Seriousness of Depression

depression (1)Good afternoon Y’all! I hope your weekend is beautiful and going very well🌤! With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to continue sharing some additional information about what people can deal with! I also want y’all to never forget that one kind word to another can make a HUGE difference to that person’s day! ❤Love, acceptance and kindness can go a long way!

Depression, like all other illnesses does not discriminate and sadly affects people of all ages, ethnicity and socioeconomic backgrounds. Depression is more than just going through a rough patch in life or feeling sad, but can be quite debilitating. In fact, depression is the leading cause to disability in the United States among people between the ages of 15-44. You would never think that a child as young as 15 would experience depression, but it happens way more than we could imagine. In the United States alone 16 million American adults which are 7% of the population will or have experienced depression in their lifetime.Depression

What is the world causes depression for so many people? While there really is no known single cause for depression, but this may possibly occur from a series of events in life or even one major situation. Certain events in life can cause some, whereas chemical changes in the brain can cause others. Depression can be triggered by a life crisis or physical illness, but also can occur spontaneously.

Some factors scientists believe can contribute to depression are:

  • Trauma at an early age can cause long-term changes in the response to fear and stress
  • Genetics, mood disorders do tend to run in the family
  • Life circumstances such as marital status, relationships changes and financial standings can influence depression
  • Brain changes
  • Medical conditions
  • Drug and alcohol abuse. Approximately 30% if people with a substance abuse problem also have depression, which maybe these individuals were trying to self-medicate their struggles as that does happen quite frequently

There are numerous different types of depression one can experience, but I am only Depression-types-300x300going to touch on four of them: Major Depression, Persistent Depression, Manic Depression also known as Bipolar Disorder and Atypical Depression.

Major Depression is when a person is actually depressed most of the time for more days a week than not. Symptoms for Major Depression include:

  • Loss of interest of pleasure in activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
  • Feeling restless, agitated or very sluggish and slowed down physical or mentally
  • Being tired and without any energy
  • Trouble concentrating or making decision
  • Thoughts of suicide

A doctor may diagnosis Major Depression if there are five or more of the symptoms I mentioned on most days for two weeks or longer.

Persistent Depressive Disorder is when the depression lasts two years or longer. This type is actually used to describe two conditions dysthymia and chronic depression. Dysthymia is a low-grade persistent depression and chronic depression is persistence of depressive symptoms for an extended period of time.

Symptoms for this type of depression are:

  • Change in appetite, either not eating enough or eating too much
  • Sleep too much or sleep too little
  • Lack of energy or fatigue
  • Low self-esteem
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Feeling of hopelessness

Manic Depression also known as Bipolar Disorder is another type of depression that so many people are living with. With this type of depression, a person can have mood episodes ranging from extremes of high energy, which is referred to as mania to low depressive periods, but they also have “normal” moods and energy in between. The mania part of this illness may involve long periods of sleeplessness along with Depressionhallucinations, psychosis or paranoid rage. The depressive episode can be very devastating and difficult to treat. Through studies there has not been any proof that antidepressants are beneficial for those with Bipolar Disorder, but a small percentage can actually increase risk for the high phases or speed up frequency of more episodes to occur.

Atypical Depression is specifier for either major or dysthymia depression. This is typically experienced first at an early age such as teenage years. This can be distinguished from melancholic depression because a person will see a mood improvement when something positive occurs, whereas with melancholic depression a positive event will seldom change the person’s mood. To diagnosis, a person will need to have at least two of the following symptoms to accompany the mood reactivity:

  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Increased appetite or weight gain
  • Intense reaction or increased sensitivity to rejection which can result in problems socially
  • Having a feeling of being weighed down, paralyzed or leaden which means dull, heavy or slow

In my opinion, people with depression often feel shame and do not feel comfortable talking to others about their struggles. I feel that it is incredibly important to never judge depression-quote-3-1-healthyplace_copiaanyone for what they are battling with in life, but we should all be accepting and offer our support❤! In some situations, depression can lead to suicide which I find extremely sad. Maybe if these people felt that they mattered and could confide in another, they would not have gone that route. Of course that is not always true as we really can not help someone who does not want help, but we can at least try to offer our compassion❤!

**Please note that I am NOT a physician or mental health professional. All the information I have shared with you is from my own research and experiences in life. So, please take this as advice not an official diagnosis for anything!**

Thank y’all from the bottom of my heart ❤for stopping by my site today. I hope you found this information valuable and offered you an understanding of what some have to deal with in life! Of course I will appreciate your comments and I will respond just as quickly as I possibly can. I hope you have  fabulous and beautiful day! As always, I am sending y’all LOTS of ❤love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

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Anxiety Illnesses are Real!

anxietyEveryone experiences anxiety in cases such as dealing with a problem at work, before taking a test or while making an important decision, which is all completely normal. When a person has an anxiety disorder it involves a lot more than just the temporary worry or fear. The fear and anxiety for a person that suffers with an anxiety disorder does not just go away, but can actually worse over time, which can be frustrating and scary. The feelings that are involved with anxiety can and does interfere with a person’s daily activities such as their job performance, school work and even their personal relationships.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders that I am will be elaborating on which include: Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is one that causes people to feel anxious and worried most of the time and not just on specific stressful situations like most of us deal with. The worries these people have tend to be intense, persistent and interfere with their normal lives. The worries will relate to several aspects of everyday life including work, health, family, and/or financial issues, instead of just one issue at a time which can be extremely overwhelming for anyone! Minor things like household chores or being late for a meeting or appointment become the focus of the anxiety and can lead to uncontrollable worries and fears!

Panic Disorder is a term that is used to describe panic attacks that are recurrent and disabling. Several ways a panic attack disorder can be characterized?

  • Presence of reoccurring and unexpected panic attacks
  • Worrying for at least one month after having a panic attack that you will have another, but do not know when
  • Worrying about the implications or consequences of a panic attack
  • Significant changes in behavior that relate to the panic attack, such as avoid activities all together

panic attackWhile experiencing a panic attack the person will feel overwhelmed by physical sensations. A panic attack typically peaks within 10 minutes and usually lasts up to an hour and a half, which will leave the person feeling tired and just completely exhausted. Panic attacks can occur several times a day or if the person is lucky maybe once every few years. Each person with this disorder can experience it in different severties.

Panic attacks are actually very common as up to 40% of the population will experience one at some point in their life.

Common signs and symptoms of a Panic Attack are:

  • Sense of overwhelming panic or fear
  • Increased heart rate
  • Difficulty breathing as if there is not enough air
  • Feeling choked
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Dizziness, light-headedness or feeling faint

Social Anxiety is also referred to as Social Phobia. Now we all can get nervous in social situations, especially when we are meeting new people or if we have to give a speech, but we somehow manage to pull through those uncomfortable situations. When people who have social anxiety are faced with similar situations it can lead to very intense anxiety, which can be extremely overwhelming. Even in the most ordinary everyday situations, people with social anxiety may fear of being judged, criticized, laughed at or humiliated in front of others.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often heard of when soldiers come home from war, but it can happen to anyone that has experienced a traumatic event in their life time. A traumatic event could be a car accident or another serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture or a disaster such as a fire or flood. After a traumatic event a person may feel intense fears, helplessness or horror. Even though anyone can develop PTSD after a traumatic event, people tend to be at a greater risk if the event involved deliberate harm such as physical or sexual assault or they had repeated traumatic experiences such as childhood sexual abuse, especially when done by someone they knew and were close to.

Word cloud for Obsessive-compulsive disorderObsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can create unhealthy patterns of behavior that may cause difficulties in normal daily functions. A person without OCD could be leaving their house to go to work or another type of outing and start thinking they left the lights on, which will cause them to go back inside to check the lights quickly. However, a person with OCD in the same situation will go back home to check the light, but feel they need to check the lights repeatedly before they are comfortable to leave again. 

There are various signs and symptoms of OCD that I am going to share with you.

  • Obsessive hand washing or household cleaning to reduce an overstated fear of contamination
  • Overwhelming need to perform tasks or place objects in a particular place or pattern
  • Repeatedly counting items or objects such as pavement blocks they are walking on
  • Obsessive fear about harm occurring causing them to repeatedly check windows and or doors to be sure they are locked

I would like to thank y’all for taking the time to visit my website today and I hope this information was a true benefit to you! As I said earlier in the month, May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I wanted to share as much information as I can about the different illnesses that people could be faced with. It is so important to be as understanding as you possibly can when dealing with people because you really never know what they are battling in their lives. 

I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend and were able to do everything you wanted to do! Getting ready for a new week can be exciting to have new opportunities or it can be upsetting as you just do not want to go back to work! But, however you are feeling try finding the positive in what a new week can offer you! Remember good thoughts create good vibes for everyone!! As always I am sending you lots of love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

MAY-MENTAL-HEALTH-AWARENESS-MONTHMay is Mental Health Awareness Month, so I would like to be able to touch on this subject throughout the month. Mental Health seems to be a topic so many try to avoid out of fear of judgement and ridicule from others. Everyone has something they deal with in life and should never feel that they will be looked down on, but sadly people tend to judge without knowing the real situation leaving people to suffer on their own.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, http://www.nami.org, approximately 1 in 5 adults, which is 43.5 million adults in the United States experience mental illness each year. Statistics also show that 1 in 25 adults in the United States experience a serious mental illness in a given year, which can interfere or limit one or more major life activities in this person’s life.

The numbers that the National Alliance on Mental Illness shared were really surprising to me. I will share with you the percentages of several illnesses people can suffer from.

1.1% of adults suffer from Schizophrenia

2.6% live with Bipolar disorder

6.9 % of adults suffer from at least one major depressive episode

18.1% battle an anxiety disorder such as post-traumatic stress disorder or obsessive compulsive disorder

Of the 20.2 million adults that experience a substance use disorder, 50.2% had a co-occurring mental illness. Some of these individuals may have been trying to self-medicate with various drugs and alcohol thinking that it was helping them, when in all actuality it was not helping, but causing further issues.

During the month of May I will discuss further about Anxiety Disorders, Bipolar cbace800765f7320ad53a351fe8da5b3Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Schizophrenia. These disorders affect so many around the world, so I am hoping with a little more knowledge we might be able to help someone who is struggling.

It is so important to approach topics delicately and with compassion as it will make the person you are talking to feel more comfortable to open up to you about how they are feeling. If you or someone you know is dealing with any of these topics there is always help out there. Depending on where you live there are free hot-lines you can call to get information about counselors that can help. The truth is, you never know what another person is going through in life unless you offer your support and understanding, just think you might be able to change the life of another!

Thank you for stopping by my site today! I always appreciate and encourage your comments and I will always respond to all comments as soon as I can! If you have any questions or need any help finding a help-line, please either leave a comment or you can email me directly! I hope you had a great day today and I hope your evening is very restful! As always I am sending y’all lots of love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

Stages of Parkinson’s Disease

april parkinsonApril is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, so I really want to write a little about this disease. I am doing this not just because it is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, but also because someone very close to me is suffering with this disease. My step father is battling Parkinson’s with as much strength as he has and will not let it defeat him! Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that can lead to progressive deterioration of motor function due to loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

We all learned many years ago about Michael J Fox announcing his personal battle with this disease at the young age of 29, but so many others are fighting this disease! Parkinson’s affects 1 million people just in the United States, but also affects more than 10 million worldwide. Typically the onset of Parkinson’s is at the age of 60 and it affects men 50% more than that of women. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation there will michael j foxbe 60,000 each year diagnosed with Parkinson’s. That sounds like an astonishing number of people who have to deal with this disease and there is still not a cure as of yet.

There are five stages that take place with Parkinson’s disease.

Stage 1: Symptoms are mild and do not interfere with quality of life.

Stage 2: Symptoms will worsen and daily activities become more difficult and take additional time to complete.

Stage 3: This is the mid-stage of the disease. Symptoms may be loss of balance, move slower and falls are common. During this stage, symptoms impair daily activities more so than before.

Stage 4: Symptoms become more severe and assistance walking and performing daily activities is needed.

Stage 5: This is the most advanced stage of this disease. The individual is unable to walk and will need full-time assistance living.

Now despite these various stages with the proper treatment people can live a full and productive life. The life expectancy for those battling Parkinson’s is no different from someone without the disease. Of course things can happen, but as long as the person living with Parkinson’s is following the doctor’s recommendations and has a strong support system, they will survive another day!

This was just my introductory post about Parkinson’s. In the next posts, I will talk about the various symptoms and treatments available. Like I already said, there is not a cure for Parkinson’s available yet, but there are things that can be done to slow the progression down. I know that every chance I get, I try to stay on my step father to hope and cure parkinsonensure he is taking his medicine as directed. I know it is not easy for him to get the exercise that he should, but I feel he does what he can. Now that spring is here he is able to do yard work and make his lawn look beautiful. For him having a nice looking yard makes him very proud! 

I hope y’all had a nice Wednesday and your week has been great! Thankfully the weekend is right around the corner and we can do what makes us happy! As y’all know I have another doctor’s appointment tomorrow where I will be fighting for my rights to have a life as pain-free as possible. We will see how that goes!

I hope y’all have a great and relaxing evening! I always appreciate you taking the time to visit my site and I love to read your comments! I will respond to all of your comments as soon as I can! Sending y’all lots of love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

Happy Easter!

Happy EasterGood Evening Y’all! I hope you had a wonderful Easter Weekend! My hopes for all of you is that you had a peaceful and joyful weekend and were able to spend time with family! A weekend full of love and happiness is well deserved for all of you!

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month, so I will be doing a few posts with information about Parkinson throughout the month. There is a very special person in my life that battles with this illness, so I will be doing this to honor him and his fight! Just like Multiple Sclerosis, there is no cure for Parkinson yet! My step father is a pretty strong and incredible man and I have faith in him to never give up his battle!

Thank you for visiting my site today and I do love to read your comments. I will respond to all comments as quickly as I can! As always, I am sending y’all lots of love and comfort!! Never let go of your optimistic views and stand strong your battles with illness, someday you will win!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

Diagnosing Multiple Sclerosis

MS-whiteThe diagnosing of Multiple Sclerosis is an emotional and time-consuming process. People go to their doctor for issues they are dealing with and normally never expect the doctor to come back with a diagnosis of MS, but it happens. Once the doctor expects Multiple Sclerosis as a possibility there are a few tests that need to be done before making the diagnosis become real. The following are the tests that most patients will go through before they get a final diagnosis.

  • Blood tests: These simple tests just help rule out any other possible diseases.
  • Lumbar Puncture: This is a small sample of fluid that is removed from the spinal cord and used for laboratory analysis. This test will show any abnormalities in the antibodies that are associated with Multiple Sclerosis. This test also can rule out infections and other conditions with symptoms that are similar to Multiple Sclerosis. Headaches can occur after a lumbar puncture that can last a few hours or even up to a week. It is also possible to have back discomfort in the lower back which can radiate into your legs.
  • MRI: An MRI reveals areas of Multiple Sclerosis lesions on the brain and or spinal cord. During an MRI you will possibly receive an intravenous injection of contrast material to highlight lesions indicating disease in the active phase.

Early symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis do vary, but a very common symptom is blurred vision or double vision. The main problem that led to my diagnosis was Optic Neuritis. Optic Neuritis in an inflammation that damages the optic nerve, which is a bundle of nerve fibers that transmit visual information from the eyes to the brain. This can be accompanied with Optic-Neuritis1pain and temporary vision loss in one or both eyes. Optic Neuritis does typically improve in time, but can possibly come back at any time. About 50% of people who experience Optic Neuritis develop Multiple Sclerosis. I am not saying that Optic Neuritis is the cause of MS, but it is one of the first symptoms that is experienced.

When I was first diagnosed, almost 17 years ago I immediately had a MRI. Once the results came in from the MRI, I was informed that I had profound MS lesions so I did not have to do the lumbar puncture. I was pretty scared when the doctor mentioned the lumbar puncture to me, so in a strange way I was relieved there were so many lesions to indicate I did have MS. Who would ever be happy they had so many lesions to prove that what they were experiencing was a lifelong illness?

The final diagnosis is not the end of what you go through. There are so many emotions to confront and process. I will say that a diagnosis of MS is not the end and life can still go on. It is so important to remember who you are because you are not just MS! You are still the person you were before you received the diagnosis, you just have a little more to accept and deal with. 

With March being Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month I had decided that I was going to do several posts about the illness. I think awareness is very important, especially because the amount of people dealing with the illness seems to be increasing. It may currently be MS Hopean incurable illness that we deal with for life, well until there is a cure, but we still have so much life to live! Informing others about what we deal with can be helpful for us and for those we inform because the more that understand, the more hope we have for a cure! I believe in staying positive and looking towards a brighter future!

I hope y’all had a lovely and relaxing weekend! The weekends always go by so fast and there is always so much we want to get accomplished, but often forget a few important things to accomplish, rest and allowing our body to heal! I only left my house once this weekend and the rest of the time stayed comfortable on the couch either reading or writing. I think this was very much-needed and I hope that will pay off for me this upcoming week! I do appreciate you visiting my site today and look forward to any comments you may have. I will respond to all of your fantastic comments as quickly as I can. I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend and I hope y’all have an amazing week! As always, I am sending y’all lots of love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa

Multiple Sclerosis Awareness

Awareness_buttonThe Multiple Sclerosis Association of America (MSAA) recognizes March as Multiple Sclerosis Awareness Month, so I would like to share some valuable information about this illness with y’all. Many of you already have a decent amount of knowledge on this illness because either you are living with it or know someone who is, so some of this information you are already aware of! Preliminary results from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society reported nearly 1 million people in the United States live with Multiple Sclerosis and 2.3 million worldwide. This seems like a massive amount of people living with this illness worldwide with no cure, yet. I would ask why, with so many fundraisers to find a cure for this illness, why there has not been one found yet, but I think it is pretty obvious what the reason is. You might disagree with me and that is okay, but the drug companies would lose so much money if a cure was released and the greed takes control with that!  I might be wrong about this and it is just hard to find a cure for a debilitating illness, but it would be really great if there could be as it would help so many worldwide.fight for a cure

Multiple Sclerosis is a very unpredictable and sometimes debilitating disease of the central nervous system. This disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and body. MS is typically diagnosed between the ages of 20-50 and diagnosed 2-3 times more often in women than men. Symptoms do range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis and the severity of symptoms differs drastically between each person.MS Awareness

In 1868 the famous neurologist, Jean-Martin Charcot, lectured on features of Multiple Sclerosis and actually gave it the name. Jean-Martin Charcot was a French scientist, instructor and physician who was the claimed founder of modern neurology. Throughout the 1800’s and 1900’s many other therapists/physicians tried without any success in the treatment of MS. These therapists/physicians created and tested what to me sounds like some very dangerous treatments. One of these dangerous ideas was something called Deadly Nightshade. Deadly Nightshade was a plant with poisonous fruit, arsenic, mercury and injection of malaria parasites. This sounds more like a death sentence than a treatment for the illness. 

It was not until 1951 when steroids started being used to treat relapses in MS patients. Steroids are used to reduce the severity and duration of the relapse. They do not have long-term effects on the disease, but are just used as a short-term fix like a band-aid that just assists the issue. For those of you that have been on steroids, you already know they are not any fun at all. I know when I have been on steroids they make me extremely irritable, exhausted and I have literally no appetite. I think normally steroids increase appetites, but they do the exact opposite for me. I guess I am a little abnormal! Even though steroids have some horrible side effects, they do seem to make the relapse a little shorter.

The first drug that was proven to be effective for a long-term treatment of Multiple Sclerosis was approved in 1993. Since 1993, there have been 15 long-term treatments approved for MS. The 15 approved disease modifying medications include injection, infusion and oral. These disease modifying medications are meant to slow the March is MS Awareness monthprogression of the disease and delay any disability, but unfortunately is not a cure.

In all honesty, I had no idea that this illness had been around since the 1800’s. When I was first diagnosed, I knew hardly anything about the disease. I only knew one person that had MS and granted she was older than me, but she was disabled. I had this overwhelming fear that I would end up in a wheelchair like her. But, it has been almost 18 years and I am still walking just fine. I do experience terrible amounts of pain, numbness and tingling, but at least I have not lost my ability to walk and look like I am perfectly fine. During the times my pain is extremely high is when my motto is “Fake it til you make it!”

For those of you that have been following my blog, you already know I tried numerous different disease modifying medications until I found the one that has been working well for me. I guess back in 1993 when the medications were being released there were far fewer choices for a person to choose from, which must have made things a little easier. Now with so many to choose from you must do your research and test for yourself what works. It is okay to start a medication and find it does not work well with your body chemistry and switch to something else. It is however very important to find one that will work for you so you can have a little better control of the disease. There are a couple of websites that I would encourage y’all to check out as it has a lot of important information MS Warriorabout MS, https://www.nationalmssociety.org/ and https://mymsaa.org/ .

I hope y’all have had an amazing weekend. The weather sure has changed here in the south towards more of a spring like time. It is crazy considering it is technically still winter until March 20th, but I can not complain. It was so warm in February which does make me a little worry about what summer is going to be like. I mean seriously, it was 80 at the end of February, so what are the temperatures going to be in July? 

Thank y’all for stopping by my site today. I hope the information I have given was valuable and interesting. I spent a lot of time researching Multiple Sclerosis when I was first diagnosed, but over the past few days I did a little more reading and what I discovered was so interesting. I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday and I hope you are prepared for the new week to start. Truthfully, I am never completely prepared for a new week because the weekend is so short, I always feel like I did not get anything accomplished, if only the weekends were longer! I look forward to any comments you may have about this post today and I will respond to you as quickly as I can! As always I am sending y’all lots of love and comfort!

Love 2

Always, Alyssa