The Curse

I feel numb. The curse is slowly taking over my mind and soon after that, my body. I know this curse as well as I know myself. It’s like the mirror in the Matrix, once it touches you, slowly but surely it envelopes you. What you once thought life was has become a lie. The people around you look at you like you’re a monster. Either that or they just plain pity you. You feel like your lungs are filled with sludge making it increasingly hard to breathe. In your mind is a separate demon that comes along with the curse. It creates a thick fog and it captures your thoughts and muddles them into shear nonsense. When you try to sleep, it runs those pointless thoughts in circles and it doesn’t stop keeping you up until total exhaustion takes over. You want to feel something, anything. Your body has become the host to the curse, you have no control over it anymore.

But, as much as it seems there is no hope of coming out of this alive, alas, there is hope!! I used to think that I could be depressed for the rest of my life, and I will say that I still get depressed sometimes but the difference now is that with each depression episode I was faced with when I was younger, I became stronger and more wise. I learned ways to deal with being depressed, distractions, always taking my meds as prescribed, calling someone when things get too bad, writing (or any source of outlet), and as hard as it may sound, just riding it out. It will not last forever, nothing lasts forever, it’s called impermanence. These, along with a list of over 100 things that I can do to make myself feel better are what helps me make it through the trenches of depression.

its-the-anon:

exactly.

its-the-anon:

exactly.

Blood Test for Suicide Risk?

A newly discovered chemical alteration in a stress gene may lead to the development of a simple blood test to predict a person’s risk of attempting suicide, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

“Suicide is a major preventable public health problem, but we have been stymied in our prevention efforts because we have no consistent way to predict those who are at increased risk of killing themselves,” says study leader Zachary Kaminsky, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“With a test like ours, we may be able to stem suicide rates by identifying those people and intervening early enough to head off a catastrophe.”

The study, published online in The American Journal of Psychiatry, focused on a genetic mutation in a gene known as SKA2. By analyzing brain samples from mentally ill and healthy people, the researchers found that levels of SKA2 were significantly reduced in the brains of people who had committed suicide.

The SKA2 gene, expressed in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, helps quiet negative thoughts and control impulsive behavior. This gene is mainly responsible for helping stress hormone receptors do their job. If there isn’t enough SKA2, or it is altered in some way, the stress hormone receptor is unable to suppress the release of cortisol throughout the brain.

In some subjects who had this mutation, researchers also found certain chemicals, called methyl groups, added to the gene. Higher levels of methylation were then found in the study subjects who had committed suicide. The higher levels of methylation among suicide victims were then replicated in two independent brain study groups.

Furthermore, researchers found similar methylation increases in the SKA2 gene in individuals with suicidal thoughts or attempts. They designed a model that predicted which of the participants were having suicidal thoughts or had attempted suicide with 80 percent certainty.

Those with more severe risk of suicide were predicted with 90 percent accuracy. In the youngest data set, they were able to identify with 96 percent accuracy whether or not a participant had attempted suicide, based on blood test results.

“We have found a gene that we think could be really important for consistently identifying a range of behaviors from suicidal thoughts to attempts to completions,” Kaminsky says. “We need to study this in a larger sample but we believe that we might be able to monitor the blood to identify those at risk of suicide.”

5 Practices for Calming Racing Thoughts

Racing thoughts may be a daily reality for you or an occasional annoyance. Racing thoughts are common for people with anxietywhen they’re facing a stressor. They’re also common in bipolardisorder, ADHD and other medical conditions, according to Marla Deibler, PsyD, a clinical psychologist who specializes in anxiety disorders.

For instance, anxious thoughts may be a string of worries. Deibler shared this example:

“I don’t have a date for the party tomorrow. I can’t go by myself. What will everyone think? What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I have a date? That’s it. I’m not going. But everyone will wonder where I am. I should go. Oh, I don’t know what to do.”

Racing thoughts can be overwhelming, confusing and distressing, Deibler said. They can hinder your ability to concentrate and accomplish daily tasks. They can hinder your memory and sleep, she added.

Various strategies, thankfully, can help to calm and quiet racing thoughts. Below, Deibler shared five tips.

1. Refocus on your senses.

Close your eyes and focus on your breath. Notice how your body feels along with what you hear, see and taste. “Allow the thoughts to come and go, as part of, but not the entirety of, your experience,” said Deibler, director of The Center for Emotional Health of Greater Philadelphia, LLC.

Avoid judging or responding to your thoughts, she said. “Observe them as they run through your mind, turning down their volume so that other senses may also be experienced more fully.”

2. Imagine “leaves on a stream.”

Sit comfortably, and close your eyes, Deibler said. Imagine leaves floating on the surface of a stream. “For each thought that comes to mind, allow that thought to take its place on a leaf and float down the stream. Allow those thoughts to come and go, without responding to them.”

Deibler suggested listening to this guided “leaves on a stream”exercise.

3. Breathe deeply.

According to Deibler, “Deep diaphragmatic breathing triggers our relaxation response, switching from our fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system, to the relaxed, balanced response of our parasympathetic nervous system.”

She suggested slowly inhaling to a count of four. Fill your belly first, moving up to your chest. Gently hold your breath for a count of four. Slowly exhale to a count of four. Repeat this cycle several times, she said.

4. Practice guided meditation.

Guided meditation also helps to calm your body and your mind, Deibler said. She likes this meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn. (YouTube offers an array of practices from Jon Kabat-Zinn and other meditation teachers.)

5. Practice progressive muscle relaxation.

Progressive muscle relaxation is another technique that activates your body’s relaxation response. It includes tensing and relaxing different muscle groups. This video has a guided practice. Or you can read instructions at this website.

Deibler also suggested this link, which offers additional mindfulness exercises.

Again, racing thoughts can feel overwhelming, sabotaging your sleep and ability to focus. Practicing mindfulness and relaxation exercises can help to calm your body and your mind, quieting racing thoughts and helping you refocus.

21 Signs That Your Worries Are Out of Control

Bad things happen from time to time, do they not?

And it makes a lot of sense to prevent them from happening.

Yet, sometimes the bad things in life just show up.

Does worrying about it help?

woman low self-esteemWell, worry is a signal that something bad might happen. It’s useful. Worry let’s you know where to direct your attention to solve potential problems.

If you did not have the ability to worry, who knows what you would allow to happen in your life. It would be dangerous.

• If the company you work for is in trouble, you worry about money.
• If you find a lump under your skin, you worry about your health.
• If you child is failing school, you worry about his or her education.

If you handle the worry well, you allow it to spur you into action. You plan to get a new job, perhaps. You see a doctor right away. You meet with your child’s counselor and teachers. You get on it and solve problems where you can.

Handle worry like this:

1. The worry identifies where you need to take action.
2. Take action to solve problems.
3. When you’ve done all you can, accept the results.

So, worry can play a role in preventing bad things from happening. However, worry itself prevents nothing. The key is taking preventive actions that head off problems. Healthy worry is thecatalyst for taking actions that resolve the worry.

If you find yourself embroiled in worry about stuff that may or may not happen, and the worry doesn’t lead to constructive, necessary actions that put an end to the worry, then you might consider that chronic worry is a problem for you to address.

Here are 21 signs that your worry has gone too far:

1. You still worry after you know you’ve done all you can.

2. You worry about (rather than prepare for) things that are out of your control.

3. You invent fantastic scenarios to worry about.

4. You take on other people’s worry.

5. You worry about things that have already happened, replaying them in your head over and over.

6. You automatically assume the worst-case scenario.

7. You experience prolonged physical stress due to worry.

8. You self-medicate worry with to addictive behaviors.

9. Worry affects your sleep, keeping you awake into the night. (Incidentally, sleep is so important for your health that if you cannot turn off your mind at night, you should investigate this simple sleep program.

10. You experience chronic muscle tension from the stress of worry.

11. You experience digestive issues due to worry stress.

12. Chronic worry leaves you feeling depressed.

13. Worrying makes you irritable.

14. People around you are always trying to calm you down or talk sense into you.

15. You feel worried even when you don’t know what you are worried about.

16. If there is nothing to worry about, you find something.

17. It’s hard to let go and just enjoy what you are doing, as if you cannot be content to be worry-free.

18. If someone is late, you immediately assume disaster.

19. Worry makes you superstitious, so you engage in rituals to keep luck on your side.

20. When you’re worrying, nothing reassures you, even if the reassurance is perfectly logical.

21. It doesn’t seem at all possible to live without worrying.

Interestingly, chronic worry can be a form of self-sabotage. As useful and healthy as worry might be under the right circumstances, chronic worry acts more like a monster that destroys your peace.

A tendency worry chronically can come from an underlyingpsychological attachment to past experiences. At some point, you may have learned – from a child’s perspective – that “nothing ever turns out right” or “bad things are going to happen.”

Experiences like these early on in life form patterns in our unconscious mind and manifest as compulsive thought patterns that plague us as adults. We’re so convinced that the past will repeat itself that we project all the bad possibilities into the future and begin to ruminate on them.

The key to ending chronic worry is to address the underlying psychological attachment that breeds a continued sense of helplessness – the same helplessness you felt as a child that is now recycling itself daily in your present life.

Understanding Quasi Depression

Depression rears its ugly head in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes our depression isn’t obvious. You don’t have to be stuck in bed for days to be considered depressed. Unfortunately we don’t always know we are in a quasi depression until it’s over, and we look back and recall the signs that we might have missed. Hind sight is always 20/20 but if you pay attention to slight changes in your behavior you might be able to better manage your mental health.

I was quasi depressed about a year ago. The quasi depression was written all over my body. I found myself wearing the same clothes everyday: torn jeans with a rotation of the same shirt just in different colors. I stopped keeping up with personal maintenance like waxing my eyebrows or plucking unwanted hairs. I was still getting out of bed and going to work every morning but I was miserable. I became isolative at work cause I didn’t want to deal with anyone and quite frankly, I felt like my poor co-workers were putting up with me cause they knew I suffered from depression, and just assumed eventually I would get out of it. Something as small as not washing your car or being anxious about picking up your phone are all signs of being in a quasi depression. I’d watch the same stupid shows over and over that I didn’t realize was a sign of depression until I got out of it and stopped watching them. I’m embarassed to admit I was hooked on junk food reality television and would never watch some of the shows that I repeatedly watched during that period of time in my life. You don’t have to stay in bed all day to be considered depressed. And in my experience being quasi depressed is almost worse cause, like I said, you don’t realize it occurred until you’re out of it and you can look back and say wow, that was a form of depression. In my experience quasi depression is worse than a full blown one, primarily cause when it is not blatantly obvious, we might not know how to treat it properly.

Be mindful of the little signs of being slightly depressed. Depression hurts but it can hurt more if you don’t even know you are in it, and looking back is no fun bu,t at the very least, you’ll know to watch for signs should you find yourself in a quasi depression sometime down the line.

onlinecounsellingcollege:

1. See the good in your past. There will always be things that we wish had never happened; there will always be bad memories and things that we regret. But they are part of who you are – so accept that they have happened and celebrate the person they’ve allowed you to become.

2. Invest time in…