Brains, and disorders, and me, oh my

Mental health disorders are a serious issue. They affect the bulk of my daily life. This list covers the mental health disorders I have along with their definitions. This is no yellow brick road – there is no man behind a curtain at the end who will “fix you.”

**If you have any mental health concerns, at all, please contact a medical professional, right away.

Item Description: This is an image from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website. It has The FREE Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and a list of suicide warning signs.
“Suicide is not a remedy.” James A. Garfield
Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) features a pattern of unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead you to do repetitive behaviors (compulsions). These obsessions and compulsions interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
You may try to ignore or stop your obsessions, but that only increases your distress and anxiety. Ultimately, you feel driven to perform compulsive acts to try to ease your stress. Despite efforts to ignore or get rid of bothersome thoughts or urges, they keep coming back. This leads to more ritualistic behavior — the vicious cycle of OCD.
OCD often centers around certain themes. Perhaps, a fear of contamination by germs. Thus, leading to compulsive hand washing until they become sore and chapped.
If you have OCD, you might be feeling ashamed and embarrassed about the condition, but treatment could be effective.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a week.
Although bipolar disorder is a disruptive, long-term condition, you can keep your moods in check by following a treatment plan. In many cases, bipolar disorder is controlled through psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and medication.

Item Description: The left side has a blurry pink hue which takes up most of the area. The bottom left corner and top center have a small area of a light brown blurry hue. On the right side of the photo appears to be a doctor. It's a picture from the neck to the chest of a person wearing a white button up shirt with a stethoscope around their neck. The chest piece has a white face with the word "Spirit" printed on it and the edges and tube are black. It is on the left side of the shirt. Below that is a pocket filled with pens attached by the pens' clips. Left to right there is a blue pen with a silver clip and clicker. Next is a white pen with light blue illegible writing on the clip and it is a capped pen. Next is a pen that has the color orange which runs from the back of the cap and the length of the clip. It is a capped pen and the cap below the orange is white. Next, there is a yellow pen with a silver clicker and a silver clip. Lastly, there is a large black cap with a black clip. Below the last two pens in the pocket, you can see the top part of some sort of patch. On the left side are the blue rubber tubes, silver metal tubes, and black ear plugs of the stethoscope.
“The problem with the stigma around mental health is really about the stories that we tell ourselves as a society. What is normal? That’s just a story that we tell ourselves.” Matthew Quick
Mood disorders defined

Often times, with mood disorders, the general emotional state or mood is distorted or inconsistent with your circumstances. Some examples of mood disorders include:

  • Major depressive disorder — prolonged and persistent periods of extreme sadness.
  • Bipolar disorder — also called manic depression or bipolar affective disorder. A depression that includes alternating times of extreme sadness (depression) and extreme happiness (mania).
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a form of depression. Seasonal affective disorder is most often associated with fewer hours of daylight in the far northern and southern latitudes. This occurs from late Fall to early Spring.
  • Cyclothymic disorder — a disorder that causes emotional ups and downs that are less extreme than bipolar disorder.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder — mood changes and irritability that occur during the premenstrual phase of a woman’s cycle. These go away with the onset of menses.
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) — a long-term (chronic) form of depression.
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder — a disorder of chronic, severe and persistent irritability in children. This often includes frequent temper outbursts that are inconsistent with the child’s developmental age.
  • Depression related to medical illness — a persistent depressed mood and a significant loss of pleasure in most or all activities. Often, directly related to the physical effects of another medical condition.

Psychological counseling (psychotherapy) and medication are generally successful treatments for mood disorders.

Anxiety

Experiencing occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. However, people with anxiety disorders frequently have intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations. These episodes could reach a peak within minutes (panic attacks).
These feelings of anxiety and panic interfere with daily activities and are difficult to control. They are out of proportion to the actual danger and can last a long time. You may avoid places or situations to prevent these feelings. Symptoms may start during childhood or the teen years and continue into adulthood.
Examples of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (social phobia), specific phobias, and separation anxiety disorder. You can have more than one anxiety disorder. Sometimes anxiety results from a medical condition that needs treatment.
Whatever form of anxiety you have, treatment can help.

Generalized anxiety disorder

It is normal to feel anxious from time to time, especially if your life is stressful. However, excessive ongoing anxiety and worry, which interferes with day-to-day activities, is more of a concern.  Indeed, this is a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.
It is possible to develop generalized anxiety disorder as a child or an adult. Generalized anxiety disorder has symptoms that are similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety. However, they are all different conditions.
Living with generalized anxiety disorder can be a long-term challenge. In many cases, it occurs along with other anxiety or mood disorders. In most cases, generalized anxiety disorder improves with medications or talk therapy (psychotherapy). Making lifestyle changes, learning coping skills, and using relaxation techniques also can help.

Social anxiety disorder

It is normal to feel nervous in some social situations. For example, going on a date or giving a presentation may cause that feeling of butterflies in your stomach. Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, cause significant fears in everyday situations. You might fear, for example, self-consciousness, anxiety, embarrassment, scrutiny or judgment by others.
Social anxiety disorder is a chronic mental health condition. Treatment such as psychological counseling, medication, and learning coping skills can help you gain confidence. These treatments could improve your ability to interact with others.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition. This disorder is triggered by either experiencing or witnessing, a terrifying event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.
Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while. They do not have PTSD and with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms worsen or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.
Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reducing symptoms and improving function.

Borderline personality disorder

BPD is a mental health disorder that impacts your thoughts and feelings about yourself and others. This may cause problems functioning in everyday life. It includes a pattern of unstable intense relationships, distorted self-image, extreme emotions, and impulsiveness.

With BPD, you have an intense fear of abandonment or instability, and you may have difficulty tolerating being alone. Inappropriate anger, impulsiveness, and frequent mood swings may push others away. When, in reality, you want to have loving and lasting relationships.

Borderline personality disorder usually begins by early adulthood. The condition seems to be worse in young adulthood and may gradually get better with age.

If a medical professional has diagnosed you with a mental illness there is no need to be discouraged. Many people mental illnesses get better over time with treatment and can learn to live satisfying lives.

Bonny J