. Overall Facts of Mental Illness in adults
  2. Overall Facts of Mental Illness in teens
  3. Mental Illness and Identity
  4. Talk on Depression
  5. Talk on PTSD
  6. Talk on Anxiety
  7. Talk on Borderline Personality Disorder

I will be creating Facebook Events for these discussions and I will be doing live recordings so you will be able to ask me questions and have them answered live.  In my discussions, I will also be talking about the things I have done that have helped me through the tough times and that will be including Biblical scripture that I think will be helpful for you to look at and study.

If there is something you would like me to cover please leave a comment or email me at janissoucieministries@gmail.com.

Prior to the Events, I will post them on my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/janissoucieministries)
As well as posting the event link on the blog. To go along with the events, I will be simultaneously posting a written form here on the blog.

New Novel: Secret Anguish

It’s that time of year again! Camp NaNo Wri Mo is coming near. Just a couple of weeks away. I have decided to write Secret Anguish: My Journey with PTSD. In the novel I will share my story of how I came to have PTSD as well as the symptoms and trying times I had to live through before I even knew I had PTSD. From then on it was medication trial after medication trial, and switching from one therapist to another, but that was not all that helped me get through the storm.

The main factor in my recovery is my faith. Without God I could not have done it. I have learned so much through having PTSD and God has not only healed me but healed my Dad who was the root cause of the PTSD. We have a better relationship now than we have ever had. And this is after a PTSD teacher mentioned in a class that you can’t reconcile with one who has caused PTSD. I beg to differ since that is exactly what happened. When she said those words, I was thinking, “God can make it happen if He wish. It’s nothing short of Him.” And it wasn’t.

So anyway, that is what I am brainstorming on.

Have you ever thought about writing about your mental health story? If you haven’t I strongly suggest that you do. It can help you heal as well as helping others. If you would like to start your story and aren’t sure how to get started, please feel free to contact me at janissoucieministries@gmail.com. I’d be more than happy to help you from the beginning in writing, to editing, and publishing.

PTSD Triggers

Having PTSD is flat out tough to deal with. No matter how hard you try, it may feel like there is never going to be an end. Especially, when you can be triggered any moment of any day. And when that happens how do you feel and how do you deal with those emotions?

Unfortunately, that’s not an easy question to answer. For an example, I was triggered today when I asked my husband if he wanted me to make a cake for dessert. He texted back, “I thought you wanted to eat less carbs?” Immediately, I thought, “He doesn’t want me to make something for him, fine! I won’t. Go without your dessert.” And I flung my cell phone across the kitchen counter. I was determined not to talk to him for the rest of the day.

Now you may be wondering how in the world did I come to that conclusion? His remark about eating less carbs was true. I have started a new diet of eating fewer carbs and more protein. Okay, so it’s more of a change than a diet. He was looking out for me but that was not what I perceived. I automatically thought he was criticizing me for my decision to make something for him and it happened to be something with a high amount of carbs. Growing up I dealt with criticism always seeing that it was my fault that I did something wrong. But now I respond with anger first and then I feel depressed because I was triggered and it brought up the old feelings of my decisions not being okay, that I always had to go on what the authority figure said. I didn’t feel like I mattered. And with those feelings, I became depressed and lost motivation to do anything, even the things I enjoyed.

Growing up I  felt that the criticism I got I must have somehow deserved. I always saw that it was my fault, that I did something wrong. Back then I would feel bad. I felt belittled. And with those feelings I became depressed and lost motivation to do anything, even the things I enjoyed like reading, writing, and reaching out to those with mental illness via this blog, and those with fibromyalgia through another blog. I just wanted to hide under the covers or even in my closet to escape. Reliving the old feelings is horrible! I wouldn’t wish PTSD on anyone.

So what did I do to come out of that funk and manage to write this blog post and pick myself up and not only enjoy the rest of the night but also participate in it instead of withdrawing? I thought through it and allowed myself to feel the old emotions while I reminded myself I would get through it this time, because I have gotten through numerous other triggers, only this time, I became aware that I chose how to react as a result of the trigger. I could either let it consume me and I would feel miserable and not able to function well, or I could put my trust in God that I could actually choose to overcome the trigger by trusting in Him and believe that I could process this trigger and then let it go so it wouldn’t ruin my night and time with my family. And set me back emotionally into depression and anxiety and with an overwhelming sense of worthlessness.

 

I’m not saying this was easy, I mean it was the first time I was really aware that I had a choice of how to handle the trigger. But I know with each passing trigger, I can get through it and be stronger for it.

 

When you have been triggered, how do you deal with it? What do you find that helps?

 

I would love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below. I look forward to seeing how you manage your triggers, or even if you have questions, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you.

 

God bless!

Mental Illness and Emotional Eating

Okay, so I suffer from PTSD and the mood swings and abstracted thoughts it brings. There is also the question of having either bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, but we’re still waiting on testing for that. But through all of that,  I also suffer from emotional eating, especially binge eating. I’ll eat even when I’m not hungry and just keep eating until I make myself feel sick.

It’s crazy and even though I know it has its roots in my childhood I really have to stop this kind of eating. I know now that it is due to emotions where for so long I didn’t know, nor understand this.  I’m going to be brave and add some pictures of me at my current weight and track my progress as I lose weight. I have to do this because I am literally dying slowly under all this weight. I have a fatty liver and fatty pancreas which will get worse if I don’t lose weight.  I am also at high risk for diabetes and heart disease. I am 5′ 1″ and at around 270 pounds and I am morbidly obese.

Weight of 275

I can’t walk or stand for more than five minutes or so because my body just hurts. My stomach is pulling my lower back and hips forward which causes all sorts of body aches and pains. I struggle to find clothes that fit, not just because of my weight but because I am short.

I have two kids and need to lose this weight for myself, but also for them, to set a good example and so I can be around for them in the coming years. I have signed up with SparkPeople.com and have also joined some of their groups for PTSD among others. This site helps me to be accountable for what I eat and also helps me track nutrition and exercise, but what I really love about the site is the camaraderie from the awesome people you meet.

Now, I’ll show you a picture of me and my dad back when I was in my early 20’s of when I weighed about 130 pounds which is the weight I’d like to get back to.

l338535495

Okay. Now that I’ve said all of this, how does one work through emotional eating? That’s a good question. I have a few tips to start out with which I use and I hope they help you too:

  1. Eat only when you are hungry.
  2. Learn what normal portions of meat and carbs are then fill the rest of the plate with veggies or have some veggies and some fruit.
  3. When you think of food, ask yourself is you are hungry. If you are not hungry, find something to distract yourself. Some examples are: video games, crafts, talk to a friend either online or on the phone, or in person, journal, go for a walk, ect.
  4. When you are feeling emotional and know that you tend to gravitate toward food, try and stay away from the kitchen, or if you do go into the kitchen, let it be for a large glass of water, or other zero calorie drink and then leave the kitchen and deal with your emotions. Ways to deal with your emotions are to: cry, talk to a trusted person in your life, journal, scream into a pillow, talk to others in groups either in your local area, or online, but whatever you do, do NOT distract yourself from your emotions. You need to learn to be okay with them and allow yourself to feel them and process them if you are going to heal and get through them each time they come.
  5. Keep junk food out of the house!!!! This is key! (Especially for me. I love chocolate and have a rough time saying no.) Keep a lot of healthy foods in the house and less processed foods. You may have to learn to cook and prepare your own meals but at you’ll be doing yourself a favor mentally, emotionally, and physically.
  6. Avoid going out to eat as much as possible. But if you do go out to eat, try to order healthy portions. Don’t deprive yourself of your favorite foods, just be mindful of how much of them you eat and save the rest for later. You don’t have to clean your plate!

This is what I know for now. If I think of anything else, or run into other tips along my own journey I’ll be sure to share them with you.

Are you an emotional eater? Share your story with me either in the comments or feel free to email me: janistalkz@gmail.com