Cognitive Reactivity

Recently, I was contacted by the Veteran’s Administration and invited to partake in a research study.The study was presented as a mood study for person’s that were diagnosed with a mood disorder, anxiety, or depression.They were to study the affects of movies, computer tasks, and words on mood.I volunteered my time and thought if I could help, I am more than willing.
It turned out that the research study was about testing a theory that “Cognitive Reactivity” was a key suicide risk factor.Cognitive reactivity is when negative thinking is triggered by certain emotions.The key idea is when people with a history of suicide or suicidal thoughts/behaviors are in a neutral or good mood that they probably think in a similar manner to others who haven’t had suicidal thoughts.However, when negative ways of thinking are activated by events related to suicide or emotions that the person relates to suicide, that negative ways of thinking might re-emerge and put that person at risk of future suici…

It's okay to not be okay--you are not alone

It's been a while, eh?  I had to take a hiatus and focus on myself for a while.  I fell into a very dark place for a long time due to various issues that were going on and I became overwhelmed.I was focusing so much on research and trying to post meaningful blogs to help others that I completely forgot about me.
Sometime last November I started a back slide that progressively got worse.I was trying to come off a dangerous medication, and the other meds I was on were just not working.So, with my Dr’s help, I started weening off my meds, in order to start new meds. The act of coming completely off meds, especially addictive ones is very tough.Then titrating up on another set of cocktails causes massive chaos and, in and of itself, creates a very volatile time when suffering from mental illness. I was having emotional and physical issues that were maddening.
During this time, the company I was working for as an operations manager was having financial difficulties, which caused a comple…

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…