Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Misuse, Who is more at risk?

An interesting read.

Our Lived Experience

Based on the article: Sukhmeet Singh, Liz Forty, Arianna di Florio, Katherine

Gordon-Smith, Ian Jones, Nick Craddock, Lisa Jones and Daniel J. Smith, Affective temperaments and concomitant alcohol use disorders in bipolar disorder, Journal of Affective Disorders, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jad.2015.07.027

We all have heard that bipolars shouldn’t take alcohol, never mind misuse it, but still alcohol misuse is so prevalent amongst us. Why is that? And why is it easier for some to fall into that trap than for others? Let’s investigate

Almost a third of bipolars struggle with problems relating to alcohol use, this is much higher than for the rest of the population. Alcohol misuse is an important issue since it can contribute to treatment non-adherence, higher rates of suicide and the abuse of other substances.

There are several theories around the mechanism behind the development of AM (alcohol misuse) problems amongst bipolars. The most prevalent one is the self-medication…

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Having “that” conversation with your child…

The birds and the bees. There comes a time when you realise that you have to do the “talk”. You notice that you have a child with a serious girlfriend. They are both almost 16 and seem very serious about each other.

So you sit your child down and as you start to try and approach the subject, he announces to you that yes they have and yes they used protection.

I was fighting two emotions. Pride because his was clever enough to use protection and nausea because I really didn’t want to think about him having sex. Not one bit. It was one of those moments where you stick your fingers in your ears and sing Lalalalalala!

However, this brings me on to the important part of the talk. I told him he must never have sex without protection as I am NOT ready to be a granny yet, no siree, I am not! I’ve purchased a box of condoms for him and I’ve told him when he needs more to ask me. I’ve also told him never do it outside. The thought of them up some disgusting urine soaked back alley full of broken glass and used needles makes me recoil in horror it really does.

So I’ve told him that if they’re going to do it, then they either go to her house or they come here.

I’ve also given him the boring part of the speach about the legal age of consent. I realise by purchasing condoms and giving them a place to go is encouraging them to break the law, but if one takes the attitude that they are going to do it anyway, I am just doing my best to help them.

The funniest part of the conversation was the dawning horror in his eyes when he realised that his aged, crippled mother got upto everything that he had just been telling me about! 😂

Book Review – East West Street by Phillipe Sands…

When human rights lawyer Philippe Sands received an invitation to deliver a lecture in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, he began to uncover a series of extraordinary historical coincidences. It set him on a quest that would take him halfway around the world in an exploration of the origins of international law and the pursuit of his own secret family history, beginning and ending with the last day of the Nuremberg Trials. Part historical detective story, part family history, part legal thriller, Philippe Sands guides us between past and present as several interconnected stories unfold in parallel. The first is the hidden story of two Nuremberg prosecutors who discover, only at the end of the trials, that the man they are prosecuting may be responsible for the murder of their entire families in Nazi-occupied Poland, in and around Lviv. The two prosecutors, Hersch Lauterpacht and Rafael Lemkin, were remarkable men, whose efforts led to the inclusion of the terms ‘crimes against humanity’ and ‘genocide’ in the judgement at Nuremberg. The defendant, Hans Frank, Hitler’s personal lawyer and Governor-General of Nazi-occupied Poland, turns out to be an equally compelling character.
The lives of these three men lead Sands to a more personal story, as he traces the events that overwhelmed his mother’s family in Lviv and Vienna during the Second World War. At the heart of this book is an equally personal quest to understand the roots of international law and the concepts that have dominated Sands’ work as a lawyer. Eventually, he finds unexpected answers to his questions about his family, in this powerful meditation on the way memory, crime and guilt leave scars across generations, and the haunting gaps left by the secrets of others.
I was given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The book weaves strands of legal history and familial history together in a beautiful way.
The writer strips bare and lays wide open the hideous things done to the Jews by Nazis during wartime.
I have only given the book four stars as I found the story jerked backwards and forwards a little too much in places.
A four out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Orion Publishing Group for my copy of this book.

Book Review – Himself by Jess Kidd…

When Mahony returns to Mulderrig, a speck of a place on Ireland’s west coast, he brings only his handsome face, a photograph of his too-young, long-lost mother, and a determination to do battle with the village’s lies.Mahony also somehow wakes the dead from their graves, those folk who once lived here, with their foggy memories and hidden stories, floating greyly amongst the unseeing living. No one though – living or dead – will tell what happened to the teenage mother who abandoned him as a baby. Despite Mahony’s certainty that more than one of them knows.

Between Mulderrig’s sly priest, an implacable nurse and a caustic elderly actress throwing herself into her final village play, this beautiful and blackly comic debut novel creates in crystal-clear, musical language an unforgettable world of strange kindnesses, bloody violence and buried secrets.
I was given this ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
The book is beautifully written. The story spans from the 1950s to the 1970s in a tiny village in rural Ireland. The author paints the village with her words so well that you could close your eyes and see it laid out before you. You can imagine that you know every single character.
There are some brilliantly written black comic moments. The characters all interact so well. Mahoney makes a fabulous protagonist and is likeable right from the off.
The story builds slowly and you feel an impatience to turn pages as you reach the final chapters, just hoping that the characters you love are OK. The ending was not to be expected and the book maintained a level of suspense that any good thriller certainly should.
A five out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and Cannongate Books for my copy.

Having a crisis…

This is the only way that I can describe what is happening to me. My physical health is not great ( big shock, not!) and as a result, my mental health seems to have plummeted down as well.

I was just fine yesterday. I felt really positive. I made a post on FB, saying how I refused to be guilty anymore for people turning against me and that none of it is my fault. I was strong and I was positive.

But oh no… the bitch that lives inside my head couldn’t possibly let me be. She couldn’t even let me have a night’s peace. As I lay in bed, I put on my headphones to listen to some relaxing music. Most nights it drowns out the bitch in my head. Not last night. She was whispering and howling intermittently and I started to feel physically sick. I saw faces from my past. She thinks it’s funny to me me see these faces. She knows that they trigger hellish flashbacks, which is exactly what happened last night.

Eventually the flashbacks seemed to settle and I fell asleep. Thus came the night terrors. I woke up screaming and soaked in sweat, shaking & sobbing.

I’ve been awake since then. I hate myself for being this way. I hate that this monster has control over me. This morning I was very depressed, which turned into a bout of disassociation followed by an existential crisis.

Just great. My head is spinning and I feel so weird. I hate this. I hate me. I really do.

45 Comments People with Trichotillomania are Sick of Hearing

Kylie and Kit Review It

This post has been inspired by all the different comments that anyone who suffers from Trichotillomania is really just sick of hearing. Sometimes people don’t think about how something as simple as a silly comment in their opinion could actually be harming the person they’re saying it to.

Trichotillomania is a hair pulling disorder that is not uncommon, but most people don’t know what it is and don’t understand it. They don’t understand why we do this to ourselves and don’t know how to help, which we understand this because most of us don’t understand it completely ourselves either. It’s hard to control and almost impossible to stop. But it can be done! And my main goal is to help raise awareness on Trichotillomania, as well as help others feel less alone in this battle.

Anyone who suffers from Trichotillomania usually has the desire to stop, but finding a…

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Emotional blackmail is just wrong, wrong, wrong…

Any form of emotional blackmail is morally bankrupt and the lowest of the low in terms of behaviour. It’s plain wrong!

Just how can it be ok to reduce another human being to tears with your words and threats? How can you think it is ok to tell another person that they are fat and ugly and will never cope without you? Or that you will kill yourself if a person does not come back to you after a break up?

Emotional blackmail is basically a system of threats and punishments used in an attempt to control someone’s behaviors. Not ok!!!

In a nutshell, emotional blackmail is a psychological-emotional ransom note that says, “if you don’t do what I want then I will make you hurt”.
In order for emotional blackmail to occur there must be four things present – a demand, a threat, a blackmailer and a victim.
The Demand – Emotional blackmailers demand something the victim does not want to give, in an attempt to gain the upper hand where there are conflicting interests or wants.
In general the blackmailer is usually asking for something which the victim regards as unreasonable and which the blackmailer believes they can get – if they apply enough pressure. For this reason emotional blackmail patterns are often cyclical – with both the blackmailer and the victim learning over time what level of demand will be tolerated without retribution and what degree of blackmail it takes for the victim to comply.
The Threat – The blackmailer may threaten to hurt the victim directly, or more commonly threaten to hurt something or someone the victim cares about. This could take the form of damaging or destroying their reputation, an object, an agreement, a relationship or a trust. Blackmailers may also threaten to hurt themselves to pressure a victim into compliance.
The Blackmailer – Although an emotional blackmailer is fighting for control over their victim, they often have little control over themselves. They may feel desperate inside and justify their actions as a means to an end of soothing their own desperate internal pain. In some cases, an emotional blackmailer may not always realize the extent of the hurt they are inflicting on their victim (and ultimately on themselves). They may not be able or willing to “snap out of it” and change their behavior.
The Victim – In order for emotional blackmail to work there has to be a willing victim – a person who is willing to sacrifice their principles, values, goals and boundaries to “keep the peace”, “turn the other cheek” and give in to the demands. Victims are often bridge builders – people who have compassion or pity on the blackmailer and are willing to go the extra mile for them. Victims may have low self-esteem of their own and be generally afraid to stand up for their own ideas and principles. They are caught in a vicious cycle as each time they yield something important to the abuser they suffer a loss of their own self-esteem and begin to feel more powerless, hopeless and trapped in their situation.
What it looks like
“If I ever see another man look at you I will kill him.”

“If you ever stop loving me I will kill myself.”

“I’ve already discussed this with our pastor/therapist/friends/family and they agree that you are being unreasonable.”

“I’m taking this vacation – with or without you.”

“Your family hates me. How can you say you love me and still be friends with them?”

“You’ve ruined my life and now you are trying to stop me from spending money to take care of myself.”

“I took the money because you always put yourself first and don’t seem to care about my needs.”

What NOT to do:

reward emotional blackmail demands or attempts.

Don’t stay in a situation where there is a threat or an action of violence towards yourself or others.

Don’t allow yourself to be blamed for somebody else’s bad behaviors or poor personal choices.

What TO do:

characteristic of emotional blackmail and understand that to give in to the demands of a blackmailer will only make the situation worse.

Recognize that no-one who truly loves you will threaten you with harm or expect you to act against your own best interests.

Recognize that the emotional blackmailer is not like you and is unlikely to respond well to reason, arguments or attempts at counter-manipulation.

Work on your own personal boundaries and be willing to defend them.

Remove one of the four components of emotional blackmail – the blackmailer, the victim (you) the threat or the demand. Since you can’t control the other person that usually means you have to detach yourself enough to protect yourself, your children and the resources and relationships that are precious to you. Then allow the blackmailer back in only to the extent that they cannot threaten or destroy what matters to you most.

Call the authorities if there are any threats or actions of violence.

I’ve been through this for years and so have some very dear friends of mine. The scars we bear are very deep. PTSD is my shadow. But it is possible to escape. To come out of the darkness and stand in the sunlight. To be you.x

Book Review – Little Boy Blue by M J Arlidge…

Helen’s most personal case yet as she investigates the shocking and unexpected murder of a close friend found cocooned in plastic. It looks like it was a tragic accident – a sex game gone wrong. The investigation soon threatens to expose Helen’s private life and she has to make some tough personal choices along the way, as she hunts a twisted and elusive killer, who is swiftly racking up more murders. As Helen closes in on her prey, a shocking truth is revealed – these murders are part of a calculated attempt to bring Helen down.

I’ve been given an ARC by Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

DI Helen Grace is bad assed! This book is fast paced and keeps you hooked and turning pages from the first to the last!

A five out of five star read!

Book Review – The Last of Us by Rob Ewing…

The island is quiet now. 
On a remote Scottish island, five children are the only ones left. Since the Last Adult died, sensible Elizabeth has been the group leader, testing for a radio signal, playing teacher and keeping an eye on Alex, the littlest, whose insulin can only last so long.
There is ‘shopping’ to do in the houses they haven’t yet searched and wrong smells to avoid. For eight-year-old Rona each day brings fresh hope that someone will come back for them, tempered by the reality of their dwindling supplies.
With no adults to rebel against, squabbles threaten the fragile family they have formed. And when brothers Calum Ian and Duncan attempt to thwart Elizabeth’s leadership, it prompts a chain of events that will endanger Alex’s life and test them all in unimaginable ways.
This book starts off in a slow and sad way. One of the children (8 year old Rona) is talking via memory to her missing mother. She narrates the whole book apart from the last chapter.
The story was very well written, and as a proud Scot, it was lovely to see Gaelic being used. The conversational parts of the story were beautifully written and portrayed the children so well.
This story is bleak, sad and hopeless at times. It shows also, how even the youngest of us can find courage in the face of the greatest adversity.
I have just one tiny problem with the story as a whole. The ending is a little too anticlimactic.
A four out of five star read.
I am profoundly grateful to Netgalley and HarperCollins UK for my copy of this book.

Is being angry really worth it?…

Seriously, I’m wondering if it is. Why I hear you cry? Well, my 15 year old has come home from school with one of the worst temper meltdowns I have ever seen him have. For a neurodiverse child with autism, ADHD and pathological demand avoidance, believe me when I tell you he has had some really bad stinkers of a meltdown. But this one? It was visceral!

Normally Im quite able to not rise to this and just put him in a quiet space until he calms down. But today? I have the flu. I feel like hell. My temperature is 38.9 and I’m alternately shaking and sweating like crazy. So when Captain Gobshite came through the door in this ball of fiery anger, I just couldn’t cope.

Within five minutes, I had royally lost it and was screaming like a possessed banshee at him. He had started yelling and blaming me for losing a form he could not find that he needed for school. No way was I taking the flack for that. He is not using his autism as an excuse for laziness. The form should have been back in his bag after he showed us.

He was being so rude and confrontational and he knew he was pushing all the right buttons. Yet most of the time I don’t react. I wonder if my being ill has lowered my guard on my emotions.

I screeched and yelled back at him until the damn thing was found and then I burst into tears and had to take a Valium.

As my temper levels returned to normal, I began to wonder if there was a point at all to anger. All it does is break you down and destroy you heart and soul. It leaves you feeling sick and broken inside. Is that short flare of temper really worth it? Is the two minutes of tension relief it brings to you really worth the destroyed voice and love that it brings? Here’s the rub… I don’t know, I really don’t. But if I had to, I’d choose that it is horrible and simply isn’t worth it.

I guess the point of this post is a little self centred. But I just want to us to remember that anger is toxic, and if you can at least keep that going, the thought will slowly help us remember to be calm in those situations.

Have I made sense here? I’m waffling on as a result of my temperature. Bleurgh. Pass me the sick bags.