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Old 03-06-17, 09:54 AM   #1
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Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

My life has been consumed lately by the subject of mental health, so I just wanted to open a discussion here just in case anyone wanted to discuss it, or if anyone needs a place to talk about it.

My youngest daughter (now 11yo) has been in and out of the mental hospital since early/mid December due to suicidal thoughts and an attempt. She just started middle school this year and really has just not been able to handle the stress and expectations. It's been rough to say the least. Her school and therapist/psychologist have been really great in giving us support to figure out her core issues and proper accommodations.

We just found out on Friday that she is on the Autism Spectrum (Level 1, with what would have been Asperger's if it was still a current term). A lot of things make a lot more sense now, the more I learn about it. Does anyone here have this or have kids with it? If so, I have a lot of questions! (If you are uncomfortable talking about it in the open forum, please inbox me.)

Is anyone else going through any mental health issues that you are comfortable discussing or does anyone have any interesting information about this subject?

I also want to let everyone know that if you are EVER stressed or depressed and need someone to talk to, please feel free to send me a message here or on FB. I am very seriously and honestly offering this, and you won't be bothering me. I am a good ear and a comfy shoulder.

I may move this thread later to General Living or something, but I am putting it here in Lostaways first so that people have more of a chance of seeing it.
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Old 03-06-17, 10:13 AM   #2
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

Bless, you, Liz. I wouldn't know what to do with a child with this problem.

Just rambling, but I have been struck with severe depression, I think it was.

I, in my mind, as a youngster, considered myself fat. Sis says I wasn't, but I have some pictures that prove to me I was.

I was unmercilessly teased by the boys my age. I had lots of girlfriends - as the proverbial chubby one, but they liked me. If a guy was one on one with me, they liked me, too. But get a group of guys together, they were horrible.

(Bro's guy friends liked me a lot. But that's another story)

A German exchange student changed my life in high school. He actually wanted to date me! I found myself as a Miss Spillway, featured on the high school newspaper!

I don't know what is triggering your daughter. You've to to instill in her that there's an end to it - something bright will come her way.

I know trying to keep her chin up has got to be one of the most difficult things in the world. Thankfully, I had a very good family with all the support I could hope for.

Things are different now with all this garbage crap. Maybe you should carefully monitor, if you're not already, all her internet, phone, etc.

I don't know if I contributed anything at all to your plight, but I certainly wish for the best.
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Old 03-06-17, 10:39 AM   #3
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

Liz,

Once I start rambling, I continue.

Recently, I was working at Costco. For me, who was used to a desk job, this was demanding on my body, and needed all my body parts to be functioning.

Lo and behold, I fell as I was getting out of my home desk, on a pile of magazines. Broke my arm. Not a simple break, mind you, but one that needed surgery.

So, after that recovery, back at Costco - I would break out in a heavy sweat, needing to sit down. Faint. I was sent home 5 times (surprised they didn't fire me).

Carotid surgery (they discored I was 95-98% blocked). I was getting no blood or oxygen to the all important brain. Of course it took time beforehand to see a doctor, get surgery scheduled, and I could not work. After that recovery, and a follow-up, they did an ultrasound, and said I was blocked on THE OTHER SIDE! Not carotid but some other artery. Not allowed to go back to work. The first surgery was unsuccessful (going through neck). So, I had to wait and go through surgery AGAIN! They said that was okay. Went through the inside of my elbow. I was bruised from my thumb to the neck. Black, blue. Still can't work.

So, isolated, I got in the dumps. I could barely walk 5 feet anywhere. Sis got me a walker, cane, etc. She would do as much as she could for me.

Am I that old? Is a wheelchair next?

So, yes. I got mentally warped. I nearly stopped eating and dropped far too much weight.

I was just not seeing any future at all. I guess that's depression. I barely cared about anything.

Then, slowly, I sensed a life inside me, like I was waking up.

I'm doing so much better now. Doctor gave me a clean bill of health just this January.

But there was a long, dark period.

If not for Sis, encouraging me, helping me, forcing me to eat, too, I'm not sure how long I would've made it!

So here I am.

I don't mean this to be a pity party for me, but it may help those that feel such despair. Keep believing "This will pass".
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Old 03-06-17, 11:33 AM   #4
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

Liz and gertie
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Old 03-06-17, 09:30 PM   #5
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

Liz,

If you ever need a shoulder please reach out to me. I'm going through similar issues with my 10 year old daughter. She suffers from severe anxiety and has most of her life. She's been in counseling for it since she was in first graxe, but last year she developed clinical depression to go along with her anxiety and was even making suicidal statements. It was definitely a rough time. Over the past year we've made several medication attempts. One caused her GI problems to severely worsen. One caused her to experience a manic state and almost got her suspended from school. This was when we realized that we were actually dealing with a mood stability disorder and not depression (they won't officially diagnose bipolar disorder in children because sometimes puberty can correct the chemical imbalances). The next medication worked well but she had a severe allergiv reaction. We are now 4 months into medication number 4 and we just got glowing praise from her teachers at her parent teacher conference. They said she has matured dramatically over the last quarter and her ability to focus and productively participate in class have dramatically improved. And her social troubles have lessened, many of the other children are starting to look at her as a leader now that she's better able to organize her thoughts.

I know things are rough right now, and probably will be for a long time. But be patient, find a doctor you are comfortable with (we didn't like the first one we saw) and most importantly, trust your gut when advocating for her. Know one knows her better than her parents do and shes going to need you to help her find her way through this, even if she s unable to admit or accept that.
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Old 03-23-17, 05:51 PM   #6
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

Sorry its been so long since I've had the time to come back in here and respond, but I wanted to thank you all for your kind words, both here in the thread and via PM. My daughter seems to be doing well right now. Through therapy and just the rest of us understanding her more, she is learning to talk about her emotions more and to work through them. I think that it's rough being such an internal person, and a side effect of that can be loneliness and just feeling the weight of everything on your own shoulders. I'm really glad that we have a good support system (health insurance, awesome school staff, etc.) to help us work through this. I can only imagine what people without those supports go through.

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Liz,

If you ever need a shoulder please reach out to me. I'm going through similar issues with my 10 year old daughter. She suffers from severe anxiety and has most of her life. She's been in counseling for it since she was in first graxe, but last year she developed clinical depression to go along with her anxiety and was even making suicidal statements. It was definitely a rough time. Over the past year we've made several medication attempts. One caused her GI problems to severely worsen. One caused her to experience a manic state and almost got her suspended from school. This was when we realized that we were actually dealing with a mood stability disorder and not depression (they won't officially diagnose bipolar disorder in children because sometimes puberty can correct the chemical imbalances). The next medication worked well but she had a severe allergiv reaction. We are now 4 months into medication number 4 and we just got glowing praise from her teachers at her parent teacher conference. They said she has matured dramatically over the last quarter and her ability to focus and productively participate in class have dramatically improved. And her social troubles have lessened, many of the other children are starting to look at her as a leader now that she's better able to organize her thoughts.

I know things are rough right now, and probably will be for a long time. But be patient, find a doctor you are comfortable with (we didn't like the first one we saw) and most importantly, trust your gut when advocating for her. Know one knows her better than her parents do and shes going to need you to help her find her way through this, even if she s unable to admit or accept that.
Thank you so much for sharing this. It's such a difficult thing to go through with your child, who you just want to protect from it all. It is so hard to know if you're doing the right thing.

My younger sister was bipolar and I know how hard it is to find that sweet spot with meds. If it is determined later that she's bipolar, I think that it will be good that you're going into it ahead of the game. My sister's condition didn't manifest until maybe age 20 or so (although she had always been a bit "off" for lack of a better term), and then her first manic episode caught everyone off guard. I think that it made it a lot more difficult for her having memories of feeling like she was a fully capable young adult without medication and always reaching back for that, going through the typical cycle of going on and off meds. I would imagine that being able to start management of symptoms early would ease a lot of those issues.

I don't know how it is for you but it is very difficult for me giving my daughter pharma meds because I loathe that industry and don't trust it in general. At the same time, I want to do what's best for her and if meds are what are going to make her functional and keep her from hurting herself or being miserable, then that's what I have to do. I try to do as much research as possible and have turned down a few things, but it's still hard to know what's right or if something is going to help or hurt her long term.

Thanks again for sharing. Having others around in similar situations really helps keep me sane through it all.
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Old 03-26-17, 07:35 AM   #7
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

My heart goes out to you Liz. This last two months have been dealing with a young mother in the family who has a few children. I wont go into the details but essentially it's been a battle to help support her and to get her to listen to advice. Getting her to sleep and care for herself was the main issue, now it's slowly trying to get her to get treatment - but we are in bind as to the extent of which, and how that should occur. I really feel for what you said about indecision and worrying about the right thing and path to take, it's something that effects everyone involved and is sometimes very difficult to talk about - particularly with people closest to you.

If I may just give you some of my own experiences I hope it helps.

I looked after my father for a long time as his care giver. And I dealt with many individuals who had to be cared for physically and mentally. Requiring care is a difficult and taxing challenge for both parties. Before dad passed on his mental health deteriorated for several months and it was the most taxing time of my life but I'm glad I was there to the end. Dealing with it also had very ominous feelings and was fraught with indecision and worry, but showing compassion and love and patience was the main thing and also understanding that I was dealing with a condition that was both physical and mental and that it is something which you don't choose to be, it 'effects' you and your behavior.

Several years ago I suffered from depression and anxiety when my daughter went to Australia to live and dad had just become a paraplegic. The weird thing is I didn't feel depressed or worried - I don't 'feel' afraid on a conscious level but subconsciously I felt it and it affected my sleeping habits as anxiety to the extent that I thought I was dying of a physical illness and wouldn't wake up. People often don't tell others about such concerns, they try to pass it off and get over it. Eventually I went to the doctors expecting the worst and maybe get some sleeping pills, she took one look at me and asked me what I did, and just said that I was middling overweight, probably high in cholesterol, depressed and suffering from lack of exercise and good breathing habits.

I had a heart reading down stairs and... nothing wrong with me. I immediately felt better and went to a weekly visit to a well being specialist for five weeks. Though I still sometimes feel anxious I try not to worry about it and reflect that it is a physical condition as well as a mental one that requires, if anything, treatment, prognoses and recognition. But the hardest thing sometimes was just listening to someone and talking about 'actual' issues in regards to myself.

Anyway, I hope some of this was useful. All the best.
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Old 04-05-17, 06:49 PM   #8
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

not sure if this is the right spot for this, but...

i had a strange moment yesterday...coming out of walmart saw a guy with two dogs and his begging sign...felt awful for some reason (ordinarily just drive by, no biggee) and gave him all the change i had. and bawled all the way home. weird.
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Old 04-06-17, 02:32 AM   #9
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

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not sure if this is the right spot for this, but...

i had a strange moment yesterday...coming out of walmart saw a guy with two dogs and his begging sign...felt awful for some reason (ordinarily just drive by, no biggee) and gave him all the change i had. and bawled all the way home. weird.
Do you have any ideas about what was behind the reaction? Maybe it was the dogs? If you are an animal lover, seeing dogs in a difficult situation might make you more upset, plus maybe a person who is taking care of dogs comes across to you somehow as a "good" person and is maybe humanized more? IDK. Are you under a lot of stress?

Thanks for sharing. I really think that empathy is something greatly missing in general in our society these days, and whatever made you feel for that man and his dogs and get in a good cry, I think it was a good thing for you to experience and for the rest of us to hear about.
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Old 04-06-17, 02:33 AM   #10
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Re: Mental Health (ASD, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, etc.)

In the US, there has been a long-standing stigma regarding mental health issues in general. The subject still remains taboo and is deeply shaming not only to mental health patients, but to their family members and even sometimes their friends.

Improved education is helping to lift that stigma, and i see very positive messages regarding getting help to people who need help coming frequently from the generation of my children. I think a thread like this can help a lot too.

It would take hours if not days for me to type out all my own experiences, and the experiences of those to whom i've been close. My parents were both deeply involved in the formation of the Board of Cooperative Educational Services here in New York State, too.

Also, Liz made a note about trust issues with "Big Pharma." My paternal grandfather was a research pharmacist with Sterling-Winthrop for 45 years. He led a team of researchers who put dozens of successful drugs on the market, and last i checked (2008 or '09), a few are still being widely used. While working for his estate, i found the address he gave at his retirement party. It included a lot of the usual stuff about pride and teamwork and how he'd miss it all, but nearly half of it was a rather scathing indictment not of S-W specifically, but of the general consequences of unregulated capitalism in pharmaceutical research and development. He retired in 1986, and his each and every complaint addressed is still just as relevant now more than 30 years later. The entire health care system seems as close if not closer to collapse than when the ACA passed - i don't think it even counted as a band-aid considering the systemic problems involved, but instead hit a politically hot button or two and otherwise let the insurance companies write legislation.

With that said, drugs help a lot of people, including a lot of people i care about rather deeply. I think it's important to do a lot of research yourself, because a lot of doctors tend to write their pads however they're getting compensated to do so. The internet is a great tool for that research.

I have so much more to say about each of those issues, and i haven't even started getting personal yet. I'll probably want to post here regularly as time and emotion allow.
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