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Archive for the ‘Schizophrenia’ Category

I recently responded to a request for experience strength and hope in dealing with toxic families who have mental illnesses and possible personality disorders. This is what I said:
 
“I have a fair bit of experience with mental illness as it runs in my family of origin (depression, anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenia) plus I have depression and anxiety & mild agoraphobia and was wrongly treated for bipolar disorder for 2 years and my partner has depression and mild anxiety.
 
I also run a mental illness support group.
 
Firstly I don’t know how your husband’s family of origin act (if it is manipulative or aggressive for example) but I have found that dealing with people who are manipulative/aggressive,  I need to stay away for my own mental wellbeing. I have dealt with around 4-5 people in 2 years with Borderline Personality Disorder and I swore never to do it again for they have issues with anger and I would often be the butt of it. To me, those types of behaviours can be destructive to my mental wellbeing and I choose to distance myself from people who have personality disorders, especially ones who have not done D.B.T to help them control their emotions.
 
On the other hand depression, anxiety, agoraphobia and bipolar sufferers are somewhat “normal” and I find it easier to converse with them possibly because I understand how they feel and I can often make allowances for their behaviours if I know they are acting out of character.
 
My grandmother has schizophrenia and when she is not herself I feed sad for her and my mother helps her to ensure she gets the right medication to make her well again as the effects of her illness are apparent to my mother and her sisters and they accept it as part of life.
 
My counsellor on the other hand told me stay away from mentally ill people because they can “zap” me of my energy and serenity and are very needy however if I wanted to continue with the support group then I would need to learn to distance myself or not absorb the negative energy mentally ill people can give off. I chose the latter and being a “fixer”, it is very hard not to want to “fix” everyone who is sick and close myself off to their internal pain.
 
I do have a friend who is very negative when she emails me (she has bad depression/PTSD) and through this Program I learnt to stand back and let her go her on own journey for I was unable to convince her that I had already been there and done that and it became very frustrating for me. Now if she asks me questions I give her honest answers but I let her travel her own mental illness path. I also talk positive to her (and quite often repeat program talk to her) for I feel that is the best way I can keep encouraging her to move forward.
 
I have learnt that a lot of mental illness sufferers have their illness because of difficult experiences in their childhood and a lot sufferers would benefit greatly from 12 Step Programs. I don’t think it’s their fault (for it’s not mine that I was brought up in an alcoholic home) but understanding where it stems from helps me feel compassion for people who are in the same boat as me.”

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Glimpses – is a compilation of uncensored real life experiences with mental illness
 
Nicci continues to put together a manuscript of personal experiences with mental illness for free distribution to Carers, Consumers, Educators and Clinicians, in hope of increasing awareness and reducing stigma surrounding mental illness and it would benefit greatly from your story. Most contributors indicate it was a very therapeutic exercise writing about their experiences with mental illness.
 
Glimpses is a free updated version and is distributed electronically quarterly (if new stories have been received). Several Universities use this manuscript as a course resource, it is posted on websites nationally and internationally. So only submit your story if you are happy for it to be distributed and forwarded freely.
 
Nicci  invites you to submit your Consumer or Carer story on your personal experiences with: – Anxiety Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, Anorexia, Post Natal Depression, any other MI. She would especially like some stories from people in their late teens and early 20’s.
 
The average length of stories so far are 6 to 15 pages. However there are some that are 3-4 pages, minimum accepted (narrow margins, size 12 Arial font, single spacing).
 
People have told of the lead up to diagnosis, dealing with MH services, medication issues, identifying triggers, working towards recovery and coping strategies. What and how much you want to share is up to you. Use your whole name, first name or a pseudonym, the choice is yours; but please know that your story, however you present it, could make a difference in how the world sees us. See below for contact details.
 
Glimpses & Minds Unleashed are distributed free of charge and encouraged to be printed, forwarded, added to websites, used as a training resource, as long as excerpts and content of the stories are not changed. If you are not happy for this to happen, your submission cannot be included.
To go on the mailing list or submit your story email: forwalls@xi.com.au

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Researchers from the Queensland Brain Institute are set to conduct a world first trial into the link between prenatal vitamin D levels and schizophrenia.

Funded by the NHMRC and led by QBI’s Dr Darryl Eyles, a team of four researchers will study blood spots taken from newborn babies who have gone on to develop schizophrenia in early adulthood.

“Undeniably, low maternal vitamin D affects the way the brain develops,” Dr Eyles said.

“Over the past four years we’ve been able to show that low vitamin D intake in animals during pregnancy results in offspring with brain abnormalities similar to those seen in patients with schizophrenia.”

The next step is to test the hypothesis on humans.

By analysing the blood spots of new born babies, the team will be able to tell the baby’s vitamin D levels at the time of birth.

This type of study is possible because of a biobank located at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen where the they have not only stored newborn blood spots since 1981, but kept ongoing medical records for each sample.

“This is a true test of the hypothesis,” Dr Eyles said.

“The Danes are only able to give us 1.6 microlitres of plasma so we’ve had to come up with a method of determining the vitamin D levels in that tiny amount of blood.

It is expected that the analysis will commence in September.

“If we establish the link in this huge patient cohort, we will be able to show that having low maternal vitamin D does not necessarily mean a child is going to develop schizophrenia but, if a child has a particularly vulnerable genome, the low maternal vitamin D may be the environmental trigger,” Dr Eyles said.

“It’s the combination of gene and environment which triggers the disease.”

Schizophrenia affects approximately one percent of the world’s population.

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Hallucinations may occur in any of the senses: auditory (for example, hearing voices or music), gustatory (for example, unpleasant tastes), olfactory (for example, unpleasant smells), somatic (for example, a feeling of “electricity”), tactile (for example, a sensation of being touched, or “skin crawling” sensations), visual (for example, flashes of light, colors or images).

Delusions (fixed, false, irrational or illogical beliefs) and hallucinations can sometimes occur when someone is experiencing an acute manic episode. They can also occur during a severe episode of melancholic depression in people with Bipolar Disorder, with delusions being a much more common occurrence than hallucinations. These symptoms are commonly referred to as ‘psychotic’ symptoms and when they occur with other manic symptoms (as outlined above) it indicates that the person has a Bipolar I Disorder. Psychotic symptoms are not seen in hypomania, the key defining mood state of Bipolar II Disorder.

Contrary to the information above taken from the Black Dog Institute, I have experienced hallucinations and heard voices and I have bipolar II disorder.

My first hallucination was the feeling that a ghost went right through me while I was lying in bed. I felt that I was in their bed and this thing wanted me to get out of their way. I froze and they just went right through me. Maybe it was a ghostly experience and not a hallucination at all but since that time strange occurrences have been happening in the house. I’ve heard my name being called (and my partner has heard it too). I became to think that this particular bedroom was haunted by a ghost because strange things were occuring in it. My sister heard rustling in the cupboard one night (we had no mice), I put a newspaper on the bed and it totally disappeared when I returned. I searched all over the house and it could not be found.

My most serious hallucination was when I was travelling in a train to work and I thought the train was going underground to hell and I remember feeling the train going in slow motion in a downward spiral. I used to look for the devil on the train a lot after that experience. Ridiculous I know, and I am not even religious.

I’ve heard voices too. I picked up the telephone at work one day to check a voicemail and I could have sworn someone said the word “bitch” to me. I played that  message over and over again just to see if it was true. Of course I never heard it again.

During these times I don’t recall being in a state of hypomania (commonly associated with bipolar II disorder) so either I have been misdiagnosed or I present certain symptoms of schizophrenia as well as bipolar II disorder.  Beats me, a question for the psychiatrist no doubt. Will keep you posted.

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I don’t know about you but I like to have a cigarette once in a while to calm my nerves. Cigarettes bring me up when I am feeling down.

But according to Sane Australia, some chemicals in cigarettes may affect the positive and negative symtoms of Schizophrenia and as a consequence, sufferers may need their anti-psychotic medication increased to compensate.

Did you know that smoking is more popular in people with a mental illness than it is in the general community? Rates in the general community have fallen to under 20% but 40% of those with a mental illness smoke and 70% of those people have Schizophrenia.

Diseases caused by smoking are the second largest killer of those with a mental illness.

It is important to involve a doctor when you are trying to quit smoking so your medications and side effects can be monitored.

The Sane Smokefree Zone Kit helps people with a mental illness give up smoking. It includes guides for the person quitting and for a supporter, as well as stickers and a Quit ‘4D’ Helpcard. It has been developed in consultation with consumers, carers, pharmacists and psychiatrists, as well as quit smoking experts, with the aim of producing an easy-to-use, practical resource that genuinely helps people to quit. It costs $12.00 and can be purchased HERE.

 

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