Saturday, August 19, 2017

Comments by Princess Aurora

Showing 63 of 63 comments.

  • Shook, if I’m reading your post correctly, a catatonic person is unable to eat, drink, speak, or otherwise communicate. If you do nothing they die. Therefore, it’s up to “them”, like medical personnel to make decisions for the person. If there’s family available or willing to assist, I imagine you talk to them.

    If the person has some sort of legal document telling you NOT to treat them, that’s one thing. Otherwise, you’re obligated to treat them. Unfortunately, if you elect NOT to treat them based on a legal document, it’s possible the person’s family will later sue you for NOT treating someone who wasn’t in their right mind to make that directive. It’s enough to make your head explode.

    Once the person is able to communicate, at that point you can discuss treatment options.

  • Oldhead, the world doesn’t really care about an individual’s issue (and I use that word because there’s so much fighting about labels). You go to school to learn stuff. If you don’t learn basics like reading and writing, you’ll be stuck doing unskilled labor.

    With any job you have, you have to show up on time, satisfy certain criteria, and hopefully outperform those criteria. Hopefully you get raises and promotions based on your merit.

    Every single person on the planet has their issues. For some, it’s finding enough food and water to stay alive. For others, it’s surviving in a war zone. For us and our first world problems, we sit around debating our “issues.”

    If you want to survive in the First World, you need to function on its terms. No one cares why you’re late for work. You have to be there. If you spend your shift crying and not working, you aren’t doing your job. If you can’t perform certain functions as a parent, you lose your kids. Darwin is alive and well.

    If you choose to take a different path, that’s okay too.

    It doesn’t really matter if you think the current way society functions is wrong or callus. The truth is, there are a lot more social programs and financial assistance available now than there was even 100 years ago.

  • Anonymous2016……how do you determine whether someone’s life has been shortened? Maybe mine has been. I don’t know.

    We have a friend in her 30’s who has been diagnosed with stage 4 liver cancer and given less than a year to live. I think it’s reasonable to say that her life is short, but not that an external force shortened it.

    We keep talking about diet and big money, etc etc etc making people ill. That is certainly true to some extent. Then you see someone like my great grandfather who made it into his 80’s eating suet pudding every day. (Clearly one of the grossest things I can imagine.) I don’t know if he smoked, but that was a very common behavior at that time.

    My father was meat phobic and died at 60. He also survived cholera and typhus during his childhood in India and suffered a recurring tropical fever for the rest of his life. He later tested positive for TB antibodies. He also smoked and neglected his high blood pressure and diabetes. In his case, I can argue that he lived an extremely long life given his childhood illnesses. On the other, I can say he cut his life short with his behavior.

    In fact, cancer has been around for thousands of years. There have been cases where cancerous tumors have been found ancient bones. Mummies have been found to have atherosclerosis.

    We all die sometime. Did my great grandfather shorten his already long life? Did my dad live a tremendously longer life than nature intended, or did he shorten his? Who’s to say?

  • I do need to say something about “placebo effect.” When I was a veterinary technician, the vets would occasionally prescribe psychoactive drugs for animals with behavioral problems.

    Yes, animals can have anxiety disorders, OCD, and self mutilation issues. Sometimes psychoactive drugs like Elavil are used to control pruritus.

    Sometimes the drugs worked beautifully. Sometimes not. I’m sure that, as for humans, there are different causes for the same behavior.

    For example, I remember a certain Westie who chased his tail constantly. He had to wear an Elizabethan collar so he wouldn’t see it. The second he saw it, he would glare at it an attack it. He’d chase it for as long as you let him and he was awake. In some cases, meds worked. In others, it didn’t and amputation cured the problem.

    Did the dog chase his tail because of discomfort or OCD? Good question, and he couldn’t tell us.

    In cases of extreme anxiety, meds generally help. There is no way a dog or cat can have a placebo effect.

    Unlike in human medicine, there are double blind longitudinal studies conducted on animals. Yes, I know……I don’t like animal studies either. But there’s no way to carry out this type of study on humans.

    I’m pretty sure now many of you will express shock and horror at the idea of giving animals psychoactive drugs. Remember, there is no talk therapy for animals. If a pet goes into an extreme state of fear at the sound of thunder, many times you can’t talk them out of it. If a pet with separation anxiety routinely destroys your home (including ripping out doors and plasterboard in addition to damage to furniture, belongings, etc) and “training” doesn’t help, then many owners turn to doggie drugs. In many cases, this works. Keep in mind that many dogs injure themselves while destroying the house. They might eat sofa stuffing (intestinal blockage!) or cut themselves on broken glass or furniture, or suffer electrical burns by biting power cords. Any of those disasters can result in thousands of dollars in veterinary bills or euthanasia.

    My point is, pets do not experience the placebo effect. Either the dog stops destroying your home or he doesn’t. Some argue it’s wrong to “drug the dog.” When the dog is clearly suffering extreme stress that harms its quality of life without the drug, and can tolerate storms and separation WITH the drug, there is no placebo effect.

  • I am truly sorry about your friend. I have also had some drastic effects from meds. In my case, it was an NSAID. I realized in 48 hours that I was suddenly suicidal and anxious and quit taking it. I have no idea why the NSAID had that effect, and I’m pretty sure it was atypical.

    When it comes to labelling, I often see a statement along the lines of “this drug/cleaner/whatever contains ingredients known to the state of California to cause cancer.” Is it a carcinogen ONLY in California? Why ONLY in California? Are the testing guidelines different? What exactly is their testing process?

    It’s always the same chemical. I just wish the states would get together on their criteria.

  • AA, even when the prescriber doesn’t provide enough information on a drug, a good pharmacist (or pharmacist’s computer) will catch things like potential drug interactions and, if asked, will counsel you on the drug.

    When I go to the pharmacy, I have to decline counseling for a drug EVERY SINGLE TIME I pick up a refill. That’s 12 times a year for the last 20+ years.

    There are also numerous online resources online.

    If you’re an outpatient, there are plenty of resources if you care to use them. Of course, the final stop is the patient saying “nope. not gonna take that.”

  • Oldhead, I honestly don’t see why anyone has to take “sides.” I came here to share my experiences in a hopefully supportive environment. Obviously I came to the wrong place.

    I had really hoped that we could all discuss our views politely and without recrimination.

    I don’t understand why there’s so much hostility. I know what works for me, you know what works for you, and I’m sure we have a lot of common concerns.

    Posters keep saying I’m an anomaly. I’m pretty sure I’m not. It’s just that people like me who have done well on meds take one look at the tirades on sites like this, roll their eyes, and scroll on. That’s a shame, because if we all accepted the validity of each other’s concerns we could all learn things.

  • That’s fine, but what makes you think people are running around being “sucked in”? If a person has the initiative to spend time on sites like this, they are certainly searching out the right approach for them.

    There’s more than one answer, and every one of us has the right to decide on the correct treatment for them.

    People will do their own research and decide on their own courses of action, and that is exactly what they should do. My approach is as valid for me as yours is for you. Everyone is entitled to view and weigh both ideas for themselves.

  • I, for one, am glad that Carrie Fisher and Patty Duke had the courage to talk about their struggles and that they found ways to continue doing the work they loved. Whether you agree with their approaches or not, they lived happy, fulfilling, productive lives. They had family, friends, and fans. I suspect that family and friends meant the most.

    Let’s face it….we all die sometime. We don’t know their medical histories, genetic makeup, or any other personal information. I’m glad they were willing to be open and honest about their lives because they were NOT obligated to be. They shared because they were willing to share their personal details because they wanted to help others. I, for one, am grateful for that.

    What we should NOT do is run around “correcting”, insulting, or being nasty to each other because we really all want a better life for us and others like us. All of us have valid ideas. As they say there are 3 sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me I have a trench to dig.

  • AA, from what I’ve seen on the news, statements that someone who died in a police shootout had a mental illness usually comes from that person’s family.

    The family and friends of the dead person generally maintain that the person had a mental illness, PTSD, etc etc.

    The police generally say “we’re investigating” because they intend to carry out an investigation, followed by sensitivity training in how to diffuse situations.

    I’m pretty sure that’s going to start a whole lot of indignation, but you need to realize that I live near a very large Southern city. The police are under a huge amount of scrutiny and if necessary have been charged with murder.

  • oldhead, from the general tone of the posts the message appears to be “you wrong. me right”

    Given my belief that the brain is a bunch of neurons held together by some membranes and a skull, I have no problem with the idea of using meds. It’s nothing more than adjusting a series of chemical reactions.

    My approach is no less valid than yours and no more in need of correction than yours.

    Since you believe in free will, then you should have no problem with the view that people are entitled to all opinions and can then make their own choices. No, I do not need to be “corrected”, as in insulted and greeted with closed minds, referred to as a plant from “big Pharma”, or accused of being a troll.

    I’ve always maintained that a single set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of causes. That means that there are a variety of treatments.

    I’m showing my age here, but my education was geared toward teaching HOW to think, not WHAT to think. Therefore, my views are no less valid than yours.

    There is no reason for me to “correct” you than for you to “correct” me.

  • It was a perfectly legitimate question. I just wanted to know whether she had a history of seizures. It’s a basic medical history question.

    In your case, it was Wellbutrin and Listerine. I’ve known other people who develop tinnitus from aspirin or viruses. In general, side effects are unpleasant but not fatal. If there was an underlying medical condition, the could be a complicating factor.

    A lot of people have seizure disorders. I was in Wal Mart recently and a cashier had a grand mal seizure. It was pretty scary, but the paramedics got there and took over. The woman could easily have hit her head on the concrete floor, fractured her skull, and had major complications or death. Fortunately that didn’t happen. Her coworker said the woman had mentioned her history of seizures, but hadn’t had one at work. When it DID happen at work, her coworkers had a reasonable idea of what to do.

  • AA, That is really scary and I hope you get a solution.

    Yes, I’ve always had sleep problems. As far back as elementary school, I remember my parents putting me to bed and I’d lay there staring at the ceiling for hours. Everyone else would be asleep and I’d hear my parents snoring.

    Then of course I’d have to be up early for school. The cycle really hasn’t changed. I’ve always gravitated to later work schedules when I can. Sadly, the world has its own ideas of when you’re supposed to be up and about and I have to conform to a certain degree.

  • Rebel, you shouldn’t ask a question if you’re not prepared for an answer you don’t agree with. You asked. I answered. You wanted to know why I take the meds and feel comfortable with them. I told you.

    You asked what I’m afraid of. I told you.

    You have a spiritual take on the world, and that works for you. I have a very Darwinian take on the world, and that works for me.

  • shaun f…true, and disagreement really grinds their gears, doesn’t it?

    I don’t mind talking about my experiences a bit. Maybe at some point it’ll open someone’s mind.

    When I was a teenager, it was about running away. Did that. No matter where you go, there you are.

    Suicidal ideation came later. When I say “well planned,” I’m not talking about a genteel handful of pills. I’m talking about a shotgun shell to the brain.

    I’m very glad that I didn’t do it and even gladder that there has been meaningful help for me.

    Some people are okay with me….others aren’t. What really matters is that I’M okay with myself. Once you’re comfortable in your own skin, outside approval is nice but not expected or necessary.

  • rebel, I don’t understand why you can’t comprehend my statement that any given set of symptoms can be the result of more than one possible cause.

    Let me break it down for you. We are a mass of cells. Our brains are a bunch of neurons held in by the skull. Sometimes everything works well and sometimes it doesn’t. When this becomes a problem for the organism, it needs to be treated. If the organism is able to survive and reproduce, that’ all that evolution really cares about. at this point, we need to do more than survive and reproduce. If a set of cells (in this case neurons) aren’t doing their jobs right, there needs to be an adjustment.

    The other big point is that the world doesn’t care about our problems. If you can’t function in the world on its terms, the world doesn’t care. If you can’t take care of yourself, no one will do it for you.

    My meds allow me to function in the world on its terms.

    Do I fear anything? Sure. My dog’s protein losing enteropathy could relapse and kill her. She could get an infection due to her immunosuppression. My 27 year old mare’s laminitis could flare up and her coffin bone could go through the sole of her foot. Have we set aside enough hay to make it through until the first spring cutting?

    Do I worry about what people think of me? Only the ones who matter.

  • Nope. I don’t recall using the words GOOD and WONDERFUL, but if that’s how you perceive my life, that’s fine.

    I take my meds because they work. Period. You’re the one who seems to have a problem with that.

    We’re all a mass of cells that communicate with each other. If certain cells aren’t doing what they’re supposed to, there’s nothing wrong with treating the problem. Our brains are nothing but bunches of neurons held together by our skulls. As I’ve said about a dozen times, a given set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of different causes and we just don’t understand all of them.

    Actually, the only thing you’re accomplishing is proving you aren’t paying attention to what I’ve said.

    The simple fact is that the world is a harsh place. It doesn’t care what an individual’s problem is or where it came from. You can either function in the world on the world’s terms or you can’t. Life is much tougher when you can’t.

    Thanks to my meds, I can function in the world on its terms. No problem there.

    Do I have fear? Sure……my dog’s protein losing enteropathy could regress and kill her. My old mare’s laminitis and arthritis could flare up. I could give you quite a list. All I can do is my best and hope it’ll be enough to stave off the inevitable for a while longer.

    Do I care about what people think of me? Only the ones who matter.

    I’m fine, thanks for asking.

  • oldhead, trauma is only unresolved if you choose not to resolve it.

    Actually, Mom’s doctors were very supportive of hers and my decisions. She was in assisted living and the nursing staff was truly wonderful and supportive. The hospice nurse was, and still is, a hero. I really appreciate and admire all of those who helped Mom. Every one of them was compassionate, realistic, and truly GOOD.

  • oldhead…..ding ding ding……….I wasn’t suicidal until a over a decade later.

    Here’s the thing. Life isn’t fair. Bad things happen to good people. I became pretty darn tough. I’m still tough. I’m probably one of the least dramatic people around.

    When my mother died 12 years ago, I had no support from my brother….he was off the deep end. I knew better than to expect it anyway. Fortunately Mom had a no-drama hospice nurse. On Dec 23, I made pre-need funeral arrangements the way Mom and I had discussed. I bought her a dress to be buried in. She didn’t want to see it, but was glad I got it on sale. Her response was “If I die over Christmas, put me in the fridge. I’ll keep.”

    At the end, my brother wanted to put her in ICU and turn her into a pincushion with tubes and machines. Since I had power of attorney, I vetoed this. In fact, I told the nurse to keep her out of pain, even if the meds shortened her life.

    I was not traumatized by this at all. It was actually a series of logical decisions. The rest of the family understood. My brother was off in his own little world. The fact is, it wouldn’t have mattered to me what “they” thought. Mom and I were on the same page and it was up to me to ensure she received what she needed.

    Twelve years later I’m still good with my decisions. My mother needed to be kept comfortable and I made sure she was.

  • FeelinDiscouraged, out of curiousity, NOT being a smartass because I really am curious, did your friend have a history of seizures? Head injuries? Brain tumor?

    My husband had a friend who developed a brain tumor in his early 20’s. He had it removed, but afterward suffered personality and ability changes and began having grand mal seizures. Ultimately his death was related to that tumor.

    Another friend of his had a brain tumor removed, and her personality and academic abilities changed considerable after the surgery.

    Did your friend experience any problems leading up to the fatal seizure? Again, I’m just trying to understand the whole picture.

  • Fiachra, your experience with Seroquel is interesting. My shrink prescribes it for me as a sleep aid. She told me it was a crappy antidepressant but good for sleep.

    I have absolutely no Circadian rhythms. I take a Seroquel at night and can fall asleep. I don’t have morning drowsiness or impairment.

    Even in elementary school, my parents would put me to bed and I’d lay there staring at the ceiling well past when everyone else went to bed and my parents were snoring. I tried just about every non-medication method of falling asleep everyone suggested. Nope. At least with Seroquel I can get a good night’s sleep.

  • rebel, you dad had a lot of good points. Not only are there lies, damn lies, and statistics, there are three sides to every story. His, hers, and the truth.

    My father in law was a professor of biostatistics at the graduate level. And he belonged to Mensa. He was, unfortunately a very unhappy man who viewed everyone else as less intelligent and therefore not worth listening to. Not to mention his alcoholism. When he died, his house looked like something out of Hoarders.

    My brother has a Master’s in Electrical Engineering and is quite proud of his Mensa membership. Too bad he’s a lazy drunk who almost killed his son in 2015.

    My husband is smarter than the rest of them combined. He could easily get into Mensa, but simply doesn’t see the point. He’s in good company. Stephen Hawking isn’t into that either. What I love most about my husband is that he’s so GOOD. He doesn’t go around angry, doesn’t carry grudges, treats everyone respectfully whether they’re the garbage man or a professor, and treats every living thing as precious and irreplaceable.

  • Thank you, FeelinDiscouraged. I’m glad your great-aunt had a comfortable, hopefully happy life and your grandfather was a loving brother and took her in. She was a very fortunate woman.

    I don’t think there’s any single cause of mental illness. Who knows? Maybe she would have been fine without the hospitalization. Maybe she would have been infinitely worse. What really matters is that she lived out her life in a loving home where she was part of a family. I think that’s what you should hold on to.

  • The idea of “mental illness” came about long before there was even a specialty devoted to it. Remember Bedlam hospital? It was a warehouse for the “mad” and mentally deficient. Or King George? Now we suspect he suffered from porphiria (sp?)

    Back in the day, people were believed to be posessed or “delicate”. They were locked in the attic or killed as witches.

    Mental illness has always been around.

  • I was diagnosed as bipolar 25 years ago.. I’ve taken my meds consistently since then. I live a happy healthy life. I’m active, obviously not prematurely dead, and never been hospitalized. I’ve been married to the same man for 33 years. Until we moved to our horse farm in the country, I was consistently employed. I worked as a veterinary technician for 12 years and was good at it. I ultimately burned out, but that can happen no matter what.

    I see my shrink 3 times a year for refills. I see my primary care physician once a year because I have to. I’ve had a lot of broken bones and a couple of major concussions, so I’ve had more than my share of surgeries. Nothing for the broken ribs and collapsed lung one year…..you don’t surgically repair ribs. When I broke more ribs and got a pneumothorax the next year, I didn’t bother going to the ER because I didn’t want a chest tube. I hated to “give up” and not ride that particular horse, but it appears she problems of her own and is dangerous. (She’s now a pet.) My orthopedic surgeons should each name a room after me.

    Nope, I’m not an alcoholic or drug addict. Yes, I’ve taken my share of painkillers.

    I’m not traumatized by my accidents and ride at least twice a week. Just not the horse that hurt me.

    By your reckoning, I should have led a miserable, tortured life and possibly be dead by now.

    Horse people are a special kind of crazy. We get crushed, broken, concussed, and injured in more ways you can imagine. The second we can, we’re back up on the horse that almost killed us in the first place because without our horses, there is no life.

  • Unfortunately a lot of mentally ill people land in jail because there are so few hospitals. Jail only makes things worse.

    It’s unfortunate that Lloyd felt bullied, but there are examples of child stars who have gone on to lead happy productive lives, like Jodie Foster, Brooke Shields, the actors from Harry Potter, and Ron Howard. I doubt that they escaped any unpleasantness along the way.

    They probably experienced common “traumas”, but their reactions to these “traumas” were very different.

  • That’s a bunch of convoluted logic. That’s like saying migraine sufferers have migraines because migraines make the head hurt.

    My migraines are the result of a head injury. Other people experience migraines due to hormones, weather, or other as yet undetermined causes.

    Life is full of stressors. My mother grew up during the Great Depression, lost her father at 19, and had bombs dropped on her in London during WWII. Nope, no PTSD. No problems with thunder, fireworks, or gunshots. If I believed your theory, she should have been sitting in a corner drooling.

    There are a lot of people like my mother. My uncles were drafted into the Army during WWII and the Korean war. They saw combat, yet came back to marry, have children, and normal lives and careers. No PTSD there, either.

  • Yet here I am. I’ve been treated effectively for bipolar disorder for 25 years. I take my meds. I’m happy and active.

    I see my shrink every 4 months for refills. I don’t do talk therapy. I’ve been married for 33 years. Until we moved to the country and I became a full time “farmer”, “handyperson,” etc, I worked consistently for a solid 30 years. For much of that time I was a veterinary technician and a good one.

    If I die “early,” it’ll be because I was doing something I shouldn’t have. I’ve had a couple of major concussions and over a dozen broken bones. I’m an active person and play with 1100lb prey animals. Stuff happens. I’m pretty tough, but no match for a horse.

    I’ve never been hospitalized or marginalized. I’ve been married to the same man for 33 years.

    Everyone goes through trauma and stress. It’s called life and isn’t necessarily the cause for anything. I’m not a victim of abuse, and even if someone tried to abuse me, it wouldn’t work.

    By your reckoning people like me shouldn’t exist. But here we are. Many of us don’t talk about our diagnoses or treatment, but that doesn’t mean that we’re not out there.

  • What term do you prefer? People who believe the government has listening devices implanted in their eyeballs and they need to enucleate themselves are clearly not capable of functioning in society. If the voices in their head tells them that they have to murder someone, then they’re not functional.

    Mental illness is a perfectly legitimate term. Our mental processes take place in the brain. Seriously messed up mental processes also take place in the brain. Thoughts and emotions originate in our brains, not our big toes.

  • Kind of chicken and the egg, isn’t it? I’d never consider myself athletic, but I am active.

    At various points I’ve had nasty side effects and had to adjust my meds.

    I honestly believe that being physically active is extremely important. I’m fortunate enough to have a lot of things I really LOVE that need my attention.

    I think there is much to be said for therapy animals. Being responsible for another living being can make all the difference in a person’s life. A dog requires being walked, played with, and general affection. Cats don’t require walks, but they can be quite demanding of time and affection.

    In cases where a person can’t handle a pet of their own, there are visiting therapy animals. (check out the Gentle Carousel Miniature Therapy Horses….love them!)

    If someone doesn’t care for animals, perhaps an activity like bicycling, hiking, running, or tennis can be fun. We all need something we LOVE.

  • oldhead, how is it harmful? And exactly what sort of GMO? The genetic modifications we’ve carried on throughout history or modern gene splicing?

    I can’t say I’m convinced that gene splicing is evil. Geez, now they’re starting to create 3 parent babies so they can eliminate certain genetic diseases. Not sure how I feel about that, but to many people, if they can prevent a disease such as Huntington’s or Tae Sachs (sp?) it’s worth it.

    If a particular gene splice allows a crop to grow in previously inhospitable areas, and thereby stops hundreds or thousands of people from starving, then I admit there can be a place for them.

  • In many cases, cancer patients get worse with treatment, but can emerge cancer free. Not all the time, but the power of positive thinking and exercise don’t make a dent in the disease.

    Certainly patients have the right to choose their treatment. Steve Jobs initially treated his cancer with diet and “natural” methods. He later regretted it, but it was his choice to make.

  • FeelinDiscouraged,
    I think there are a lot of factors at work in situations like your great aunt’s. first, I’m curious as to how happy and a productive life she lived. I’m not being a smartass…..I’m genuinely curious.

    I think it’s hard to equate definitions of mental illness from 90+ years ago with what we observe now. For example, Victorians believed women suffered from “hysteria” and they went to “doctors” who physically manipulated them into orgasms. Freud even thought cocaine was beneficial.

    What we’d really need to assess the effects of psych meds would be a longitudinal, double blind study. Obviously that isn’t going to happen. That forces us to rely on case studies.

    It’s not fair to attribute certain problems to meds. Some people just get sick and die younger than others. My dad totally neglected himself and died at 60. My mom neglected herself even worse and died at 85. Could my father’s childhood in India and surviving cholera and typhus be a factor? Or the unknown recurring fever he had for the rest of his life? Not to mention his heavy smoking, sedentary life, and uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension. Kind of a miracle he lived as long as he did, isn’t it?

    My mother spent most of her life in the US. She was hugely obese and sedentary. She had a variety of problems due to those factors and lived to 85.

    Then there was my great grandfather in the UK….the man ate SUET PUDDING every day and lived until his late 70’s.

    What I’m saying is we’re all different. We can’t attribute mortality rates to something as simple as medications or lack thereof.

  • To the best of my knowledge, autopsies can determine the cause and manner of death. ie, cause-blunt trauma manner-homicide, accidental, or even suicide.

    Toxicology results will show what chemicals are circulating at the time of death, but unless toxic levels of a particular chemical is present, it’s not accurate to blame a particular chemical for a death. For example, a very high level of alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or prescription drugs.

    As for physical brain changes, since many of them occur at the microscopic level or only present as chemical changes, it’s impossible to attribute them to a specific medication. At our current level of technology, we can’t state whether a brain was “different” to begin with, thus causing problems or whether the problems caused brain changes.

    Scientists can only look at donated brains and report on their observations. Again, they can’t make an assertion as to cause and effect. In some cases, an MRI, CT, or other test can show gross abnormalities, but not microscopic ones. I’ve had numerous MRIs and CT scans over the years for my migraines…..not one has shown a gross abnormality.

    Since no one is going to dissect the brain of a living person, that’s all we have at this time. I believe technology will be better able to make these determinations at some point.

  • Our dietary choices are ultimately up to us, as are the choices to smoke or drink.

    I absolutely admit I love sugar! Always have, even as a child. I don’t think my meds have changed that in any way.

    I DO know that I often have a dry mouth so I drink a lot of water. When I work outside, I get hot and sweaty and often drink Gatorade.

    I used to drink diet Coke a lot, but due to my migraines I had to completely give up artificial sweeteners because the excess caffeine and aspartame are migraine triggers. I don’t drink alcohol either because of the migraines. Migraines are a great reason to give up a lot of things.

    (The migraines are a result of a figure skating accident. My husband had me up in a lift and fell. I hit my head. I wasn’t on my psych meds yet. No sinister link there.)

  • There’s no proof that Patty Duke’s meds caused her intestinal problems. That’s speculation. It’s possible, but since so many people develop the same problem who have never taken a single psych med in their lives, it’s totally possible that she developed the intestinal condition independently of her mental illness.

  • I don’t think the obesity epidemic has much to do with psychoactive drugs. It has to do with our sedentary lifestyles and overabundance of food.

    Over the years, consumers have demanded more in terms of enhanced flavor, texture, and so on. Food producers have delivered these calorie rich foods.

    At the same time, we’ve become more sedentary. Check out the number of children glued to their video games. My niece and nephew are great examples. My nephew is glued to his ipad. They aren’t even allowed to play in the front yard by themselves at 10 and 12 years old. My niece only sees her friends on “play dates.”

    Does anyone else remember when we were allowed to eat our fill of Twinkies and junk but managed to run off the calories?

    I’m 54 now, and I’m amazed at the number of people I know who are my age yet are so sedentary they can’t even walk a mile. In fact, I’m able to wear out my 10 year old niece! There’s no reason a 54 year old with a long history of broken bones and joint surgeries should be able to wear out a healthy 10 year old. THAT is the reason for the obesity epidemic.

  • Technically, most of the foods we eat are genetically modified. For example, corn (maize) occurred in very small ears. Now we have multiple varieties of high producing corn, many of which were created long before anyone discovered gene splicing.

    Humans figured out certain things increased productivity and disease resistance centuries ago. Why else do we have dairy cattle and beef cattle? Different varieties of crops such as potatoes? (the Irish potato famine taught us that one)

    Dogs are a particularly good example. They started out as wolves. Over time, they became domesticated and humans began selecting specimens for certain jobs. A Chihuahua can breed with a Mastiff can breed with a coyote can breed with a wolf. They are all the same species. Many of them are genetically modified due to humans.

    We have been selectively breeding and hybridizing for centuries. Gene splicing has led to a new set of issues, but as far as genetic modification, that’s been around since humans quit hunting and gathering.

  • shook, you make a lot of sense. I wish we as a society had better mechanisms to deal with the severely mentally ill left to their own devices.

    Every time I see someone standing alone having an animated conversation with themselves I wonder how they survive. I also realize that could easily have been me.

  • AA, I am very sorry for what has happened to you. I do not CLAIM the meds have helped. I KNOW they have.

    As I keep saying, we don’t know enough about the brain to be certain one set of symptoms is always caused by the same thing.

    I’d like to know, not being a smartass here, but I’m genuinely curious, what you do for yourself now and how full a life you lead?

  • deee042 and rebel, I am very sorry for your experiences. I am 54 and very active. I’m pretty sure I’m healthy.

    As I’ve said, we don’t know enough about the brain to understand all the nuances of mental illness. The same set of symptoms could be caused by a variety of things. We have no way of knowing all the mechanisms at this time. For that reason alone, I’ve always believed that there is more than one effective treatment.

    I really don’t think I’m that unusual. It’s that so many people hide what’s going on because of the stigma. I’ve never had a problem talking about my manic depression. I never hesitate to suggest to someone that they seek professional help. What form that help takes is their decision. What I DO know is that there are a lot of really complex problems out there and I’m not qualified to help. (Especially in the cases of many of my FB friends.)

  • I think it’s a bit unfounded to speculate as to whether Debbie Reynolds was given any sedatives after her daughter’s death. There’s absolutely no proof of that. Apparently she had suffered more than one stroke in the years prior to Carrie’s death. AND the woman was 84.

    There have been cases where elderly couples have died within hours or days of each other. I suspect this is the same sort of reaction. Ms Reynold’s blood pressure certainly would have been elevated in the preceding days while Carrie was on a ventilator.

    Previous strokes + incredible stress = high probability of a serious medical event.

  • I truly believe that any one set of symptoms can be the result of more than one set of causes. We really don’t know enough about the brain to make a concrete assertion.

    What I DO know is that I’ve been completely compliant with my meds for 25 years. I’m happy and have a productive life. You can have any opinion you like about my assertion. I know what works for me and I’m fine with it.

    I think the biggest problem is the stigma associated with mental illness. Carrie Fisher and Patty Duke did a great job of showing that mental illness doesn’t mean you have to sit in a corner drooling and picking at scabs.

    I think it’s a mistake to believe that only one treatment is the possible correct one in all cases. Personally, I don’t care whether someone eats diatomaceous earth every day. If it’s effective for them, great.

  • Well, you’re a tad late for that. I’ve been quite open about both my diagnosis and my treatment. I have no problem suggesting to someone that they seek professional help, but since a lot of my friends don’t live anywhere near me, the specifics are up to them. If someone chooses to take meds, that’s their choice. As I said, if they prefer large doses of cayenne pepper or diatomaceous earth, that’s fine as long as they’re helped. I even know people for whom coconut oil is the panacea.

    Why are you so inflexible? I’m quite willing to accept that there is more than one answer to a given problem, but you do not. At this point, no one has total understanding of the brain. Even with diabetes, there are a myriad of ways to treat. Diet, diet and meds, or diet and insulin. There’s no cure. Control, yes, but no cure. Why is it so improbable to view mental illness this way? There are different degrees and causes, and different therapies. Your approach just stigmatizes certain choices when in fact you should be open to all choices and support everyone who seeks treatment, even if their choices don’t match yours.

    Your assertion that my mom was right in her attitude toward mental illness is really pretty funny, since not only did you never meet her, you didn’t see what her denial did to her. Her “genes” were not “strong” enough to help the extreme depression that darkened her final years. Ending up completely incontinent, immobile and unwilling to help herself was the result of her “right” approach, then I’m incredibly happy to NOT take her advice. She spent 25 of her 85 years merely existing. Mere existence is not living.

    And why do you doubt my ability to compare the “before” me and the “after” me? I’m the judge of my treatment’s effectiveness, not a few people I’ve conversed with in cyberspace. You labor under the misconception that your way is the only way, which is a sad sign of a closed mind.

    Let me ask you this: what can you do? Build something? Cut brush with a chainsaw? Make basic home repairs? Make 1100 lb animals obey you? And if you DO get injured, do you get back up and about the second you’re able (which is not always what the doctor says you’re able)? All of those examples speak to your desire to try new things, risk failing miserably, then trying again.

    The success or failure of any treatment rides on the person’s willingness to stick with it and never give up. I have a persistent streak common to horse people and many athletes. No matter what the situation, I’ve made my own decisions and prognosis. Sometimes I’ve had to adjust for realism. (Like deciding not to ride the horse who almost killed me twice. I didn’t want to “give up.” I just got tired of breaking things.) We’re a special kind of crazy. A catastrophe happens, then we fight our way back to our horses. I ride with a 71 year old woman who was nearly paralyzed by her horse, but after 6 months got on again…..it’s a special kind of crazy.

    Our special kind of crazy is the reason we can set our minds to something and stick with it. I wish more people had it.

  • Seeing as without the meds, I was well on my way to having NO life, I’m totally okay with it. No one is ENABLING me to do or not do anything, especially not a bunch of anonymous people in cyberland.

    I absolutely believe that we don’t understand the brain well enough to have a good grasp on why one therapy works for one person but not another. Does it REALLY matter how someone achieves a good result or that the person HAS a good result?

    I’d say my major concussions have had a more negative effect on my brain than my psych meds.

    I’m stating a simple fact when I say it’s better to live on psych drugs and risk side effects than it was to have a 100% chance of a bullet to the brain.

  • Sorry you couldn’t follow my statement. We all die sometime. In my case, I was suicidal and had it well planned.

    Since I started meds I no longer have the compulsion to harm myself.

    I’m not stupid enough to believe that taking any kind of meds couldn’t cause harm in the long run. Still, I have lived 25 years longer than I would have otherwise. Maybe there’s a trade off….quality of life vs quantity of life.

    On the other hand, as they say, “s–t happens.” I was taking one of those slow nose to tail mule rides in Yosemite in 2009. My mule FELL. I broke my ankle, had a 3 mile stretcher ride, and a 50 mile ambulance ride. Two surgeries later, my ankle is partially fused. A lot of things COULD have gone wrong here…..a fat embolism, blood clot, etc. but they didn’t.

    So, I enjoy every day that I have and live it to the fullest. Things can and do happen, but that’s a risk I have to take. There are no guarantees in life.

  • Thank you, shaun f. Talk therapy just never seemed to connect with me. I had my first experience with it as a teenager. Personally, I think THAT psychiatrist was a quack. At the time, I was dealing with a lot of things….a terminally ill father, depression, trauma from being molested by a teacher, running away, basically a laundry list of things. He really never helped me constructively deal with any of my issues. I talked, he took in money.

    Later on, in my 20’s, I tried talk therapy again. That therapist had a Master’s. I did pretty well with her. She did a good job of listening to me and helping my understand my feelings and actions. The trouble was, the way I felt inside just never changed.

    All of my life, there was an inner core of anxiety, restlessness, and a whole lot of other emotions inside me. I used to tell my mother I felt frustrated even as a young child. This “feeling” never left me. On one level, I was gaining an understanding of my actions and even some compulsions. Unfortunately that understanding did absolutely nothing to change what was happening inside me. It was always there.

    When I started lithium, I think I slept for 3 days. When I woke up, I was CALM for the first time in my life. That knot of emotion that had been digging at me for years was gone. For about the last 10 years, I’ve seen a nurse practitioner. I see her about 3 times a year. (I really hate going to the doctor!) It’s always the same……it’s a big practice, so a medical student usually interviews me before I see her. I’m so dull. I’m not suicidal. I don’t hear anything. I don’t see anything. I’m not delusional. I joke that I’m a really dull nut job. I’ve been on the same meds, more or less, for a very long time. My nurse practitioner checks in with me, makes sure nothing is going on, and I’m gone for another 4 months. did I mention I hate doctors? (Too many surgeries and broken bones.)

    I’m fortunate enough to have a fantastic husband of 33 years. He and I talk to each other about what’s going on, especially if there’s some sort of conflict or problem. We both have a very low drama approach to life, and I think that helps.

    I think that because of my meds, I’m finally able to work through things on my own. It’s amazing what being CALM will do for you. I’m also a physically active person. I know I feel better when I go outside and do things. I LIKE to be physically tired at the end of the day. Being able to do things for myself only reinforces that I’m intelligent and capable. I don’t NEED anyone to tell me that I’m competent. Once you’ve gotten used to viewing yourself that way, you don’t need a therapist to help you process things.

    I think my love of animals has helped, and not in an “animal therapy” sort of way. I worked as a veterinary technician for 12 years. It’s a difficult job and there’s no room for mistakes. I took it seriously and took pride in following instructions to the letter. It was great to see pets go home. If they didn’t make it, then at least I knew it had been given the best chance possible. And yes, I even assisted with euthanasias.

    When I started riding again (I rode as a child but started again in 2001), my confidence improved. There’s much to be said for getting an 1100lb prey animal to listen to you.

    I think what enabled me to finally internalize the talk therapy and life experiences really was the meds. I also decided early on that I was in charge of my own prognosis. Horse people are also a special kind of crazy. We all have a long list of broken bones, concussions, internal injuries, and so on. We talk about them in our FB groups frequently. As soon as we’re out of the hospital, surgery, whatever, we’re talking about when we can ride again. None of us see these things as more than a painful inconvenience. Like I said, a special kind of crazy.

    I think what has really made the difference for me is the inner calmness I have. That has enabled me to do the variety of things I have that have led to me being confident and happy in my own skin, not to mention my ability to wave my hand and say “whatever” and walk away when necessary.

  • I don’t think of myself as an anomaly at all. I think there are many people who, like me, benefit from psych meds. You just don’t hear from them on this site. In fact, when I related my experiences, it seems like there is a definite bias against meds. This is really a shame, because we have so little understanding of the brain that I doubt any one theory or treatment is the “only” one.

    I know what works for me. I’m sure I’m not alone. I’ve always been honest about being bipolar and the fact I take meds. Some people get it. Some don’t, and I’m okay with that. My own mother thought I was defective. I’ve gotten great at listening, answering questions, and going on my way. I got very good at ignoring my mother when she showed her lack of understanding.

    I’m disappointed by the attitude toward meds that I see here. My belief is that one set of symptoms can be caused by a variety of conditions. The set of symptoms I have could easily have a variety of causes. I don’t believe we have a good enough understanding of the brain.

    I do know that talk therapy was useless to me. I’ve been on the same types of meds for 25 years. I haven’t been suicidal since. Naturally, I have ups and downs. Life is full of them. I doubt I’m alone, but I cope. I suspect that there are a lot of people like me. We take our meds and go about our lives.

    If someone gets relief from suffering, especially if it allows them to live a happy, healthy life, then it doesn’t really matter to me whether it’s through meds, talk therapy, or eating cayenne pepper. The most important thing is whether someone gets the help they need.

    I do know what works for me. I’m also positive that I’d have killed myself without the meds, because I definitely had it all planned. When my mother couldn’t understand why her genes weren’t strong enough to ensure my mental health, I just shook my head and carried on. I realized she was born in 1919 when Freud was the best thing going. I didn’t let it bother me. I think I answered the same questions a thousand times. I accepted that she was always going to have a problem with my diagnosis. It was her problem, not mine.

    What I do know is that I’m happy and healthy. I know what works for me. I understand it’s not the only solution, but I know it’s my solution and I accept the risks. Maybe you all get my viewpoint, and maybe you don’t. No one’s going to convince anyone here.

  • I think the bottom line is that there are a LOT of people like me who benefit from psych drugs. I’ve never deluded myself that they might not eventually harm my health. However, what’s worse, being dead at 30 or living well for 25 more years?

    My father neglected his health and died at 60. My mother neglected her health even worse and died at 85.

    I am a happy and active person. I ride my horses at least twice a week. I’ve broken over a dozen bones since 2009 and, while I’ve needed pain management, I’ve still remained physically active. I realize my cognition isn’t quite what it was, but I’ve also had two severe concussions. The first one, from figure skating, created long term headaches and migraines, as well as impeded my ability to do math. The second one, from getting bucked off a horse, caused speech problems. I had aphasia, stuttering, and slurred speech. I’ve had a couple of minor whacks to the head too.

    I can load and unload up to 30, 60lb bales of hay in a day. Not bad for an old lady.

    I’ve gone ZIP lining and have recently decided that sky diving is probably NOT something I’ll try.

    If I die “early”, it’s probably going to be because I was doing something I shouldn’t have. I refuse to give in and be a “patient.” I’m not a “patient”, I don’t need or want sympathy. What I need is assistance in living life on my own terms. My meds do that.

  • I’m so glad you were able to get help.

    Anecdotally, in horses, some mares become evil due to hormonal problems. It’s called being “mareish.” Some of them attack their humans or become impossible to work with. There are various equine specific treatments available, and many of them do help. Spaying a horse is a major, risky surgery. It’s interesting that in equines the cause of this type of erratic behavior is generally seen as physical instead of psychological and we immediately go to medical treatments.

    Perhaps it’s because an 1100lb animal trying to kill you is very scary.

  • I’ve been on meds for bipolar disorder for 25 years. Yes, I figure they’ll eventually shorten my life. I’ve always thought that. On the other hand, I’ve lived 25 years longer than I would have without the meds, because I was suicidal.

    SOOO…….which is better? A happy life with meds (possibly cut shorter) or death by suicide at age 30?

    I’m grateful there are ways to help me. I lead a happy, productive, active life. I’ve been married for 33 years. I have some ups and downs, but some things have to be felt. Like the death of my mother, pets, etc. Sometimes life is sad. Sometimes it’s fantastic. At least my highs and lows are within the realm of normal.

    I have a small horse farm. I ride, do outdoor work, and the other day helped load and unload 60 bales of hay (60+lbs a bale). I’m HAPPY.