What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

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Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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Depression Doesn’t Take a Holiday off. Special Guest Author, Alek Sabin With a New Article Share for Valintine’s.

Depression Doesn’t Take a Holiday off. Special Guest Author, Alek Sabin With a New Article Share for Valintine’s.

WISHING ALL MY RECOVERY FRIENDS A Very Happy Valentines Day! 🌹💕💕😸

 

Supporting a Loved One through Depression ~ by Alek Sabin

Watching someone you love and care about go through depression can be a hopeless feeling. Depression can impact many everyday interactions and can become a relationship obstacle to individuals who don’t know how to react or handle it. This happens all too often, as depression has become the number one form of illness or injury in the world, with around 10% of Americans battling it, every single day (those numbers are even higher for women). As such, it’s important to understand how depression works, so that you can truly support the people in your life who suffer from it.

Here are some tips to help you support a loved one through depression…

 

Be Informed

 

You’re already doing your part with one of these tips, simply by reading an article that talks about depression. That’s because depression is something that isn’t really that well understood by many people, who make the mistake of confusing depression with general sadness. As such, the first thing you should do to help a loved one with depression is educating yourself on what depression actually is and how it works.

 

This helps with the understanding that you shouldn’t take a person’s feelings personally, when they are depressed, but also that you shouldn’t disregard their emotions, either. Knowledge is the best tool when it comes to dealing with the effects of depression.

 

Leave Your Judgement at the Door

 

Relationships are all about communication, but depression can impact that communication in a way that you should be aware of. Don’t shrug off what your loved one says about a particular situation or how they are feeling, simply because they are dealing with the effects of depression. Just because their feelings are being impacted by depression, it doesn’t mean that their feelings aren’t still valid.

 

This step is especially important when trying to help a younger person process through emotions when they are feeling depressed. When you approach conversations about depression with a veil of judgment, then you are working to alienate your loved one from sharing their thoughts and feelings, which can worsen the effects of depression.

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Don’t Enable Problematic Behavior

 

We need to strive to recognize actions and behaviors that make a person’s depression even worse. Oftentimes, a person with depression will forego healthy habits such as eating well or taking care of their personal hygiene. These actions cause that person to slip even further into depression and show more symptoms. One of the worst things you can do is encourage any of these habits that are worsening an individual’s depression, which can create destructive co-dependency.

 

Support Every Step Forward

 

Don’t think that you should coddle your loved one all of the time. That is just exhausting for both people. However, you should be encouraging when they show signs of real progress in working through the effects of depression. When they begin to develop healthy habits that enable them to work through a depressive episode, take note of it and tell them that you appreciate them taking those steps. They will definitely appreciate that you’ve taken the time to notice, and it builds a rapport between you and them that makes it easier to listen to feedback in the future.

 

Demanding Happiness Is Counterproductive

 

It is unreasonable to expect an individual to be happy all of the time, regardless of whether they have depression or not. However, when they have depression, then this is doubly true. Just because a person isn’t swelling with happiness at every moment, it doesn’t mean that you should take this personally. Oftentimes, dealing with depression means letting people sift through some negative emotions for a while. Don’t be frustrated by this, but instead be patient and give them the time they need to accomplish this.

 

Promote Professional Help

 

When someone is ever suffering from severe side effects of depression, it is always worth the time to actually go and talk to a professional who can help them work through these difficult emotions. As much as you might think you can tackle these issues all on your own, there are people who have studied long and hard to have accumulated years of experience in helping people deal with the effects of depression. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is convince your loved one that it is worth it to simply test out professional help.

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Important Guest Article Reshare By Amy Dresner, Author of ‘My Fair Junkie,’ A Memoir. This Post Is About Recovery & Depression…

Important Guest Article Reshare By Amy Dresner, Author of ‘My Fair Junkie,’ A Memoir. This Post Is About Recovery & Depression…

Welcome Recovery Friends, Warrior Advocates, and New Visitors,

I am so happy and blessed that Amy agreed to let me reshare her article which comes by way of The Fix Magazine. She is an amazing “in your face –let it hang out” writer and blogger for them. The Fix share news about addiction and recovery from drugs and alcohol and is one of the top resource magazines around!

I happen to have signed up for there newsletter a while back and seen Amy’s article. Being dual-diagnosed myself and still have bouts of depression at times, I felt this article of hers really needed to be shared with all my friends here.

It is very informative and I just love Amy’s views on a variety of issues and her writing style! I hope you enjoy reading it and learn some from it as I did! Don’t forget to grab of copy of her book (link listed in her bio) if you have not read it.

It is truly a great read and her life memoirs are “one of kind!”  ~Cat 

Depression in Recovery: Do You Have Low Dopamine Tone?

By Amy Dresner 09/10/18 ~ Courtesy of The Fix Magazine
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Mature Woman Depression Looking Away
((The Fix does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor does anything on this website create a physician/patient relationship.  If you require medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, please consult your physician.)

 

I just felt like shit and slept as much as I could. I showed up to work. I kept my commitments. I spoke when asked to, but I felt more than unhappy. I felt like I just didn’t care.

I just came out of a six-week depression. That might not sound very long, but when you’re in hell it feels like forever. Good news: I didn’t bone any 25-year-old strangers; I didn’t cut myself; I didn’t get loaded; I didn’t smoke or vape although I really, really wanted to. I didn’t even eat pints of Ben and Jerry’s while binge-watching I Am A Killer. I just felt like shit and slept as much as I could. I showed up to work. I kept my commitments.

I spoke when asked to, but I felt more than unhappy. I felt like I just didn’t care. I didn’t return phone calls. I didn’t wash my hair. Suicidal thoughts bounced around my head, but I ignored them like I do those annoying dudes with clipboards outside Whole Foods.

I’ve suffered from symptoms of depression since I was 19, so it’s an old, old friend. What really annoys me was that some (dare I say many?) people think at five and a half years of sobriety, you shouldn’t feel depressed. What I kept hearing from AA fundamentalists was:

“It’s your untreated alcoholism.”

“Listen to these tapes about prayer and meditation.”

“You’re not connected enough to your Higher Power.”

“You’re not going to enough meetings.”

“You need to do more service.”

Thankfully my sponsor, who has a foot in the medical world, did not say something along those lines.  One of my big problems with AA is that it looks at every mental problem through the paradigm of your “alcoholism.” If you’re suffering, you should look to the program for relief.

Nobody would tell you to “drive around newcomers!” more if you had diabetes or kidney failure, but if you’re feeling down, that’s what you’re told to do. As it turns out, AA is not completely off the mark: “Addiction is a not a spiritually caused malady but a chemically based malady with spiritual symptoms,” addictionologist and psychiatrist Dr. Howard Wetsman told me.

“When some people start working a 12-step program, they perceive a spiritual event but their midbrain is experiencing an anatomical event. When they’re working a program, they’re no longer isolated and they no longer feel ‘less than,’ so their dopamine receptor density goes back up [and they experience contentment],” he explained. But what if your program hasn’t changed or feels sufficient and you still feel depressed?

What if you’re working your ass off in your steps and helping others and you still feel like shit?
“Well, low dopamine tone experienced as low mood can be brought on by fear and low self-esteem (the untreated spiritual malady part of alcoholism/addiction) but it can also be brought on by biochemical issues,” Wetsman added.

Huh?

So was I experiencing the chemical part of my “addiction” or was I having a depressive episode? Perhaps my whole life I’d been confusing the two. Of course, all I wanted, like a typical addict, was a pill to fix it. But as I’ve done the medication merry-go-round (and around and around) with mild to moderate success, I was hesitant to start messing with meds again. I didn’t have a terrific psychiatrist, and SSRI’s can really screw with my epilepsy. And Wetsman was talking about dopamine here, not serotonin. Hmmm…

Dr. Wetsman has some interesting stuff about brain chemistry and addiction on his vlog. He mentions something called “dopamine tone” which is a combination of how much dopamine your VTA (Ventral Tegmental Area) releases, how many dopamine receptors you have on your NA (Nucleus Accumbens), and how long your dopamine is there and available to those receptors.

Stress can cause you to have fewer dopamine receptors and fewer receptors equal lower dopamine tone. He’d explained to me in previous conversations how almost all of the people with addiction he’d treated had what he described as “low dopamine tone.”

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When you have low dopamine tone, you don’t care about anything, have no motivation, can’t feel pleasure, can’t connect to others. In addition, low dopamine tone can affect how much serotonin is being released in the cortex. Low midbrain dopamine tone can lead to low serotonin which means, in addition to not giving a shit about anything, you also have no sense of well-being. Well, that certainly sounded familiar.

Dr. Wetsman has a very convincing but still somewhat controversial theory that addiction is completely a brain disease and that using drugs is the result, not the cause. I really suggest you get his book, Questions and Answers on Addiction.

It’s 90 pages — you could read half of it on the john and half of it while waiting at the carwash. It explains in detail why most of us addicts felt weird and off before we picked up and why we finally felt normal when we used. Again, it’s all about dopamine, and it’s fucking fascinating. No joke.

In his vlog, he explains that dopamine production requires folic acid which you can get from green leafy veggies (which I admittedly don’t eat enough of) but it also requires an enzyme (called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase or MTHFR for short) to convert folate into l-methyl folate. Certain people have a mutation in the gene that makes MTHFR, so they can’t turn folate into l-methyl folate as effectively, and those people are kind of fucked no matter how many kale smoothies they drink.

But it’s not hopeless. If people with this genetic mutation take a supplement of l-methyl folate, their brain can make enough dopamine naturally. Of course, once you have enough dopamine, you’ve got to make sure you release enough (but there’s medication for that) and that you have enough receptors and that it sits in the receptors long enough (and there are meds for that too).

So this all got me wondering if maybe my MTHFR enzyme was wonky or completely AWOL. Dr. Wetsman urged me to find a good psychiatrist (since I’m on Prozac and two epileptic medications) or a local addictionologist in addition to taking a genetic test for this mutation. In his experience, patients who had a strong reaction to taking the l-methyl folate supplement were frequently also on SSRIs. They either felt much better right away or really really shitty. But if they felt even shittier (because the higher serotonin levels work on a receptor on the VTA which then lowers dopamine), he would just lower their SSRI or sometimes even titrate them off it completely. And voila. Success.

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It’s all very complicated, and this whole brain reward system is a feedback loop and interconnected with all kinds of stuff like Gaba and Enkephalins (the brain’s opioids) and Glutamate. But you guys don’t need me for a neuroscience lesson so I’m trying to keep it simple. The basics: how do you know if you have too little dopamine?

You have urges to use whatever you can to spike your dopamine: sex, food, gambling, drugs, smoking, and so on. What about too much dopamine? OCD, tics, stuttering, mental obsession and eventually psychosis. Too little serotonin? Anxiety and the symptoms of too high dopamine tone. Too much serotonin? The same thing as too little dopamine tone. Everything is intricately connected, not to mention confusing as all hell.

Being broke and lazy and having had decades of shitty psychiatrists, I decided to go rogue on this whole mission (not recommended). I mean I used to shoot stuff into my arm that some stranger would hand me through the window of their 87 Honda Accord so why be uber careful now? This l-methyl folate supplement didn’t require a prescription anymore anyway. What did I have to lose? I did, however, run it by my sponsor whose response was: “I’m no doctor, honey, but it sounds benign. Go ahead.”

I ordered a bottle. A few days later I heard the UPS guy drop the packet into my mail slot. I got out of bed, tore open the envelope and popped one of these bad boys. A few hours later I started to feel that dark cloud lift a little. Gotta be a placebo effect, right? The next day I felt even better. And the next day better still. I didn’t feel high or manic. I just felt “normal.” Whoa. It’s been weeks now and the change has been noticeable to friends and family.

Normal. That’s all I ever really wanted to feel. And the first time I felt normal was when I tried methamphetamine at 24. It did what I wanted all those anti-depressants to do. It made me feel like I knew other people felt: not starting every day already 20 feet underwater. I found out later that my mother and uncle were also addicted to amphetamines which further corroborates my belief that there is some genetic anomaly in my inherited reward system.

When I emailed Dr. Wetsman to tell him how miraculously better I felt, his first response was “Great. I’m glad. The key thing is to take the energy and put it into recovery. People go two ways when they feel amazingly better. One: ‘Oh, this is all I ever needed. I can stop all this recovery stuff.’ Or two: ‘Wow, I feel better. Who can I help?’ Helping others in recovery will actually increase your dopamine receptors and make this last. Not helping people will lead to shame, lowered dopamine receptors and it stops being so great.”

So no, I’m not going to stop going to meetings or doing my steps or working with my sponsor and sponsees. Being part of a group, feeling included and accepted, even those things can create more dopamine receptors. But sadly I’m still an addict at heart and I want all the dopamine and dopamine receptors I can get. However, I also know that enough dopamine alone isn’t going to keep me from being a selfish asshole…

But maybe, just maybe, having sufficient dopamine tone and working a program will.

 

 

Amy Dresner

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Amy Dresner is a recovering drug addict and all around fuck up.

She’s been regularly writing for The Fix since 2012. When she isn’t humorously chronicling her epic ups and downs for us, she’s freelancing for Refinery 29, Alternet, After Party Chat, Salon, The Frisky, Cosmo Latina, Unbound Box, Addiction.com and Psychology Today.

Her first book, My Fair Junkie: A Memoir of Getting Dirty and Staying Clean was published in September 2017 by Hachette Books.  Follow her on Twitter @amydresner.

 

 

Dual diagnosis in gambling addiction and mental health disorders. Special Guest Post By, Nicola Smith.

As a dually diagnosed person myself, my recovery friends know it has been difficult for me to put into words how it feels to live and maintain my 10+years in recovery from gambling addiction while having mental health challenges.

So I enjoy having special guests here when I can that can write and explain it a “wee bit better” than I can. I welcome Author, Nicola Smith, and special thanks to Maegan Jones of Healthline.com for putting us together!
Catherine Lyon “-)

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What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is a relatively new concept in the addiction recovery field. Up until the 1990s, people experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder such as anxiety attacks, depressive episodes, delusional behavior or mood swings were often treated separately to people who sought treatment for addiction. In some cases, when conditions overlapped people were required to get clean or sober or overcome their gambling addiction, for example, before they could be treated for mental illnesses.


Mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction


With recent findings that 
substance abuse and addiction are often driven by underlying mental health illnesses, people with a Dual Diagnosis have been unable to get the help they needed in decades’ past. The Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2002 that only 12 percent of the 4 million American adults suffering from a Dual Diagnosis received treatment for both conditions.

Patients with a Dual Diagnosis are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. The most common mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction are depression and anxiety, as outlined by Dr. Jon Grant — Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder. Symptoms of being impulsive and risky are also seen in those with gambling addictions, according to Dr. Grant.


Mental illnesses that often co-occur with gambling addiction include depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. In cases of people addicted to gambling who also experience depression or anxiety, the hope of fun that rolling the dice or spin of a slot machine can make depression and anxiety worse over time.


A recent survey of more than 43,000 Americans found, that 76 percent of people with a gambling addiction suffered from depression while 16 to 40 percent experienced lifetime anxiety. Also within the group, 24 percent had a 
lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder and 20 percent had symptoms of lifetime prevalence of ADHD.

Which occurs first?

The finding that many people with gambling addictions also have other mental health conditions has raised questions among healthcare professionals — which occurs first? Is it that pathological gambling occurs as a result of a person experiencing another condition and turning to gambling for an escape? Or, could a person suffer financial and relationship problems due to excessive gambling consequently developing depression?

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A recent study of 10,000 Americans found that gambling addiction occurred before the onset of another disorder 25 percent of the time while a gambling disorder occurred after another disorder was already present 75 percent of the time. Although further studies are needed to clearly determine the order between gambling addiction and co-occurring mental health illness, the connection between the two indicates that Dual Diagnosis treatment is one of the most effective approaches to recovery by treating addiction and mental health illnesses concurrently.

How does treatment work?


Dual Diagnosis treatment involves a combination of the most effective treatments for mental health illnesses and addiction. Where there once would have been a line drawn between mental health and addiction, these conditions are now treated as part of a continuum. With the recent rise in Dual Diagnosis treatment, healthcare professionals who work in addiction treatment can now undertake training and certification in the treatment of co-occurring mental health illnesses. Dedicated facilities are now also offering recovery services specializing in treatment for Dual Diagnosis people.

Treatments such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support for Dual Diagnosis patients with an addiction to gambling and mental health illnesses recognize and treat the person’s addictions and illnesses with a continuum focus, putting them in a better position to make a full and long lasting recovery.

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Helpful and Informative Resources:

An Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders, 2015, Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA), https://newsletter.samhsa.gov/2015/03/03/


Dual Diagnosis Treatment, 2017,
DualDiagnosos.org,
http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/dual-diagnosis-treatment/


Kessler RC, Hwang I, LaBrie R, et al. DSM-IV pathological gambling in the National Comorbidity 
Survey Replication. Psychol Med. 2008;38(9):1351–60.

Petry NM, Stinson FS, Grant BF. Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;66(5):564–74.


Recent Facts and Statistics on Dual Diagnosis, 2017,
Michael’s House, http://www.michaelshouse.com/dual-diagnosis/facts-statistics/


Roads to Recovery from Gambling Addiction, Volume 2, 2019,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/


What Clinicians need to know about Gambling Disorders, Volume 7, 2012,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/
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Nicola Smith's Profile Photo

About The Author:

With a keen interest in holistic health and wellness, Nicola Smith works with heart-centred female entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, providing copy that engages to help grow their businesses. Her goal is to help women increase their impact on the world, build the business of their dreams, and inspire others to simplify their lives, pack a suitcase and book a ticket to somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit or live. You can also follow her adventures and join her FB Group on Instagram @luggagelifestyle 

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed by Alek S.

Hello and Welcome Friends and New Visitors,

Many of my regular friends here know I am living with mental health challenges along with maintaining my recovery from addiction. Many suffer in a variety of ways and depression seems to be a popular disorder affecting more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Persistent depressive disorder, as I have, or PDD, (formerly called dysthymia) is a form of depression that usually continues for at least two years or longer according to “The Anxiety and Depression Association of America” Alek has written a great article for us to help those we know who suffer from depression. I hope it helps friends…
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“How to Help a Loved One When They’re Depressed”

It is incredibly difficult to watch someone you love go through depression. Depression is a disease that doesn’t operate within the normal bounds of reason. The chemical imbalances in the brain of a person who suffers from depression put them into a different mode of existence, where little things might seem like the end of the world, or it might be difficult to get excited about the big things, at all. Indeed there’s a reason that depression can be so closely linked to substance abuse. According to some studies, as many as half of the people with depression may also struggle with a substance abuse or addiction disorder at some point in their lives.

However, this doesn’t mean that a depressed person has to be resigned to living a life of sadness and repressed emotions. By using effective coping skills and learning to manage their mind, people all over the world live fulfilling lives, despite the effects of depression. Here are some key things that you can do to help a loved one who struggles with depression…


Don’t use shame to fight depression:

Shame is a tool that is too often utilized when it comes to our intercourse with mental illness. What makes this a real shame is that it doesn’t really work. You can’t shame someone into getting over the way that depression makes them feel. Phrases like “just be happy” don’t do anything to actually mitigate the effects of depression, which are caused by real and tangible chemical imbalances in the brain, and instead, work to make your loved one feel like they are understood, not more alienated. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work towards improving healthy habits that are able to help them cope with depression.

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Small acts of kindness go a long way:

We don’t need a big sweeping gesture that shows the people we love that we are willing to help in their struggle with depression. Instead, it’s important to remember that little acts of kindness can build up to make a person feel respected and appreciated. Don’t only offer these kind gestures towards your loved one, but encourage them to do the same for other people.
There are studies that show that small acts of kindness actually are able to increase the happiness of the person who carries them out.

Encourage professional help:

It can be hard for people to determine when depression requires the help of a professional. However, it’s important to realize that someone who is severely depressed will never seek the help of a professional themselves. That’s just the nature of the disease; when you’re in it, you can’t find hope that it will get better. Do whatever you can to urge your loved one to seek help, since you know that there are numerous ways today that we can help to manage the symptoms of depression.

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Don’t undermine their experiences

Even though the overwhelming feelings of a person with depression may be caused by the actual chemical effects of depression, rather than external factors, it is still important to understand that those feelings are still real, whether they are rational or not. Depression can be a part of a person’s existence, and even though it is important to learn coping skills to deal with the weight that depression can be on a person’s shoulders, it is also important to not undermine these experiences. Instead, just listen or give them their space. You don’t need to fix everything at every moment.

 

Encourage healthy habits

Because depression has to do with brain chemistry, it is very beneficial for a person with depression to be engaging in healthy behavior that improves brain balance, such as dieting, exercising, or eliminating the toxins in their body. This can be difficult since depression, by its very nature, can get in the way of doing important life things, including just eating at all. What you can do, as a person who loves them is encourage the healthy habits that are going to make them feel better, in the long run. While depression can undermine the desire to do such things, be persistent and know that it will help them.

Don’t expect quick fixes

If you are looking for a quick fix to get rid of the effects of depression, then you should probably hang up the cape right now and save yourself the time. Combatting depression takes time and is a battle of a bunch of little things, rather than any one big thing that gets rid of the entire problem.

Just be there

Sometimes, you don’t have to actually do anything. Feeling like you have to constantly be “fixing” this person because of their depression is just going to have the opposite effect that you want. Sometimes, just being there and not doing anything counterproductive is going to mean the world to them.

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“Presented by Recovery Starts Here!  ~ Author, Catherine Lyon” 


Flash Backs of My Past With Mental Health, Undiagnosed . . . .

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“Sometimes we have to look back and remember what life was like before being finally diagnosed with a mental and emotional illness.  It is at times still difficult for me to talk about. I was first diagnosed in 2002 while in a behavioral and addictions crisis center via the hospital after my first failed suicide attempt, which included my severe gambling addiction.”

I happen to be reading a recent article I am about to share with you from the fine folks of “Psych Central” that hit home for me. It took me back years growing up before I was diagnosed with several mental health challenges, but looking back I remembered so many times I could pick out during my life that should have been possible warning signs for my parents, and “red flags” for me as I moved into adulthood.

I remember times when I was little, and would throw these awful tantrums from what my mother told me years ago, but I remember the aftermath when my mom would lock me in my bedroom and  I would be lying on my tummy watching the footsteps pass back and forth my bedroom door. Or, when I rode in the car I would rock forward and back, and it would drive my dad nuts, so  he would yell at me to stop! I always seemed to have to be moving and going all the time. Bipolar Anxiety I believe is what I was suffering. All of it had gotten worse after I had been sexually abused as a little girl. Hell, a lot came from PTSD I also was suffering but didn’t know or understand until I was diagnosed and when it came back to haunt me in my 30’s. It is some of why I turned to gambling.

In my teens, I would have times where I would be way up, happy, and chatty constantly and then? I would be very low, quite, and then isolate in my bedroom which now I know was depression, and kept right into adulthood. So, again, most of the article made me think back to those many memories and made them clear as to what was then, going on.
Many of us who were born in the early 60’s, and grew up in this period our parents had no clue about a mental illness. They just thought we were being fussy or just a bad kid. And yes, you can have anxiety and depression together. It is just a matter of which will be prevalent from day to day.

We know more today than ever with research, studies, and even with medications to treat the vast amount disorders. It is why we are seeing the explosion of many people coming out and talking about mental illness.  I hope this article will help others have “self-awareness” and not be afraid to get help if you suffer from any mental and emotional health problems.  .  .  .  .   As I watch the Democratic Convention today, right now, the first issues speakers are talking about? More Funding for Addiction and Treatment, and now Mental Illness. This is what we need. The people in our elected offices and government act and fund these issues.      *Author,Catherine Townsend-Lyon*

BIPOLAR LENSES/By   on
PsychCentral

Explaining utter darkness to someone who has only lived in the sunlight would be a difficult task. They would have to believe you and trust in something they have never experienced. If you haven’t experienced the darkness, perhaps after reading this you can help someone out of it.

Mania

When my eyes open in the morning, my mind goes from slumber to 100 mph. “I don’t know why I haven’t thought that! I need a (brain singing the Three’s Company theme song) new car! If I sold my current car and (dang I need a burger) sold my Xbox and TV I could afford the down payment and if I sell those baseball cards in the attic I can still pay rent! Wow! I am so handsome today! I know that I flunked out of college, but I am smarter than 90 percent of people so does it really matter? I want donuts. What DVDs do I have that I can sell to afford them?”

Hours later:

“Why did I sell that stuff? My wife is going to be so upset and those donuts were not worth it. Maybe I can buy them back. I’ll just need to grab my wife’s card when she is napping. No, I can’t because that will cause (you will do it) problems (you will do it) and (you will do it) I don’t want….

Back at the store:
“Didn’t you sell us these today?” (They noticed! You are so stupid!)

“Yes… I didn’t really mean to (you know they think you are crazy, right?)

Drive home:
“How do I explain this? (Say you got her birthday gift and it was a surprise! Her birthday isn’t for months and you can make that money back to really buy something!)

At home:
“I am so sorry I took your card, sweetie. I know I said I wouldn’t. Well, no, I feel fine. It wasn’t mania. Whatever.”

At night:
“I can’t sleep.” (You need a new guitar.)
“I want to sleep.” (Your kids will never love you when they experience what you are)
“I have to try to sleep.” (Work in seven hours) (Work in six hours) (Work in five hours)

At work:
Exceed in everything and then some due to my insane level of energy.

At home again:
“Can’t sit still … need to go.” (You are a terrible father) I just need to run to the store (stay with your kids, they love you. Are you a bad person?)
Rinse and repeat for a few weeks, then…

The middle

I am me. The Caleb I was when most of my old friends met me. The Caleb that loves to write music and play basketball. The Caleb that knows this can’t last long and soaks up every moment he can. I love the middle.

Depression

As I wake up, I wish I hadn’t. Take a look at my work to-do list and experience a high level of anxiety. That mental voice is not so active, but neither is mine. I feel a cloud of doubt and dread follow me all day, turning into a thunderstorm when faced with human interaction or hard times. The cloud sucks the life and desire for anything out of me.

I feel the weight of all my bad choices compounded with the reality that I am a finite being who will likely be forgotten soon after I am gone. Nothing I have done makes a difference to anyone. Trying to match my manic or normal self while depressed is next to impossible. I do not want to be around anyone due to the anxiety that they realize how messed up I really am. I try not to leave the house for as long as I can and wear the same clothes for as many days as I can.

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I sometimes plan to take my life, but when I see my children and imagine what their future looks like without a dad I change my mind. This time.I am not suggesting that mistakes someone makes while manic or depressed don’t count. But I am hoping you can see how choices made in the extremes haunt the individual.

If a friend ever comments they are contemplating suicide, get them immediate help however you can. 1-800-273-8255 is the suicide prevention hotline and dialing 911 is an acceptable option as well. If your friend was having a heart attack there would be no hesitation. If they mention killing themselves, then I promise they have thought about it seriously.

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Even the best friend in the world is no substitute for therapy. There are medical professionals who dedicate their lives to helping the mentally ill and it will do much more than any amount of “being there” can.

Take off the logical glasses you see life through and put on your empathy lenses. We might try to take advantage of your kindness. We might seem like we don’t care that you care. We might make you think we don’t appreciate you. But we appreciate it more than you can imagine. .  .  .

“HEAR MY VOICE of MENTAL ILLNESS” 

An Important Blog Share From My Good Friends At NAMI, Helping Others With Mental Health & Suicide Prevention. . .

Hello Recovery Friends, Blog Friends, and Welcome New Visitors,

SuicidePrevention Pictures
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I happen to receive the monthly newsletter from my helpful friends at The National Alliance on Mental Illness. And as many of my friends here know, I battle several mental and emotional disorders myself. And for me the topic of Suicide is a hard subject for me because of my own 2 failed suicides. Yes, I’m blessed and have a heart filled of Gratitude to still be here, but the flip side to this is being able to feel others pain when I read about others and suicide.

To me it is such a senseless loss of precious life. We are all born with such great abilities to soar in life, but sadly the society we live in today can make that an everyday challenge. Even the high stress levels of many jobs can bare to much for some of us. That’s why it’s important to me to start sharing my own mental illness, to be share that part of my life, and to share with others so they don’t feel so alone. And NAMI does a wonderful job at sharing information about how to prevent suicide, as it can be a difficult subject to also talk to your teens about. So I wanted to share this blog article they have on their website. It just may help save lives. . . .

Suicide Prevention: Can We Talk?
By Jacqueline Feldman, M.D., NAMI Associate Medical Director

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Of all the topics in mental health, one of the most difficult to consider is suicide. People contemplating it often do not speak directly of it. Families are surprised, stunned, mortified, angry, and devastated in the face of it. Non-mental health professionals may feel uncomfortable asking about anything related to it.  And mental health professionals feel helpless, as we are terrible at discretely predicting and preventing it. There are tragedies, and there is fear; suicide is at the crossroads when these two meet. . .

As I review scientific articles, and program after program, the despair continues. In spite of more folks talking about it, more people training to identify it, and more programs put in place to prevent it, suicide continues.So what do we know? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24. More than 800,000 around the globe die each year; many more attempt it. The figures boggle the mind, and challenge us all: how can we possibly intervene?

Many of us know to watch for warning signs—a history of loss (social support, job, resources, health), prior attempts, family history, recent violence; changing appearance or behavior like plummeting grades or productivity, tearfulness, negativism, social isolation, drugs and alcohol); we’re not so good at communicating our concern or finding help.

Programs like Typical or Troubled from the American Psychiatric Foundation and QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) to name just two of the many that have been developed, frequently focus on training sentinels—folks in a position to observe people at risk—to heighten awareness of those with potential for suicide, and help find relief and support for the person in need. And yet, still we struggle.

On January 9, an article was published in Lancet looking at the results of 3 different kinds of suicide prevention training on over 11,000 students in Europe: QPR, where teachers act as sentinels; ProfScreen, where mental health professionals provide screening, and the Youth Aware of Mental Health Program, which trains the students themselves. This program used “lectures, role-playing, and education about mental health and suicide risk” with students. At 12 months, there was a significant reduction of suicide attempts, and of severe suicidal ideation, compared to the other control groups. It has been suggested that perhaps this program was more effective because it offers interventions “before there are outward signs of risk, and doesn’t stigmatize individual students.” It’s an interesting idea: going to the at-risk population itself, giving them the education, and empowering them to make different choices.

The CDC suggests the key to reducing suicides is to reduce risk and increase resilience. We cannot begin to reduce risk or abolish stigma or enhance resilience if we cannot even talk about the topic. We need a structured national conversation, an engaged public, an engaged media, engaged policy makers, and engaged legislators.

How about a president who starts by mentioning the “dignity and worth of every citizen… (including) Americans with mental illness” in his State of the Union speech? (He did, last week!) How about asking every pediatrician and every primary care doc and every pastor and preacher (heck, place signs in every bus stop, subway, and grocery store for that matter) to educate each family to store firearms locked and unloaded, with ammunition locked separately, if a household member is at high risk for suicide? How about widespread movements to have the public certified in suicide prevention like so many of us are certified in CPR? How about offering NAMI Ending the Silence to every 9th grader to let them know about the warning signs of a mental health condition and what they can do? The list is endless.

“I know we all care. I’m ready to start talking, and doing; how about you?”

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If you know someone who may need help? Please share this phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline:  1-800-273-8255  24/7 . . .
No Shame. . .  No Labels. . . Not Alone Anymore. . .  God Bless All!

Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author
http://www.amazon.com/Addicted-Dimes-Confessions-Liar-Cheat-ebook/dp/B00CSUJI3A

Yes, I’m Finally Back On The Internet! So How Was Your Recovery Summer? Mine Was Awesome!

Hello Recovery Friends & Welcome All,

 

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Recovery Is A Choice ~ And You Have To Want Your Life Back!

I’ve been off the grid for a week or so, as it was time for me to get out of the house and try some of the life skills I’ve learned to manage my disorder of agoraphobia, and getting a little taste of what the State of Arizona has to offer. I spent some wonderful days with my hubby as we went up North to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I thought “Gods” country was only in the State of Oregon, but I was so wrong! It was so beautiful at both places. We stopped in Prescott to see my husbands sister’s old house they had built, and had raised their kids in. She had passed away a year ago due to intentional drug suicide of her psych-meds. We are still in a bit of shock over this a year later, but it brought back special memories for my husband of her, and we miss her so very much.

So I thought I would share how my summer and early fall has been, and what all I have been up to. On the personal side, I have started the phase of my Bipolar and Depression meds being changed. I had another full physical, and my liver count and cholesterol was to high. My psychiatrist thinks I have been on a couple my bipolar meds for to long, as psych meds can contribute to this problem. It’s why they do blood tests on me every 6 months. See, it can be pretty challenging to have to deal with all this when living in recovery, and having mental/emotional health problems. If I was still gambling and drinking, I wouldn’t be in the frame of mind to care about my health over all. That’s another area addictions will take away from you.
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I’m also back in therapy for a while for some PTSD problems again. For some reason I’m having bad dreams again of my childhood abuse and trauma. I have been doing a lot of finishing touch’s on my next follow-up book from ~ “Addicted To Dimes” ( Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat ),  http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485/
So I’m wondering if it isn’t from that, as I have revisited some of my past hurt with writing my new book.
It’s why it is so important to have a well-balanced recovery to help you be strong over coming the rough spots of life, because for me, relapse is not an option, even though I will always be one bet away from devastation, recovery for me will be a life long journey. But I never thought I would not only get a second chance at life, but an even better life then before I became an addict!
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Now, about my work and recovery side of this past summer, it was  filled with some exciting new ‘Guest Recovery Author’ radio shows. The first was on CL Gammon’s ‘Blog Talk Radio’ show, http://clgammon.webs.com/  and my favorite radio show I’ve done a few months ago was on ‘Peoples Internet Radio’ ~ Cancel The Cabal, by host: Stephen Roberts.  It was a 2 hour live stream interview on several broadcasts. We had many listeners as far away as the UK, Scotland, and Ireland! We also ahd callers and people on Facebook & Twitter asking me questions about my book, my recovery, and more.
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Here is the ‘Podcast Link’ if you’d like to here the whole interview: Addicted to Dimes (Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat) Author Catherine Townsend Lyon  … Stephen and I talked about many aspects of gambling addiction, problem gambling, expansion of gambling Casinos and State Lotteries. From government making profits, to fill budget short falls, to how addicted gambling impacts our communities negatively. I shared a little of my book and story of how gambling addiction and alcohol abuse cost me way more than the money, it almost cost me my life! And I happily shot down all the myths of the detox and recovery treatment process one goes through when staring recovery. How to stay away from relapse, and much more! Those 2 hours just flew on by!
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Also this summer, I hosted my  recovery #Addictionchat I attend on Twitter 2 times this summer. Many of us in recovery, or work in the addiction and recovery fields come and talk about addiction and recovery from all types of addictions through our twitter accounts. It’s how we inform, educate, and raise awareness about all addictions.
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We decided not to take the summer off , and it was a lot of fun hosting. And yes, of course my topics were about problem and addicted gambling, and what helps me stay in recovery. So all my recovery friends & readers who visit are welcome to join us if your on Twitter. We meet every Wed night on for an hour-long Q & A session.
The times are 7 pm MST,  6pm PT, and  9pm ET …. It’s through Twitters TweetChat service link: http://tweetchat.com/ This is an easy live stream feed.
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Another important activity I continue is my recovery journey as a  ‘Guest Blogger’ at Addictionland. It was started by Founder & Author, Cate Stevens. And  her new book also has released, and is available on Amazon Books, Barnes & Nobel Books, and on her helpful recovery/addiction website. There are many well-known guest recovery bloggers who share their experiences, strength and hope.
You can visit both and subscribe to any blog that you find helpful. Here is my blog link there: http://www.addictionland.com/kitcatlyon/ Becoming a member is free too!.

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ABOUT CATE STEVEN’S BOOK:In this memoir, an upper middle class girl voted best looking and most likely to succeed develops and overcomes multiple, life threatening addictions. Addicts struggling to get help because of the stigma of addiction will connect to these powerful vignettes. Available Now!  Get the Book.  …
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Now my next project was very exciting, and an honor to be interviewed, and be included in as well. It’s a well written, well-rounded, and well researched article about problem and addicted gambling’s cost to our public heaths in our states, which became a major media release article from Columbia University, NYC. It was researched and written by: Elaine Meyer, of the Epidemiology Dept. of Public Health there at the University. There were many wonderful, important contributors that were interviewed by Elaine.

She not only shared part of my story in her article, but she also shared my direct book link to Amazon too! Among those interviewed and shared beside myself were,  Arnie & Sheila Wexler & Associates, Les Bernal of Stop Predatory Gambling, and many more. Arnie himself has been on many major news broadcasts like, 60 Minutes, ABC’s Nightline to names a few. It was picked up by many national newspapers as well. It’s a fascinating, in-depth look into the gambling industry.

The title and link: Gambling with America’s Health?  It looks at all angles of how problem & addicted gambling has on our public health systems, costs, negative impacts on our population and local communities, and how now it’s even ‘touching’ our High School & College young adults.
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AUTHOR BIO

Elaine Meyer

Elaine Meyer has worked as a journalist covering education and legal news. She graduated in 2009 with an M.S. from Columbia School of Journalism and is currently the associate director of communications for Columbia’s Department of Epidemiology, where she carries out the department’s mission of translating public health science to the larger public. Follow her on Twitter  @emeyer5 …

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Now my next fun project was just resent.  I was given an exciting opportunity to write for the fine folks at Florida Beach Rehab and Treatment Center. They have an In Depth section of many helpful articles to read, and how others come share their addiction and recovery stories to others who visit their site. Welcome to Florida Beach Rehab, an addiction treatment center: http://www.floridabeachrehab.com   It is a great place to get clean and sober. They have excellent service for those who have dual diagnosis like myself when I first sought treatment for gambling addiction and alcohol.

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They have asked if I’d like to write and share my story of addiction, dual diagnosis in both addictions and battle behavioral and mental/emotional illness. It can make recovery a wee bit harder to overcome addiction, but it’s one of the area’s the helpful folks here at Florida Beach Rehab can help you with.
My first article just so happens to be about this very topic; “How Behavioral Health Has Helped My Recovery” (the article link):
http://www.floridabeachrehab.com/how-behavioral-health-has-helped-my-recovery/
So I appreciated the invite to write and share my experiences with them on their website. Give them a call if you or a loved one needs help with addictions at: 1-877-593-5545, and they are located at: 4005 North Highway A1A  Hutchinson Island, Fort Pierce, FL  34949 … And you just never know? There just might be more articles to come.

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Also this past summer, I began to really open up more, and have embraced more about my mental/emotional health issues. I got the chance to meet more new friends in recovery, and other new friends who also suffer with mental and emotional health and disorders. I’ve also done more work with others who have been through childhood trauma and abuse like myself. There are many wonderful websites and support groups out there to help. But the stigma around all these important issues is still huge. But for me, it’s important to let others know they do have a voice, and they are not alone, just like those in recovery from addictions.

So that’s pretty much what I have been up to this past summer and early fall. With my next book offerings, I have book 2 completed, and almost ready for publishing. Here is a Sneak Peek as the title will be, … (drum roll), LOL.
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“I’m nobody, but I have something to say Damn It”!
(How to recover from gambling addiction, live with mental illness, and how to process childhood trauma).

Your thoughts on my book title?
My current book also has recieved more 5 Star Amazon Reviews to this summer.
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Lastly, I have started a new venture in Book & Social Media Promotions on my new WordPress blog: http://anAuthorandWriterinProgress.wordpress.com
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I offer affordable book and social media promoting services, and represent several fine authors. Come by and meet some pretty wonderful authors and their reads. I’m adding more interesting pages to this blog often. I even share my book reviews there too! So if you or someone you know has a book out, or one coming out soon? Please share my Lyon Book & Social Media Promotions blog, and have them check out my services page. I’ll make you and your book shine across the worldwide web.
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So now I have shared all my recovery news, author and writer goings on this past summer, early fall.
So, …  how about telling me about yours? What did you do this past summer?

 

Much Happiness & Blessings Friends,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485

 

 

Important Recovery After Thoughts From Actor, Robin Williams In His Own Past Haunting Words…

“Robin Williams, Actor & Comedian describes his lifelong struggle with addiction that today is a ‘Haunting Awareness’ he had about recovery from addictions.
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It’s a recovery legacy, an addiction awareness that he left for those of us who live life in recovery. Even though he lost HIS battles yesterday of addiction, recovery, and battle with mental health issues, he left this message, these past quotes for all of us to know, understand, and take to heart.
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When will this trend of suicides due to ‘Dual Diagnosis’ of addiction relapse & mental illness? It’s time to STOP the government CUTS to proper Mental/Emotional Health & Recovery Services from Addictions! There are thousands of us out here who are not famous, or have the money for these almost always very expensive recovery and mental health services and treatment centers. But even when you have the $$$$, like Mr. Williams, guess it really didn’t help him now did it?
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Snippets Of Mental Illness, Addiction & Recovery After Thoughts In His Own Words…
 

It’s not easy, and it’s a very POWERFUL example of the daily battles we can have, and even long-term recovery people can have a life threatening RELAPSE at anytime.
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“It waits,” he told “Good Morning America” in 2006. “It lays in wait for the time when you think, ‘It’s fine now, I’m OK.’ Then, the next thing you know, it’s not OK. Then you realize, ‘Where am I? I didn’t realize I was in Cleveland.”
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Williams, the comic whirlwind known for his hilarious stream-of-consciousness ramblings, was found dead Monday after the 63-year-old hung himself in his San Francisco Bay Area home in perhaps his final attempt to silence the demons that relentlessly targeted him.
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”Cocaine for me was a place to hide. Most people get hyper on coke. It slowed me down,” he told People in 1988.
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“The Belushi tragedy was frightening,” Williams told People. “His death scared a whole group of show-business people. It caused a big exodus from drugs. And for me, there was the baby coming. I knew I couldn’t be a father and live that sort of life.”
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“I was in a small town where it’s not the edge of the world, but you can see it from there, and then I thought: drinking. I just thought, ‘Hey, maybe drinking will help.’ Because I felt alone and afraid,” he told the newspaper. “And you think, oh, this will ease the fear. And it doesn’t.”
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“One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice —I call it the ‘lower power’ — goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m OK!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street.”
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“You know, I was shameful, and you do stuff that causes disgust, and that’s hard to recover from. You can say, ‘I forgive you’ and all that stuff, but it’s not the same as recovering FROM it.”
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“Just as the gay rights movement only gained momentum when individual men and women summoned the courage to “come out,” I believe it is time for those of us who have struggled with depression to stand up and be counted.To understand depression and to reduce its stigma, we need to pull back the veil to show its familiar face”. 
“So I am officially coming out of the closet”.

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*My own after thoughts? Robins Williams death makes me feel some FEAR if I’m open and honest here. Is this what I have to look forward to because I live my life in recovery and battle mental illness? I can’t help but wonder, and makes me a bit edgy.
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We can still learn a lot from a man who truly put into words his past battles with addiction, recovery, and severe depression. The answer to my question from my earlier post of the non-famous that passed away yesterday? The other nameless people who were NOT in the headlines, or made national news? HOW many nameless people die from mental/emotional illness’s & addictions by SUICIDE EVERYDAY? … Here is our ANSWER.
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SUICIDE:
Suicide (Latin suicidium, from sui caedere, “to kill oneself”) is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death. Suicide is often committed out of despair, the cause of which is frequently attributed to a mental disorder such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder,[1] alcoholism, or drug abuse.[2] Stress factors such as financial difficulties or troubles with interpersonal relationships often play a role. Efforts to prevent suicide include limiting access to firearms, treating mental illness and drug misuse, and improving economic development. Although crisis hotlines are common, there is little evidence for their effectiveness.
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  • Older age is associated with increased risk of suicide; people above the age of 65 are at the greatest risk for death by suicide.
    Approximately one million people commit suicide each year worldwide, that is about one death every 40 seconds or 3,000 per day. For each individual who takes his/her own life, at least 20 attempt to do so. Suicide has a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 people.

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“Just Recovery with a side of Mental and Emotional Illness Please”…

Hello Recovery Friends, Seekers, and New Visitors,

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I wanted to talk a little about “Dual Diagnosis,” and living life in recovery, and suffer with Mental/Emotional illness and disorders, which I am a person affected with these issues…

Two things happened yesterday to bring this topic to light for me. The first was this very topic was talked about last night on my Twitter Tweet-Chat, as was yesterday morning I got a call from my husband’s sister. She said she had bad news about my husband’s nephew Ricky. She had to talk him into checking himself into a mental crisis center via the ER. I guess he has battled severe depression for weeks and started to have thoughts of SUICIDE! So he did check himself in. See, he and his brother has had a really rough patch for the past 2 years. And, I’m now convinced my husband’s side of the family has problems with mental & emotional issues. Ricky and his brother only just lost their mom to “Intentional Suicide” drug overdose a year ago. She to was suffering mental illness, and started miss using her psych meds which then took all her meds and committed suicide.
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So both boys have tried to process all that, AND, they lost their father the year before that suddenly of a massive heart attack. So the family has battled, and were trying to process it all. All three have had past problems with Bipolar and Severe Depression problems for some time now before all of this tragedy. We as a family did all we could to help the boys mom, but it’s hard watching a grown person 24/7 when you also are working full-time. So as far as Ricky having these issues now, really it doesn’t surprise me. He has so much going for him too! He just got out of the Air Force, after serving 8 years, and got on with Boeing Corp., which he was so happy about.
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So it makes me sad to hear that now he is struggling. Many times we get so wrapped up in Life, that we lose our awareness of HOW we are feeling, especially if you have mental illness. I know I have done this myself from time to time. I to struggled with my mental and emotional disorders in early recovery from gambling addiction and alcohol abuse when I gambled. After my crisis center stay in 2002, which is when I was first diagnosed with Bipolar II with depression, and slight mania. And it’s really difficult working with behavioral professionals and doctors to get the proper meds for me, you at times feel like an experiment. Then, in 2006, I was back in a mental crisis center for the 2nd time, and not anything of gambling addiction. I had a total break down as 2 of my meds stopped working.

But I also made it worse by getting hooked on the thoughts of JUST WANTING TO BE NORMAL! So I stopped all my meds. Bad thing to do. I learned that lesson the HARD WAY. I attempted suicide for the 2nd time, and Thank the Lord I failed, or I wouldn’t be here right now sharing the importance of never screwing with your Psych Meds! I just had to come to acceptance that I have to treat my mental and emotional illness as if I was a diabetic, or have some other illness. I just kept asking GOD, “WHY ME? isn’t it bad enough that I have to live life in recovery, because I have no control over my obsessive nature & behavioral problems”? What the HELL is normal anyway? So I had to just accept what IS, and not get hung up on the Why’s? And I sure as HELL don’t let my mental & emotional limitations get in the way of what I love doing, and help others in recovery too.
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So Ricky is in the care of professionals, and is safe. He knows he has the families support. But I still worry. The whole family is still worried. And for myself, it is at times a battle when I feel I’m stuck in a bipolar cycle, and if your aware of how your feeling, you can detect a rough patch so we use our life skills we learn to help get us through those rough patch’s. For the person going through it like myself, we have to be diligent with taking our meds properly, eating healthy, read and learn about your specific illness and disorders. And never feel like you CAN’T ASK FOR HELP if your just not feeling right.
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I’m now going through a new phase of my own treatment of mental illness. Some of the psych meds we take can have other medical problems, and the one I’m having trouble with is my elevated blood pressure & cholesterol. So I’m going to have to change my meds again. But I will be doing so with the help of my primary doctor, and my psychiatrist. I have had blood work done, and a new brain MRI, and it’s amazing that they can show the colors of the scan, and places where you maybe having less, more, or none of depleted chemicals and area’s of the brain your having trouble with.
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Now my psychiatrist says, besides the Agoraphobia I have, which came as a side effect from my years of addicted gambling, I’ve had problems now with PTSD & bad dreams from my childhood trauma & sex abuse. So it’s that experiment phase again! And I’m not looking forward to it. BUT,….. I will do what I need to do to stay balanced and healthy, because I know what can happen when I DON’T! My faith & hope gets me through a lot.
So when I saw these quotes, I wanted to share them here with this blog post, as they have much truth to them.
I know my higher power is always on my side. It was HE who told me NO to  my suicide attempts. He has worked Miracles in my life! And he can work them in yours to if you only listen and feel them.
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Christian Today's photo.
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Helping Others is what helps keep me in Recovery!

We Are Humanity's photo.Narcotics Anonymous's photo.
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And yes, until you have experienced addiction, mental or emotional issues, many people don’t understand what we go through, what we face as daily challenges. It’s really time to speak-up and to speak-out about all these important issues. It’s why I write, blog, and share my own, so others who also suffer can know they are not alone, and that it is OK to talk about them. No one should feel shame because they suffer from mental/emotional illness or disorders. There is help available. Don’t wait until it’s to late, as suicide is NEVER an option. Not even to stop addiction. No matter where you have been, how far down that rabbit hole you may have fallen in, death is not the answer! It never should be! …
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USA (& Canada) National Council on Problem Gambling Helpline
24 hours, 7 days a week, confidential Problem Gambling Helpline: 1-800-522-4700
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National Suicide Prevention Hotline  1-800-273-8255  (24/7)
National Alliance On Mental Illness   1-800-950-6264 (M-F)
National Mental Hotline  1-800-662-4357 (24/7)
Disaster Distress Hotline  1-800-985-5990 (24/7)
Veterans Crisis Hotline  1-800-273-8255 (24/7)
National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7233 (24/7)
National Child Abuse Hotline  1-800-422-4453 (24/7)
National Elder Abuse Hotline  1-800-677-1116 (9am/8pm)
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God Bless All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon
http://www.amazon.com/dp/0984478485
 

 

“FEAR”….It’s In My Recovery, In My Mental Illness, And In My Past Pain Of Childhood Trauma”…

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends & Seekers,

 

What does fear mean to you?
Do you live with any type of fear?
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How can one word have so many different meanings? Even though FEAR happens to most people if we let it, fear comes in many different forms. Some fear we can control, but there is much about fear that we have no control over. Lets start with just the definition of FEAR:
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fear
fi(ə)r/
noun
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
    “drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder”
anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness.
informalthe creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach)
“he felt fear at entering the house”
informalhang-up
“she overcame her fears”
  • archaic
    a mixed feeling of dread and reverence.
    “the love and fear of God”
  • a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.
    “police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety”
verb
verb: fear; 3rd person present: fears; past tense: feared; past participle: feared; gerund or present participle: fearing
  1. 1.
    be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
    “he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death?”
    synonyms: be afraid of, be fearful of, be scared of, be apprehensive of, dread, live in fear of, be terrified of;

    be anxious about, worry about, feel apprehensive about
    “she feared her husband”
    have a phobia about, have a horror of, take fright at
    “he fears heights”
    • feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of.
      “I fear for the city with this madman let loose in it”
      synonyms: worry about, feel anxious about, feel concerned about, have anxieties about More

      “they feared for his health”
    • used to express regret or apology.
      “I’ll buy her book, though not, I fear, the hardback version”
    • archaic
      regard (God) with reverence and awe.
      synonyms: stand in awe of, revere, reverence, venerate, respect More

      “all who fear the Lord”
Origin
Old English fǣr ‘calamity, danger,’ fǣran ‘frighten,’ also ‘revere.’

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What stands out the most about the word fear is the words, scared, frightened, apprehensive.
See, I have many different types of fear I live and struggle with daily! Some comes from recovery, some come from my mental illness disorders, and even though I have 7yrs from the bet,  from gambling addiction, I still have a couple amends fears I still need to work through.
The biggest at the moment is the one with my own father.
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That’s a whole other blog post. I have guilt about this one amends as I’m now only 4 hours away from where my dad lives, as opposed to when I was still living in So. Oregon, which is an 11 1/2 hour drive. I have to get past the fear of my father turning me away if I was to go down and visit, and try to make an amends with him since it has been 9 years since he has spoken to me, and for a reason I have no clue of. So I guess in the back of my mind I feel that I wasn’t the one who stopped communicating with him, so why should I have to make the amends?

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But as we all know in recovery, we need to be the better person regardless, and I need to at least try. I know that. But knowing and doing are very two different things. The other huge fear I have in the amends department is the one to my Best Friend! I’ll call her Deb. What prompted this whole “Fear Thing” was, yesterday I found out my best friend Deb’s dad passed away on May 8th, last month. My heart fell into my stomach. Deb and her family moved next door to us in So. Calif. when we were 13 years old, her and I. We had done everything together. Sleep overs, school, dating, and more! We were like sisters. This month we actually would have been friends for 37 years! But because of my addiction, we became estranged. She went into AA, and I was still gambling my Ass Off! I didn’t try, or reach out for recovery from addicted gambling and alcohol abuse until a year and half later.
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But within that year and a half I had done some pretty bad things to her, again, another whole future blog post. But with her going to AA, I thought, “well she would understand some day how stupid I was within my addiction, and that I never meant to hurt her.” We had been friends to long for that. I also thought, “well, she is in AA so she will understand the whole forgive and amends thing right”?  WRONG! She also has the choice to not forgive and not be friends, which is what happened. SO,….. that’s another amends I need to get done. But that stupid, freaking, FEAR keeps holding me back!
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Or am I using it as an excuse because of fear of rejection, of being hurt myself? Then I have the fears that come along with my daily challenges of mental illness on top of the recovery fear challenges, and it all sometimes gets a bit overwhelming for me some days. So I’m currently working on my fears, dissociation, depression, and agoraphobia with panic with my mental health psychiatrist and councilor on life skills to help me through all this. I also was asked by them to journal at the end of each day the “thoughts” I tell myself of why I don’t follow through on the things I want to do outside my home, but my fear from the agoraphobia holds me hostage! I felt like telling my councilor, I don’t have a discussion going on in my head all day, or talk to myself! But he says I’m doing it in my conscience somewhere. What Ever….
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Here is what ‘Agoraphobia fear’ definition:

Breaking down the term agoraphobia gives us its literal definition.
A phobia is an intensely irrational fear. This meaning suggests that agoraphobia is an intense and abnormal fear of open or public places. But, this definition falls short in explaining the true meaning of this condition.
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For the agoraphobic, the fear is not necessarily associated with open spaces. The central feature of agoraphobia is intense fear (panic response) of being in certain situations in which escape is difficult or potentially embarrassing, or where help is not readily available. This may include many places that would not meet the definition of open spaces, including many confined spaces. Such situations may include leaving home alone, being home alone, traveling by car, train or bus, being in an elevator, being in a crowd, being in a large store or mall, being on a bridge or standing in a line.
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The fear associated with agoraphobia results in behavioral changes in order to avoid feared situations. An individual with agoraphobia may survey settings for escape routes and avoid situations where an exit is not easily available. This leads to avoidant behavior that may include only driving on certain roads, always sitting near the door in meeting or school settings, avoiding crowded places, or avoiding any place where it may be difficult to get to an exit. In extreme cases, the fear may become so consuming that the individual will not leave the house alone or becomes homebound altogether.
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Now there is more, but I don’t want to bore you death!…LOL. But the key word we see over and over is FEAR. So, am I doomed to never be a part of life, part of the living, enjoying all the outdoors has to offer me? At this point, I don’t know. I take each day as it comes. I do however, feel the trauma I endured as a child plays a big part in this big nasty mix of things. It definitely made it difficult for me to feel close to my father when I was younger, and into my teens. But I have had worked hard to get through all that, as it was/is part of my recovery work and therapy, what happened to me was not my father’s fault when I was a little girl. And it was not my fault either.
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I also think I had a set back from the quick and traumatic move that happened this pass Sept 2013, from having to make the choice for my hubby’s job to move from SO. Oregon to Glendale, AZ. I really don’t care for the desert, it’s why I moved from So. Calif. to SO. Oregon when I was only 25 years old. I wanted away from the heat, smog, and long drive for work. Our lives began there, my husband and I, and lived there for 26 years. I miss if very much. And don’t get me started about the whole move and drive for 2 days to get here. AWFUL!!
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I’ll close with an Inspirational Quote….
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Recovery has given me a life now with no regrets…. just a few things to do.
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Happiness & Blessings All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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