Monday, November 22, 2010
I informed my readers in my previous blog about the exciting contest pepsi is running, and I’m not the only one who is zealously advocating this. There are many other people in the bipolar community who have shown their support by voting everyday, and even getting other people to vote too. Their help has gained us much support. I know it has been a long month, and you may be starting to lose some of your zeal. However it is more important now than ever that you continue to vote, and spread the word. The end of the month and contest is fast approaching. Now is the time for all of us to band together and take a stand for what is right. Because winning this contest is something that is right. It is something that needs to be done, and it is something all of us should be cheering and voting for! (Insert crowd standing up and applauding here) For more information visit www.bpkids.org/pepsi To remember to vote just think there's no place like voting, there's no place like voting, there's no place like voting, and we'll win!
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pepsi Refresh is running a contest for great ideas. The cause with the most votes gets 250,000 in funding money. I’m asking you to vote for my favorite cause the Child & Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. All you have to do is vote every day through the end of November. You can vote three ways every day. (Just remember Lays Potato chips and think “can’t vote just once”) You can text your vote by texting Pepsi at (73774) with the voting number (104174) once a day. You can also vote on facebook. All you have to do is go to http://tiny.cc/votecabf and click the button that says vote. The last way you can vote is online at Pepsi website just go to http://pep.si/votecabf. CABF is an excellent organization that has helped countless people by educating and supporting families and teens with bipolar disorder. If that’s not enough of a motivator, if you sign up for their daily email reminder you are put in a drawing for a free iPad if CABF wins (Insert crowd screaming with excitement here). With your help this foundation will win and continue their much needed work.
I know some of you reading this are bored and uninterested and probably thinking, “So what big deal,” (Hopefully not by my blog writing because that would kill my ego) but there are a lot of reasons to be supporting this cause. I know what you’re thinking and CABF isn’t just another organization wanting money. It is an organization that has helped raise awareness of teenage bipolar disorder, and helped teens like you and me get the help they need. (In my opinion that alone should be enough to give a standing ovation). We should all be interested and even dedicated to this organization no matter if it’s you, your friend, or family member that has Bipolar Disorder, because this will make a world of difference in your life as well as theirs (Especially for those whose hair has started to thin from constantly pulling it out trying to find information on bipolar disorder). One teen set the example we should all follow when she went a step further than just voting. 17- year-old Hillary Tilles, who has a friend with Bipolar Disorder, set out on mission to help CABF when she found out about the contest. She got her entire school involved. She talked to her teachers who had her pass out flyers with the information to give to the class for homework. She also talked to her resource counselor who passed it out to the parents. That shows how important it is to her. I know it is to me too. (Disclaimer: I’m not asking you to go buck wild and tattoo it on your chest) I’m asking you to give your support to a more than worthy cause and spread the message as well. Visit http://www.bpkids.org/pepsi to get more ideas for spreading the message. My name is Ciara and I approve this message.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Side effects are the pesky things that come with feeling better. Some people get them worse than others. In fact some people don’t get them at all it just depends on how you react to the medicine. Tell your doctor about any side effects you’re having. Your doctor may change the dose of your medicine or add on a medicine that’s meant to help get rid of the side effects. I had to do that with mine, which was good because I stayed stable and minimized the side effects. Always consider the pros and cons of the effect your medicine is having on you. If the pros out way the cons then you should consider staying on your medicine if the side effects are livable. Never stop taking your medicine without your doctors approval Only your doctor should change anything that has to do with your medicine. When you start messing around with it you just make it worse. He knows what he’s talking about so you should listen.
It may take a few weeks to start feeling better. It may take even longer for the medicine to work all the way. It’s important to stick with your medicine even after you find the right one and feel better. Keep taking your medicine as directed to prevent the bad symptoms from coming back. During stable periods you may be tempted to go off your medicine because you feel good but if you do that you will quickly be right back where you were without the medicine and have to start all over again. Because the medicine you’re taking is what’s making you feel better, because as you read Bipolar Disorder doesn’t just go away once you have it you have it. When I first started taking medicine it was a trial period. Some of the medicines worked and others didn’t when they didn’t I would try a new one which 9 times out of 10 made me feel better. Some people have more trouble finding medicines than others do, but if they stick with it they’ll feel better in the long run, which makes it worth the while.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Some people are skeptical when it comes to taking medicine, but I’m living proof that no matter what anyone says taking medicine works. But it only works if you make it work. When your doctor prescribes medication to control your moods and make you feel better than you have to follow the doctors instructions for them to work. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t. Take it from me it can be really hard during the transition to a certain medication, but look at the big picture. It’s better for you in the long run to stick with it then to give up and be worse later on. My advice is for you is stick with it, and always consult your doctor.
Taking medicine is hard enough to remember but especially if you take more than one medication at different times of the day. Here are some tips on how to remember. 1. Take your medicine at the same time you do other things every day. For instance taking your morning medicine with your breakfast or coffee, will help you get in the habit. 2. Us a pill box marked for the day and time of day so you know which ones you’ve taken and which ones you still need to take. 3. Leave yourself a note. If I start forgetting I’ll put a sticky note on the mirror so it’s one of the first things I see in the morning. 4. Keep your medicine in a place you can see it every day easily. I put mine on top of my dresser so I can see it clearly and that makes it harder to forget. 5. Set your watch alarm if you take a medicine at a different time. Or you can put it in your calendar in your phone so it rings to remind you.
Usually I try to stay neutral in talking about traditional medicine and homeopathic medicines because I don’t want to offend anyone, but I’m going to write a few articles on both. Bipolar Disorder is not something people do to get attention. Despite what some think Bipolar Disorder isn’t something the person can change it’s not something people do to act out it’s a real health problem , and just like any other health problems it needs to be dealt with properly for you to feel better. Bipolar Disorder can’t be cured but the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder can be managed. Taking your medicine prescribed by your doctor is one of the most important things you can do, which sometimes is easier said than done.
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
Stress is one of the few things that every person on the planet has experienced. Everyone agrees it’s a pain. Stress affects people differently. Some people yell and stomp around. Some cry and some are grouchy (kind of like the grouch from Sesame Street, except they don’t live in a trash can, and hopefully don’t have green fur!) I tend to be all of the above. For people with Bp stress can and usually does cause temporary instability. It makes you irritable, snap easier, and cry easily. There are however things that you can do to help prevent and lessen the affects of stress.
Here are some tips on coping with stress that I have found particularly helpful. 1. Focus on one thing at a time. Apply the age old saying, “Don’t borrow trouble”. I have to admit this is the one I have the hardest time applying, because I’m a natural worrier. I worry about unnecessary things, which raises my stress level. My mother gave me this tip, and when I apply it I’m not as stressed out than if my mind is occupied with worry. From my first hand experience with this tip I would recommend it, because it helps and can be applied to everyone. 2. Breathe- It sounds dumb and cliché, but studies have proven that the more oxygen you have the better you can handle situations. You don’t have to start hyperventilating, just take a few breaths. It may sound childish but there’s no harm in trying it, especially when hundreds of people have tried it, and it’s worked for them so chances are it will work with you. 3. Relax A.S.A.P- The best way to squash stress is catching it in time to do something about it. You don’t have to spend a day at the beach or go to some exclusive spa (which lets be honest costs way more than it’s worth usually, but that could be just be me) just do what you normally enjoy when your not stressed to the point of possible total grayness by the end of the day. Listening to music helps me. I find it enjoyable, and it clears my head. You may feel the same way or you may find it annoying; it’s a personal preference. Reading helps some people escape the pressures of this world, and temporarily step into another one. Unfortunately only about 50% of people truly enjoy reading. (Only the book worms, which I am proud to admit I am.) 4. Step Out of Your Zone- get away from it all for a few minutes. I find work and school the most stressful. When I feel myself start to go into overload I ask to go to the bathroom. It’s a small quiet place where you can feel like you’re alone and reset your stress button. If there’s no bathroom nearby (which is highly unlikely I mean No Bathroom, what are we in the dark ages? I mean we have cell phones now get with the times people!) The hallway works just as well. These are just a few of the things that work for me, but if you’ve read any of my previous blogs you know I believe every person is unique so what works for me may or may not work for you. But chances are at least on of them will, besides what’s the worst that can happen?
Saturday, March 27, 2010
“There is sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They are messengers of unbearable grief and unconditional love”- Washington Irving. Some people think of crying as a sign of weakness, but I believe differently. As you can see from the quote above I’m not the only one. I freely admit I cry sometimes and most of the time I’m not sad, but overwhelmed, stressed to the limit, or slightly depressed. For me crying is a relief, it makes me feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off my shoulders. To me crying is a reset button. Like everything bad came out through my tears and I can start again. Occasionally crying or even crying 1-3 times a week is acceptable. If you are crying everyday for no good reason other than feeling the need to, or crying overly easy that may be a sign of depression. But don’t hold it in. That only makes it worse, and doesn’t provide the feeling of relief crying does. Even boys and men can cry. Boys are told men aren’t supposed to cry, but I believe in equal rights. So if girls are allowed to cry then boys should be too!
Sunday, January 10, 2010
For my next few blogs I am going to write about OCD or the technical name Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It’s a topic I know pretty well from my personal experience with it. For anyone that didn’t know I have Bipolar disorder, OCD, and Anxiety disorder. (I must have hit the jackpot. Only I didn’t buy a lottery ticket. Lucky me) I have tons of experience with these illnesses, because my symptoms appeared when I was a kid, and I was diagnosed shortly afterward. Not all of them appeared at once though. I guess you could say I’m an expert at having mental illness. (Only I don’t get paid for having a degree. How unfair is that?!) I try to talk more about things that I have, because that’s where my expertise comes in, like OCD.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (or OCD) is classified as an anxiety and mental disorder with two components: obsessions, and compulsions. The obsessions usually consist of unwanted thoughts, impulses, or mental images. The compulsions are repetitive behaviors in response to the obsessions. (Wow that’s a sentence full) It’s like the brain gets stuck on a particular thought or urge and can’t let go. For example a person might have to do something the exact same way every time. Like tying and retying there shoe laces a certain amount of times. The person feels like he has to do it the same every time, and can’t stop himself. (For me if I tried not doing it I felt like I was literally going to explode, because I HAD to do it, and I think that’s the same way with everyone else too,) A compulsion is something that you feel like you need to do, almost like something bad might happen if you don’t. To others around you what you’re doing isn’t rational but to you it might seem like the most rational thing in the world. I would also obsess about it if I didn’t or for some reason couldn’t do it. That would consume my thoughts until I broke down and did it, and afterwards I felt like this huge burden had been lifted. (And when I say huge I mean HUGE) That is the feeling everyone gets because that is why people get the compulsion along with the obsession. The compulsive response relieves the anxiety of the obsession, and after you do it you no longer feel the obsessive side. In a sense it’s a protection from the obsession, because without the response to the obsession it would consume you and you would never get the relief of “fixing it”. Anyone with OCD can identify the feeling I’m talking about.
Obsessions are thoughts, images, or impulses that occur over and over again and feel out of your control. People with OCD get uncomfortable feelings such as fear (I used to get the feeling that someone was behind me all the time), disgust, and doubt (I would also check something multiple times, like if someone told me to do something I would ask them over and over if that’s what they wanted me to do, because I always felt unsure, and let me tell you that was a pain for everyone). Common obsessions are: Fears of germs, imagining having hurt yourself or others (children who have that problem tend to frequently call home and make sure everyone is alright, that relieves their stress), imagining losing control, intrusive thoughts or urges (Thoughts that you don’t want which are usually gruesome and/or scary, and no matter what you do you can’t get them out of your head, and the more you try pushing them out the more they stick around), and a need to have things just so. For example, I had to have everything in its right place all the time. When I was a kid it was having my stuffed animals in a certain position around me, and if they weren’t right I would throw a fit. When I was older it became having the dishes in the dishwasher a certain way. Everything had a place and if they were somewhere else I would literally rearrange the dishwasher. That one was frustrating! (Of course my mom liked it because that meant I did the dishes more) I personally take medicine for it, but not everyone does. It’s a personal choice, and my OCD was affecting my daily functioning to the point I couldn’t do anything without an obsession accompanying. However, I still have a few compulsive tendencies, but it’s a lot less severe. There more like routines now. I set the table a certain way, and still arrange the dishwasher a certain way, but I don’t freak out if it’s not exactly the way I want it, which is a HUGE improvement.
People with OCD try to make their obsessions go away by performing the compulsions. Compulsions are acts a person does over and over again. For example a person who is obsessed with germs may wash there hands until their raw. (Ouch!)A person may also repeatedly check. They may check to make sure they turned off their stove, (its normal for a person to do that once, but not five to six times.) because of a fear of burning down the house. One of my ticks that stayed with me is also checking, but not checking for danger. I check to make sure I got things people said right. I used to ask my mom if I it was ok to do something over and over and over again. I still call her from the grocery store to check to make sure I got everything right even if I have a list that she made. My dad calls it check-check-double-check. Those are the milder examples too. Common compulsive symptoms are: Washing, repeating (repeating what you say three or four times), checking (Check, check, double-check), touching, and counting(They may count the numbers on a house as they drive by, or count how many houses there are on a street, or repeat even or odd numbers). Unlike compulsive drinking or gambling OCD doesn’t give the person any sort of pleasure at all. It’s the complete opposite. It can make your life miserable, and the compulsions that are preformed to obtain relief from the extreme discomfort made from the obsessions can make you more uncomfortable if you’re in a public setting. For example one of my tics (that’s kind of like a shortened version of compulsions) when I was a kid was flaring my nose. I would do it so often the sides of my nose was constantly raw, and because I was embarrassed I would cup my hands around my nose to hide what I was doing, which looking back probably drew more attention, but it made me feel better. I guarantee anyone and everyone with OCD has found ways to hide there tics from others. Ways to do it, but without drawing too much attention. Some people who repeat words will put those words in a sentence that makes a little more sense. But people do things differently and the important thing is to find what makes you at least slightly more comfortable.
(I’ll try not to make it too boring) No specific gene has been identified as playing a part in OCD, but the general idea is that genes do play a part in the development of the disorder. Childhood-onset OCD (Like mine) has been proven to run in families. When a parent has OCD the chances of the child having it are increased, but the chances are still very low. (Thank Goodness; I wouldn’t wish this upon anybody) When OCD runs in the family it’s the behavior that is inherited and not the exact symptoms, because every person has different symptoms. Sometimes OCD is confused for something else at the first diagnoses. The most common condition that resembles OCD is Tourette’s disorder. In fact about 20% of people who have OCD also have some form of tics. Tics are involuntary behaviors like nose flaring or vocal behaviors like clearing your throat repeatedly. (One of my tics as a child was flaring my nose. I would try to hide it by cupping my hands around my nose, while I did it, because I was embarrassed by it.)
OCD can start at any time, from childhood to adulthood. A survey showed one third to one half of adults with OCD reported it started in their childhood. (That’s a lot of people!) Nobody knows for sure how many people have OCD, because many people go undiagnosed. There are several reasons some people with OCD are never diagnosed. People with OCD are secretive about there illness. Many feel embarrassed by the tics they have, and try to hide it, which can be hard depending on what it is. It can also make it harder recognize if it’s a child doing it, which can prevent anyone from noticing and realizing it’s a big problem. If they hide it, and you only see a small portion it would be easy to dismiss it as a faze, when in all likelihood it’s probably a lot worse than you know, because your only seeing part of it, and could easily turn into a BIG problem. (I know I tried every trick in the book to hide what my ticks were. Although I was already diagnosed when I tried to hide them, but the same principal applies.) Some people don’t have access to the proper healthcare needed to treat it, which is a shame because some undiagnosed people develop other problems later in life. Some people withdraw into themselves when it gets really bad because they don’t want other people to see what they’re doing, which can cause long term social problems, which could likely lead to depression. If you think about it it’s kind of like a domino effect, once one falls they all start falling. (Wow that sounded depressing in itself.) But there are things you can do to prevent it as will be stated later.
The best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. Describe your symptoms, and if you don’t know what they exactly are, try describing the ones you do most often first, or you could show him what you do. It’s better in the long run if you get help for it. OCD isn’t something that you “grow out of” and doesn’t go away on its own. People don’t improve on their own in fact most people get worse. Some people don’t talk to a doctor because they don’t want to be on medicine, and although I strongly believe that the right medicine helps, there are other options for people who don’t want to be on medicine. There are also several forms of therapy you can try. Psychotherapy, which provides ways to reduce stress, which can help the tics lessen. Behavioral therapies are also used, which uses exposure/response prevention, which exposes you to a situation that triggers tics, and helps you learn to resist the urge, to an extent. If stress is what triggers your tics, try taking natural vitamins, or anxiety remedies. Whatever you decided to do talking to your doctor is the smart idea. He can either prescribe you medicine right there, or refer you to a specialist, or recommend a natural remedy if you don’t want to take medicine. But no matter what you do there is no found way to prevent OCD, and no found way to completely get rid of OCD, but with the right help you can prevent it from interfering with your life. But what some people don’t realize is no matter what you do or take it doesn’t get rid of it instantly, and definitely doesn’t go away overnight. It’s different for everyone, and depends on the degree of your OCD. If you take medicine, or natural remedies it may take a few weeks until you see a noticeable improvement, but when people expect it to happen overnight then they get disappointed, and stop taking it. All that accomplishes is getting you right back to where you started, and if you do that every time then nothing will work, because you’re not giving it a chance, but when you’re patient and allow it time to work then you will probably see a improvement. Just remember there’s no miracle cure, and some people have to try several different things before it helps, but stick with it, because it’ll be better for you in the long run. So talk to your doctor or parent, you’ll feel a lot better afterwards.