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So,I Started a Post But…

I had laundry to do; I started an art project I’ve really wanted to start; my chronic illness reared it’s ugly head and I was in bed for an entire weekend; I had to play catch up with chores; there was an issue with my disability I had to take care of; I cleaned my room from the piles of artistic madness…and, well, you get the idea.

As if life wasn’t already difficult enough for me, with chronic illnesses and symptoms that make me crazy, I struggle with mental health, bipolar and ADHD. Bipolar should have been enough. There is nothing that can complicate one’s existence more than bipolar and the shifting of emotion that could rival any ocean waves, unless you have ADHD too.

I wasn’t diagnosed until recently by my psychiatrist. And my recently, I mean within the last five years. He said it is likely I struggles with it since I was a kid, but because no one really looked at girls having ADHD back then, let alone boys, I learned to cope with on my own. I was called mercurial and flighty. I couldn’t sit still so my parents put me in ballet, tap and gymnastics. Sitting down for any length of time to study was like murder. As a teen, I listened to music while studying, much to the chagrin of my parents who thought I wouldn’t retain anything. As an adult, I’m one of those people with 15 tabs open, Spotify on while watching YouTube, while working on a blog post.

Girl listening to music.

But recently, it’s become a little more difficult to manage and it’s not something I’ve brought up to my doctor yet because I’m still firmly in the camp of “it’ll work itself out.” I’ve noticed with projects that are a little lengthier, or when I’m reading something that is more than a 6-minute read, my mind starts to wander. I remember that the tomatoes outside need watering, or that I should start supper so that I won’t be rushing and getting too tired. I start watching something on Netflix or listening to something on Spotify. It can be very disheartening because eventually I remember what it is I am supposed to be working on and I become frustrated with my inability to concentrate.


As many of you out there with chronic pain and illness can understand, there sometimes feels like there is a small window of time where we can do everything we need to- but we really can’t because if we do we can really overdo it and then we’re feeling crappy for a week- but that window looks really damn good and we want to live and we want to play and we want to do everything we can, and so for me, that translates into hopping from one thing to the next, doing what I can in each little bit, but because of the way ADHD is, I sometimes forget where it was I began.

I began research for a post for mental health awareness back in January. It ended up being quite lengthy and I am only now starting to edit and cite various research info within the post. It’s June and I began this in January. I was upset I couldn’t post it for Mental Health Awareness Month, but thought for sure I would get it out the following month, but here it is June and I’m not quite done. So, I thought I would vent my frustrations out to you while also bringing you some of the symptoms of Adult ADHD, to make myself feel better.

Adult ADHD Symptoms (may look like…)

  • Impulsiveness
  • Disorganization and problems prioritizing
  • Poor time management skills
  • Problems focusing on a task
  • Trouble multitasking
  • Excessive activity or restlessness
  • Poor planning
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Problems following through and completing tasks
  • Hot temper
  • Trouble coping with stress

Everyone has some of these symptoms at some point. What gives you the diagnosis of ADHD is two words: persistent and disruptive. If you are experiencing one or many of these symptoms daily, and it is being persistent and disruptive, go and see a doctor to explain your symptoms. It may be ADHD. Mayo Clinic

I am still working on the mental health post and it will be dropped here regardless of timing, because mental health is aways important. Stay well!

Mental Illness: The Myth That All Mass Murderers Are Mentally Ill

Mental illnesses include a whole range of different conditions that vary in degree of severity from mild to severe. Within this are two broad categories that can be used to describe these conditions: 

Any Mental Illness (AMI) and Serious Mental Illness (SMI) 

AMI encompasses all recognized mental illnesses. 

SMI is a smaller and more severe subset of AMI. 

So, for clarity, AMI is defined as “a mental disorder, behavioral disorder or emotional disorder. Those within the AMI category may have disorders that impact their lives mildly, moderately, and even severely. Those that fall within SMI are defined as having a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairments, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.1 NIMH

School Cross Walk Sign

Is someone who commits murder, or mass murder, mentally ill? If they do not have a history of mental health issues or behavioral issues that fall into a mental health category, are they mentally ill? Do we look at all the people who have murdered anyone and just say, “Oh, well, they must have been mentally ill?” It makes me simultaneously angry and frightened that our legislatures chalk up tragedies like our most recent in Uvalde, Texas, to a “mental health issue.” It angers me because the idea that all mass murderers must be mentally ill is simply false. 

It is true that severe mental illnesses are found more often among mass murderers. About one in five are likely psychotic or delusional, according to Dr. Michael Stone, a forensic psychiatrist at Columbia University who maintains a database of 350 mass killers going back more than a century. The figure for the general public is closer to 1 percent. But the rest of these murderers do not have any severe, diagnosable disorder.” 2Are Mass Murderers Insane

In an article by Michael Friedman LMSW, in MedPage Today, “People with mental illness rarely commit homicide, and few homicides are committed by people with mental illness. About 5% of homicides are committed by people with psychotic conditions.3 Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean Mass Murder People with mental illness are far more likely to be the victims of a crime and far more likely to take their own life, than the reverse.

Looking closer to home, and as someone with mental illness, I find the statements of Governor Abbott [Texas], to be particularly distressing, misleading, and perpetuating the myth that the mentally ill are violent. It is upsetting to me that the only time the conditions of our mental health system are brought up is to bolster his agenda that stricter gun laws won’t save lives and that his concern for mental health issues is solely a diversionary tactic. No, it’s not only upsetting to me, it’s horrifying. Horrifying because there are many, many reasons to fix the mental health system, many more reasons than the violence of a mass shooting and not just in Texas. For example: 

4Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean Mass Murder

Has Governor Abbott done anything to help the mental health system of Texas? No. “Texas ranked last out of all 50 states and the District of Columbia for overall access to mental health care, according to the 2021 State of Mental Health in America report.” Oh, and by the way, “in April he slashed $211 million from the department that oversees mental health programs.” But, according to Governor Abbott, “We as a state, we as a society, need to do a better job with mental health.” We do. But slashing $211 million is not the way. 5 Abbott Calls Texas School Shooting Mental Health Issue

Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

It is also my opinion that chalking up an individual’s twisted thought process which leads them to kill 19 innocent children and two teachers to being mentally ill, diminishes his culpability in this heinous crime while at the same time stigmatizing the mentally ill. Why? Because claiming mental illness implies the person is insane. They didn’t know what they were doing. It is not right and it is not fair. Not only to those who suffer mental illness (which already bears the weight of stigma attached) but to those grieving parents attempting to make sense of what happened and all those other families who still grieve the loss of a family member taken too soon. 

Extensive case history shows that mass shooters don’t just suddenly break — they decide. They develop violent ideas that stem from entrenched grievances, rage, and despair. In many cases, they feel justified in their actions and regard killing as the sole solution to a problem. They arm themselves and prepare to attack, choosing where and when to strike. Often this is a highly organized and methodical process.” 6 Mass Shooters Don’t Snap. They Decide To Kill

Our minds can’t help but try to unravel and understand what can bring another human to this point. We look at it and think there is no way this person could be thinking with a clear and rational mind, and yet…if not suffering mental illness, what? I believe we have to look between what is normal and what is mentally ill. That space between, because a person that goes out and kills indiscriminately can’t be “mentally healthy.” 

metal and wooden swing in park
Photo by Ryutaro Tsukata on Pexels.com

There are warning signs that can be looked for in some, such as: “threatening comments, personal deterioration, patterns of stalking and other aggression, as well as fixating on guns, graphic violence, and previous mass shooters.”  7 Mass Shooters Don’t Snap. They Decide To Kill

I believe wholeheartedly with Follman that to make progress it’s, “going to take everything we’ve got: strengthening our nation’s gun laws, quashing a surge in violent political extremism, raising cultural awareness of shooter-warning signs — and, yes, investing in a lacking mental health care system to give troubled people the help they may need before it’s too late.” 8 Mass Shooters Don’t Snap. They Decide To Kill

We can’t just talk anymore. We can’t just offer condolences and prayers. We can’t shake our fists at one another blaming. We can’t hide behind the Second Amendment when innocent people are dying. When our children are dying. Change never came easy. Sometimes it requires sacrifice. Sometimes it hurts. But those families are hurting. And that hurt will never go away.

clear glass candle holder
Photo by Irina Anastasiu on Pexels.com

Sources:

1National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 2022. Mental Illness. [online] Available at: <https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/mental-illness> [Accessed 26 May 2022].

2Carey, B., 2017. Are Mass Murderers Insane? Usually Not, Researchers Say (Published 2017). [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/health/mass-murderers-mental-illness.html> [Accessed 26 May 2022].

3,4Friedman, LMSW, M., 2018. Mental Illness Doesn’t Mean Mass Murder. [online] Medpagetoday.com. Available at: <https://www.medpagetoday.com/psychiatry/generalpsychiatry/76884> [Accessed 26 May 2022].

5Hixenbaugh, M. and Siemaszko, C., 2022. Abbott calls Texas school shooting a mental health issue but cut state spending for it. [online] NBC News. Available at: <https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/abbott-calls-texas-school-shooting-mental-health-issue-cut-state-spend-rcna30557> [Accessed 26 May 2022].

6,7,8Follman, M., 2022. Op-Ed: Mass shooters aren’t mentally ill people who suddenly snap. They decide to kill. [online] Los Angeles Times. Available at: <https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-05-21/blaming-mental-health-mass-shootings-buffalo> [Accessed 26 May 2022].

How You can help families in Uvalde, Texas.

How to help victims of Texas School Shooting

Texas Elementary School gofundme Shooting Relief

https://www.goodmorningamerica.com/living/story/victims-families-responders-uvalde-community-school-shooting-84967792

Sexual Assault Awareness

**Trigger Warning**

Nearly every 68 seconds, a woman in the United States, is sexually assaulted. Every 9 minutes that victim is a child. However, only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison. [1] 1 in 5 women in the United States have experienced completed or attempted rape during their lifetime [2] and 1 in 3 female victims of completed rape experience it for the first time between the ages of 11 and 17 years of age. About half (51.1%) of female victims of rape reported being raped by an intimate partner and 40.8% by an acquaintance. Nearly a quarter (24.8%) of men in the United States experienced some form of contact sexual violence in their lifetime and about 1 in 4 male victims of completed or attempted rape, experienced it between the ages of 11 and 17.  

Rape is a heinous and repugnant act of violence that is not only brutal in the moment but scars a victim for life. It alters their idea of society and people, causing them to distrust those around them. Although that moment is brief in comparison to the multitude of events which shape a person’s life, it remains the one that is seared forever into a survivor’s soul. You remember where you were when it happened, the time of day it was when it happened; you can recall everything with acute clarity that will never vanish from your mind as much as you may want them to. And while you may be able to move past it. you won’t be able to forget it. Not ever.

It is beyond my scope of comprehension that the population within the United States at most risks for experiencing sexual violence are children. But it is. The numbers are difficult to determine because it is often not reported, however, authorities agree that the numbers are likely higher than what is even seen. Research has repeatedly shown the harmful impact of sexual abuse upon children’s physical and mental health. Although there can be signs of the trauma, it can differ

1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of child sexual abuse;

Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault or sexual abuse incident;

During a one-year period in the U.S., 16% of youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;

Over the course of their lifetime, 28% of U.S. youth ages 14 to 17 had been sexually victimized;

Children are most vulnerable to CSA between the ages of 7 and 13.

Victims of Crime Org

with the age of the child, while some may not show any indication at all. This is why there needs to be continued focus on prevention and communication; teaching children about body safety and healthy body boundaries as well as strengthening their communication skills about sexual matters with positivity and encouragement. [3]

There is also the problem that child sex abuse is not “uniformly designed,” so statistics may vary. [4] We also know from studies conducted in 1986 and then again in 2000, 2002 and 2005 with similar results that approximately 63% of women who had suffered sexual abuse by a family member also reported rape or attempted rape, after the age of 14. Frighteningly, children who had experienced rape or sexual assault in their adolescent years were 13.7 times more likely to experience a rape or attempted rape in their first years of college.

Childhood and adolescent sexual abuse can also be detrimental to young males, resulting in the increased odds of sexual behaviours that lead to unprotected sex resulting in sexually transmitted infections and causing early teen pregnancy. Studies have shown that abused boys were significantly more likely than nonabused boys to report all three risky sexual behaviours. [5]When people and even some health providers hear about men and sexual assault, there is an almost automatic assumption that men are the perpetrators. It is not easy for men to view themselves as a victim, or as someone who has been abused. Young men who have been abused may develop a host of complex difficulties as in “struggling to deal with overwhelming memories and emotions, to establish a sense of self, of personal and relational integrity, separate from the traumatic experience and its ongoing impacts.” Something that really struck me about the difference between how men and women interpret their own sexual abuse experience is summed up beautifully in this quote:

I recognise culturally for women to talk about sexual  abuse was a risk of them appearing to others as damaged goods and so on; but for men I think it was different because it gets mixed up with gender identity and not so much for the women the self-image of a man being sexually physically able to look after yourself and the necessity of doing that and so on and so forth….I know you’ve got males who have been sexually assaulted and, because of stigmas of society, are still unwilling to get counselling and help for it.” Teram, E et al. (2006). Towards malecentric communication: sensitizing health professional to the realities of male childhood sexual abuse survivors.

Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 27 (5), 499-517

One of the tragic results of a young male who has been sexually abused or assaulted is a “robbing of their masculine identity” compounding the trauma of the assault. [6] “Women do not report the same effect of the sexual abuse.” This is partly because the majority of abuse and assault on men are by men, and the majority of sexual assaults and abuse on women are by men. A victim should not have to worry about how their rape is perceived, nor suffer the confusion or pain of wondering if they are no longer heterosexual (if that is how they identified prior to the assault). Attention should be focused on the healing and on being able to come to terms with the assault and moving past it because the memories will always remain. The best we can hope for is a scar to form that reminds us of the trauma that happened, but not the continued and re-lived pain of it.

In discussing vulnerable populations at risk for sexual assault, we must then draw awareness to the LGBTQIA community. We know that there can be slightly higher rates of violence because as a community they experience “higher rates of poverty, stigma, and marginalization, which put us at greater risk for sexual assault.” [7] There is also a higher rate of hate-motivated violence, which can take the form of sexual assault and can be experienced more prevalently upon the transgender population and more acutely among “transgender youth, transgender people of colour, individuals living with disabilities, homeless individuals, and those who are involved in the sex trade.” [8] In 2011 Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, uncovered disturbing statistics. For example, “12 percent of transgender youth report being sexually assaulted in K–12 settings by peers or educational staff; 13 percent of African-American transgender people surveyed were sexually assaulted in the workplace; and 22 percent of homeless transgender individuals were assaulted while staying in shelters.” [9]Something that should be shocking and yet sadly, is not, are those professionals who have established themselves in “helping” positions who violate the trust and become the perpetrator. Fifteen percent of transgender individuals report being sexually assaulted while in police custody or jail, which is more than doubles (32 percent) for African-American transgender people. “Five to nine percent of transgender survivors were sexually assaulted by police officers. Another 10 percent were assaulted by health care professionals.” [10]Just as distressing is hate crimes. According to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP):

Acts of hate violence, such as harassment, stalking, vandalism, and physical and sexual assault, are often supported by more socially sanctioned expressions of transphobia, biphobia, and homophobia and are intended to send a message to LGBTQ communities. . . . Many LGBTQ people also face substantial bias because they belong to other traditionally marginalized groups along other axes of identity such as race, class, incarceration history, immigration status, or ability. . . . membership in more than one traditionally marginalized community can increase targeting for severe violence.

In many of the hate violence against the LGBTQIA community, the victims are transgender women (50%), while the rest were male, many of who are non-conforming. I don’t like graphic descriptions, but in this regard, it is important to know that in these crimes, in which murder was often the result, there was sexual violence and/or “genital mutilation before or after their murders was a frequent occurrence.” [11]Hate crimes are largely more prevalent against people of colour, and so it is not surprising that in 2009 53 percent of LGBTQ hate crime victims were people of colour. “Of the 22 anti-LGBTQ hate crime murders documented by NCAVP that year, 79 percent of the victims were people of colour. As noted above, 50 percent (11 individuals) of the 2009 murders tracked were transgender women; of those, 9 were people of colour (82 percent). Of the other 11 murders of gender non-conforming people, 5 (45 percent) were people of colour.” [12]

It is my hope that this post has brought awareness to a subject that is difficult to talk about. But when there are so many vulnerable in our society, I think the only thing you can do is talk about it, write about and do all you can to inform people. It’s easy to say, “It won’t happen to me.” It’s easy to believe that you are protected in your home with locks and alarm systems. But the sad fact is that none of us is truly safe, and within your circle of friends and loved ones there may be those who are more vulnerable and you cannot protect them. However, arming yourself with information and sharing it with them, could protect them from this violence.

If you or anyone you may know has been the victim of sexual assault, please reach out.

National Sexual Assault Hotline

Hours: Available 24 hours

1-800-656-4673

HelpingSurvivors of Sexual Abuse and Assault https://helpingsurvivors.org/


Sources

[1] RAINN

[2] ASVRC

[3] The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

[4] Victims of Crimes Org

[5] Science Direct

[6] Living Well

[7] Human Rights Campaign

[8] Office of Justice Programs

[9] Office of Justice Programs

[10] Office of Justice Programs

[11] Office of Justice Programs

[12] Office of Justice Programs

I am a Mimzy

I had great intentions of getting several blog posts up for April, but alas, that has not come to pass. I will, however, get them up as soon as I can. They are related to the month, as in, National…in April, but I think these two deserve to have the spotlight on them regardless of the month.

There has been a very good reason for my absence, despite the usual illness/pain. I became a Mimzy in early April, to a beautiful, little boy. My second daughter gave birth on April 6th, naturally, and I couldn’t be prouder of her. He was 7lbs 15oz and he’s just adorable. I am so excited to have a grandson and be able to share so many things with him. Life is constantly surprising you.

I hope you can understand the delay, but know that I will get back to writing asap. Here are a few pictures of the little one.

Baby K.J.
Baby K.J.’s ride home
Baby K.J. looking out into the world!

How to Look Great and Feel Better

The LoveKarmaFood blog brings people together with chronic illness, struggling from some of those secondary issues that many of us have, with a focus on healing through food – holistically. Reach out today to find out more!

Image via Pixabay

How to Look Great and Feel Better

Are you struggling with your self-image? Do you constantly feel tired or lack motivation? Or maybe you just want to take yourself to the next level. Making changes to your physical and mental health can help you look and feel your best – and here are some suggestions from LoveKarmaFood on how to do just that.

Exercise Regularly

Work up a sweat most days of the week to feel and look better. Not only does regular exercise keep your body in top physical condition, but Insider notes that it also puts you in a happier place. Exercise ramps up your endorphins to create a positive feeling while strengthening your muscles. 

Practice Self-Care

Self-care is something everyone should practice to stay mentally healthy. Here are some self-care tasks to try:

  • Sleep. The CDC recommends getting at least 7 hours of sleep to feel rested and energized.
  • Get outdoors. Fresh air and nature views can help you feel better.
  • Find support. A professional counselor or a support group are common examples of support options, but you can also seek support to help with your setting. For instance, paying a professional landscape company to spruce up the property is a great way to improve the appearance of your home, which can give you more stress relief and boosts your overall positivity. 
  • Connect with friends. Spending time with friends can lower your stress and improve your mood.
  • Focus on gratitude. Focusing on the things you’re grateful for can give you a more positive outlook. 
  • Practice mindfulness. Mindfulness involves staying in the moment and taking control of your thoughts. Practice being aware of your surroundings and not rushing through moments as part of self-care.

Clean up Your Diet

What you eat impacts your overall health and how you feel. Eating lots of junk food often makes you feel sluggish. Let yourself splurge a little so you don’t feel deprived, but keep most of your diet healthy and nutrient-rich.

Set Goals

Setting goals using the SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) method can boost how you feel about yourself. It gives you something to work toward and creates a sense of accomplishment. Perhaps you want to switch careers, but you don’t have the right degree. Enrolling in an online program can help you get the education you need to pursue a new path.

Try Something New

Try a new hobby or learn a new skill to improve your confidence. Hobbies give you something fun to do with your spare time, and they can provide a new perspective while enriching your life.

Keep Up With Care

Don’t wait until you have a health problem to go to the doctor. Scheduling a well-care visit yearly gives your doctor a baseline to make it easier to diagnose health issues early. Your doctor can provide customized recommendations on diet, exercise, and other factors that help you look and feel better. 

Control Stress and Anxiety

Having uncontrolled stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed or anxious. Find ways to manage stress, such as breathing exercises, visualization, yoga, and meditation. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million adults experience anxiety disorders. If anxiety is taking over your life, see how Mind Atlas’ mindfulness program can help.

Explore Your Style

Looking and feeling great can come down to your physical appearance. Explore your personality by testing different clothing and hairstyles you love. Expressing yourself through your outward appearance can help you feel confident. It’s also about feeling comfortable, so choose clothes made of quality materials that are also versatile. If you’re a new mom, for example, go with dresses, nightgowns and PJs that make nursing easier, no matter where you are. 

You Can Feel and Look Great

Taking charge of your mental and physical health helps you look and feel your best. The two go hand-in-hand. When you feel better about yourself, you live a happier life and accomplish more, getting you closer to your maximum potential.

Traumatic Brain Injury Awareness Month

Image: LKF

Traumatic brain injury [TBI] is something that we hear of periodically in the news, as in the case of Tracy Morgan’s car crash that resulted in his traumatic brain injury. We   hear of it when football players suffer terrible concussions, or when other athletes, such as cheerleaders, sustain devastating falls. However, it is not something that we think can happen to us and our perception of what a TBI is, can be very far from the truth.

Traumatic brain injury is defined as: an alteration in brain function…caused by an external force.

It is extremely important to understand that every brain is different and therefore every traumatic brain different. In order to be an ally you can’t assume you can tell by sight or symptom, whether someone has sustained TBI or to what extent they may be experiencing it.

Traumatic brain injuries can occur due to motor vehicle accidents, sports, or recreational injuries, domestic violence, falls and other external forces.

Approximately 5.3 million plus adults and children in the U.S. are living with some sort of permanent brain injury related disability. Many of these injuries are the result of stroke, infections, disease and brain tumors, but those numbers also include mild traumatic brain [MTBI] injuries or what we typically know as concussions.

 A concussion is a brain injury caused by a blow to the head or a violent shaking of the head and body. This occurs from a mild blow to the head, either with or without loss of consciousness and can lead to temporary cognitive symptoms. Yet there may be symptoms which aren’t obvious and go undetected or may not appear to be related to a head injury.

  • Sleep difficulties or irregularities
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Slower than normal reaction time

Older adults are at higher risk for concussions. It is important to encourage preventive measures.

The Dept. of Defense issued guidelines of key ways to recognize a concussion in order to get immediate help and treatment. These are:

  • H- headaches or vomiting.
  • E- ears ringing.
  • A- amnesia, altered consciousness or loss of consciousness.
  • D- double vision and/or dizziness.
  • S- something is wrong or not quite right.

4 in 5 TBI related ER visits are older adults 65years and older. It is highest among persons 75 years and older. You can assist your loved one who may be at risk in the following ways:

  • Removing home hazards like throw rugs or (at minimum) securing them to the ground firmly.
  • Lighting up living spaces to avoid tripping.
  • Employing assisted living devices like (handrails, grab bars and raised toilet seats).
  • Regularly reviewing meds with doctors.
  • Staying as active as possible.
  • Wearing sensible shoes.

Non-Traumatic Brain Injury

This begins internally due to disease, poisoning, a hereditary condition, lack of oxygen, stroke or other internal medical issues.

Reducing Screen-time Post-Concussion

There is evidence that reducing screen time helps reduce recovery time. Avoiding screen time in the first 48 hours of acute-concussion recovery may greatly reduce the duration of concussion symptoms to allow for important cognitive brain rest following concussion.

It is thought that the rapid eye movement involved with watching continually refreshing LED screen pixilation can cause eye muscle strain for someone who has just suffered TBI. Also, back-lighting from most screens and the loud noises from some electronic devices may also cause other negative symptoms in post-concussive patients.

False Facts Concerning Traumatic Brain Injury

You can always see brain injury on CT or MRI scans.

False: CT & MRI are looking for bleeding in the brain, skull fractures and other acute trauma. Not all brain injuries -like concussions- will appear on these scans. A clear CT or MRI does not eliminate the possibility of brain injury.

Two years after a brain injury no more recovery can be made.

False: After the first 9 months of recovery, time is no longer an indicator of recovery; what is the most important after this is finding proper therapies for your symptoms. Doing the right activities 50 years post injury has the same chance of recovery as receiving proper treatment 9 months out. Improvement is always possible!

Concussions are NOT serious.

False: Concussion is a form of mild traumatic brain injury. If you are experiencing any symptoms of concussion, it should never be considered trivial, minor, or “part of the game.” They are signs of brain injury and “mild,” is only a reference to the fact that they are not usually life threatening. But it does not mean it’s not serious and while many people will fully recover two weeks post-concussion, a percentage of patients will have lifelong symptoms afterward.

Individuals with brain injury don’t think about suicide.

False: Sadly, it is not an uncommon occurrence for patience to experience after a traumatic brain injury. Nearly 1 in 5 brain injury survivors admit to suicidal ideation, plans or attempts in the 5-year period after injury. If you need help please call the Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Only athletes get concussions.

False: TBI is a common result of motor vehicle accidents, falls (particularly with elderly and children), military action or blast exposure, intimate partner violence, abuse, gunshot wounds and other physical trauma.

Sources:

Brain Injury Association of America

CDC Traumatic Brain Injury

Epilepsy Awareness

Purple Day

March 26th, 2022 is Epilepsy Awareness Day.

There are about 3.4 million people with epilepsy nationwide: 3 million adults and 470,000 children who suffer with epilepsy. http://www.cdc.gov

It can be a debilitating chronic disorder that affects even the most mundane aspects of your life and can rob you of being able to do tasks that many of us take for granted.

I was diagnosed around 2008 with an unspecified seizure disorder, that took years to be able to control and has prohibited me from driving. Though I have not had tonic-clonic seizures in over a year, I still have absent seizures frequently; this means I have active epilepsy.

Active Epilepsy

An adult aged 18 or older has active epilepsy if they report they have a history of doctor-diagnosed epilepsy or seizure disorder and:

  • are currently taking meds to control it or
  • had one or more seizures in the past year or both.

A child aged 17 or younger has active epilepsy if their parent of guardian reports:

  • that a doctor of health care provider has ever told them they their child has epilepsy or seizure disorder, and
  • their child currently has epilepsy or seizure disorder.

What is a Seizure?

It’s a sudden, uncontrolled electrical disturbance in the brain. It can cause changes in your behavior, movements or feelings and in levels of consciousness. http://www.maycoclinic.org/diseases

Seizure types vary by where in the brain they begin and how far they spread. Most last from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. A seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes is a medical emergency.

Symptoms of a Seizure

These can range from mild to severe depending on the type of seizure. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • temporary confusion
  • staring spell
  • uncontrollable jerking movements of arms and legs
  • loss of consciousness or awareness
  • cognitive or emotional symptoms such as fear, anxiety or déjà vu.

Types of Seizures

Focal seizures

These result in abnormal electrical activity in one area of the brain. These can happen with or without loss of consciousness. This is called Focal Seizures with Impaired Awareness and Focal Seizures without Loss of Consciousness.

Generalized Seizures

These appear to involve all areas of the brain:

  • Absence seizures (previously known as petit mal)
  • Tonic Seizures
  • Atonic Seizures
  • Clonic Seizures
  • Myoclonic Seizures
  • Tonic-Clonic Seizures (previously known as grand mal)

What does a Seizure Feel Like?

Everyone has a different experience with their own specific seizure, however for me, when I experience an absence seizure I just blink out of existence for a few seconds. This is one of those reasons why it’s dangerous for me to drive. When I experience a tonic-clonic seizure it’s frightening and for me, I only have a brief second of awareness of what is going to happen- like when you are on the verge of falling asleep and you feel like you are falling and jerk awake. Except I am not conscious during these episodes and when I come back, I can be disoriented and almost always feel nauseous. You can read about Destiny’s Experience here.

Common Causes of Seizures

The most common causes of seizures is epilepsy, however, not every person who has a seizure has epilepsy. Some types of seizure disorder may be caused by genetic mutations and:

Other Triggers

  • High fever
  • Lack of sleep
  • Flashing lights, moving patterns or other visual stimulants
  • Low blood sodium (hyponatremia)
  • Medications, such as certain pain relievers, antidepressants or smoking cessation.

If you have Seizure disorder or Epilepsy, know that you are not alone. Seek out epilepsy support organizations to help you deal with the struggles of having epilepsy.

Epilepsy Alliance America

Epilepsy Foundation

Cure Epilepsy

Hello!!

It’s been a very busy couple months.

Found out I am going to be a grandma. planned a baby shower in record time. Had the baby shower. And then promptly got sick.

I promise I’m going to crank out a few blog posts before the end of March!

Actual footage of me..

Simple Ways to Build Your Confidence in 2022

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Photo by Snapwire on Pexels.com

Image via Pexels

[Here’s another great post from Lexie Dy. Please Enjoy!]

The new year is here, and now is the time to think of how you can improve your confidence, health, and well-being. The key is to strike a balance between establishing lofty, overwhelming goals and attainable goals that will leave you feeling great after achieving them.

After all, nothing can build your confidence more than accomplishing something you set out to do. That’s why LoveKarmaFood has provided a few realistic tips for setting goals and building confidence in 2022!

Take a Look at Your Finances      

Financial uncertainty can cause a lot of stress, hindering you from reaching any goals you set this year. Take time to go through your finances and find ways to improve your standing.

Maybe you could cut unnecessary costs and find other ways to save money. One option is to refinance your home, meaning that you decrease your home’s equity to lower your mortgage payment or free up cash.

Evaluate Your Work Life  

This could be the year for you to make a career change. Is your workload overwhelming you? Are you chronically bored in the office or having issues with your coworkers? Consider your career path to determine if there is something else you would rather be doing.

Maybe you could start your own business. These days, technology makes it possible to launch a home-based company in almost any industry. If you go this route, consider going back to school to earn an online degree. Getting a business degree could help you develop essential business, management, and leadership skills to benefit the rest of your career.

Focus on Nutrition

Your body and mind need proper nutrition to perform at total capacity. If you regularly eat empty calories and processed foods, you are not doing your health and well-being any favors. Think of practical ways to incorporate healthier alternatives into your diet. Here are a few options to keep in mind:

  • Healthy fats
  • Lean proteins
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

One easy way to get a ton of nutrients in one sitting is to make smoothies. Load your favorite fruits and veggies into a blender, and add water or almond milk for a delicious and healthy treat!

Pay It Forward

The primary purpose of volunteering in your community is to help improve the lives of the residents. But when you pay it forward for a cause that you believe in, it can deeply enrich your life.

Studies show that volunteering your time at a local organization can significantly enhance your overall health and happiness. It also allows you to meet new people and broaden your perspective.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

Would you like to crush your goals this year? Or would you prefer to settle for less? Often, the difference between these two outcomes is your mindset. In 2022, resolve to address a growth mindset that helps you focus on your goals and the practical steps for accomplishing them.

Along with consistently looking for realistic solutions, speak positive affirmations over yourself each day. It can also help to find a mentor to guide you through challenges and keep you accountable on your journey. You can do it; all that’s left is for you to believe it!

It’s nearly impossible to accomplish goals without confidence. And the best way to boost your confidence is to establish goals you can attain. Rather than setting out to achieve a lofty mission, write down a few realistic changes you can start making today. The tips above will get you off to a great start, but research other habits that can build your confidence and lead to better overall health and well-being.

If you enjoyed this article, you can read much more helpful content on LoveKarmaFood.com!

National Eating Disorder Awareness Month

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** This subject may be triggering to some, so please exercise caution before reading. **

What Are Eating Disorders?

According to the American Psychiatric Association eating disorders are defined as behavioral conditions that are expressed by severe and persistent disturbances in eating behaviors and associated with distressing thoughts and emotion.

Some types of eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, binge eating disorder, avoidant restrictive food intake disorder, other specified feeding and eating disorder, pica and rumination disorder.

Altogether, eating disorders affect roughly 5% of the population. In many cases signs and symptoms begin in adolescence and young adulthood. Some are more common in women, as with anorexia nervosa and bulimia; however, they can all occur at any time and any age. [i]

A Brief Glimpse of Eating Disorder Definitions

Anorexia nervosa: A condition characterised by deliberate efforts to severely restrict food intake (despite low body weight), often to the point of clinical starvation.

Bulimia nervosa: A condition in which someone eats large quantities of food and then purges it via vomiting, exercising excessively just after a binge, or using laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

Binge-eating disorder: A condition in which someone eats large quantities of food, often in a very short period of time, to the point of discomfort; they may feel that they “lose control” while this occurs.

What Causes Eating Disorders?

There are many reasons someone might develop an eating disorder, but rarely is it about trying to look thin. Many with eating disorders have low self-esteem, and they struggle with past trauma, lack of control over their lives, and feelings of inadequacy, anxiety, or depression.

Things to be Aware of

If you are worried a loved one may be struggling with this, here are a few things too look for. It can often be difficult to know if someone may actually have an eating disorder or is simply concerned about their weight in a culture that is obsessed with dieting. But you can start with the following:

  • Starving themselves or restricting their food intake, like eating significantly below normal daily requirements of calories per day
  • Acting extremely controlling around food and/or wanting to eat in private
  • Exercising excessively
  • Purging, including self-induced vomiting or misuse of laxatives, diuretics or enemas
  • Spending long, unexplained amounts of time in the bathroom, or needing to run to the bathroom right after each meal
  • Consuming a large amount of food very quickly and being unable to stop
  • Exhibiting limited spontaneity around food and/or heightened stress around meal time
  • Preoccupation with being thin
  • Belief they are fat no matter how thin they are
  • Hiding their very thin body with big, bulky clothing
  • Negative body image and frequent negative comments about their body
  • Rigid rules and beliefs about what foods can be eaten and how they should be eaten
  • Setting high standards for how successful they are at controlling their weight
  • Exhibiting depression or anxiety
  • Becoming defensive or irritable when approached about their eating habits
  • Acting controlling about letting others see their emotions, or being very restrained in their emotions
  • Feeling guilt, helplessness, or low self-esteem
  • Rapid or excessive weight loss
  • Constantly feeling cold
  • Dry, yellowish skin
  • Fine hair
  • Brittle nails
  • Mouth lesions, chronic sore throat, or “chipmunk cheeks” (when the glands on the sides of the jaw enlarge) caused by frequent purging
  • Girls with very low weight may not get their periods

[ii]

The Stats:

Something important to remember is that this is not “girl only” disorder. It is estimated that 20-25% of the total number of people with eating disorders are male.

[iii]

LGBTQ Stats:

  • Gay men are seven times more likely to report binge-eating and twelve times more likely to report purging than heterosexual men.6
  • Gay and bisexual boys are significantly more likely to fast, vomit, or take laxatives or diet pills to control their weight.6
  • Transgender college students report experiencing disordered eating at approximately four times the rate of their cisgender classmates.7
  • 32% of transgender people report using their eating disorder to modify their body without hormones.8
  • 56% of transgender people with eating disorders believe their disorder is not related to their physical body.8
  • Gender dysphoria and body dissatisfaction in transgender people is often cited as a key link to eating disorders.7
  • Non-binary people may restrict their eating to appear thin, consistent with the common stereotype of androgynous people in popular culture.7

[iv]

BIPOC Stats:

* BIPOC refers to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color

  • BIPOC are significantly less likely than white people to have been asked by a doctor about eating disorder symptoms.3
  • BIPOC with eating disorders are half as likely to be diagnosed or to receive treatment.2
  • Black people are less likely to be diagnosed with anorexia than white people but may experience the condition for a longer period of time.4
  • Black teenagers are 50% more likely than white teenagers to exhibit bulimic behavior, such as binge-eating and purging.3
  • Hispanic people are significantly more likely to suffer from bulimia nervosa than their non-Hispanic peers.3
  • Asian American college students report higher rates of restriction compared with their white peers and higher rates of purging, muscle building, and cognitive restraint than their white or non-Asian, BIPOC peers.5
  • Asian American college students report higher levels of body dissatisfaction and negative attitudes toward obesity than their non-Asian, BIPOC peers.5

[v]

You Are Not Alone

 Having an eating disorder is a struggle and one that lasts a lifetime. I struggled with anorexia/bulimia when I was a teenager and I still struggle now, as an overweight adult. But having people I can talk to, even if those people are on social media platforms, has made it much more manageable. Knowing you are not alone in what seems to be an insurmountable obstacle can make all the difference. You may continue to struggle with it after the initial healing, but it won’t be as bad. Have faith, think positive and remember that your body is beautiful and treat it kindly.


[i] Guarda, M.D., A., 2022. What Are Eating Disorders?. [online] Psychiatry.org. Available at: <https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/eating-disorders/what-are-eating-disorders&gt; [Accessed 26 February 2022].

[ii] The Jed Foundation. 2022. Understanding Eating Disorders | JED. [online] Available at: <https://jedfoundation.org/resource/understanding-eating-disorders/?gclid=CjwKCAiAvOeQBhBkEiwAxutUVGRj1AG-XIjCBhBSC2UZgA6b5ZW3NNMOXZBisKzu3nvbclKqsfBTsRoCl48QAvD_BwE&gt; [Accessed 26 February 2022].

[iii] Muhlheim, PsyD, CEDS, L., 2020. Understanding Male Eating Disorders. www.verywellmind.com.

[iv] National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. 2022. Eating Disorder Statistics | General & Diversity Stats | ANAD. [online] Available at: <https://anad.org/eating-disorders-statistics/&gt; [Accessed 26 February 2022].

[Eating Disorders in LGBTQ+ Populations. (2018, February 21). Retrieved February 22, 2021, from https://www.nationaleatingdisorders.org/learn/general-information/lgbtq

Lauren Muhlheim, L., PsyD, CEDS. (2020, June 20). Eating Disorders in Transgender People. Retrieved February 22, 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/eating-disorders-in-transgender-people-4582520

Duffy, M. E., Henkel, K. E., &amp; Earnshaw, V. A. (2016). Transgender Clients’ Experiences of Eating Disorder Treatment. Journal of LGBT Issues in Counseling, 10(3), 136-149. https://doi.org/10.1080/15538605.2016.1177806]

[v] National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders. 2022. Eating Disorder Statistics | General & Diversity Stats | ANAD. [online] Available at: <https://anad.org/eating-disorders-statistics/&gt; [Accessed 26 February 2022].

[Deloitte Access Economics. The Social and Economic Cost of Eating Disorders in the United States of America: A Report for the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders and the Academy for Eating Disorders. June 2020. Available at: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/striped/report-economic-costs-of-eating-disorders/.

Becker, A. E., Franko, D. L., Speck, A., & Herzog, D. B. (2003). Ethnicity and differential access to care for eating disorder symptoms. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 33(2), 205-212. doi:10.1002/eat.10129

Sala, M., Reyes-Rodríguez, M. L., Bulik, C. M., & Bardone-Cone, A. (2013). Race, ethnicity, and eating disorder recognition by peers. Eating disorders21(5), 423–436. https://doi.org/10.1080/10640266.2013.827540

Uri, R. C., Wu, Y., Baker, J. H., & Munn-Chernoff, M. A. (2021). Eating disorder symptoms in Asian American college students. Eating Behaviors, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eatbeh.2020.101458]