Sometimes It Really Is Just Depression And Not A BPD Moment Archive

Jennifer Scott has been experiencing anxiety and depression since she was a teen. She shares her journey toward improved mental health on her website, SpiritFinder.org. When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer loves to travel, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and rock climbs.

We’re obsessed with tech. The collective obsession with technology is so immersed in our culture that memes circulate the Internet poking fun at families who are enjoying a meal together or spending time in the family room – every member staring at his or her smartphone. The proliferation of technology is often criticized for reducing person-to-person interaction. In spite of this criticism, tech actually holds tremendous promise for people with mental health conditions. Here’s why:

Mobile Apps Offer Mental Health Support and Educationgirl on phone

An April 2015 report from Pew Research reveals that nearly two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults own a smartphone. What’s more, “[nineteen percent (19%)] of Americans rely to some degree on a smartphone for accessing online services and information and for staying connected to the world around them,” making mobile apps an effective means for providing information to a large portion of the population. Among teens, these figures are even higher.

That’s why apps like Ginger.io are proving a viable means for offering support and tools to smartphone users who suffer from mental illness. The app offers users access to licensed therapists through video visits, tools and health tips, personal coaches and care plans, and even medication support by connecting a user’s Ginger.io care team to their physician to share information and determine medication needs. Ginger.io is not alone; Healthline identifies other apps that offer support for various mental illnesses or tools for relaxation, connections to communities of supportive peers, and more.

Even the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Promotes Technology

The National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) “is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.” The organization’s AIR (Anonymous. Inspiring. Relatable) app is a free, mobile-based social network aimed at supporting those with mental illness and their families and caregivers.

AIR encourages anonymous sharing of stories for support and encouragement, providing information, and making connections between those with similar conditions or who have experienced similar struggles.

Mental Health Tracking is Becoming a Reality

We rely on technology to track our heart rate during exercise, the number of steps we take each day, and even our sleep patterns. Why not track mental health, too? While this is a more challenging feat, researchers and data scientists are running myriad studies and analyses to develop effective mental health tracking solutions by identifying linguistic clues that reveal insight into an individual’s mental health.

While apps like Ginger.io are already making use of such technology to some extent, the goal is to ultimately create a highly effective tracking application that would enable providers to proactively treat patients experiencing a change in mental health status with the hope of reducing negative outcomes such as overdoses or suicide. At the very least, it provides mental health providers with additional tools to better manage patient treatment plans, understanding triggers, and pinpointing key changes that indicate a need for medication changes or intervention.

Online Communities Help Eradicate Stigma and Provide Lifelines

You don’t have to be using a smartphone to take advantage of the mental health benefits of technology. Anyone suffering from or caring for a loved one with a mental illness won’t have to look far to find online communities and support groups for people who share similar experiences.

For those who need a bit of optimism, communities like Post It Forward on Tumblr are home to a plethora of uplifting images, inspirational messages, and positive encouragement from others who have suffered from anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses. Love is Louder, “a project of The Jed Foundation created with actress Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone,” is an online and offline initiative with a similar focus.

These resources, in addition to the instant connection to loved ones through family conference calls, text messages, and emails, makes technology a valuable tool in the battle against mental illness. Whether an individual suffering from mental illness is feeling isolated or does not feel like leaving home to socialize, those all-important social connections and critical emotional support is at their fingertips thanks to technology.

Image via Pixabay

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How to Bust Out of the Winter Blues

Posted January 29, 2016 By kmarrs

Today I have for a you a guest post from Jennifer Scott.  She did a fabulous job of writing about the winter blues and I’m excited to share it!

Jennifer Scott has been experiencing anxiety and depression since she was a teen. She shares her journey toward improved mental health on her website, SpiritFinder.org. When she isn’t blogging, Jennifer loves to travel, volunteers at her local animal shelter, and rock climbs.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) affects about nine million people. Even people without symptoms severe enough to warrant a clinical diagnosis may find that they have less energy or tend to feel more depressed during the winter months.
Causes range from lower levels of Vitamin D (which your body produces when exposed to sunlight) to changes in our behavior or dietary habits during the cold winter months. No matter the cause, there are many ways to help combat the winter blues and maintain your sunny attitude – even when it’s not sunny outside:

Stick to a Healthy Diet
During winter, we have a tendency to crave comfort foods. Never does a heaping helping of mac ‘n’ cheese sound better than when there’s snow on the ground and we’re stuck inside. But making healthy food choices can help to boost your mood, as foods like candy and carbohydrates can increase feelings of anxiety and depression (despite the initial euphoria they sometimes create). Loading up on fruits and veggies may not seem as appealing, but these healthy substitutes will pay off by making you feel a lot better.

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**PHOTO CREDIT: Image via Pixabay user cuneax**

Maintain Healthy Levels of Physical Activity
It’s easy to get up early with the sun and exercise regularly when it’s warm outside and the sun is shining brightly. But when it’s bitter cold outside, the last thing you probably want to do is venture out for a run. Still, maintaining healthy exercise routines is important for beating the winter blues. If you can get outside, the sun will benefit your mood even when it’s not accompanied by 80-degree weather. Otherwise, take things indoors. Hit up your local gym or take advantage of the benefits of aquatic therapy (which, as this guide notes, is especially great for recovering addicts with SAD). Diving in well help boost your mood and is a great source of relief for chronic pain that may be worsened by cold, wet weather.

Spend Time with a Furry Friend
According to research from the University of Missouri–Columbia, petting a dog for just 15 minutes releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, all positive hormones that help you feel good, while reducing the stress hormone cortisol. And if you’re a cat person, not to worry. Petting a cat will offer similar benefits.

Take Vitamin Supplements
It’s often a good idea to take a multi-vitamin all year long, but it’s especially important to supplement your diet with vitamins such as Vitamin D, which your body will have less of due to the decreased daylight hours during the winter. Of course, it’s important to consult with your physician before taking any supplements so that you can ensure you’re not at risk of any medication interactions or other risks to your health.

Try Light Therapy
About 70 percent of patients with SAD experience results from light therapy, or sitting in front of a light box (which produces much more light than ordinary sources of indoor artificial lighting) for 30 minutes or more each morning. After a few weeks of treatment, many patients experience relief from SAD symptoms. For patients with SAD who don’t have success with light therapy, anti-depressants may provide symptomatic relief.

Treat Yourself to a Getaway
Sometimes beating the winter blues is as simple as a break in routine. What could be better than a quick weekend getaway to a warm, tropical climate during the coldest, dreariest months of winter? Not only will a trip to a warmer location give you a chance to soak up some mood-boosting sunshine, but getting away from the same-old routine at home is often a welcome reprieve during the winter months. And if you can’t get away bring those warm vibes to you. Host a tropical-themed party so that you and your friends can leave the gray days of winter behind, even if it’s only for one evening.

Many people experience a shift in mood during the winter months. While not everyone has symptoms severe enough to be clinically classified as Seasonal Affective Disorder, these tips and tricks can help anyone relieve the winter blues.

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Pristiq

Posted January 20, 2016 By kmarrs

I haven’t been writing because I’ve been depressed. Not suicidal, not even close, but deeply depressed. I have no energy. Not desire to do anything that might require energy. I’m having to psyche myself up just to hold a book and read. For the first time in my life I’m tempted by books on tape (I hate being read to) because they require less work. Holding a book and turning pages requires too much work. So yes. I’m depressed. Why? Because I’m depressed. How long have I been depressed? I’m not sure I ever stopped being depressed over the past while. I went to the hospital last year, as some readers might remember, because my meds weren’t working anymore and I was suicidal. They changed my anti-depressant and I’ve been on that for, I dunno, like 6 months or so. I could look it up but that requires work, and it doesn’t really matter. Either way I was on the new med long enough that if it was going to work, it would have. I didn’t. Plus Zoloft doesn’t up norepinephrine like the cymbalta did, so I lost what energy boost I had. These days I’m either asleep or tired/lethargic enough that I could be asleep easy, just give me a chance to get comfortable. I’m sleeping 12-20 hours a day. Only then am I almost functional. So clearly not only was a new anti-depressant needed, but I needed my norepinephrine boost back. So today was the day I saw my psychiatrist and we agreed it was time to try a new medication. Now I’m on Pristiq which is a name I struggle to take seriously. However, apparently it’s a LOT like Cymbalta, which was my miracle drug for years, only different enough that it might work where Cymbalta stopped. So we’ll see. I’mma going to just keep chugging through and hope that something eventually helps. Alright I’m going to go back to bed or something. I hope bed. Oh I hope bed. It was a long day. Hopefully by the time I’m feeling a little better I’ll have job news to share. There is no current school news. I extended my break by six weeks so I can muck through this. It means pulling a double later, but it won’t be near as bad as hell term last term. Alright bed. I’m not proofing this post. I’m… Well you’re getting what you’re getting and you done got it.

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General Check-in

Posted October 7, 2015 By kmarrs

I know, it’s been a hot minute since I last posted.  I blame upcoming tests, school projects, and general course work load, but there has also been some gaming in there.  What can I say, it’s how I decompress.

And I’ve needed to decompress.

See last week, last Tuesday, I was on my way to class when my car’s steering column fell apart.  While I was driving the car.  Luckily I was in a parking lot going about 3 mph.  Because if I’d been on the freeway like 15 minutes earlier, I would have died.  That is no exaggeration.

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So… That image just kind of sums up my, well, year. At least the past few weeks.

School is going well, except for the plan to make friends. If I get an A in the one class I’m going to have to fight for it tooth and nail. So that has me stressed. I mean it’s a good stress. The kind I thrive under. I’m also just still depressed and tired.

But it’ll work itself out, right? It will. I just need to hang in there.

I may have already said this, but I’m in a one-on-one DBT with my therapist. I’ve had to miss a couple of weeks thanks to the car, but we’ll pick up where we left off. It’s good to have a refresher on the skills. I’m also in a point in my life where I’m the most receptive to it. So yeah, that’s going well.

I guess… I’m doing what I need to do. I’m taking care of myself. So eventually this depression will lift. It has to.

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Touching Base In A Borderline Life

Posted August 28, 2015 By kmarrs

I’m in this weird position where things in life are going well, but I’m still not happy.

We usually have money troubles, but we were able to get a 2K advance on my student loans and that allowed us to catch up and get everything up to date.  We then have more money, twice as much I think, coming in October and that will allow us to pay ahead even.  So it’s not like we’re rolling in cash, but things could be and have been a lot worse.

We’ve been in this house a year now and we still love it.  We still want to grow old here.  It’s all that we could ask for.

My sister is healthier.  She still has a lot of healing to do, but she’s getting there slowly but surely.  We knew this would be a long process but she’s in no immediate danger.

The boys are back in school.  Sambam starts preschool Monday.  She is so ready.  We are so ready.

Pat and I are eh.  We spend too much time together.  I think it’s our personal mental health causing spousal drama.

The word I’m using is apathetic.  I feel apathetic towards life.  I also threw into the mix: agitated.  I don’t know why.  There is no certain thing or person agitating me.  I’m just agitated.

And Apathetic.

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Five Days, Four Nights

Posted August 19, 2015 By kmarrs

This is going to come out very disjoined and just won’t flow.  I’m sorry, but that’s just how I am at this time with this topic.

I spent most of the last couple of weeks in July fantasizing about taking a few bottles worth of pills.  It wasn’t just a, “I wish I was dead,” but a full on plan.

When I tried to hospitalize myself in March, the hospital I went to was so sure it was just the stress of my sister’s illness.  They refused to take my own illness seriously.  When she got her transplant, and that stress was over, but I didn’t magically get better, I in fact got worse.  For awhile I thought it was just me needing more friendship in my life.  I made a new friend.  I chatted with the new friend.  I was ecstatic for like two days, and then the new friend excitement wore off and I still felt like I wanted to die.  Turns out I didn’t just need friends.

But being turned away last March left me with zero faith in the system.  I was “too smart to need hospitalization”.  Yeah, yeah.  I’m also smart enough to know exactly how to successfully kill myself.

So I called my meds doctor and I filled her in on how I was feeling, the extent to which I was suicidal, and why it was I was hesitant to go to the hospital.  I knew I needed help, but I also knew if I got turned away again I would go through with an attempt.  At that point all hope I had would be gone.

She of course pointed out the differences between the present and March.  For starters, in March as horrible as I felt, I was wishing I was dead, not planning it.  I also decided it would be wise to pick another hospital.  This time I went to OSU instead of Mount Carmel East.  Why yes, I am breaking my policy and I’m naming names.

OSU actually apologized for MC’s mistake even though they had nothing to do with it.  They full on told me that MC made a bad decision.  In doing so they didn’t just validate me being there in the present, but they validated my needs back in March.

I spent about 8 hours in the ER before they made the final decision and got my room ready.  There was never really much doubt in them keeping me, outside of my paranoia at the system.

While still in the ER, the consulting Psychiatrist and I discussed what exactly the stay could do for me, besides keeping me safe.  I finally admitted to myself and the world that the Cymbalta, my miracle drug, just wasn’t working any more.  We discussed alternative meds and I picked Zoloft because it would help with depression and my anxiety.  The very next morning I start Zoloft and they started weaning me off Cymbalta.  To say I was fast tracked is an understatement.  In 4 days I was taken off 120MG of Cymbalta and put on 150MG of Zoloft.  My body handled it well.

It was Friday July 31, 2015 that I was admitted, and I was released the following Tuesday.

And here is where I end this tale for now.  I of course did some writing while I was in there, and I’ll share that with you in bits and pieces over the next week or so.

Stay safe.

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