Category Archives: Changes

The Sofa, My Best Friend

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Since turning 55, I not only feel mentally challenged but I am definitely physically challenged, as well. The mental part is having to deal with being halfway to 60! I can hardly believe that. I also deal with Bipolar but I’m medicated and it’s not much of a problem until something in life goes wrong. Then, I go from “normal” to deep depression in about sixty seconds.

The sofa became my best friend a few months ago when I began feeling marked fatigue and apathy because of it. I take meds for the Bipolar and for blood pressure and for insomnia. I take vitamins and iron (I’ve been anemic, too). It’s getting old.

It’s like turning 55 turned my health upside down in a way. I have “female issues” to deal with that will likely have me in the doctor’s office often over the next few months. Again, It’s getting old.

My sofa is soft and leather. It’s a comforting dark brown and sinks when I lay in it. It’s a place I can hang out in without being in bed. I know my poor husband is tired of seeing me like this but it’s “supposed” to be over soon. We’ll see. I doubt anything that promises happiness these days. I can’t quite achieve that level of mood.

I write this not to bring my readers down but to show you that you are very blessed if you are healthy. My husband has things worse than I do. He fights MS every day. Pain, aches, burning nerve endings, fatigue, and he takes lots of meds.

I really do need to stop griping and get my behind off of this sofa and into a project – like de-cluttering the office. But, as I type, I’m on my tummy on my sofa – my best friend. The one who cradles me and tells me I can take refuge in him for this short while in my life.

I think when I finish blogging, I’ll mosey into the office and see about donating some of my many books to a thrift store.

I wish you all blessings of health and happiness! I’d appreciate your prayers, too.

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Emotional Detachment Can be Good for You

Time away to process her thoughts

 

(By Esther Neptune on keen.com)

 

Valentine’s season is right around the corner!  Every year, I listen to friends describe the hopes, dreams and expectations they have for this wonderful month of love. But what happens if those expectations are unmet?  How do you deal with the negative emotions that result?

Learning how to detach from your emotions, and look at them under the microscope, can help maintain your love for self in the wake of disappointment.  This can apply to situations outside of our love lives as well.

What is Detachment?

The Oxford Dictionary defines detachment as “a state of being objective or aloof.” Objectivity calls us to think outside the box of emotions and consider life as it is, rather than how we would want it to be. Aloofness is a state of tuning out emotionally and is more avoidant than objectivity.

When is Attachment Unhealthy?

We are all attached to people, places, goals, ambitions and statuses in our lives. To some degree, this is normal and healthy. It becomes unhealthy when potential loss creates negative emotions that interfere with our daily lives.

For example, let’s say you went out on a date and got to know a very interesting person. You exchange thoughtful conversation and have a great deal in common. You haven’t felt this connected to anyone in years!

After the date, you don’t hear from the person for three days. You are frantic, anxious, and obsessed with when you may hear from him next. Relief hits when you hear back. However, the cycle has potential to start over again if those fears aren’t addressed.

 

How Do I Know if I’m Too Attached?

Let’s start first by examining what happens in normal attachments. When you care about someone, it’s healthy to wonder from time to time how they are doing. It is also healthy to send out intentions to the Universe on their behalf for their well-being.

Excessive attachment is when a person, status, or goal becomes your entire reason for being. These issues may be rooted in childhood. For example, a young lady struggling to win approval in her career as an adult have been chided by her parents for not bringing home a report card with straight A’s. Feeling the failure of this disappointment, she continues to beat up on herself, which further depletes her energy.

How Do I Practice Detachment?

  1. Take Inventory

The first step is to do an inventory of people, places, and things in one’s life that may have become all-consuming. Try to be as candid and honest with yourself as possible while making this list. Remember that you can’t change what you don’t bring to light with yourself.

  1. Analyze Your Attachment Patterns

After taking inventory, analyze the patterns of who and what you attach most to. Are the people in your life that you gravitate towards those you can “rescue” or “save?” Or are you repeatedly drawn to emotionally unavailable people? Are the jobs, goals and careers you pursue either too easy or too difficult?

  1. Ground Yourself

Develop a relationship with a Higher Power of your own understanding. This can go outside the boundaries of religious tradition. When a person makes this decision, it lessens the degree of unhealthy attachment.

  1. Be Inspired by Everyday Life

Take a walk. Go shopping. Go out to eat and mingle with the wait staff. The bottom line is to make sure you’re doing something daily that breaks the mold of your routine. Choose to incorporate activities that don’t hinge on expectations of anyone else. Embrace the uncertainty rather than hold onto the “certain,” because life is never certain!

  1. Practice Daily Self-Love Rituals

Remember that if you choose to love yourself first, healthy attachments with others will naturally follow. Choose to do one loving, positive thing for yourself daily.  Get a massage, take an Epsom salt bath, exercise, eat well!

Motion Creates More Motion. My Weight Loss Strategy.

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Here I am on New Year’s Eve. I visited with friends and learned a line dance called Rockin Cha. It would have been much more fun had my hips not been hurting from the activity. I’m in bad shape . . . like, having had zero exercise in a long time. So, any form of exertion really gets me winded and hurting. I hate this about myself. I’m glad I’m changing it!

I’ve realized something else; as long as I am inactive, I don’t have any motivation to “do” anything, much less move for an extended length of time. I’ve started using one spurt of energy to just stand up and stretch. Then, once I’m up, I focus on the reason I am making this life change. I want to be less limited in my every day life. I want to fit into restaurant booths again. I’d like to go to the movies and not have to hold my arms on my chest so I don’t take up mine AND my neighbor’s spaces on the arm rests. I don’t want my pre-diabetes to become diabetes. I have many, many reasons I want to get healthy). ANYway, while I stretch, I take deep breaths and keep my mind on what my plan is. The plan that will get me where I need and want to be, health wise. I don’t whine about it, I just walk to the elliptical machine – sometimes I’m even barefoot – and slip my earbuds into my phone an let the iTunes begin. I step on the machine and push Start. I go for at least ten minutes but aim for even one more minute than I did the day before (IF I exercised then). Once I’m in motion, I feel full of oxygen and enjoy the music. I feel productive and proud of myself.

So, my dear friends, it’s about making that first move UP and off the couch!

When I get on my elliptical machine, which is my favorite form of exercise, I have no stamina. I only last ten minutes! There was a time I spent an hour on that machine. I get frustrated easily but I know it”s normal and to be expected for the level of fitness at which I’m starting out. I try to give myself a break as I would for anyone else. I have a cute exercise shirt I’m dying to wear but it’s just too small  (it’s a small-fitting 2x) 😦  Fitting into that shirt is one of my beginning goals. See it below:

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I wonder if you have noticed that I haven’t told you my actual weight. I’m being honest with you guys but I can’t bring myself to quote how large I’ve gotten. One day soon, I will have the strength to share that number with you. I’m 5’2, so even a little weight feels like a lot but as I’ve said, I have 120 lbs to lose! I chose the Weight Watchers Online eating plan to help me control the quantity and quality of foods I eat.

I hope to be a contact of sorts with other women or men in cyber land – to show you it CAN be done. You have heard it many times before but I mean to show you – If I can do this, so can you!

Join me if you need to lose some significant weight. Let’s do this together. Feel free to comment and let me know what’s on your mind or what subject you might like me to cover here.

I’m off to grab some lunch. Tuna with crunchy veggies sounds good. Y’all have a great day! Lea

New Year Changes and Your Frame of Mind While Doing Them

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Hello, friends! That’s me at Halloween. I post this picture because it’s whimsical and fun. It made me think of my weight loss journey. I’m making changes to my whole life by just changing the way I eat and think of the fuel going into my body.

I may as well enjoy this path because there is no real END to it. I will always have to watch my weight. I’m a 5’2 Cajun woman with curves everywhere; I doubt I will magically transform with a string bean body.

I like to listen to Tony Robbins. In one of his YouTube videos, he says, “We live who we believe we are.” In other words, my body shows my inner standards about who I believe I am. In addition, my actions make my results.

Another interesting thought is this:  Skill comes from repetition.

Whatever I think of myself and whatever I DO each day, becomes “me.”

You may have heard this before. If so, let’s make changes together. I’m losing fat and getting my body in healthy condition. What do you need to change? Surely you have a negative trait or lazy habit you’d like to get rid of.

If I am excited and inspired enough, I will keep my eyes on my goal and behave in a way that will help me get there. Yes, there will be numerous set-backs and oops moments. I had one late last night – my FIRST stupid night on this new plan. But I’m back today, staying on the road to my goal.

Here is what yesterday’s dinner looked like. It was grilled rainbow trout with lemon pepper, turnip greens, and a kale salad. We went to Cracker Barrel. I stayed on plan and had a delish dinner!

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I’m trying to stay in the zone of “this is a long haul but I WILL make changes!”

Here I am on New Year’s Eve. Partying my fat butt off with friends. I learned a line dance called Rockin’ Cha and was sore all day yesterday. LOL!

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Let’s figure out who we want to be and then aim that direction!

My mantra today is ” I choose myself.”

Love y’all, — Lea

My Big Fat Cajun Life. My Journey With Obesity and How I’m Losing Weight

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That’s me. I look like I have “attitude,” don’t I? Well, sometimes I do. I need to lose 120 lbs, and that affects my whole life. I’ve started a major life-change diet today. I am using the Weight Watchers plan to “get er done.” I intend to exercise daily and lose approximately 2-5 lbs a week.

I thought I’d take my readers/subscribers on my journey. Hopefully, if you need to make a big change in your life, you might find motivation, encouragement, and acceptance here.

I had scrambled eggs and half a banana for breakfast. Here I go . . . Come with!

Lea

 

Is it Depression or Bipolar?

 

Bipolar-disorder

Thanks to Kitt O’Malley, who posted this before me. And thanks to Michael Pipich for the wonderful information.

Are You Just Depressed or Is It the Onset of Bipolar Disorder?

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT

About two-thirds of people with bipolar disorder are misdiagnosed with other mental health problems before bipolar is discovered.[1] Among those individuals, a significant majority are given a diagnosis of major depression. Most people with a major depressive disorder that is unrelated to bipolar disorder (typically known as non-bipolar depression or unipolar depression) can be treated safely and effectively with a combination of antidepressant medications and psychotherapy. But when people with undetected bipolar are treated this way, a host of mental health problems can occur, making the underlying bipolar condition much worse.

It’s understandable that someone may not immediately be given the bipolar diagnosis if their first mood swing begins in a depression mood zone. This seems particularly true of people who have bipolar II disorder. And sometimes, there may be more than one depressive episode before a manic or hypomanic episode happens in a person with bipolar.

If you’re wondering about whether you may have depression or the beginning of bipolar, there are some keys to keep in mind when seeking treatment.

First of all, when assessing if your depression is a part of bipolar, know that bipolar disorder has distinct genetic foundations. In other words, it runs in families and is passed through family genes. So if you suspect that any family members may have had bipolar disorder, it’s important to inform your doctor or therapist when entering treatment. If the information is available, a thorough family mental health history can really support a proper bipolar diagnosis. Unfortunately, such information isn’t always asked for, so be prepared to volunteer all that you know during an evaluation or treatment session.

Next, your personal history of mood swings should be explored. If you’ve had severe ups and downs during childhood or adolescence, these may be more than the common tumult of growing up. They may instead be early expressions of bipolar disorder. It’s especially important to review periods of hyperactivity, bouts of unexplained rage, self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or actions that could have occurred at any time in life. There certainly may be other explanations for these, such as early life trauma or severe loss and grief experienced during these formative years. But if explosive behaviors or deep depression occurred at different times, especially with little or no provocation, it can point to underlying bipolar disorder.

Usually, most people with bipolar who seek treatment on their own are currently or recently depressed, or are experiencing consequences of untreated bipolar disorder. Any history of mania or hypomania is less obvious, however. And often, bipolar patients will either not understand manic symptoms or will avoid discussion about them. If you have had at least one occurrence in your life of intense euphoria, excitability, unexplained energy and creativity, avoidance of sleep, or impulsive behaviors, inform your treatment professional. But also bear in mind that mania and hypomania may be marked by intense periods of irritability and agitation, know as dysphoria. This is in contrast to the euphoria that most people think about with bipolar mania. Often a dysphoric type of manic or hypomanic episode can be mistaken for the kind of agitation seen in major depression. This can mislead the course of treatment to focus only on depression, while missing the full bipolar condition.

This brings us to the most important part of knowing whether you have depression or bipolar onset. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition), if a patient is given an antidepressant medication, and it produces manic symptoms, the person is then diagnosed with bipolar disorder.[2] While this is a very clear indication of bipolar, how the mania surfaces in the individual may take different forms. For example, a person in a depression mood zone can improve early in the treatment, and as a result, may not show manic symptoms right away. Any slight improvement may provide a hopeful sign that treatment is working, but when the person starts to get worse because of emerging mania—especially if it’s dysphoric—the unwitting response may be to apply more antidepressant medication. Now we have some real problems.

So, if at some point in your treatment, an antidepressant medication makes you feel more agitated, more irritable, more aggressive, or you start to experience hyperactivity or greater impulsivity, tell your treatment professional right away. This could be the start of a manic episode that is revealing a previously undiagnosed bipolar disorder. Even more importantly, any increase in suicidal thoughts or possible psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, should be reported immediately, as these can be life-threatening. Any antidepressants will either likely be eliminated at this point, or possibly paired with a mood stabilizing or antipsychotic drug to keep a lid on mania.

With bipolar finally recognized, bipolar medications can be introduced to decrease manic-type symptoms, while keeping depression in check. Alongside medications, it’s important to have therapy focus on the unique challenges facing people with bipolar disorder. Major depression is frequently considered an acute condition because it often can resolve in time, so medications may be discontinued at some point, along with a shorter overall approach to therapy. But bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition. Even though its symptoms can come and go in episodes, the genetic nature of the condition means the bipolar patient will need continuing care through the lifespan.


[1] Hirschfeld R. M., Lewis, L., & Vornik, L. A. (2003). Perceptions and impact of bipolar disorder: How far have we really come? Results of the National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association 200 survey of individuals with bipolar disorder. Journal of Clinical Psychiatry64(2), 161–174.

[2] American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author, 128-130.


 

Michael G. Pipich, MS, LMFT is a psychotherapist and author of Owning Bipolar: How Patients and Families Can Take Control of Bipolar Disorder, (Citadel Press, Sept 2018). He practices in Denver, Colorado, and can be reached at MichaelPipich.com.

Press Contact: Janet Appel Public Relations
205 West 54 Street, New York, New York 10019
212-258-2413

Carb-Sensitive? Want a Low Carb Diet?

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The above photo shows what many, many health professionals still believe should be a staple of our diets for breakfast, lunch, dinner, even snacks. Have you taken a look at the Food Guide Pyramid lately?

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Please don’t take this guide seriously. I’m living proof that this way of eating is NOT healthful for every adult. Too many carbs. They are telling us that they majority of our eating should contain carbohydrates. After decades of fighting my overweight body (yet using doctor-recommended and professionally recognized “well rounded” diets), I figured out why I didn’t feel well most of the time and why I couldn’t maintain weight loss.

I tried a very low carbohydrate way of eating. I felt 75% better after just the first day!

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I have several low carb eating plans but stayed with Atkins because it was more familiar and because I needed the structure of their Induction phase. I used to think that the more variety I was given, the better I could work the diet. Not so this go round. I went a different route, and it’s working well. After reading much research on carbohydrates, I realized I was likely carb-sensitive. Another phrase that stuck with me was Insulin Resistance.

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What is carb sensitivity? It’s How your body processes sugars and starchesSome of us can down a pint of ice cream and not be affected. Others, like me, can eat a half a cup and stall their weight maintenance. I know, it’s not fair but that’s life. All bodies are not created equally. “Carbohydrate-sensitive people have exaggerated responses to sugars and starches that set the stage for increased appetite, carbohydrate cravings, and very efficient fat storage (Georgia Ede, MD).”

Try a low carb diet and see if it helps you lose unwanted pounds. Fat pounds, not lean muscle. Look up Atkins Diet or the Keto Diet and see if they’re for you. I’m glad I did!

The difference between Atkins and Keto Diets

Good luck on your journey, and enjoy the natural foods you eat.

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Step-Families – How to Deal . . .

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I’m hoping this quote is true in my case of dealing with my step-family.

Who is this Jean De La Breyere who wrote the quote anyway? It seems he was a 1600s French philosopher and moralist who was noted for his satire. So, does that make this quote some tongue-in-cheek advice? Nah, I know better. I’ve lived through difficulties that did cause amazing things to manifest.

Anyone have advice on tactfully dealing with an adult step-child who can’t get her life together? She always needs financial help, won’t work outside the home, and has divorced twice in a decade? I love this young woman. She is generous, loving, and has a wonderful sense of humor. She would give you the shirt off of her back, wake at 3 a.m. to help a friend in need, or hold your hand at a scary doctor visit. So, I’m completely confused as to what my role is in this situation.

I’ve decided to follow my mom’s and dad’s advice and step back, hush, and let my wise husband deal with his daughter during this time of her second divorce from a man who is abusive emotionally (and could be physically, if he’s been drinking). I won’t resent my husband or his decisions because that is his child. I have two grown kids of my own. How would I feel if one of them got himself or herself into that type of trouble?

Yeah, I know.

Step-parenting is hard and full of gray areas. When in doubt, I’m going to trust my intelligent and loving husband’s choices because he is smart enough to know how much is too much, I trust.

I have many readers of this blog; might you share your ways of dealing with blended families? I’d love to hear them. Comments must be approved before appearing on this post, so if you tell me you’d rather keep yours private, will do!

Thanks, and best of luck in all of our blended families. Love you guys!

rosie

Bipolar Mixed Episode . . . The Next Morning

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The hours after a Bipolar Mixed Episode are like watching a scary movie. I keep my hands over my eyes and peek through my fingers. What unintentional damage did I do this time? Who did I reach out to and spill my (very personal) guts to? How many mean and demeaning things did I say to my husband? Did others notice my expression and down-turned eyes when I had to leave the dinner we were attending? If it hits me while I’m in public, I have to find a way out of the people because my mood definitely shows in my face. No playing “just fine” at these times. Many times, I’ll blog. Writing has always been my outlet. Even as a ten year old, I wrote “escape” poetry. I finally took you guys along with me last night during an episode (you lucky people). 😉  Well, today is a new day, and I broke the mood cycle with sleep. Life still isn’t perfect but at least I can deal with things differently today.

Bless you, my readers and subscribers. Have an awesome day ~

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