Recovery is Posssible, Don’t Give Up

Chronic illness, mental illness, an illness which endures is indescribable. It’s made up of pain which cannot be fully understood without actually experiencing it. People with illnesses and injuries, people like myself, aren’t placated into inaction. It’s not as if we don’t strive for the same things you do. It’s not as if we don’t want to excel. It’s that, to no fault of our own, one day we were thrust into a world inept to meet our challenges. This world wasn’t designed for us. The dreams we once had are dashed when we are told what we won’t ever be able to do again.

After my diagnosis of Schizophrenia, it was a death sentence. I’d never do anything worthwhile for the rest of my life. Called ‘profoundly disabled’. It was suggested that I live in a group home until I might end up in the hospital for a long-term stay. But almost four years later I’ve bought my own house and work part-time. I’m a student about to embark on a four-year program to a masters degree. I’m a published author and advocate for other people with psychotic disorders.

I’ve come so much further than any doctor would’ve dare predict. I am not afraid and in fact, I feel powerful. Like I have power over myself and a mind which doesn’t have my best interest at heart. Battles waged against ourselves are often the scariest. And certainly, they are the most difficult. But, when we face ourselves we experience a transformative journey. One which spurs us onward to wellness. That journey wasn’t easy for me and at times I lost myself. Those closest to me, those who were with me at my worst, know that at times I came close to losing the light. But I’m here now and ready to help those who find themselves on the edge like I once did. People with Schizophrenia are told there is no recovery. But I beg to differ. Hard work, harder work than you’ve ever done before, determination, and support dictates your own journey. Everybody’s recovery may look different in the end. But what’s most important is that you didn’t give up. Even when your symptoms were at their worst. And that you pushed yourself as hard as you possibly could.

The message here isn’t just, “don’t give up!” It’s, “recovery is possible, don’t lose hope.”

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Common Device May Lead to Inexpensive and Accessible Test for Schizophrenia

People with Schizophrenia may have reduced electrical activity in the retina. Doctors have now begun testing this theory and it’s proving to be true. The RETeval is a handheld device used to record electrical activity from the retina. When testing patients experiencing acute psychosis, as compared to those who are experiencing none, the RETeval is allowing doctors to diagnose Schizophrenia. A test like this, which is both non-invasive and fast, could lead to a quick method for diagnosing psychosis. Something so simple would also be more affordable and fast acting. Allowing those in the most critical care access to the benefits of early intervention.
And while biomarkers in the eyes is a new way to look at psychiatric disorders, it is a promising one. Many people who have Schizophrenia often face years of psychosis and profound disability before a diagnosis. And for some waiting years after the onset makes treatment difficult or even ineffective. More seriously, many people living with undiagnosed Schizophrenia will die by suicide. Schizophrenia is the second most deadly mental illness and has the highest rates of suicide. Nearly one in ten people diagnosed will die by suicide, more than that will attempt. You can see why early intervention is a critical factor in the life expectancy of some with this disease.
Though the RETeval isn’t going to become a diagnostic tool any time too soon. It does promise hope for an accessible, affordable, and quick solution to the current layover time from onset to diagnosis.

 

Docia L. Demmin, Quentin Davis, Matthew Roche, Steven M. Silverstein. Electroretinographic anomalies in schizophrenia.. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 2018; 127(4): DOI: 10.1037/abn0000347

Rutgers University. (2018, May 30). Promise of faster, more accessible schizophrenia diagnosis: Researchers explore eye function in schizophrenia as a window into the brain. Science Daily. Retrieved June 30, 2018 from:

wwww.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/180530113131.htm

A Plan For Daily Self-Care

Daily Carry(with chronic illness)

It’s Okay

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TOPIC: BREATHING EXERCISES

Lessons from DBT: Wise Mind and Mindfullness.

I’ve done two solid years of DBT, the acronym of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. And thanks to the groundbreaking work of Marsha M. Linehan, I’m here today. I can say, with utter truth, that DBT played a huge and integral part in my recovery, and has really shaped me into the person I am today. DBT took me from a place of impulsivity to one frequent peace with myself and my emotions. It wasn’t until after DBT that I began to apply a great deal of importance to inner peace. I want to share these things with people who may also benefit from them. With that said this is Lessons from DBT: Wise Mind and Mindfulness. 

Wise Mind is this beautiful intersection between Rational Mind and Emotional Mind. These two mind states can wreak havoc on your life in you exist too extremely in on or the other. For example, finding yourself only existing in Rational Mind, you might be cold, withdrawn, and lacking empathy. You could be slow to act and struggle to make decisions. While existing only in Emotional Mind you could find yourself acting emotionally impulsive. Jumping to conclusions and letting your emotions dictate your actions. You can see how an unbalanced life could quickly spiral out of control.

This is where Wise Mind comes in. Offering a way to draw from both mind states while not relying on one or the other too fiercely. When I started DBT I was trapped in Emotional Mind nearly all of the time. Acting on one impulsion and then another. Following my psychotic delusions to their end. And, ultimately, putting myself in danger.

I think Marsha Linehan put Wise Mind best when she says, “Wise Mind is like having a heart, everyone has one, whether they experience it or not.” I found, when learning about Wise Mind and becoming acquainted with it, it was best to start with breathing exercises. If you can imagine Wise Mind at the bottom of your stomach you can almost feel Wise Mind growing inside of you as you breathe. Sort of like the calm after the storm.

Try to recognize when your mind state is tipped in one direction or another. I great way to do this is practicing writing down what you are feeling when you are upset, feeling anxious, in crisis, or in my case, experiencing hallucinations. This way, once you have recognized your mind state Rational Mind or Emotional Mind, you will be able to take a step back and begin practicing breathing exercises. Imagining Wise Mind growing inside of your body and bringing with it a calm.

Try the 5-7-5 pattern (it’s a personal favorite). Which is inhaling on the 5, exhaling on the 7, and inhaling again on the 5. This exercise should be repeated for as long as you need it for and until you find yourself in a better place and you can think more clearly.

 

Looking for the origins of Schizophrenia

New study on human stem cells, chicken eggs and umbilical cord identifies substances produced by the brain that alter vascularization of patients’ nervous system.

Characterized by what doctors call positive and negative symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and confused thoughts, Schizophrenia is still difficult to treat and not very well understood. But a new study has found links in the way the vascular system develops during brain development and the consequent development of Schizophrenia later in life. Looking at the brains of deceased people with Schizophrenia, scientists have seen differences in the vascularization of tissue. And because the interaction between blood vessels and neurons is essential for the correct development of the brain, we can see how incorrect vascularization could affect brain development.

Scientists investigated the growth of stem cells from the skin of three patients with Schizophrenia and three without. And watching how the samples grew blood vessels and grew into neural cells, it was clear that the sample from Schizophrenic patients had an impaired ability to produce new blood vessels.

“To test the hypothesis that angiogenesis was compromised in the cells of patients with schizophrenia, a second experiment was performed. It consisted in exposing human umbilical cord epithelial cells to the substances produced by the nerve cells of the previous experiment. The same was done with chicken eggs, which served as in vivo model.

The umbilical cord epithelial cells have great capacity to form blood vessels, as well as the membrane just beneath the eggshell. Therefore, those were chosen to test whether the molecules produced by the neural stem cells of patients alter the angiogenic capacity of the cells. The results confirmed the results — substances produced by schizophrenia patients’ nerve cells can hold back the angiogenic capacity of the epithelial cells.

“Advances on this subject bring new perspectives for the treatment and diagnosis of schizophrenia,” Rehen says. Soon, he and his team plan to evaluate new biomarkers — that is, biological indicators, such as molecules that suggest the presence of the disease — that can identify the disorder regardless of symptoms. “This is a completely new approach on neuro-vascular mechanisms in mental disorders,” he concludes.”

D’Or Institute for Research and Education. (2018, February 22). Looking for the origins of schizophrenia: New study on human stem cells, chicken eggs and umbilical cord identifies substances produced by the brain that alter vascularization of patients’ nervous system.. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 2, 2018 from http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180222145045.htm