Circle with your Hand Triangle with your foot…Hmmmmm

This is fun and it helps to create new neuronal pathways in the brain.

I did do some research about neuronal pathways tonight. I even wrote most of an entire post. But the cold med I took is kicking my DUPA ( that is what my Polish grandma used to say….the word..nothing about kicking it)

I am tried too cancan no longer focus my eyes.

Enjoy this little video. I did and I forsee having a silly contest with my daughter tomorrow, where each person adds a new move.

sorry for any typos

Wishes for peasant dreams

Annie .

Lunar Lunacy : The Power of the Full Moon

Werewolves! Vampires! Lunacy!

Seizures? Sleep disturbance? Intermittent Insanity?

All caused by the full moon?

The term “lunacy”  originated in Europe, during the mid 16th century. It comes from the word “lunar” which refers to the moon. During the middle ages, it  was believed that some people suffered from an intermittent insanity, which only occurred when there was a full moon.

The perception was that a higher number of  strange, agitated and violent behaviors occurred during a full moon. People began to fear the full moon and what kinds of unsound, disturbing events might take place.

They blamed the full moon for any unusual events at night, when the full moon was in sight. Epilepsy was not understood at the time. When someone had a seizure people thought it was brought on by demons. If this happened to coincide with a full moon, then of course, the moon was blamed for it.

Lunatic is a very old term meaning insane, reckless and unsound. The term lunacy is a combination of  “lunatic” and “acy”. The suffix “acy” means the “the state or quality of.”    So, in effect, the word  “lunacy” is the “state of  insanity caused  by the full moon.”

“It is the very error of the moon.
She comes more near the earth
than she was wont. And makes
men mad.”

—William Shakespeare, Othello

But is it true? The old belief is still alive and well. People often say and I am sure you have heard  “It must be a full moon.”  This is said in attempt to explain any unusual, seemingly unexplainable happening in the night.

Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides.  Scientific American

During Europe, in the middle ages, many people believed that humans could transform into werewolves and vampires during the full moon. This is referred to as the “lunar lunacy effect” or the “Transylvania effect.”

Psychiatrist Arnold Lieber wrote the book The Lunar Effect : Biological Tides and Human Emotions. Lieber hypothesized that the moon had an effect on the water molecules in the nervous system. The disruption of the water molecules would cause certain people to behave strangely.

lunar effect

Popular legend says that there is more violence, more suicides, more accidents and more aggression during a full moon. This is a common belief amongst healthcare workers, policemen and paramedics.

There is a controversy as to whether or not there is a connection between the moon and seizures. The electrochemistry of the brain of patients suffering from seizure disorder may be affected by the moon.

“A separate analysis revealed that for nonepileptic seizures, there was an increase at the full moon, and for epileptic seizures, an increase in the last quarter. We conclude that there is no “full moon” effect on seizures as a whole, although there is a possible effect on nonepileptic seizures.” Pub Med

There has been research done to see whether or not there is any validity to the theory that the moon can affect the water in our bodies. The evidence suggests that this is impossible because the amount of water is too small.

” while lunar gravity does indeed raise tides in the oceans, it does not have any effect  on lakes and even many seas. Those bodies are simply too small to feel the effects—to say nothing of human bodies.” Time Magazine

There is research which indicates that the moon does have an effect on sleep. A study was done by scientist and author, Christian Cajochen at the University of Basel Psychiatric Hospital in Switzerland.

“We found that around full moon, … time to fall asleep increased by 5 min, and EEG-assessed total sleep duration was reduced by 20 min. These changes were associated with a decrease in subjective sleep quality and diminished endogenous melatonin levels.”  Journal Current Biology

As far as violent crime, suicide and problems with patients in psychiatric wards, the evidence in not consistent. The suicide rate does not change during a full moon. There are varying reports about violent crime.

If you like the old tales of werewolves and vampires, as I do, then maybe it is best left to the imagination as to whether or not the moon really can change people’s behavior.

I personally have not seen any difference in dementia residents during a full moon, The most common catalyst to an uproar in the dementia ward, is that the first patient will become aggressive in a room full of other residents,  The behavior of the initiating resident frightens and upsets the other dementia residents. It is like a domino effect.

I personally enjoy the old tales and the myths about the moon. I am going to leave well enough alone and leave it to you. Who knows, maybe there are werewolves when the moon is full…

HowwwL !

Annie

References:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131029-does-a-full-moon-make-people-mad

http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/science-full-moon-disturb-human-sleep-01264.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lunacy-and-the-full-moon/

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(13)00754-9

How the Moon Messes With Your Sleep

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15256200

Will Lack of Proper Sleep Cause You to Gain Weight?

If you are not getting enough sleep, you may also notice that you are having a hard time controlling your weight.

Sleep deprivation has been proven in studies, to cause weight gain and overeating. You will feel hungry for food, at times when your body does not need to eat.

There are hormones that regulate when you feel hungry. These two hormones are supposed to balance properly to let you know when you need to eat and also when you are full.

The two hormones regulating appetite are Ghrelin and Leptin.

The hormone called Ghrelin is supposed to stimulate your appetite in order to have you eat when your body needs food. The other eating related hormone is called Leptin. The Leptin hormone is supposed to signal that you are full, so that you do not overeat.

The problem comes in, when you are not getting proper sleep. These hormones are balanced out during your sleep cycles.

If your sleep cycles are disrupted during the night, the hormones will become off balanced. The same problem will occur if you are not completing enough sleep cycles because you do not sleep for the necessary number of hours.

When you are sleep deprived, your Ghrelin levels go up. This will cause your appetite to go up, even when you do not need to eat. You will tend to overeat because you feel hungry all the time.

Lack of sleep will cause your Leptin levels go down. Without the proper level of Leptin to signal when you are full, you will eat more than the amount you need.

There is also a correlation between sleep and good mental health. Proper diet also has an affect on mental health.

So if you are having mental health issues, you need to sleep better to eat better.

It is no coincidence that in America so many people are overweight and also sleep deprived.

Sleep seems to be a commodity that is hard to come by. We all try to make up for lack of time by cutting our sleep short. But your body needs what it needs. There is no way around it.

Sleep Apnea – Tiredness, Fatigue and Memory Impairment

Sleep Apnea affects 4 % of Americans. About 1 out of 4 middle aged men in America suffer from Sleep Apnea.  Studies suggest that memory impairments can occur from disrupted sleep.

In Sleep Apnea, the sleep cycles are disrupted by periods of difficult breathing. In a new study by  Dr. Andrew Varga,  at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, subjects had impairments in their spatial memory from disrupted REM sleep cycles.

After a night of improper REM sleep, the subjects had difficulty remembering the placement of items and what they did with things the day before.

The REM stage of sleep is the Rapid Eye Movement stage. This is the deep sleep where we have dreams. The REM stage of sleep is critical for the body to repair any tissue damage from the day, such as muscle microtears. It also has to do with processing memories.

A person with disrupted REM sleep may forget where they placed the car keys the day before and have trouble remembering where they parked their car. Another consequence of  incomplete REM cycles is inability to focus and pay attention.

There are 2 different types of Sleep Apnea. They are Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Central Sleep Apnea. The causes for the 2 types are different but both of them cause difficulty breathing during sleep and periods of waking up in the middle of  sleep cycles.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea has to do with the airway becoming obstructed.  The muscles in the throat becoming too relaxed and causing a narrowing of the airway. The brain will become aware of low oxygen levels and force you awake to reposition yourself.

Usually people do not remember these brief periods of waking. Every time someone wakes up for a few seconds, it disrupts the sleep stage they are in.

The brain and the rest of the body are not able to finish what they are supposed to do, during that cycle. There are certain repairs and regeneration of tissue that naturally occur during REM sleep.

The 2nd type is less common. Central Sleep Apnea is caused by a problem in the brain.  The brain is supposed to send signals to the lungs to breath.

The brain of  person with Central Sleep Apnea, fails to continuously send the signals properly. The lungs will simply stop doing their job.  The body and the brain will fail to get the necessary level of oxygen, which will cause the person to wake up.

Again, with this type of Sleep Apnea, the person will awaken just long enough to be able to breath properly again. Someone with Central Sleep Apnea may wake up with  shortness of breath.

Men are twice s likely to get sleep apnea. It is most common in men 60 or more. Being overweight contributes to your risk as well as having a family history of Sleep Apnea.  Certain medications are possible contributing factors, such as excessive use of muscle relaxers.

Central Sleep Apnea can occur with people that have heart disease or have had a stroke. It can also be a co-morbidity with neurological disease like ALS.

People that have Sleep Apnea can have  morning headaches and depression. Some people have an increased frequency of urination.

If you have extreme tiredness and sleepiness during the day along with any of the other symptoms I mentioned, you may want to see your doctor.  There are treatments that would reduce your symptoms.

They also could check you for other types of sleep disorders and medical conditions that could be causing the constant fatigue and tiredness.  There are mental illnesses such as depression that can cause some of these symptoms as well as other physical disorders.

Namaste,

Annie

PTSD Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – The Struggle with the Symptoms

If you suffer from post traumatic stress syndrome, every day is a challenge.  Every day is filled with potential triggers.

People with PTSD often have a combination of anxiety disorders. It is likely to have generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder as well.

The fear of something triggering a severe PTSD attack creates a nearly constant stress. There is a constant worry that something will be a reminder of the original trauma.

This fear causes general anxiety in the mind and the body. You can feel unpleasant sensations in the body, as the mind send you signals of potential threats all around you.

For some people the feeling of being threatened is more pronounced out of the home.For others there are plenty of potential triggers in the home.

People can be triggered by situations, by hearing people yell, by loud noises, certain songs, and the news on tv. There is always the possibility that something will trigger our brains into a full blown wave of fear to the point of disabling our minds and bodies.

This constant anxiety is very hard to live with. Other people feel basically safe for most of their day. PTSD sufferers do not feel safe.

It is good to have a friend who understands how your particular brain responds to potential threats. It is often difficult to find anyone who gets it. The feeling of alienation can become severe.

I hope at least, you can find some validation here. You are not alone. There are others who try to block out the memories and no matter how hard they try, those memories invade our minds and our feelings.

The brain has been altered from the original way it used to function. Any threat we perceive, can trigger an anxiety attack.

Once that feeling of immediate danger turns on, there is no turning it off on our own. It will run its course. It is an attack of the mind which causes terrifying emotions and discomfort or pain in the body. The feeling in the body is almost unbearable.

You are not alone. We can validate each other. It is a severe disorder of the brain. People think we look normal and healthy. They cannot see anything wrong with us. They do not understand why we try to avoid things.

I hope you have someone in your life that is aware of your illness and tries to support you. Someone that will take “no” for an answer if you just don’t feel up to going somewhere or doing something that they want you to do.

Some days we just can’t go out to be exposed at all. Some types of events and activities are potentially dangerous for our minds to endure.

If there is a strong possibility of being triggered at someplace, then we should have the right to refuse. We need understanding people around us.

The feeling that we are the only person with the symptoms, makes us feel alienated from other people.

God bless,
Namaste,
Annie

The Truth Will Set Us Free

Your truth is what you know it to be. Do not let anyone manipulate you into believing what they say is the truth. You have your own mind and your own heart. You have your own point of view and way of seeing the world.

Your way of viewing the world may be different that other people. It may even be very unusual. You may feel like you are the only person in a situation that perceives the truth the way you do.

Your truth is valid. It is your truth. The other people could be completely wrong in their perspective of a situation.

Many people just go along with what everyone else says is the truth. However the masses see it or however the social group sees it, they internalize that reality.

Your reality is your reality. If you see that something is unjust, it very well may be. Just because the others say it is justice does not mean they are correct. Hold onto your beliefs.

Sometimes someone will tell you that you handled a situation the wrong way. It was not the way they would have handled it. It was not in their best interest. It was not within the “rules” or the “status quo”

Screw the status quo. Think for yourself.

When everyone goes along with everyone else, no one thinks at all. When individuals stop thinking for themselves, they put their liberty in harms way.

We are individuals. We have various perspectives on things. Sometimes two people with a different perspective on a situation can come to a very wise solution if they hear each other out.

There may be truth in each point of view that the other person did not think of. In listening with respect and considering each other’s point of view as intelligent, they can come up with a better plan together than they could alone.

When people blindly follow the masses, there is a lack of individuality. There is a lack of perspective and creativity.

All the great inventions and visions came out of creative thought and an ability to think outside the box. Gandhi was a visionary and a revolutionary. He could see the truth and what had to be changed. He stood by his beliefs.

Galileo discovered that the earth revolves around the sun. The church at the time taught that everything revolved around the earth. This is called geocentrism.

The people all believed that the earth was the center of the universe because that it what the church said.

If Galileo had been like the other and just believed without looking, then he never would have discovered the truth. He wanted to see for himself. he invented a spyglass (the predecessor of the telescope) in order to view the heavens. Through his observation and calculations, he discovered the truth.

His truth was in conflict with the church. The church was very powerful and did not like to be made a fool of. They felt that they would be discredited by his findings. They wanted people to follow the church blindly.

They arrested Galileo and put him on a trial that was to prove that Galileo was a heretic for speaking against the beliefs of the church. He was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Of course years later, we are glad for all the discoveries he made, including the telescope and the thermometer. He was an original thinker and looked at things from a different perspective from the status quo.

All the great music, art and inventions were created by people who could think outside the box.

When people stop thinking for themselves, no one thinks at all.

What a dull place the world would be without the creators and the inventors and the visionaries.

Thomas Jefferson was a visionary and a great leader. He wove a tapestry of some of the most beautiful and inspired words ever written. The Declaration of Independence is about the most beautiful writing you will ever read. If you have never read it, please do.

Even though this is true, the masses do not accept people who think differently than they do. The government fears people who can think for themselves. The government that we have at this time wants people to follow blindly.

Original thinkers, people who look for the truth are a threat to the status quo.
But don’t let that stop you. The world needs people who can think and see truth.

God bless the original thinkers and those who can think outside the box. God bless the visionaries and those who stand up for justice and liberty.

Look at the rules and consider them but evaluate each situation for yourself with your own mind.

God gave us our minds to think, not to just follow what others say is right.

The truth will set us free in our minds and our hearts.

Namaste,
Annie

When Someone with Mental Illness Reaches Out to You / Scenario 2 – Post Traumatic Stress

This is my second scenario and a Do’s and Don’t list for helping someone with mental suffering.
To read my introduction to this series and Scenario 1 , please see older posts at this blog.

Scenario 2 –

Sarah calls you and is in Post Traumatic Stress. Something at work triggered her. She tells you she is in a state of terrible fear. She feels like her job is in danger. She feels like there is an imminent threat to her financial stability. Then she tells you that feels like she will die soon. The walls of her house are closing in on her. She feels like an animal trapped in a cage ready to be eaten.
She cries and says she wants to kill herself. She would rather kill herself than be eaten.

Don’t Say You are being really dramatic and unrealistic.
(Sarah is not being a drama queen. In the post traumatic stress state, her perception of immediate danger is very real. The amygdala part of the brain goes into hyper alert state and tells the person to choose fight or flight. When someone is in post traumatic stress, fight or flight state, they tend to have an overwhelming urge to run. They want to run but there is no where to run to. This is a terrifying place to be.)

Don’t Say You are acting like a child. You need to grow up and act like an adult.
(It is not uncommon for someone to regress into a child state during a ptsd attack.It is the brain’s way of protecting itself. The person has no control over it.

Even if you were to force them out of the regression too early, it would be dangerous for their mind. There is always the possibility of a person’s brain becoming disorganized permanently)

Don’t SayDid you take your meds today?
( Unless they specifically asked you to be in charge of whether or not they take their medication, this comment is condescending. What meds they have taken today is not the point. It is not what they are asking you for help with

They are asking for help with their fear. Bringing up the meds feels like an accusation and like you are saying it is their fault for not taking their meds properly. It takes the focus off of what they are saying to you. They need to be heard, not have you change the subject.)

Don’t Say Just think positive thoughts.

(If they were able to think positive thoughts they would. The fear part of the brain is sending intrusive terrifying thoughts to their mind. They want it to stop.)

Do SayYou are in a post traumatic stress state. I understand that you feel very threatened. You are not in any immediate danger. Your brain is sending signals to make you feel that way.

Do Say You are in a state of post traumatic stress.
Is there anything I can do to help you to reduce the level of fear and anxiety ?

Do SaySomething has triggered you to flashback to your original trauma

You feel like your danger level is the same as that situation. That was a horrible thing that happened to you. But your current situation is not the same. It feels that way because it has a similarity to the original trauma.

Do Say I know you feel afraid and threatened

You had a terrible trauma and something has triggered you to feel the same way you did then. You are safe right now. You are not in danger. Your feelings are an attack of your brain on you. You are safe. Nothing terrible is going to happen. You are safe now.

Do SayYou are safe. I am here for you. You are safe.

When Someone with Mental Illness Reached Out to You / Scenario 1

When someone with mental illness reaches out to you about how they are feeling, please think before you speak. The cliche things that we have heard a million times are frustrating and make us feel misunderstood.

Presumptuous actions and words can be very hurtful. A person having extreme anxiety or depression can quickly spiral down into a dangerous place for them.

*Be gentle with your tone of voice and your words, as if they were standing on the edge of a cliff.*

Here is a way you can be of “real help” as opposed to “junk help.”

Scenario 1

Robin calls Mary and asks how she is doing. Mary says ,

“I am having an anxiety attack. The repairman is coming today to fix the washer.
The house is too messy to have him here. I am thinking about calling to cancel, but the thought of the phone call is giving me extreme anxiety.”

Don’t Say – “Don’t cancel the appointment. Just deal with it. The washer has to be fixed.”

*Only the person knows how bad their anxiety is. To force them into the situation could cause a much more severe , possibly dangerous state of anxiety, Let them decide.*

Don’t Say – “Have you taken your meds today?”

* We know what pills have taken and why. The meds we have or have not taken today is not the point. It actually draws attention away from what she needs to talk about. *

*The exception to this would be if you are her caregiver or if she has requested that you check in with her because she forgets to take her meds.”

Don’t Say – “Your apartment is fine. You worry too much about a little mess.

*It is not the reality of the mess that is the issue. It is our perception of the mess and the intrusive thoughts that we have no control over.*

Don’t Say – I am on my way over to clean up your house. I’ll be there in 15 minutes. Bye.

*OMG! I am having anxiety just typing this.
We told you that we are having anxiety about someone seeing the house this way. The thought of you forcing us to have you here is terrifying. The level of anxiety that having you see the mess could cause is extreme. This is only triggering a higher level of anxiety and making us want to lie the next time you ask how we are doing.*

Do Say I understand that you are having extreme anxiety right now. Is there anything I can say or do that would be helpful to you? More

When Someone with a Mental Illness Reaches Out to You / Do’s and Don’ts

I thought of this idea this morning. It is a way for people with mental illness to get real help from others. There are some people in your life that want to help but they just end up making things worse.

When that happens, you do not want to communicate with them about your pain.
You end up keeping all of your pain bottled up like a secret.

No one wants to reach out for help just to feel invalidated, misunderstood, judged, scolded, intruded upon, and pushed farther down.

The problem that I have experienced is that people “guess” at what will be helpful. They always guess WRONG because they do not understand.

They have not been inside of that pool of pain, feeling the water going farther and farther over their heads. They do not know what it feels like when we are basically being drowned by our own emotions.

It is not something we are allowing to happen or are causing. It is something that invades our minds like a virus. We have no control over the attack of our own brain on us.

Our brain begins to attack itself, our bodies and our hearts. Asking someone to just stop their mental suffering is like asking someone to stop a broken leg from hurting.

A broken bone hurts because our body senses injury. Then the nervous system tells the brain we are hurt, The brain then responds by sending horrific pain signals back through the nervous system to the injury.
So the cycle is : injury, nervous system, brain, nervous system, severe pain.

It is exactly the same cycle with mental illness. The brain and the nervous system coordinate together.

1.Something triggers an intrusive thought.

2. An intrusive thought hurts the brain by activating neurons that are wired to the person’s thought behaviors.

3.The brain reacts by sending a signal through the nervous system into the entire body.

4. The pain is felt throughout the body. It is a nervous system attack.

Neurological behavioral patterns in a person with mental illness are different than other people. It is a biological difference of how the neurons are attached.

The way our neurons are attached in the brain has a disfunction. We cannot do anything about it. It actually gets worse every time we have an episode.

*I will mention here that there is new holistic neurological research ongoing about the ability to rewire the neurons in our brains. I am studying this currently and will let you know when I have anything helpful to tell you. So there is hope. However for the time being , we are stuck with the faulty wiring.*

If people can understand that there is actual biology that is misbehaving with us, maybe they will understand better that our own brains actually attack us, against our will.

So, I am going to give individual scenarios with a do’s and don’t lists for people with mental illness to use as a tool, when reaching out for help. Please feel free to show them or quote the information I provided above , as a way for a greater understanding that most people do not have.

I have experienced myself, that people trying to “help” you, have some go-to words and actions that are both useless and hurtful to us. My next post is going to be Scenario 1.

Please leave me ideas for situations you have been in, so that I can include them. I will try to post a couple of them a week.

Namaste,
Annie

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