Marijuana, MDMA, and PTSD

There’s has much to-do about the therapeutic effects of Marijuana and MDMA in the news lately, so I figured I’d put some brain juice into this and do a little fact finding myself.  Before we go on I must make it known that I have experimented with both.  I haven’t touch any of it since the early 2000’s.  I absolutely abhor marijuana.  I cannot stand the smell, the taste, or the way it makes me feel.  I also don’t like to be around people who smoke marijuana.  It is almost impossible to have a real conversation with someone who is high.  I do know some people, oddly enough, that function better while they are high.  However, I can see why using marijuana for treatment with persons suffering from PTSD could be useful.  In my opinion they would be much more sedentary, calm, and would be able to manipulate or allow thoughts much easier.
I have also used MDMA in my past, on several occasions.  I liked MDMA.  The euphoria, and zest for whatever adventure you were on at that moment was the on…

Technology and Mental Illness

I read an article the other day in the psychiatric times about technology's role in mental health that was very interesting.  In the article they talk about several items that I have direct experience with so, I figured I would share my experiences and review a few.  Now, my aunt does a seminar around the country that talks about technology and mental health and she's been doing it for quite some time now.  I am featured in a 10-minute video that she shows her attendees in which I speak about a few of these items.  One item was left out because I had not yet experienced it.
The first, which was left out, that I will write about is telehealth behavioral health.  I first experienced this about a year ago.  When I got out of the hospital after my suicide attempt I was desperately searching for help.  When I went to the VA to find a therapist I was told that the VA in Colorado Springs did not have the resources to give me the help I needed.  I wasn't a special case by any means…

Anxiety: Milestones and Hurdles

I guess we don't ever get to know what tomorrow will bring.  Nor do we get to know what the day will hold.  There's a certain amount of adventure that comes with that mind set I suppose.  Not knowing what adventure awaits, or how the day will go--each day is fresh and new.  What a wonderful perspective.  However, that was not always my perspective.  I used to know what the next day would bring.  I knew that without a doubt I was going to wake up and wade in the sludge of anxiety.  I knew without a doubt my day would be filled with massive amounts of excessive worry and fear.  I remember that I would always set a bench mark for my anxiety.  I would say to myself, if I could just make it to this point then my anxiety would be over.  If I just get over this next hurdle it would all go away.  I remember after I was struck dead in the face with my illness and for the first time realizing that something was not right--I chalked it up to an event and once that event passed I would be…

Fact or Myth: Suicide rates increase during the holiday season

Here we are deep into the Christmas Season.  A time of joy, happiness, giving, friends, family and loved ones.  Christmas movies galore that spread the message of love, fun times, happiness, and miracles.  All around us are houses decorated and adorned with twinkling lights and the-ugly blow up characters in the yard.  But, is it really a time of joy?  Do miracles really happen?  The holidays mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people.  Some of those meanings are good, and some of those meanings are not so good.
It’s a common myth that suicide rates rise in the winter months, especially during the holiday season.  The thought process is that the stresses associated with the holidays drive people to suicide—this is simply not the case.  As a matter of fact, suicide rates drop during the holiday season.  One study shows that people are more likely to attempt, or die by, suicide in the spring than in the winter months.
There is a thought that the holiday months tend to bri…

Veterans' Affairs (VA) and Mental Health

Tonight there was a news report about the VA and their lack of treatment options for Veterans.  This was in Colorado Springs, Co.  They cited abnormal wait times for appointments and some hidden wait list where some Soldiers/Veterans would get treatment faster than others.  I'll share my story with you.

It was November of 2016.  I was just released from a mental health hospital following my suicide attempt.  I was seeking therapy.  I was not JUST seeking therapy, I was on a determined path to find help.  I received an appointment within 30 days of my request.  Keep in mind, I was in crisis mode and desperately seeking help so that I would never go back to that place...the place of attempting to take my own life.

Upon my appointment with the VA therapist I was reviewing my history and expressing (advocating) my needs.  Within about a minute the VA therapist stopped me and explained that she was not equipped and could not help me. I was flabbergasted.  How in the world can therapis…

Military and Mental Illness - Army Lifts Ban on waivers for recruits with history of some (SOME) mental illness (Update)

*  Recent news and update from the Department of Defense is that the USA Today article is not accurate.  I'm not privy to the actual facts surrounding the inaccuracies.  With that said it doesn't change my views or my opinions listed below.

"Section 8 is a category of discharge from the United States military, used for a service member judged mentally unfit for service. It also came to mean any service member given such a discharge or behaving as if deserving such a discharge, as in the expression, "he's a Section 8". The term comes from Section VIII of the World War II-era United States Army Regulation 615-360, which provided for the discharge of those deemed unfit for military service. Discharge under Section 8 is no longer practiced, as medical discharges for psychological/psychiatric reasons are now covered by a number of regulations. In the Army, such discharges are handled under the provisions of AR 635-200, Active Duty Enlisted Administrative Separatio…

Suicide - The second and third order effects

I've been trying to figure out a way to write this post in a way that it would relay the powerful emotions I felt on a night a week or so ago.  I would be in the shower, or driving, and I'd be writing this post in my mind.  No matter what I came up with it just didn't feel right.  But, I've had this nagging and itching urge to write it because I don't think I've ever truly understood what it means regarding second and third order effects.  I mean I write about them, I talk about them, but until the other day I never understood them.
Many people think that suicide is the easy way out, or selfish, or even cowardice.  I have spoken to several suicide survivors, I have read books, saw documentaries and heard speeches--and sadly, I've lived it.  Not one of us, and I don't think anyone who attempted, truly wanted to die.  The clear majority of us, survivors, just wanted to end the pain--needed to escape this immense, incessant, emotional pain that felt like it…