Tag Archives: depression

I Stand Corrected

I’ve been vocal in the past about alcohol and how it is a depressant – but I was apparently wrong about that. This study says that biochemically, a few drinks can act as well as rapid antidepressants (such as ketamine). An intoxicating level of alcohol turns GABA into a stimulator of neural activity as opposed to inhibitor, which is its normal role.

I just might start Day Drinking.

And after all the raving about Astaxanthin and Camp Hippo, wouldn’t you know, I completely and utterly FORGOT that I was doing this new regimen. I only remembered because Astaxanthin was in my tags. Completely went all the way out of my head. There must only be so much room in there.  (If you are wondering what the hell I’m talking about, click Camp Hippo in the tags)

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Kicking My Own Ass

I write about my mental illnesses here for a couple of different reasons. It’s cathartic, of course. It’s good to have the feeling (or illusion) of being “heard”. And I hope that people who have experienced similar things or suffer from similar maladies will feel a little less alone or fucked up because I have shared my experience. But I fail when it comes to being a resource for people.

I would like to be like Paul Gilmartin from the Mental Health Happy Hour podcast, who is profoundly supportive and offers people a forum in which to tell their stories. I would like to be like Rainn.org and psychcentral.com, offering assistance and resources. But I am like me, a fucked up person myself who is not very good at the moment at being what you might call a shoulder. I’m like me – a mentally ill person who struggles to get through each day and each night, in a degree of pain that does not allow me much patience, or knowledge of exactly how to help someone else in the pit of despair. In my better times, yeah, I could be helpful, I had the capacity and skill set. But now? I’m ashamed that I have so very little to give in that arena. It makes me feel like a bad person, when maybe I’m just a person that is, like other persons, imperfect, and not always able to do the things I wish I could.

I don’t have a proper or tidy way to end this post. This is just something I wanted to get off my chest, and now i have, aware that the world is unchanged by my solipsistic posts on my solipsistic blog.

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It’s All About the Dopamine, Baby

A new study by Neil Harrison and colleagues published in Biological Psychiatry suggests that a brain reward center, the striatum, may be directly affected by inflammation and that striatal change is related to the emergence of illness behaviors.

dopamine

Dopamine

It all comes down to the reward center and dopamine, always. Vindication once again. I have these hypotheses about things and then studies come out that validate them. It happens a lot. I told a doctor years ago I had an overactive limbic system and she scoffed. And of course now research has come out that bears out that hunch, that yeah, an overactive limbic system is a thing, your amygdala freaking out is definitely a thing.  Another doctor laughed when I said an fMRI would show important info about my mental illness – LAUGHED. And then of course it came out in studies that gee, fMRI is precisely the technology to use, they can see illness on an fMRI, a brain of a bipolar person is markedly, physically different in several ways than that of a “normal” person. Surprise surprise. I mean, really? Yes, of course it is. Because there’s this weird thing about mental illnesses, in that they originate in the organic brain. Not the mind, mind you. The brain, itself. As in, that grey and white thing in your noggin that inhabits the world of the physical. The meatball in meatspace. Because for all of our knowledge, some people still think that mental illness is a character flaw. And act accordingly towards those who have it. Philistines, I think they’re called.

Anyway. Normal. What a word. Normal is synonymous with average, incidentally. The norm, the average, it means the same thing, doesn’t it? Not to get into an etymological discussion, but seeing as how I do in fact have large amounts of inflammation in my blood (per my latest blood tests), more than likely due to the abscessed tooth at least in part, and from stress (which itself can cause inflammation, dontchaknow ), I am thus in possession of a deprived reward center – and my natural state is that of a deprived dopamine system anyway, so in short, besides being flat-line anhedonic, I am also a bit grouchy, so I think I can call this out, this so-called normalcy, and say, normal is that which does not stand out.  (Jeebus, that was all ONE SENTENCE. Talk about RUN-ON.)

Not that standing out is such a great thing. It can be an uncomfortable thing. And this is why my blog is called Everything I Say Is Wrong, Maybe. Because sometimes I have two contradictory thoughts at the same time that try to cancel each other out, and both seem equally valid, but I choose the one side, and then the other side comes up and says, Hey, you forgot something. You could be wr-wr-wr-wrong. Caveat, schmaveat. (Yiddish Latin is now also a thing.)

Well, whatever. The important thing here is not my blather, but rather, the reward system is hijacked by inflammation. Which is why chronic pain patients, for instance, have co-morbid depression in most cases. Inflammation leads to depression, says this study. Of course, there are many other roads to depression, which is so horribly named, because people mix it up with feeling “bummed out” over something situational, like “gee, I’m so depressed my team lost the game”, when that’s not actually the same thing. But calling it depression makes it easier to think it is, that people should just pull themselves up by their bootstraps, as the saying goes.

You assume I have boots, should be the standard reply to that. It’s like Marie Antoinette all over again. No, we don’t have cake. We don’t have boots. And we don’t have that convenient ivory tower, either. Yes, we have no bananas, we just are bananas. Pass the mucuna pruriens, please. Because the D2 receptor seems to have a lot to do with that. A tiny, microscopic thing could make you crash your car into a tree on purpose! Something that you need a microscope to look at rules my life! Isn’t that amazing? So a tiny microscopic organic thingy is responsible for whether you’re happy or sad or, like me, flat-line. Thanks, D2! Let me shower you with Abilify. But not too much – tardive dyskinesia is not our friend, after all. And myoclonic jerks are not my favorite thing.

Of course, there may be co-conspirators. Let’s not heap all the blame on D2, as there are other (named) dopamine receptors, and I will say publicly that I personally feel norepinephrine is involved in the avolition part – I’m saying there is a direct cause-effect to lack of norepinephrine and lack of motivation, even though most people count motivation as a dopamine thing. Personal experience and experimentation with my norepinephrine and dopamine levels tells me otherwise.

Yeah, shrinks just fucking love me. I go in and tell them, this is what I need.  Not, can you help me? They can’t help me. They can only provide a service that will make life a tolerable evil. Like the common cold, there is no cure for the sickness known as Time. But there are things that can relieve the symptoms, temporarily. Some better than others.

If you’ve made it this far through this rambling diatribe, I congratulate you. I admire your bravery and resolve. Now go do whatever you can to lower your levels of inflammation – anti-inflammatory diet is a good start, but watch out for those NSAIDs, they’ll kill your kidneys. (No one ever listens when I tell them that, and some people even get mad, like how dare I try to make sure they don’t die. So now I post unsolicited advice on my blog and if you want it you may have it, but if you don’t, luckily for you this blog post is over.)

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Perception vs Reality

By appearances it would seem I’m doing quite well – I’ve even received correspondence congratulating me for same – but the truth is, I am doing so far from well that the light from the planet Well would take several million light years to reach me. But you know, I do not know of anyone who has a Complaining Fetish, so I can’t really make a lot of Truthful Posts about the condition of my innards and outtards (yes, I just made that word up) and say honestly that hey, I am in severe pain, on an almost completely liquid diet now because of my teeth, I live in poverty, I have termites and black mold, no bed, really really need that dental work more and more by the day, live in abject fear they are going to raise my rent beyond my means and I will be homeless, and spend most of my days just trying to hang on to life by my fingernails mentally and physically, that I battle the living fuck out of mental illness and it battles me right back, I can’t really make every single post about all the nightmares and the new special nightmare meds I have to take that are supposed to knock out my REM sleep that I’m scared to take, or the flashbacks or the voices or any of that shit, or that I’m being sued by my mother’s mortgage company for a reverse mortgage I was not even involved in, because that’s not very sexy, is it?

But since this isn’t my “other blog”, the one that I run that helps me to stay afloat, again honestly here, and very barely, I might add – lest anyone think that is some sort of nest of abundance over there, it’s not, it’s a lot of effort for very very little return – I thought I would pony up with some reality today and speak the truth, the meaningless, meaningless truth. Lest I give the impression that I live in the lap of luxury or that I have it easy in some way.

Okay, no, wait. There is an easy part. Keeping honest here. The easy part about this, and i am grateful for this, I assure you, is that no one is actively beating me up right now. I am so grateful for that. For most of my life I did not have that assurance of safety. Safety is like what wash and fold is to Jerry Seinfeld – a delight. A delight and joy to sit here and not feel like any second I could get punched. I will say that. So okay, in that sense, I do have it easy. I have it easy as hell and I am so grateful. Of course, now that I realize the absence of an attack, I am uneasy and expectant of an attack. Nice trick, PTSD brain. Thanks for spoiling the moment. Things like that occur in my circuitry all day and prevent a lot of things from moving along in a timely reaction. Things like being grateful for something and then having the feeling of gratitude followed by some sort of abject panic or terror. My wiring is all fucked up.

And of course the fucked wiring and the living conditions do sadly go hand in hand. Crazy doesn’t get the deluxe apartment in the sky-high-high unless Crazy inherits it. And this Crazy did not inherit anything except a legacy of suffering, so… yeah.

And then there are the holidays in your face, and except for the chronically, demonically abusive persons I have disconnected from, who I am not actually related to anyway, I have no family at all. Zip zero nada.  World, Table for one.  So now my roommate and my buddy and my other buddy are my family. And of course my cats.

tina dancingSo, the point of all this twofold. The first fold of it:  just to be honest and real and say hey, this is what is true at this moment. And the second: In case you don’t have family, or your life isn’t freakin’ perfect either, maybe you will feel better about things now, because maybe you have a really nice bed and you’ll be like, hey, at least I’m not this sorry ass bitch sleeping on a futon! I have the best bed, I rule! And it might make you feel better? Or you might be, yeah, my brain does that shit too, the hell? And relating with someone else’s brain might be cool? There might be some positive that could come out of this, is what I am hoping.

Or, you know, someone could be a dick about it and send me playground taunts, YOU AIN’T GOT NO BED, BITCH! YOU AIN’T GOT NO BED, BITCH! and then I’ll cry myself to sleep in the middle of the day while half-watching something on a basic channel cause YOU AIN’T GOT NO CABLE, BITCH! YOU AIN’T GOT NO CABLE, BITCH! Because clearly, cable is the largest of my concerns.

Nah, nothing anyone can taunt me with will hurt me any more than my teeth hurt me. I know this for a fact. I also have confidence that no one reading this is a dick. I should have said that at the very first.

Anyway. The next post is going to go into Non-Complain mode and we shall continue from there. I may even endeavor to say something that is of some use to someone or something somewhere.

Note: When I did spell-check for this, spell-check recommended “POTSDAM” for PTSD. What the hell is a POTSDAM? Reminds me of pot stickers and the Hoover Dam. I’m simple like that.

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