A Counseling and Opinion Blog

Posts tagged ‘Depression’

I am an Epileptic

 

Having been one all my life, it is sometimes easy to overlook the fact that I am indeed an epileptic.

I am on medication and live a fairly normal life. I do most everything that non-epileptic people do; in fact after eleven years and seven attorneys attempting to get this “Grand General Epileptic” disability, the state and federal governments denied such because they declared that I was a “functional epileptic”.

“Functional epileptic”, is there really such a thing? That’s a topic for another discussion.

None the less, most epileptics will tell you it’s not necessarily the seizure that’s the great concern but everything leading up to and afterwards such as pre and post seizure auras that are truly debilitating and hinder the ability to “be normal”.  

For the non-epileptic, it’s important to note that epileptic auras are for most, more dreaded than the seizure itself and like a seizure they can occur unexpectedly at any time with or without medication with no reason as to the cause.  

One thing for certain is that there is nothing fun about an aura. They can last from a few minutes to hours or even days. The average aura time for most epileptics I know is about 15 minutes. My average aura last 24 hours but I have experienced a pre-seizure aura which lasted 2 days and a post-seizure aura which lasted almost a week.

Auras are terrible. They can be mild to migraine headaches, the proverbial “seeing stars”, visualizing “saintly” like glows or halos around people, visualization can take on a yellowish hue as well as experiencing  strange sounds and odors.

But the worst aura experience of all for most epileptics is dissociation; the feeling of uncertainty of where you are or what many epileptics describe as a sensation of being in multiple places at the same time. Some have suggested it is like you’re here but also somewhere else. The bottom line is if you haven’t experienced it, you simply can’t understand.

The aura often causes an epileptic to lose momentary thought, focus and concentration.

Some research now suggests that due to their debilitating effect on the epileptic, these auras are actually partial seizures. Regardless of what these auras are, they can certainly slow a person down, delay or even force a change or cancellation to plans.

It is important to note here that some epileptics never experience an aura.

In addition to the auras and seizures, there is also the emotional trauma sitting in the epileptics unconscious mind constantly asking the question, “Will I have a seizure today”? And “If I have a seizure today, what kind will it be”?  

Those questions usually give rise to more questions which give rise to more questions such as, “Since I feel kind of strange today, should I go out in public and chance having a seizure away from home”? If you drive, “Should I try to drive today and possibly have an accident or even hurt or kill someone”?

“I’m feeling constantly sleepy, do I need sleep or am I trying to pass out and seize” and “if I take a little nap, will I have a sleep or wakeup seizure”? “Should I go to the ER or should I call my neurologist or am I just being silly and paranoid”?

Although life for everyone is filled with uncertainties, for the epileptic these uncertainties become magnified.

For this epileptic, the past month had gone very well; between my medications of Depakote and CBD oil I was stable and feeling great. I had gone to church, out to eat, a birthday party or two and even driving during day light hours. Being an epileptic simply wasn’t on my radar and didn’t seem to matter.

Then suddenly out of nowhere last Saturday, I experienced the worst aura since 2008. My hands and arms shaking, visualization suddenly yellowed, found myself staring for long moments into space, then the dreaded feeling of disassociation; the feeling of being in two separate places at once.

The feeling was horrible and quite frightening. The last time I had an aura that intense was prior to a “Grand Mal” seizure while driving in 2008. There was nobody hurt and no damage except to my van which was totaled. Thank God a police officer witnessed the entire thing and called the paramedics who took me to the ER immediately.

That recent Saturday aura suddenly brought me back to reality reminding me that I am an epileptic.

Then this very morning, with plans in process, my day is interrupted by having a moderate morning wakeup seizure with a traumatic follow up post-seizure aura destroying both my plans for the day and possibly my future.

It is totally debilitating, destructive and often humiliating (as it was for me today), this thing we call epilepsy.

But once again, I am an epileptic and as most neurologists tell us, we can have a seizure at any moment of any day; unfortunately for some repeatedly throughout the day.

Cancelled plans and appointments, inability to keep commitments, feelings of inadequacies and indecisiveness, frustration and associated depression; all associated with epilepsy.

Take the meds as prescribed, get eight hours sleep, try and avoid naps and seizure causing meds and still a seizure and/or an aura is possible.

I can never forget I am an epileptic.

© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

Yes Lee, there are crazy people

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In light of the Christmas season and our recent Presidential Election, it seemed somewhat appropriate to examine in a slightly satirical way an often protected and politically correct aspect of the mental health care field known as “psycho-babble”.

So in the spirit of the New York Sun response to eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s question as to the existence of Santa Claus, in 1897 entitled, “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” this article is a reflection on the mental and emotional state of many people today and their inability to deal with life and react to difficulties and disappointments.

Following the recent United States Presidential Election with the surprise results of a Donald Trump victory and the accompanied whining, whaling and protesting from the losing liberal left, a Psychiatrist colleague of mine from Florida (now retired and living in Costa Rica) chatted online with me about his thoughts on the matter. He stated his view of the general mental and emotional state of people in America today. In our discussion, this MD, PhD Psychiatrist friend unexpectedly says to me, “You know Lee, some people are just CRAZY”. He went on to say, “And those that aren’t crazy are just MEAN and there isn’t enough psycho-therapy, anger management, Xanax, Prozac or even Thioridazine in the world that’s going to help”.

Now 75 years old, my friend and colleague admitted he was sitting on the beach of his beach house sipping on his fourth Corona of the afternoon but he continued to reiterate that after forty years in the mental health field he was fed up with all the “excuses” and “psycho-babble” of psychology and psychiatry. He just kept saying, these whiners and protestors were just crazy and mean; this mind you from a board certified Psychiatrist.

Although somewhat surprised by my friend’s very stern conclusions, most of us as colleagues know him well for his candid remarks.  Those of us in the mental healthcare field will usually be quick to tell you  we don’t use terms like “stupid”, “idiot”, “ignoramus”, “moron”, “retard” and definitely not “crazy”. We were taught the correct mental illness designations and as such over the years we’ve been told it is “insensitive”, “inappropriate” and simply wrong to use such terms; in fact we have been taught it is not “politically correct”.

To some degree, it has been much like one of those “big secrets” we hold on to and hide from our young or don’t want people to know about ; you know, like the “tooth fairy”, “Easter Bunny” or even “Santa Clause”.   There seems to be evidence or at least the inference that these mythical entities exist but most people don’t really believe it.  

Freud told us there is no such thing as normal, only what’s normal for you.  The  result over time has been the development  within the world of mental health and psychotherapy that there are no “crazy people”; there are only individuals which are mildly neurotic with any number of associated phobias or phobia of the day or neurological or psychotic conditions such as delusional (or other variations)  of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder (or syndrome) OCD, OCS, HDD, HDAD, etc.

The result is the so called “millennial snowflakes” which simply can’t accept reality, the consequences of their actions or the disappointments and sometime failures of life; they believe life should be fair and when it comes to wealth everybody should share. The American people watched almost with amazement as thousands of these individuals suffered an entire emotional and mental breakdown live on Television and streaming media following Hillary Clinton’s loss.

As my friend and I concluded our on line chat, he went on to blame the psychobabble of mental health care for the state of these individuals and their inability to cope.

He sees this problem as very serious for the future of our country and has a suggestion to solving this problem for our President elect. He recommends that all colleges and universities which receive any Federal financial assistance or research funding be mandated to teach “hands on” courses on “How to handle life and failure”; not just class room instruction but courses required for all students regardless of major or minor which puts them in the non-academic real world, getting their hands dirty and being exposed to both success and failure.  He pointed out that many Christian and private institutions already have similar required courses and turn out some of the finest and most stable graduates in the world.

This very learned counselor went on to say that much of the problem (as he sees it) is and has been over the past three decades the teaching by colleges and universities of too many Positive Mental Attitude and Eastern philosophy courses which he calls a “cancer on the reality of life”.

He closed by saying, “Yes Lee, let’s be honest, we can call it whatever you like but the reality is, there are crazy people”.

Thank you Dr. G.K.

© 2016 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

The suspicious mind Part II

The suspicious mind Part II

Paranoia – The poisonous partner

by
Dr. Lee Outlaw

paranoia

The pretense to suspicion in most people is certainly filled with a variety of feelings; everything from fear to delusions of grandeur and even a sense of false security.

Nothing however, is more conditioning and even poisonous to the mind in producing temporary or permanent suspicion than paranoia; the sense or feeling that someone or something is out to get you, cause you harm or even destroy you. Rather real or imagined, this person or thing can ultimately achieve the same result; impregnate your mind with suspicion.

Once the mind is filled with suspicion, it is often difficult to remove.

Paranoia comes in all shapes and sizes and has a tendency to rare its ugly head in almost everyone at some point in their life. It’s because of this near epidemic reach of paranoia and its destructive power that so many therapist and counselors try to eliminate any chance of paranoia being the root cause of their patient’s problem from the very start, giving support to the old adage that, “It’s not what you know but what you don’t know that can harm you”.

In other words it’s the fear of the unknown; the feeling that something or someone is out to get you but you just don’t know who or what it is and in most cases “how” the harm will come.

The obvious effect is the onset of emotional or mental instability which can ultimately lead to Paranoid Personality Disorder, delusional paranoia or even more serious mental illnesses.

Unfortunately, paranoia most often makes its appearance when our minds are most vulnerable such as times of stress, emotional instability, non-clinical depression (a.k.a. “the blues”) and relationship difficulties or changes, such as a break up, separation, divorce or the loss of a family member or close friend.

Most of us have heard someone say (or maybe thought our self), “Everything is falling on me, and everyone just picks on me or dumps on me.”  “Why doesn’t it stop?”

Does this sound familiar?

Paranoid MovieA perfect example as to the destruction  paranoia can have in  developing a suspicious  mind is the novel Paranoia by Joseph Finder from which the movie of the same name was made; starring  Liam HemsworthGary OldmanAmber Heard and Harrison Ford the emotion of “paranoia” is seen from nearly every level.

Although it bombed at the box office, “Paranoia” the movie is actually very good. It brings to light all the aspects of the entanglement of paranoia, secrecy, doubt and the conspiratorial mind as they weave their way deep into the unconscious of not just one but most of the characters, almost to the point of no return. It is only after one of the characters actually utilizes his suspicious mind for good that he’s able to turn his life around.

Just like in the movie, sometimes as the burden of no answers coupled with the slightest thought that someone besides you is causing your problems and suddenly paranoia takes root. If such thoughts are not eliminated, they dig deeper into the unconscious implanting a wave of successive suspicions until a once stable mind is totally and completely suspicious.

Everything becomes doubtful and no one can be trusted. Eventually things become extremely serious and even dangerous as reality and fantasy begin to merge and the ability to reason and rationalize become void, leaving the mind to wander aimlessly without purpose or direction.

The end result is the birth of a suspicious mind.

Although the movie “Paranoia” tends to demonstrate a positive effect from a suspicious mind, for most of the characters (as is the case in real life) the outcome was negative. Read the book or watch the DVD to learn more.

In Part III of “The Suspicious Mind”, we will discuss how doubt and secrecy play an intricate part in producing paranoia and ultimately developing a mindset totally controlled by suspicion.

© 2015 The Outlaw Observer and Opinion

 

 

 

A 3-fold approach to overcoming non-clinical depression

Depression

A 3-fold approach to overcoming non-clinical depression

by Dr. Lee Outlaw

from the Examiner.com

Please take my poll below:

Disappointment and depression

Have you ever heard someone express their disappointment? Sometimes it is simply, “talk about a disappointment?” or they might be unable to speak about it and just stare off into space or in many cases, the person is so overcome with emotion that they become nearly incoherent due to uncontrollable crying and sobbing.

Disappointment however, is part of life.  We don’t always get what we want and sometimes we don’t even get what we need; at least what we perceive as needing.

The recent down turn of the economy has certainly seen disappointment occur in many people’s lives. Cars repossessed, homes foreclosed on and jobs which were thought to be careers lost.

Disappointment occurs when what we had desired, sought to obtain, set a goal to achieve or even had a need for does not come to fruition or we have accomplished something only to have it taken away. As a result we feel empty, unfulfilled, dissatisfied and even numb.

Disappointment comes in many forms such as losing a sports event, failing a test, rejection of a lover, divorce or death of a loved one.

All of these things disappoint.

The problem with disappointment is that many times people obsess over the disappointment and ultimately depression sets in; the key word being “obsess”. The obsession over the disappointment literally engulfs the individual possessing their body, mind and spirit causing depression to set in.

The depression can either be the simple “blues” or proverbial “down in the dumps” and if not caught in time can lead to and become the more serious “clinical depression” which often requires ongoing therapy and medication.

It should be noted that clinical depression can also have many causes including a medical and neurological connection not associated with that previously mentioned. Disappointment however, can be a trigger mechanism setting off a clinical depression attack sometimes requiring in-patient medical and psychiatric treatment.

Although disappointment can often not be avoided, the way we deal with it or recover from disappointment is important. The Bible has much to say about dealing with disappointment either directly or indirectly. From a biblical perspective there are three basic steps to deal with and recover from disappointment:

  1. Focus on faith, grace, character, perseverance and hope (Romans 5:1-5)
  2. Accept the disappointment. Don’t treat it as a joke but then move on (Ecclesiastes 7:1-8)
  3. Trust completely in the Lord for His healing of the disappointment (Proverbs 3:5-7)

Although the hurt of the disappointment might remain, its duration will certainly be shortened and the road to recovery preventing “simple depression” will be clearer by following these simple biblical truths.

It should be noted that the above mentioned biblical formula is biblical interpretation only and the opinion of this counselor. Although it should help when followed in most situations it is not indented to be a substitute for doctor prescribed medication or ongoing psychiatric/psychological therapy.

Remember that success often occurs in the midst of personal disappointment.