Monday, October 14, 2013

Clinical Depression and Other "Mental" Illnesses

It may seem odd to write posts about mental health issues in a blog that is all about the positive side of life.  I guess I need to re-define why I write this blog and what I write about.  I DO discuss some of the negative issues of our world.  Yet, I approach them from the vantage point of, we CAN do something about them...we CAN join together and make this old world a better place to be!

I love so many things about our world today.  I adore that we are learning more and more about conditions that we have long called "mental health."  I believe that now we are more realistic in calling them physical health conditions, with mental manifestations.  Yes, that's right...clinical depression, schzoid disorder, anxiety disorder, so many, many other conditions are NOT something that is imaginary, or the result of a weak character or personality.  They are every bit as "physical" as Diabetes, Cancer, or Fibromyalgia.  We now know that sometimes the neurotransmitters for our brain become depleted, or damaged, usually after another type of physical illness or trauma either physical or emotional. are diagnosed with Diabetes or some other medical condition after quantifiable testing.  You are given medication to counteract the effects of the disease on your body.  This has long been the pattern in America of medical treatment.   

In the case of mental manifestations the therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist talks and listens to the afflicted individual.  They do NOT use any type of quantifiable test for this diagnosis.  Usually there isn't even an x-ray of the brain to see if something has changed.  A brain tumor either malignant or benign can cause mental manifestations.  So, the good therapist prescribes certain medications with no quantifiable tests, merely according to his/her subjective results.  They use both medication and behavioral therapy to relieve the symptoms.  (Please do not misunderstand and think that I am negative towards mental health practitioners.  I believe that they do their job the best that they can with the model that has been around for the last century).

There is a clinician in the United States who is very different from the rest of the mental health world.  His name is Daniel Amen.  He is the first clinician to use a PET scan of the brain to help in the diagnosis of mental manifestation.  This is an ACTIVE scan of the brain.  Or rather a scan during the activity of the brain.  The other scans used for this type of diagnosis show the brain while inactive.

This PET scan shows actual areas that are not receiving the correct chemical compounds that are needed for your emotions to work normally.  He can detect areas that would cause Dyslexia, Attention Deficit Disorder, and other mental manifestations.  His contention is that you DO need a physical diagnosis before you begin to prescribe medication.  What a novel concept to think that there is a way to receive quantifiable, empirical evidence about the why's and wherefores of mental manifestation health issues.

I am ever so excited that huge new ideas are being developed to help those that face these awful experiences.  If someone in your world is facing these types of illnesses PLEASE, I beg you do not make the mistake of thinking it's "All in their head" or simply an imagine experience.  This experience is all too real.

If you think about it for a minute there are a lot of conditions that ARE all in your head.  Migraine headaches are NOT considered a manifestation of a weak personality.  Neither is a brain tumor.  Yet they are definitely in your head.  There ARE MANY conditions that technically are ALL IN YOUR HEAD.  A lot of the all in your head conditions actually begin somewhere else, your pancreas, your kidneys, your heart, all of these physical conditions can cause mental manifestations.

Now that we know that mental manifestations are very, very real let us never treat a person with these conditions in a less than, type of way.  Speaking from my own experience clinical depression is very, very real.  While you are battling this condition it narrows your life down from one breath to the next.  It doesn't matter if every circumstance in your life is terrific.  (Think Marilyn Monroe) It's not a circumstantial condition although it CAN be worsened by bad circumstances.

 I'm not referring to discouragement which is completely circumstance driven.  Discouragement is a temporary condition.  It is NOT the same thing as Clinicial Depression which again is a physical illness that causes mental manifestations.

What we CAN NOT DO is lose one more soul to suicide.  There seems to be almost a contagion to suicide.  It seems as though if one person in a group (college years, friends in a city, groupings of any type) kills themselves, there will be multiple suicides.

We need ALL OF US in this busy, crazy, wonderful, world.  We need to find ways to help those that languish in the sorrow and suffering of mental manifestation disorder.

The other very real thing is that again, often the mental manifestation is happening as a result of some physical illness, or trauma (either physical, or emotional).  So...if you are diagnosed with a physical disorder, do not be horrified or surprised if severe depression follows.  My doctor tried for years to convince me to take medicine for my clinical depression condition.  I had been diagnosed with breast cancer and fibromyalgia.  Depression just rode along on the coattails of those two conditions.  Twenty-three years later, I'm still here, I haven't killed myself, (although I did contemplate it multiple times as I learned how to face and live with clinical) thanks to the wonders of modern medicine.

There IS hope!  "Feelings are not facts!"  You can find help.  It may take several tries to find the right clinician, the right kind of help, but please, oh please do NOT listen to the liar of mental manifestation that tells you your family, the world would be better off without you.  We need you!  Only you can make this world better by your contributions.

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