Bipolar Disorder, Creativity and Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

Thursday, April 09, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

“Bipolar disorder isn't a death sentence, but it is a life sentence. How I do the time has changed.” ~Lance Burson, Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor

In the last post (here), I discussed bipolar disorder as an evolutionary system bent on survival, with periods of productivity interspersed between periods of depressed function as a way to reserve resources. With all these evolutionary links, and twisty interconnected brain wiring, it is no surprise that those who suffer from bipolar or related conditions tend to experience periods of creativity, either due to the wiring itself of due to a need to use creative process as an outlet. 

To drive this point home, I’ve invited one of the editors of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor to share her experiences with creative release and Bipolar Disorder. Then I am going to tell you more about this book because it’s a rarity that you find something that normalizes so many conditions in one place and everyone should read it....  continue reading

Rocking the Boat (and Everything Else): Stereotypic Movement Disorders, Autism, Triggers and Treatments

Thursday, April 02, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Stereotypic movement disorders or bodily focused repetitive movements (BFRM) are repetitive actions that may involve physical harm to the person doing them. In smaller children, these movements may be normal as they try to control very big feelings. But they can become problematic, especially in older children. While no specific cause has been found for some stereotypic movement disorders, they do tend to increase with stress, boredom and frustration. And there is a great deal of overlap between stereotypic movement disorders and impulse control disorders like excoriation (skin picking) and many specific behaviors can fall under both the impulse control umbrella and the movement disorder umbrella.

Stereotypic movement disorders are common in those with OCD, younger children, abused or neglected children, those with mental retardation and the autistic population. SMDs also tend to be present with stimulant drug use, such as amphetamines and cocaine, though whether you should walk up to a crack addict and yell, “Hey! That’s a stereotypic movement issue!” is a grey area. I’m going to go with, “Leave him alone,” but that’s me....  continue reading

Birthday Candles and Bullsh*t: Menopause, Depression, Anxiety and Grieving

Monday, March 30, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Nothing makes you want to say, “Fuck you,” to Mother Nature quite like menopause. 

From irregular periods to vaginal dryness to sleep issues to weight gain to hot flashes to thinning hair, to dry skin to a loss of breast fullness, it’s a bitchslap of epic proportions. There is also a loss of elasticity in the vagina which can lead to pain or bleeding during intercourse. As if we needed any more bullshit going on down there after pregnancy made our bladder leak every time we sneeze. 

Menopause can be caused by hormonal changes, hysterectomy (particularly of the ovaries were removed), chemotherapy, or ovarian insufficiency, a condition where your ovaries don’t produce enough reproductive hormones. Ovarian insufficiency can be related to genetic factors or environmental factors such as lack of proper nutrition and is more common in those with certain autoimmune diseases. 

But the changes are not all physical. There's shock, grief at aging, a sense of uselessness, depression and anxiety, insomnia and the list goes on. Let's check out why those things happen and some remedies that can help reduce the symptoms.

Fucking Mother Nature....  continue reading

10 Things I've Learned in the Year Since My Father's Death

Monday, March 23, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

A year ago, my father passed away. Massive coronary, completely unexpected, utterly devastating. I wrote about it in Grief From Love. The outpouring of support was humbling and I cannot thank you enough. But I also got many questions about it. Did it get better? How did things change? Today I will do my best to answer those questions but I may have done it even better in "Alien Landscape," a short story I wrote that used metaphor to explore my emotions. For more on "Alien Landscape," click here. Otherwise, read on....  continue reading

Learning Languages Will Turn You Into a Super-Human! Yoga for the Brain and Other Reasons Learning Languages is Good for You

Monday, March 16, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Ever wonder whether learning a new language is beneficial outside of being able to talk to new and interesting people? If so, I have a special treat for you. And if you want more information on the benefits and struggles of bilingual individuals, check out The Psycholinguistics of BilingualismBilingual: Life and RealityTongue-Tied: The Lives of Multilingual Children in Public Education and A Parents' and Teachers' Guide to Bilingualism (Parents' and Teachers' Guides).

By: Olga Mecking

Even before I became a linguist and had my own trilingual kids, I was a language geek. I speak five languages (Polish, German, English, French and Dutch) and use at least three of them in everyday conversation. 

Being bilingual is not uncommon in other parts of the world the way it is in America. Instead of languages, guns and bacon, I associate America with superheroes. And each of you people can become super human and have fun doing it.  All it takes is learning a language. I am going to go all nerdy and science-y on you, but stick with me to learn how new languages gives you super human powers. (Cue evil laugh)....  continue reading

Why I Cut: Triggers, Risk Factors and Coping with Self Harm

Thursday, March 05, 2015 by Meg   •   Filed under General

Self harm is a beast not easily overcome. While previous posts have discussed the evolutionary triggers to self harm and possible coping skills, sometimes hearing from those who have suffered is the best way to glean understanding. If you or someone you love is dealing with self harm, get professional help and check out some of my favorite books on the subject: Freedom from Selfharm: Overcoming Self-Injury with Skills from DBT and Other TreatmentsA Bright Red Scream: Self-Mutilation and the Language of PainHelping Teens Who Cut: Understanding and Ending Self-Injury and Cutting: Understanding and Overcoming Self-Mutilation.

By: Ashley

When you discuss your issues with self-harm, there are a few different responses.  Some will say nothing. People who love you might beg, lecture, or threaten you. But most people ask what I've come to call the "Frequently Asked Questions of Self Harm”: the who, what, when, where and most importantly... the WHY....  continue reading