Saturday, June 22, 2013

Depression - An Equal Opportunity Affliction

"What is this guy trying to say here?" I can just hear everyone thinking, "This guy must be completely off his rocker!" If you really take a step back and look at "Who" Depression hits, you will have a clearer understanding of what I mean by this statement.

Depression is:

  • No respecter of age: it hits young and old alike.

  • Does not recognize an individuals Social Position: Rich or Poor makes no difference

  • It recognizes no boundaries: Cases of one form or another are found world wide.

  • Not selective: It can affect anyone at any time.

The Mayo Clinic describes some signs and symptoms of Depression below:

* Loss of interest in normal daily activities. You lose interest in or pleasure from activities that you used to enjoy.

* Depressed mood. You feel sad, helpless or hopeless, and may have crying spells.

In addition, for a doctor or other health professional to diagnose depression, most of the following signs and symptoms also must be present for at least two weeks.

* Sleep disturbances. Sleeping too much or having problems sleeping can be a sign you're depressed. Waking in the middle of the night or early in the morning and not being able to get back to sleep are typical.

* Impaired thinking or concentration. You may have trouble concentrating or making decisions and have problems with memory.

* Changes in weight. An increased or reduced appetite and unexplained weight gain or loss may indicate depression.

* Agitation. You may seem restless, agitated, irritable and easily annoyed.

* Fatigue or slowing of body movements. You feel weariness and lack of energy nearly every day. You may feel as tired in the morning as you did when you went to bed the night before. You may feel like you're doing everything in slow motion, or you may speak in a slow, monotonous tone.

* Low self-esteem. You feel worthless and have excessive guilt." These are just a few of the examples found it the Mayo Clinic Website. While this is a fantastic informational site, you should by no means use what you find there to treat the symptoms of depression yourself. That's what the Professionals are there for.

For many, Many years this was a subject "No one wanted to talk about. Especially if it involved a family member." While there have been a great many advances in Psychiatry and Psychology in just the last century, there is still evidence of how these conditions used to be treated all over the world. While most of the older "Institutions" have been shut down and or demolished, some of the more "Infamous" ones have been turned into museums showing the sick, depraved methods being used in the name of "Medical Science".

Early treatments of Depression, often confused with Insanity, were nothing short of Barbaric, and in some cases, were Prosecuted as War Crimes in the last century. People with severe cases of Depression, often termed "Manic Depression," were often as not locked away in Asylums or "Institutions" and used for experimental surgery or as test subjects for military weapons as evidenced by the Nazi Party in World War II.

Thankfully we have come a very long way from what those "Early" treatments were. As the fields of Psychology and Psychiatry continue to grow and evolve, more humane and better forms of treatment are being discovered. One day Depression may even be totally eliminated.

Living Life With Multiple Sclerosis

Are you living life with multiple sclerosis? If you are or you know someone who is, you know that MS is a difficult, painful, and uncertain, condition to live with on a day to day basis. You either learn to cope with it or it will get the best of you.

What Does it Mean?

What does it mean to live with MS? A diagnosis usually comes after one or more symptoms appears. Many times the symptom is something very noticeable like optic neuritis or extreme fatigue. More often than not, you may have mild, annoying symptoms over a long period of time. These can be things like unexplained balance issues, tingling or numbness in your feet, legs, or arms, and they can come and go. In the beginning, the length of time between the episodes may be so long that the symptoms you have don't seem connected.

Living Day to Day

After the diagnosis is confirmed, the uncertainty of living with MS is one of the main things people living with the actual disease and those caring for someone with it, struggle to deal with on a day to day basis. What symptom am I going to wake up with today? Can I make plans to go to an event next week or next month and be able to keep them? What's going to happen to me - will I end up in a wheelchair when I'm older or possibly even next year?

One of the first actions you can take is to figure out what you are capable of doing physically, then decide what it will take to keep you there as long as possible. In other words, if you are still working - what will it take to keep you at your job for as long as you are able and willing to work? Learning to manage your symptoms may be the first step in this process.

1 - Do you go to bed early enough so that you have adequate rest when you get up to go to work?
2 - Are you able to conserve enough energy so that you can do the work consistently?
3 - Are there medications or alternative treatments that could help alleviate or at least make your symptoms milder?
4 - Could therapy - occupational or physical - help you do your job better and more efficiently?

Long Term Plans

Living with MS can also hinder you from making long term plans. The uncertainty of what will happen from day to day keeps you from planning anything because you don't know whether you will be able to carry them out when the time comes. Believe it or not, it helps if you learn to be flexible early on. If you do decide to make plans, realize that you may have to change them depending on how you feel when the event comes around.

For many people with MS, though, constantly changing plans, on the one hand, or the stress from inflexibility, on the other, can lead to depression. Feelings of inadequacy or guilt can cause you to alienate yourself from others. Why make plans to attend a function when you may have to cancel them yet again? Isn't it better to just stay home, rather than disappoint your family and friends because you may not be able to make it anyway? This staying home alone can lead to feelings of isolation and eventually depression.

The Common Symptom of Depression

This is a very common symptom for people with multiple sclerosis. If you develop depression for whatever reason, you should make it a point to talk to your doctor. Depression is a real symptom and it is treatable. If you're hesitant to use medications, to overcome it, then ask your doctor any alternatives that may be helpful instead. The main thing is, you don't have to live with it.

A Support Group

Having a strong support group of family, friends, and professionals, around you who have your best interest at heart, is one of the best things for a person with MS. Chronic diseases have a way of breaking down a persons resolve. If you have people around you to help you deal with the everyday uncertainties that come up, you are more likely to come through them successfully.

Living life with multiple sclerosis is a day to day challenge. Although it may seem impossible or improbable to those around you, many have done it. With careful management of symptoms; doctors, family, and friends, who understand where you're coming from; a long life with MS can be achieved. And sometime during that lifetime, a cure may come along that will end the suffering for those who already have multiple sclerosis and for those yet to be diagnosed.

Health Insurance - SSRIs and Antidepressants

Prozac is in a group of medicines known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). These medications are all antidepressants. They are used to treat symptoms of depression. They can also be combined with other medications to tread manic depression, or bipolar disorder. Prozac is prescribed in pill form. A patient taking Prozac may be at risk if they are also taking a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) or other types of medications. Severe to fatal side effects can occur if Prozac is combined with other medications. It's important to tell your doctor what you're taking if he suggests you be treated with Prozac. This includes over the counter medications, like aspirin, cough medicine and even lozenges.

While taking Prozac, you should alert your doctor if you're pregnant or at risk for conceiving. He will likely have a pregnancy test done to make sure that you're not pregnant before administering the medication. If you are pregnant, your doctor may still advice you to take Prozac. It can cause harm to unborn fetuses, but stopping your medication altogether is risky, especially while pregnant. If you are uncomfortable taking Prozac while pregnant, talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for your depression or bipolar disorder.

Since Prozac is primarily used to treat mental disorders, you may have difficulty getting your health insurance to pay for the treatment and/or the medication. It's important that you talk to your healthcare insurance provider before you commit to being treated with Prozac. If your insurance provider does not cover treatment of metal disorders, you have two options. You can either pay out of pocket, or you can find secondary insurance. If you have a healthcare reimbursement account or a healthcare savings account, it is possible you can use the money inside to pay for treatment. Talk to your employer about what is covered in your HRA. If the treatment is covered, provide the necessary documentation so that you can be reimbursed for your services.

If you're seeking secondary health insurance to help cover the cost of your disorder, remember to keep it affordable. If you are doubly insured, talk to both of your providers to see how much of the cost is defrayed by your insurance plans. If neither insurance plans cover mental illnesses nor prescription costs, it is possible to talk to your doctor about a payment plan. It is also possible to get your prescriptions at a discount.

If you need assistance in locating particular coverages at a pre-determined price, we can help you save up to 50% on your health insurance.

Clutter Depression - How to Beat the Guilt Over Your Cluttered Home

A messy home is an extremely common problem in our country, as our consumer driven society buys more and more products to put in our homes. Guilt due to a having a cluttered home can eat you up inside, and make you feel almost paralyzed and unable to act. There are important concepts for you to realize that will equip you to start overcoming your problems. These three points will help you to bring your life into a little better focus and get a grip on your issues with clutter, helping you beat the clutter depression that has invaded your life.

  • Do not beat yourself up. Getting down on yourself is not a good way to approach this problem. It is only natural for us to tie our home to our own personal worth, it is after all it is our home.

  • You are not alone. Even the most organized librarian has a secret little disorganized part of their life. We all have to deal with clutter in our lives at some point. For some people it is their home, others its their finances or their relationships. Do not feel like you are alone, or that no one has it as bad as you. It is part of our human nature to be both organized and disorganized.

  • Starting is the hardest part. I can not stress enough the truth of this point. Deciding to get to work is always harder than the work itself. When you attack a job, and break it up into bite size sections, you can not imagine how happy you will feel once you accomplish your goals of an ordered and peaceful life.

The guilt you might be feeling due to your cluttered home can be like a cancer in your life, eating away at your happiness. Putting your problems into focus and deciding to start overcoming the clutter will set you on the road to bringing back your joy and making your home an relaxing place to be again.

Depression at Work - How to Deal With It

Depression can be a very destructive disease. Stress can affect the family or personal relationships; it can also affect productivity in the workplace. Employers are losing money because of depression. The money spent in accidents of employees and absenteeism greatly affects the company's productivity. An employer can not treat or cure depression, but there are things you can do to help.

Employers should look for signs of depression. One of the main signs is the reduction of productivity. This can be especially worrying if the person was a good worker and their productivity levels have declined. There could be a strange cause and depression is a possibility.

People who are depressed often ignore stress warnings. This can cause symptoms manifested in a physical way. If you have an employee who is constantly complaining about pain, then this is a sign of depression.

Try to talk to this employee. You need to let them know that you expect them to be productive. However, you must let them know that you have noticed some changes and you're worried. Do not make them feel that their job is at risk. This could make things worse. If there is any employees' assistance program, try to encourage this employee to use this service. This could be a first step to recovery.

You need also establishes clear rules on what you expect from the employee. Let them know that the company has some policies related to diseases of depression and what they can do.

You must ensure that the employee knows that all is confidential. Not even you have the right to know what is discussed at the sessions. Try constantly to encourage employees to seek treatment for depression. If this condition is not treated in time, it could lead to serious consequences.

If the employee does not seek treatment you could allow him a more flexible schedule. A severe depression can lead to serious consequences. Any attempt of suicide should not be taken lightly. Report this situation immediately so that it can be analyzed. Your employees will thank you so.

What Does It Mean To Be Depressed?

Depression is an overused word to describe how someone may be feeling. It is often used to describe moments of sadness or disappointment, where those descriptions may be more on target and more clearly define a course of action.

Clinical depression is more than feeling bad for a few days; it is a common, yet serious, illness that affects almost 10% of Americans each year. Unfortunately, only one-third of sufferers seek treatment even though getting assistance can help 80 percent of all people who are affected. Although depression is a real medical illness, many people still mistakenly believe it is a personal weakness. Events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, financial strains, moving to a new location or significant loss can contribute to the onset of clinical depression. It is not only negative events that can trigger depression. It is often the sum of many events, even good ones like getting married or finding a new job.

If you have experience 5 or more of the symptoms below for more than 2 to 3 weeks it is time to talk to your doctor and/or a counselor.

o Do you feel sad or irritable?

o Have you lost interest in activities once enjoyed?

o Have you experienced changes in weight or appetite?

o Have you experienced changes in sleeping pattern?

o Do you have feelings of guilt?

o Are you unable to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions?

o Have you experienced fatigue or loss of energy?

o Have you experienced restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others?

o Do you feel hopeless, or worthless?

o Have you had thoughts of suicide or death?

Clinical depression is one of the most readily treatable illnesses, and getting treatment can truly save lives. The most common ways to treat depression are with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy), or a combination of both.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anxiety, Anger and Depression - Discover the Awesome Power of Self-Help Programs

Worry, trepidation and hyper vigilance are common symptoms of anxiety. Other signs include tension, over-thinking, heart palpitations, fluttering in the stomach, nervousness localized to the chest etc.

Are expensive professional treatments like counseling and medication the only solutions? Absolutely not! Remember, anxiety includes both stress-oriented physical signs and self-defeating cognitive, thought processes.

Thought process changes and the practicing of new healthy behaviors are the crucial keys to recovery. Expensive therapy and counseling are not the only answers; tested, scientifically constructed self-help programs can also produce transformational changes.

Remember, anxiety is a mechanism of fight or flight and was originally engineered to protect us from harm. It prepares us to fight danger i.e. the heart may palpitate, beat faster and blood pressure rises.

Since anxiety is preparing to fight a menace, our nervous system starts generating a flow of blood surging to the muscles, thus enabling one's body to escape or fight depending on necessity. Blood is diverted from your abdominal area to your musculo-skeletal section, causing a decrease in the functioning in your digestive system.

Again, anxiety has been engineered into us as a survival mechanism, intended to enhance our odds of survival.
If you are suffering from abnormal anxiety you probably have a built-in neurological tendency to worry or fear that a catastrophically harmful or dangerous event may occur based on a triggering situation.

That's why the thought pattern modification, anger reduction and anxiety reduction training taught in scientifically sound self-help treatments can help almost overnight. The thought pattern modification and stress-reduction training presented in these self-help treatments work on The Command Center-the VERY WAY you think!

Anxiety is heavily driven by two brain structures: The hippocampus and the amygdala. These structures activate when an irrational perception of a lurking threat or the irrational anticipation that something harmful or dangerous might happen manifest themselves.

These irrational perceptions and fearful apprehensions are triggered by your pathological thought patterns. It is these that are directly treated in state-of-the-art self-help treatments.

Anxiety and anger is triggered when the body and self feel threatened; these feeling-states are defense mechanisms. We are hard-wired with them for the purpose of protecting us from a universe of real or imagined dangers.

However, because of genetic errors or unfortunate types of genetic trait pooling, many of us develop abnormal, pathological forms of anxiety which are triggered even though there are no realistic dangers with which we have to contend. So, instead of protecting us from trouble, this anxiety actually causes it- and for no rational reason.

This is what is referred to as an anxiety disorder. Anxiety dysfunctions are divided into several types, including, specific phobias, generalized anxiety, panic and obsessive compulsive disorder. All of them are triggered or made worse by the subconscious and pathological thinking and obsessive imaginative patterns that are directly targeted by proven self-help treatments.

A phobia is a specific fear of a particular thing, person or situation. These include fear of snakes and public speaking. Phobic fears are irrational because the perceived or anticipated harm that is imagined is not likely to happen.

These phobic symptoms are fueled by an extensive catastrophic and irrational imagination that has gone awry. After all, the presenting fears resulting in anxiety disorders, though catastrophic, are not valid.

Even though they may not be valid, some people experience compelling and frightening panic attacks leading to problems breathing, feeling dizzy and even fearing that one is going insane. This is caused by one's subconscious and catastrophic way of imagining dreaded consequences.

In free floating anxiety, tension or foreboding taints most experiences in a person's daily life; there is no specific stimulus. On the other hand, obsessive-compulsive disorder is a very bizarre type of anxiety that gives sufferers the idea that something is really wrong with their mind.

In this condition, individuals have repetitive thoughts that point to some dangerous consequence if a certain behavior, like checking the lock on the car, is not done repetitively. Even though the imagined consequence, is irrational, sufferers need to compulsively repeat the 'ritual' to relieve their anxiety of the feared consequence.

Washing their hands repetitively for no rational reason is another ritual that some patients do. Whereas, psychotherapy, counseling and some medications can be helpful in reducing the intensity and frequency of the obsessions, they are expensive.

There are remarkable self-help programs available which are much less expensive and have the potential of producing amazing results in reducing your symptoms of anger, anxiety and agitation.

Depression, Anger and Heart Disease

It has been found that the traditional indicators of heart disease such as smoking, high cholesterol and high blood pressure account for about 50% of heart attacks. In trying to account for the rest the focus has moved to psychosocial factors - personality and behavior which give rise to stress hormones. Chronic stress, Type A personality, anger, depression and social isolation not only have a direct negative effect on the cardiovascular system but they also increase the effects of other cardiac factors. This article looks at two of these factors - depression and anger.

Anger People who have a high level of anger, irritability, cynicism and aggression are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. A heart attack is almost three times more likely in people with high levels of anger than in those who don't experience much anger. Feeling angry from time to time is normal. Some people express anger readily while others fume about a situation. When anger is experienced in relation to a specific event and the amount of anger felt is appropriate to the event then it is usually not a health risk. However, if the anger surfaces too readily and lasts too long and is suppressed and not expressed, then it may become a cardiovascular risk factor.

The following test adapted from Pistcatella and Frankin (2003) will help you to assess you level of anger.

Read each of the statements below and grade yourself on how you would respond to each situation using the following scale.

1 = never, 2 = rarely, 3 = often, 4 = always

1. It doesn't take much to get me mad.

2. People tell me I should calm down.

3. I blow up at terrible drivers.

4. If I'm upset I'll hit the dog or cat or something else.

5. People call me hot headed.

6. I'm furious about the way that I get treated at a restaurants or stores.

7. When other people's mistakes slow me down I can get upset for the whole day.

8. If the situation is bad enough I throw things.

9. I swear loudly to blow off steam.

10. I feel like hitting someone who makes me very angry.

11. I've been told I have a bad temper.

12. If you embarrass me in front of someone, I'll be furious.

13. I'm a very ambitious person, so sometimes I get impatient and angry with other people.

14. I've been known to break things when I get frustrated.

If you scored below 18 you are able to stay calm in situations that would frustrate others. This is a big help in managing your stress levels.

If you scored 19 to 27 you get angry about as often as most other people.

If you scored 28 to 35 there is a good possibility that you are under too much stress or it may be that getting angry has become a habit. Take this score seriously and start to make changes now before it adversely affects your health.

If you scored over 35 and you continue with the same behavior and approach to life you risk serious stress related health problems.

Depression The association between depression and heart disease and heart attacks has been established for some time. Depression is reported to precede a heart attack in up to 50% of cases. Apart from the link between depression and heart disease, depression also contributes to a poor lifestyle. Depressed people are more likely to eat poorly, be sedentary, smoke and drink too much alcohol.

How do you know if depression is a problem for you? The following test adapted from one developed by Harvard University is designed to help assess people who are likely to be suffering from depression.

Read the following statements and answer yes or no to them.

1. I feel sad most of the time.

2. I don't enjoy the things that I used to.

3. I sleep too little or too much.

4. I don't feel like eating or I eat too much.

5. I can't make decisions.

6. I have difficulty concentrating.

7. I feel hopeless.

8. I feel worthless.

9. I get tired for no reason.

10. I think about killing myself.

If you answered yes to four or more of these questions and you have felt this way every day for two weeks or more you may be suffering from depression and you should consult a health professional for a more complete assessment.

If you answered yes to question 10 seek health professional assistance immediately, regardless of your answer to any of the other questions.

Depression and anger are two of the factors that can lead to the development of heart disease - with the associated heart attacks, angina, cardiac arrests and heart rhythm disturbances. They also reduce the quality of your life. There are many things that you can do about these problems. If you suffer from mild or moderate depression then you will benefit by joining overcoming depression program.


Aesoph, L. 2001, 6 Steps for Handling Stress, Health World Online. June 2001.

Hippisley-Cox, J. et al.1998, Depression as a risk Factor For Ischemic Heart Disease in Men. British Meical Journal. June 1998.

Pistcatella, J.C. and Frankin, B.A. 2003, Take a Load off Your Heart. Workman.

Oberman, A. 2000, Emerging Cardiovascular Risk Factors. Clinical Reviews. Spring 2000.

Psychologist Reveals Three Secrets to Overcoming Depression

What is the most effective way to deal with depression? Beliefs about the causes of depression influence answers to that question and minimize our ability to look beyond them for alternative solutions.

If you believe that depression is caused by chemical imbalances in brain chemistry, then medication seems the obvious solution, possibly accompanied by dietary and lifestyle choices including increased physical exercise. If you believe that depression is the outcome of unresolved psychological and emotional trauma, then re-visiting those memories and experiences and seeking closure and resolution becomes the way forward. However, what if a general cause of depression was not so easily identified? What if it couldn't be easily attributed to one particular cause, rather it was an unconscious response to denied philosophical and existential yearnings?

What is meant by Philosophical and Existential Yearnings? Existentialism is a philosophical approach to understanding what it means 'To Be'. This might sound a little abstract but have you ever considered what this mystery called Life is all about and what you think it means for you 'To Exist' or to 'Be Alive'? Existential philosophers say that human beings are subject to the same ontological conditions of living (or Givens of Existence in Existential parlance). Human beings are born and die; we all face the uncertain and unpredictable nature of being and meanings attached to life's experiences; we are ultimately alone in that we occupy a unique place in the world and no one can experience what we experience; we experience existential anxiety ie. when we are reminded that there is no objective rightness to our life's choices, rather an anxiety of not knowing the outcomes of other choices.

From an existential perspective, our Existence and Being-ness is co-created through our experiences in the world i.e. the physical, social, individual and spiritual realms. Thus, exploring depression against the backcloth of an existence that for each of us is totally our responsibility, has a completely different flavour. Instead of focusing on reducing symptoms of depression in the belief that all will return to normal, the opposite is true from an existential perspective. Namely, depression offers an opportunity to explore the true nature of our existence and to not be depressed or anxious might be seen as conforming to society in ways that deny responsibility for creating our own path.

You might ask 'Why would someone embrace depression if the experience of it is so painful and debilitating? Surely to feel so bad must indicate that all is not well, when before, life was ok?' I am not advocating that we all become depressed in order to explore our purpose in the world. However, I am suggesting from an existential perspective, that exploring your part in creating your life is a worthwhile journey and one which has the potential to move you from the debilitating effects of depression to living with a natural level of anxiety that comes from questioning how you live. When you truly choose how you want to be in the world, what you believe, how you act despite the 'shoulds, oughts, and musts' society dictates, you will most likely experience anxiety. This stems from the lack of objective rightness for our choices to be when faced with a collective conformity to what we should be. However, to conform also holds its anxiety; the potential for existential crisis that you are not truly choosing for yourself, rather conforming to a collective, anaesthetises you taking full responsibility of what you are here on earth for. And what you are here on earth for is something you will create rather than discover since there is no objective rightness for what that is.

So in dealing with depression, our beliefs dictate the best ways we believe it will be overcome. Three broad categories exist:

  1. Medical perspective based on the belief that chemical imbalances occur pre, during or post the onset of depression.

  2. Psychotherapeutic perspective highlighting the necessity of coming to terms with unresolved thoughts, feelings and experiences.

  3. Existential Philosophical perspective which sees physical and emotional manifestations of depression being fuelled by existential yearnings related to the phenomenal aspect of our existence.

It is my experience as a psychologist and existential psychotherapist, that individuals who are courageous enough to explore the existential underpinnings of their depressive symptoms, are those who go on to create new lives of meaning and purpose. Of course, through this process they make changes to their physical experience in the world and also come to know themselves through exploration of their unresolved issues, that, to date, were hidden and unaddressed.

We are existential beings with the potential to create ourselves in whatever way we choose. Do not choose a life de-pressed by attempting to conformity to society's expectations without due consideration; instead, embrace fully an exploration of how rewarding life can truly be.

Alarming Statistics Of Adolescent Depression

Many say that the best way to get someone's attention is by showing them numbers. Because quantities are exact. Numbers give figures. Figures are concrete concepts which can persuade even the most skeptic of them all-even if it's about teenage depression.

To start off, it is alarming that almost 20% (1/5) of teenage population experience clinical depression even before they reach their adulthood. Around 10-15% of teenagers show symptoms of adolescent depression at any time, while approximately 5% of teens are suffering from major depressive disorder. Despite the lack of social acceptance with regard to clinical depression as a valid health concern, it is noted that 8% of teens undergo depression, at least a year at a time. The percentage is definitely higher than the 5% of the general population suffering from the said mood disorder.

An episode of teenage depression generally last around 8 months. Teens who suffer from depression are predicted to have a 20-40% chance that their next depression attack can happen within the next two years, while there is a bigger chance of around 70% that there will another episode before they reach adulthood. It is interesting to note that a portion of teens have bouts of seasonal depression which usually takes place during winter season and in places of higher latitudes. The weather can be an element of this mood progression and it is something to be wary about.

Dysthymia, a mild but long lasting type of depression, affects 2% of the teenage population and the same percentage of teenage population develop bipolar disorder in their later years. Around 15% of teens who have major depression are later on diagnosed to develop bipolar disorder as well.

To sum it all up, teen depression can affect teenagers regardless of their social background, gender, income level, school, race or any other achievements. It is a fact that depression is one of the most common mental health disorder in the United States. Whether you are in your teens or adulthood, depression can strike you. Depression can have a serious effect on how teens will lead their lives and become productive individuals. Untreated depression or any mood disorder can be detrimental to their social and mental health.

Depression and Overeating - How to Break the Cycle

There is a real link between depression and overeating.  For some people depression is a chemical imbalance.  Medication (along with therapy if needed) can remedy that issue.  But for most people depression is a symptom of not addressing unwanted stress or emotions.

When these unwanted emotions come up; food can be an effective numbing agent.  It literally pushes the emotion away.  But the kicker is that it takes energy to keep these emotions at bay.  So not only is there weight gain; but energy is being used to "depress" emotions.  When a person continues to do this; a state of depression occurs.

The cycle can also occur first with depression.  When a person is depressed they may use food to comfort themselves.  This then leads to further depression and deepens the need to use food to feel good.

When so much energy is being used to numb emotions; you literally have nothing left to give to your life, yourself, or your family.  This is common among people who suffer from binge eating and emotional eating.

But the good news is that this type of depression can be reversed!  When you begin to face the emotions you fear; you free up energy to live your life.  The depression begins to dissipate.  They key is to continue being strong enough to deal with emotions and situations in a healthy way and to stop overeating.  

Ideas to help you get started:

1-Ask a higher power for help and assistance (God, universe, whatever you believe in).

2-Begin using a journal to express your emotions rather than turning to food.

3-Address the situation that is causing you stress (either through writing or speaking with the person).

4-Pay attention to your self-talk and make sure it is positive.  (You could use affirmations or afformations to help you accomplish this.)

It is easy to revert back to using food to cope.  And in so doing; the depression can creep back in.  The first thing that people tend to do is throw in the towel and continue doing what has been familiar to them in the past.  But don't let any setbacks keep you from releasing yourself from this self-imposed depression.  Be brave enough to face your fears!  You can break the cycle.  

Remember: mistakes are bound to happen; that doesn't mean you have to continue it the rest of your life.  Don't beat yourself up about them; that will only keep you stuck.  Make the choice to face stress and emotions in a healthy way and stay positive.  You can do it!

How Do You Overcome Feelings of Depression?

Overcoming feelings of depression is a must, especially if you have a familial history of any kind of mood disorder. Uncontrolled depression can affect your health, as well as your wealth (material and otherwise). Psychotherapy sessions can be very expensive, so can medical treatments designed to treat depression. As much as possible, you would not want depression to come to this point at all.

But overcoming depression can be quite a challenge. Needless to say, here are some of the things I normally do when suddenly attacked by feelings of depression:

  • Go to an empty room and scream or cry all you want. Feelings of depression can be such that they can have the capacity to make your insides burst. Going to an empty room and screaming your lungs out should be a lot better than lashing out at someone, hurting, or even killing someone. If you are not that vocal or you would rather deal with your depression very quietly, try writing. Get your thoughts down in paper.

  • Divert your attention to something else. It's easy to forget you are depressed when you are doing something else. Occupy your mind by:

    • Watching a comedy flick.

    • Reading a funny story.

    • Doing house chores.

  • Play some music. Music is therapeutic, is it not? If you can play any musical instrument, get your hands on it right away. If you don't have that gift, try singing instead, or listening to soft, relaxing music.

Maintaining A Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is also seen as a means of preventing bouts of depression overtime. Health is wealth. Research has it that people who are physically healthy are generally sound in mind and happy as well. Here are some good habits that can count towards reducing depression symptoms or their impact:

  • Exercising every morning or early evening. You've heard of the importance of exercise far too often already, yet you still may have taken this for granted. Exercising does many wonderful things to your cells. It boosts body metabolism, improves circulation, and reduces your stress levels as well. To keep yourself from getting bored, don't stick to a single routine. Try different types of exercises to keep you motivated, and as much as possible, do the exercises with your best friend.

  • Getting a bit of sunlight every morning. Sunlight activates the Vitamin D in our skin which appears to be in low levels in individuals having a mild case of depression. Taking Vitamin D3 supplements can also help especially during cold weather when the sun is rarely up and about.

  • Making wise food choices. Apparently, there are foods that are said to come with the ability to beat depression. Foods that are high in Omega-3 Fatty Acids, Vitamin B and Vitamin C all make wise food choices. Fish oil, walnuts, and flaxseed help not only with depression, but also in proper brain development and function as well as in maintaining a healthy heart. Brown rice is also recommended as it has Thiamin, Niacin, and Folic Acid, three members of the Vitamin B-family that play a critical role in preventing depression symptoms. Being low in sugar, brown rice also prevents mood swings. Cabbage and citrus fruits, being high in Vitamin C, aids in the production of serotonin, that chemical in the brain that is linked with moods.

  • Taking essential vitamins. Although nothing beats eating whole foods, taking vitamin supplements is still necessary as we cannot always be certain if we are getting the right amounts of vitamins in the foods we eat. The vitamins that are very important in preventing depression are Vitamin B-complex, Vitamin C, and Vitamin D3.

Perimenopause And Clinical Depression - Tips To Manage Depression During Perimenopause

Perimenopausal women undergo a very specific condition which can aptly be termed as clinical depression. In women nearing menopause, there are rapid changes in the hormones produced within the body that generally upsets the routine that the body had been following for the preceding years. The body of the woman cannot take in such a change and this leads to several conditions that were not present before. Clinical depression is one of them.

Though this is something that happens to every female who undergoes this phase, nevertheless, this change must be made note of seriously. A failure to do so may at times lead to fatal consequences. But, on the other hand, one must also know that there is nothing got be overtly worried about. It is normal, and it happens to everyone. And most importantly, it passes away, when the phase does, just like all the other changes that took place.

It is important to understand what happens within the body at this stage in life. First, the body has always been producing hormones. In the perimenopausal stage, the body gets into an adjustment mode. Here, the hormones produced are adjusted according to what the body would now need. Therefore, it is this that leaves one sad and depressed during this phase.

But it must be understood that such a depression is being induced not be any mental or psychological changes but by physical and chemical reactions within the body. It is difficult to get over such a depression as easily as many say it is. While many women can handle such a phase of life with perfect ease and tact, many would need professional medical help. Consulting a doctor can be a very good idea a he or she can tell one exactly how to overcome such a condition. For some just the subscription of an anti depressant may suffice, for others, a special change will have to be made in the estrogen and progesterone levels within the body to correct such a condition.

Again, as sated above, not all women may need such a kind of treatment. There are different levels of depression. Some may not be called depressions at all. This is because different bodies adjust to the changes that occur within in different ways. Those that have greater adaptability suffer less depression. The condition becomes clinical only when the doctor feels external treatments like anti depressants and hormone replacement therapies are required.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Creativity, Kindness, Depression - Wisdom From Mister Roger's Neighborhood

When feeling depression or blocked creativity or discouragement, it can be helpful to find fresh ways to feel inspired. Fred Rogers has set a wonderful example of how kindness feels and how truthful communication can look in his neighborhood. Whether or not your find his style up lifting, you will benefit from reading his quotes. See if you're inspired too.

When feeling depression or a block to creativity, reading The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron is one solution. When I combine exploring creativity as an antidote to depression and add the gentle wisdom from public television's Mr. Rogers, I am uplifted in fresh ways and hope it works like that for you too. I particularly appreciate the way Fred Rogers encourages. He is one of my heroes and thankfully, public television stations continue to air his gentle way of communicating even after his death. His gifts and his work are for us all even though the program "seems" directed to the very young; his wisdom is ageless and universal.

"Imagine what our real neighborhoods would be like, if each of us offered as a matter of course, just one kind word to another person. One kind word has a wonderful way of turning into many." ~ Fred Rogers

Did you know that the qualities we appreciate about others are related to the qualities that exist in us? When you are drawn to another person, it's likely that what you admire about that person also exists within you. Happily, you can make a choice to cultivate the traits and behaviors that you do like and support your creativity in the process.

Mr. Rogers was loving and respectful. Those are qualities that could benefit every neighborhood. Just imagine how that could look. He was also about appreciating and caring for others. Just imagine more of that. He once said: "As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has, or ever will have, something inside that is unique to all time." Imagine how our neighborhoods, communities, counties, states, nation and world would be if we were to step into this concept and fully embrace its accuracy. Imagine it in detail and then take one small step in this direction right from where you are now.

Doesn't that seem like a really do-able antidote to blocked creativity or feelings of depression? It's been working for me and my hope is that you'll find it helpful too!

Teasing, Sarcasm and Emotional Scarring in Adults

Teasing, as either a teaser or target is a universal experience that all persons participate in, or are exposed to at some level. The childhood rhyme says "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me". This is probably one of the biggest lies we try to convince ourselves, and our children.

No matter your age, I bet you can remember clearly a time when you were teased, made fun of, the brunt of a sarcastic or mean comment when you were growing up. Even if you said something and kids laughed at you, that embarrassed feeling is something that stays with most people as one of the emotional scars we carry. It can become part of the way we develop low self-esteem.

If you ask your friends about their memories of teasing, you will find those memories are easily accessible. If you ask those same friends about times when someone said something nice to them, those memories are harder to recall.

Research done with young adults found that those who had been teased as children had higher measures of depression, anxiety, fear of negative evaluation and loneliness.

The limited research asking older adults about the long-term consequences of teasing has shown effects of elevated levels of depression and anxiety, and lower self esteem. but there is certainly plenty of anecdotal information that you can learn from speaking with your friends and relatives. You may have been the one teased, or you may have teased others. I've read different excuses from people who teased others:

"They did it to me"
"Everyone did it"
"It makes you stronger when you learn to deal with it"
"The parts of my body that they teased me about back then are now what I consider my best assets.
"That's how I showed someone I liked them."

From my informal questioning, I've found that even adult males continue to tease females way after the request has been made to stop. After many years, and probably with maturity older girls get to a point of realizing that boys don't know how to show affection, so they tease girls.

In the past 20 years, the issue of sexual teasing of a more intense nature has become such an important issue that now there are laws to protect women at work from sexual harassment. (the laws now apply this behavior directed at men as well). The definition of this behavior is very specific and relates to adult behavior:

"unwelcome sexually determined behavior as physical contact and advances, sexually colored remarks, showing pornography and sexual demands, whether by words or actions. Such conduct can be humiliating and may constitute a health and safety problem; it is discriminatory when the woman has reasonable ground to believe that her objection would disadvantage her in connection with her employment, including recruitment or promotion, or when it creates a hostile working environment." (United Nations Declaration)

The bottom line is, if someone says to stop teasing them, you should stop. It doesn't matter if you "didn't mean anything" with it. If you continue, verbal teasing moves into the legal realm of harassment. One can only imagine the terrible future implications that "sexting": teenagers sending sexually explicit messages or photographs, primarily between mobile phones, will have on their adult lives.

Sarcasm, as humor is a form of hidden aggression. People often will hide behind their comment saying "I was only kidding". However, no matter what you really meant, be it seriously (only you truly know), or in jest, the things you have said to people stays in their memories along with their memory of you being the culprit. These hurtful statements can remain a lifetime, and form a belief system in a person with low self-esteem.

Think about the things that were said to you, in humor or in all seriousness. It is very hard to dismiss what you've heard. You can try to logically explain to yourself that the words are meaningless, but your body will tell you the truth. Do you get a corresponding feeling somewhere in your body when you think about something that was hurtful? Do you feel a tightness in your chest; does your breathing become shallow; do you feel embarrassed, ashamed, sad? It is extremely difficult to talk yourself out of these feelings. There is one thing that definitely can help. It's called EFT: Emotional Freedom Technique, or Meridian Tapping.

Take time and think before you speak. Once words have been spoken, you can apologize, but you can never remove them from someone's hearing. Gossip, words that you say about another person can get back to them easily. Do you want to be responsible for emotional scars and their impact left on another human being?

And if you are the one who has heard harsh words that still hurt deep inside you, there is help that will work quickly and effectively to remove the emotional impact and give you a new clear way of seeing yourself.

Words can deliver support and connection; or they can be hateful and destructive. Choose wisely before you speak.

How Seniors Can Alleviate Depression With Exercise

As the Baby Boomer generation approaches old age, more and more of them are trying to figure out what they can do to in order to continue enjoying a good life. Although many of them realized long ago that their health directly correlates to their happiness, finding time to exercise may not always have been a priority.

Now that many of them are retired, they are taking a new look at things that can positively impact their lives. However, having realizations and acting on them are two different things. Since so many baby boomers love instant gratification, asking them to take the necessary time-consuming steps to improve their health can be quite a challenge.

Nonetheless, many baby boomers now appreciate that focusing on improving their health is one of the things they will have to do in order to maintain a healthy mind as well as a healthy body.

Numerous studies have indicated that emotional stability can be better achieved through regular exercise. Consequently, it is not surprising that many senior citizens who seemingly couldn't find the time to exercise earlier in their lives, are now finding that exercise actually helps to ease feelings of depression and anxiety.

It is generally believed that in order to achieve optimum health, seniors should focus on three different types of exercise: cardio, endurance, and strength.

These three types of exercise target different needs and they should all be included in any workout program.

Incorporating cardiovascular exercises into a workout promotes heart health, while endurance exercises are believed to increase the flow of blood throughout your body. If this is true then these types of exercises may help to protect you from cardiac injury should you have a heart attack.

Strength exercises have been known to increase metabolism and muscle mass. Both are factors that can help you to maintain a healthy weight (one of the challenges that many seniors face.)

If you add balance and stretching exercises to your routine, you will enjoy all the benefits that a complete workout can provide.

Amazingly, exercise not only has a positive effect on your joints, muscles and bones, but literally provides a workout for your brain as well.

People who regularly exercise find that their memory gets better, as does their mental acuity.

Any way you cut it, senior exercise is meant to make you feel happy and positive. Who knows? It might even make you smarter.

Of course, at any age, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. The best of intentions can still cause unexpected injury or pain and even the healthiest of people can find misfortune.

What I've Learned About ME, CFS and Fibromyalgia

The very first thing I learned when I became sick two years ago, was, that making any sense of ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis - the new name for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) or Fibromyalgia is extremely complicated. I quickly discovered that these were unlike any diseases I knew. There didn't seem to be any consensus in the medical community regarding causes or treatments for them and there wasn't a blood test or any test for that matter, to positively prove their existence. I came to realize that the diseases were phantom-like and existed to my doctors and family purely through my descriptions. I suddenly felt desperate to prove that the pain and extreme fatigue I was feeling was real and not a figment of my imagination or an exaggeration of a milder condition.

To complicate matters even further, it seems, that like snowflakes, no two patients are alike. Symptomology, ranges in severity, from, for example, mild pain in the joints to an inability to get out of bed or remember how to count to ten. The symptoms are so wide-ranging that they seem to have nothing in common. Some that have been associated with ME/CFS and/or Fybromyalgia are: weakness in the joints and muscles, fever, overwhelming fatigue, need for excessive amounts of sleep, body aches, joint and muscle pain, sore throat, shortness of breath, chest pains, heart arrhythmias, sleep disturbances, insomnia, eye pain, profuse sweating, flu-like symptoms, skin rashes, headaches, sensitivity to light and sound, cognitive impairment, painful trigger points (Fybromyalgia only), hoarse voice, depression, anxiety and more I'm sure. Not every patient has all of these symptoms, of course, and may only have two or three. The two or three symptoms one person has though, may become debilitating. Others are diagnosed quickly, find relief with one of the treatments that are currently available and go on to live fairly normal lives.

There are currently very few, if any, clinical tests that definitively prove the existence of either of these diseases. When symptoms are reported, a doctor will usually run a battery of blood tests to rule out illnesses like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Sjogrens Syndrome, Lyme Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and others that are found in the blood. When those results come back negative, things really start to get frustrating and confusing. A General Practitioner may refer the patient to a Rheumatologist at this point if they don't have enough experience treating ME or Fibromyalgia. If the person is like me, they begin researching the subject on the internet and read dozens of articles, becoming even more confused. I read articles about causes and treatments for ME and Fibromyalgia that included theories about Gulf War Illness, Delayed Pattern Food Allergy, HHV-6 virus, XMRV virus and B Cell depletion to name a few. Many of these ideas are new and clinical trials are ongoing. As a result, most doctors, even Rhumatologists sometimes, aren't aware of the newest research.

I have learned that sufferers of ME and Fibromyalgia really must keep current on the outcomes of clinical trials and research in this field. Sometimes the best sources of information are other ME and Fibromaylgia patients who have formed a strong alliance and are passionately spreading awareness about the seriousness of these diseases.

Most doctors now acknowledge that ME and Fibromyalgia are legitimate diseases and no longer write them off as hypochondria or depression, but convincing friends and family is another subject. Many people suffer with these illnesses and have little or no support from their spouse or family. They are in pain and feel alone and unloved. Until causes and effective treatments for ME and Fibromyalgia are discovered, this may, unfortunately, be the fate for many people.

Spirituality and Depression - Why Should a Journey to the Light Cause Darkness and Despair?

It doesn't seem fair or logical that people on a spiritual path, actively working at raising their consciousness, should suffer from depression. Yet, this is often the case. Depression is one of the classic symptoms experienced by many people who are spiritually-inclined. And there is a very good reason why this can happen.

Firstly, let's be clear about the type of depression we're talking about. This is not the depression that might occur in response to a human crisis, such as the death of a loved one, a relationship breakup or being sacked from a job. No, this is something more chronic and pervasive.

This is a deep sadness of the soul. It tends to shut down creativity and any interest in life. It can be incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to get out of bed and go to work, or go about your day. The world holds no interest for you and having to interact with others can feel like an assault on your senses. This is a time of despair - the dark night of the soul.

This spiritual type of depression has been experienced by many people who are going through their spiritual awakening process, also known as 'Ascension'. It doesn't happen to everyone, but enough to make it the most widely reported Ascension Symptom.

Ascension is the process of merging and melding the energies of the Spirit, or Divine Self, with the energies of the human self.

Often the Ascension process begins before the person is consciously aware of it. The spiritual seeker's desire for growth and fulfillment triggers the process. But, because the true nature of spiritual awakening has not been clearly understood by many humans in the past, most do not associate their uncomfortable symptoms of depression with a 'spiritual experience'.

Spiritual awakening cannot fully take place if a person is totally focussed in superficial day-to-day reality. So what can happen is that the person unconsciously hears the call of their soul and responds - again, unconsciously - by withdrawing and becoming less engaged in their everyday activities and relationships.

But, because they don't understand that what is really happening is that their consciousness is being drawn into the spiritual realms to connect with their Spirit, they perceive the experience as negative, which only makes it harder to cope with.

Let us look at the energetic mechanics of depression. What is really going on when a human is going through spiritually-based depression?

Think back to your high school science lessons about the movement of energy. Remember the diagrams of the wave form, with its peaks and troughs? Now imagine a graph showing two wave forms moving along in sync with each other - one rises up where the other dips down. One represents the person's physical energies, the other represents their spiritual energies. At the point where the human's energies are dipped to their lowest point, as in depression, the corresponding spiritual wave form rises to its highest point.

The depression - or trough of the wave - has a corresponding energy peak in the spiritual realms. So at the time of the deepest depression, when the body and mind seem depleted of energy, most of the person's energies are being directed towards the spiritual realms.

You could say that the opposite energy of the depression is a wave form on the other side of the veil that separates the physical and non-physical realms. That wave is counter-balancing and moving along in sync with the depressed cycle of the human person on Earth.

The depressed cycle in the physical world is actually needed in order to balance and create the energy-wave on the other side of the veil which will eventually propel the human being through the Ascension process, allowing their Divine and human selves to integrate with each other.

The melding of Spirit and human is a totally natural process in our evolution. We are eternal beings awakening to the remembrance of our Divinity. So the experience of depression, in an awakening and spiritually-oriented human being, is a natural and necessary part of the Ascension process.

However, that doesn't make it any more comfortable. So, what can you do about it?

The most important thing you can do to support yourself is BREATHE. Breathing deeply and consciously clears the mind and rebalances the emotions. There is a particular method of simple conscious breathing - you will find detailed instructions set out for you on my Awakening Angel website, as well as a free audio meditation which you may use at any time to de-stress and rebalance yourself.

While you may be inclined to think that this sounds too simplistic, I assure you that the deep conscious breathing is the key to Ascension and Divine integration. Practising it regularly will help you in so many ways - from simple relaxation and de-stressing to helping you to move through your own spiritual awakening process more easily and gracefully.

Remember, you are never alone. Spirit is always with you - angels are as close as your next breath.

Genetic Testing - How It Can Predict Your Future Health

Getting genetic testing, can unlock what your future health conditions may be, but before you decide to decode your genomes it is important that you consider the benefits and risks. In the following article we will discuss the benefits and cons of genetic testing, and how you can safeguard your privacy rights as a patient.

Researchers also are concerned that people who are found to have genetic alterations that increase disease risk may face job and insurance discrimination. Testing positive could also lead to unnecessary radical treatment. As well, a seemingly hopeless diagnosis could result in depression or withdrawal from life when a cure is out of reach.

In the final analysis, would you rather know if you were at risk for a specific disease that a genetic test could point out? If so, ask your physician about the possibility and wisdom of testing you for the genetically linked diseases in your family tree. In this way, you can identify and avoid the controllable risk factors that would contribute to development of genetically linked diseases present in your family.

Genetic testing for disease susceptibility will be more common in the future as the genes that increase risk for various diseases are isolated and deciphered. Sometimes organs within a system can serve another system. For example, the basic function of the digestive system is to convert the food we eat into absorb able nutrients. At the same time, the digestive system serves the immune system by preventing dangerous pathogens from invading the body and causing illness. As you study nutrition, you will note the multiple roles played by many organs.

So naturally the question is would it be more beneficial to get genetically tested and find out your risk factors or avoid genetic testing due to health insurance reasons or negative repercussions over being tested. The obvious answer would be that if you can have an insight into your healths, than the benefits far outweigh the risks, and in the United States there are plenty of laws that protect patient's rights. Additionally, there are now do it yourself kits available at your local pharmacy that you can send of your sample to get genetically decoded and viewable online anonymously. So, if you are afraid that your data might be leaked to your insurance company, or you do not want to have any record of getting genetic testing this is also a very viable option.

Whatever your choice, the benefits today with genetic testing are highly beneficial to anyone's health, however you should remember that they only serve as genetic markers, meaning that just because you have a high likelihood of suffering a disease it doesn't mean you will. One of the biggest obstacles many doctors face today comes from patients treating themselves- i.e. they go online and try to diagnose their illnesses and can do more harm than good. The opportunity for a patient to have access to such vast genetic testing information, can actually be not good for your health, if you do not discuss those results with a medical professional, and instead try to self diagnose or worse cure your ailments, that you may never get. For these reasons, it is highly suggested that even if you opt to get a do it yourself genetic testing done, that you consult with your doctor about the testing results and do not take your health into your own hands.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Passion Flower For Use Against Depression

Can Passion Flower be used as an alternative to antidepressants for treating depression? This has been used for thousands of years because of its effectiveness in a number of categories. While it does not actually treat depression itself, it does treat many of the symptoms associated with this disease, and has been used for treating other illnesses as well. First we will discuss a little about what it is, and what it does, and then later we will talk about what precautions you should use when taking this as an herbal supplement for helping you with your depression.

Depression is a debilitating disease that affects many aspects of your life, and many people turn to antidepressants as a way to treat it. The problems with taking drugs is that they have many side-effects and can cause problems later on in life like liver disease, plus many of them are highly addictive.

Passion Flower, like many other herbal remedies, is all natural, and not addictive if taken in the right dosages. It is a plant that grows naturally along fences and in the woods of dry areas of the U.S. It likes to grow in partial shade. It has a vine that can grow 30 feet, produces serrated leaves, and finely toothed lobes. Its flowers are white in color with purple centers, and blooms from May through July. Its smooth yellow fruit contains many seeds.

Using this to treat some of the symptoms of depression has been done for many years. It contains compounds that produce sleepiness, and can be used effectively against insomnia. It has anxiety suppressors, and can give you a calmness that many antidepressants can not provide. It also can relieve a number of stomach problems that can be associated with depression. It is the main ingredient in many homeopathic remedies, and counteracts the effects of herbal supplements that may get people worked up.

That is not to say that Passion Flower is not without its draw backs when it comes to an alternative to antidepressants in treating depression. Unlike most herbal supplements, this will promote some side-effects, especially in higher doses. It is a sedative, and can cause drowsiness. It should not be taken in doses more that 200-300
milligrams, and just twice a day. Because of its own properties which affect anxiety, insomnia, and depression, it should not be taken with other medications. These can include sleep aids, anti-anxiety medication, or any antidepressants. Although no tests show that they interfere with these drugs, they still should not be used in conjunction with them, but as an alternative.

Yes you can use Passion Flower as an alternative to taking antidepressant medication when it comes to treating depression, if you only use recommended dosages. It has been very effective, if used right. You can find out more about this flower, as well as many other alternatives when treating this illness, online, or in other areas. It is a good idea to consult your health care provider before you start any kind of alternative medicine, and discuss with them your concerns over taking prescription drugs.

Mood Disorders - Food Vs Medicine

Our obsession with medicine and disregard for the effect of food and legal substances on our overall health, particularly our mental health.

I've been thinking about how we and the world of medicine are almost schizophrenic about what we put into our bodies. We are very aware about the effects and dangers of controlled drugs, only partly concerned with the effect of legalized drugs and totally oblivious to the effects of food that we consume.

Prescription drugs are very tightly controlled but legalized alcohol, over the counter drugs and food are consumed by almost everybody without any clear thought about what enters our bodies and what effect it or a combination of food substances will do to us.

Prescription drugs contain minute quantities of controlled substances that affect our bodies and our mental health. Doctors and pharmacists are trained to understand these drugs and the interaction of these drugs and how they can affect each other. Some drugs enhance each other's actions while other's can cancel each other out, produce unpredictable results, and some combinations can be life threatening. While the controlled drug interactions are carefully studied, interactions with 'normal' food intake is not.

A real example for me was a friend who was given warfarin after a routine operation to keep his blood from clotting. He then also took a couple of aspirin for a headache, probably for a hangover. The combination of the drugs (and possibly alcohol) thinned his blood to the point where he became comatose and survived only through quick medical intervention.

Another example is anti-depressants and other drugs that cause constipation. Yes, they tell you in the fine print! But they do not advise that you should greatly increase the very regular fiber content of your diet to avoid the certain formation of hemorrhoids.

Drugs and food actually come from the same or similar sources. Drugs are concentrated extracts from plant material or synthetic copies of such substances. Many foodstuffs contain the same substances found in drugs and many that have not yet been discovered as medically useful.

Pharmaceutically extracted and patented concentrations become prescription drugs that are then highly regulated by the FDA in the USA and similar bodies in the rest of the world. With the exception of substances like cannabis herbs and 'exotic' poppy plants, the world of herbalists is by and large totally uncontrolled. Yet, pharmaceutical medicines have their origins in herbal medicines.

My concern for more than 25 years has been to understand the causes of mood disorders, the sources of depression, panic attacks, compulsive behaviors and such, because I suffered from them all for more decades than I care to guess at.

The subject of food vs. medicine is vast, but for the purposes of this article I will concentrate on but the tip of the iceberg of 'mind altering' substances as an example of how ignorantly we approach food and its effects on our mental health.


Let's start with the effects of blood sugar. High or low blood sugar levels have a direct impact on our overall sense of wellbeing and our moods. An appropriately high level of blood sugar makes us feel energized, positive and generally satisfied. Low blood sugar has the opposite effect. We feel week, tired, possibly frustrated and hungry. A candy bar, soda, starchy meal, or sweet beverage is a quick fix and we move on again. Too high a level of blood sugar makes us hyper for a while. Taken incorrectly, that is, in an un-refined form and without appropriate other foods, the sugar is absorbed into our blood stream quickly and we feel good, but it is also metabolized very quickly, turned into weight gaining fat as quickly and in a very short time, our blood sugar levels drop and the cycle is repeated.

Just about everybody is aware of the weight gaining consequences of this routine but little regard is given to the mind / mood cycles that go along with this cycle. These mood cycles actually make us think and act irrationally. The easiest example would be the disregard for known dietary consequences. A less common understanding of the irrational behavior that goes along with this routine lies in anger outbursts, simply feeling low or irritated or moody, resulting in us saying and doing things we would not normally do. From the intake of high doses of sugar we may experience bursts of too high a level of blood sugar which makes us hyper for a while, before we drop down again. (Does anybody recognize the symptoms of bipolar or manic depression disorder here?)


Next, we should look at caffeine, (coffee, many sodas, tea, chocolate, and many over the counter drugs). We need a boost, so we have a cup of coffee. The effect wears off quickly so we have another and another.... We feel OK or good while we keep this up, but it is when the caffeine levels in our bodies drop that we suddenly get into 'kick the dog' mode.

Many 'A type personalities', hardworking career people, arrive home exhausted, irritated and frustrated, night after night. Have a look at your caffeine routine. At the office you probably have a regular stream of caffeine being fed into your blood stream and then, on the commute home, it works itself out of your system and your mood hits a low, just as you get home!


Would you believe that your bath routine can affect your mood? It is often said that too much of anything is not a good thing, and never has it been more true than about what we put into our bodies, but it is also true of our obsession with hygiene! Every time we wash our bodies with soap we wash off a layer of natural oils that nature provides as a way for us to absorb vitamin D from sunlight. While most other vitamins are generously provided by eating a variety of fresh vegetables, fruit and protein sources, vitamin D is rare in natural foods. Exceptions include fish liver oils, especially Cod Liver oil that is generally available as a supplement.

Calcium and Vitamin D

What makes Vitamin D so important? This rare vitamin is essential for our bodies to absorb other essential vitamins and minerals, notably, Vitamin E, Vitamin A and Calcium. Without Vitamin D in your body you can drink as much milk as you like and your body will simply pass the essential calcium. So what? As adults our bones and teeth have been formed, right? Wrong! We need calcium daily and without other sources we start taking calcium from our own bone structures, weakening our bones and teeth resulting in a variety of skeletal diseases later in life. But this article is about the effects of food and other routines on our moods and mental states. If our calcium absorption level drops to the level where we source it from our own bones, havoc rages in our mental states. Low mood levels and downright unexplained depression is the result. This is one simple explanation what many people know as the winter blues. In winter the sun is scarce and we hide under layers of clothing or indoors.

Of course too much sun is also a bad thing, and most people have a good old soap shower or bath after a long sweaty session in the sun, and down the drain goes the precious vitamin D. So what is the answer? Change to an Eskimo diet of raw fish is one answer. (By the way, fish liver oil has been the saving food substance for many peoples living in very cold and snowy regions.) The other easier answer is of course making sure that you get regular supply of vitamin D which these days is normally added to commercial milk, but just to make sure, check that your daily vitamin supplement has a healthy dose of vitamin D component.

Recreational drugs

I wish I did not have to mention alcohol or tobacco. These are such obvious sources of mind altering substances, but it is so universally abused that doctors basically have given up on pointing out the effects or dangers. If you care about your mood swings, down cycles, depression, anxiety attacks, panic attacks, anger outbursts, shaking and sweating attacks, start plotting your alcohol use. Tobacco abuse symptoms should be known by everyone, and any smoker will know the instant high you get from taking your first puff after a long break. I surely do not need to go into much more detail about these substances, except to point out that these substances interfere and basically negate the effect of prescription drugs meant to treat mood disorders!


As with legal recreational drugs, cannabis needs a mention as it is often argued that Cannabis is no worse than alcohol or tobacco. Maybe so, but 'no worse' is hardly an accolade. Surely I don't have to go into much detail of its effects but additionally to other mind blowing effects, cannabis is responsible for paranoia! Who wants to live with that?


By comparison to minute quantities of substances in controlled drugs, we consume vast quantities of uncontrolled substances without giving it a thought. This is crazy.

The link between substance abuse and mood disorders is seldom obvious because the mood disorder often manifests not while you take the substance, but sometime after you have ceased taking it, so one is inclined not to see the link. (In the term substance abuse I include sugar, caffeine, tobacco, soap, alcohol, cannabis, over the counter drugs, and any of the same or regular food that you consume routinely.)

So, what do we do?

  1. For a start if you suffer from mood fluctuations of any kind, including depression or anxiety, it is a good idea to start tracking what you eat and drink, by the hour. On a second access, track your moods. Look for correlations between your intake and your moods as far back as 7 days. An example of a 7 day effect would be shaking and sweating or headaches that manifest up to 7 days after you have stopped taking the substance, is alcohol and other drug withdrawal symptoms. It's called the DT's. Some over the counter drug detox symptoms can manifest for as much as 21 days!

  2. Secondly, make sure that you take good multivitamin and mineral supplement every day. Even vary the supplement product from time to time. You never know whether the contents actually match the label description.

  3. Thirdly, vary your diet widely and regularly. If you have a specific liking for any specific thing, take care and limit your intake.

  4. Four. Learn as much as you can about nutrition. You cannot read enough about it. Vegetarians and vegans especially should be aware of the limitations of their food choices and make sure that they consume foods that provide essential minerals and vitamins normally obtained from animal products.

  5. Five. We do need blood sugar. Avoid refined sugars and starches. Choose pasta and potatoes over white bread, cakes, sodas and candy. Here's a life changing tip: Eat a portion of protein along with a small amount of starch (sugar).... This has the result of the sugar being available to the blood over a longer period as opposed to in a single rush and staying in the blood stream longer. Typically the blood sugar level will be as high as with a portion of starch or sugar on its own! So you feel good for longer on the same portion. You won't need to top up your blood sugar levels every hour and guess what! You will lose weight! So if you follow the logic so far, a hamburger made from fresh ingredients, or poached eggs on toast, make excellent meals!

For more on how to control mood disorders, anxiety or panic disorders without medicine, visit

Three Great Happiness Quotes

It's not often we take the opportunity to praise fellow writers, but these three quotes I found in the one location; a discovery like gold. Enjoy them with me, and the thoughts that go with them:

"Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed." -Storm Jameson.[1]

Five things, according to Jameson, are required to feel lasting and authentic happiness. And these cascade. When we feel deeply without fear, courage has taught us there's really nothing to fear; being one with our feelings is to be truly "us." 

To enjoy simply is to keep things simple--there's far too much complexity in our lives these days. The simplest people are happiest. To be able to feel deeply and enjoy simply means to be able to think freely, reconciled to life on life's terms. Guilt doesn't run our bus.

To risk life is the key to success because how many of us lag behind in life because of fear of things that will probably never happen--and what if they did? Big deal! To be able to risk, we need to feel deeply, enjoy simply and think freely.

Finally, the more functional we get in life i.e. from doing the first four, the more we find we are needed. And this is self-sustaining. In fact, taken too far 'being needed' can be burdensome, but not if we have the first four underpinning and balancing our lives.

"Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." -Mahatma Gandhi.[2]

What a contribution Gandhi's made. He describes in this quote, alignment and congruence, authenticity no less. 

This quote reminds me of Rotary's Four-way Test for the things they think, say and do. This is: 1) Is it the truth? 2) Is it fair to all concerned? 3) Will it build goodwill and better friendships? 4) Will it be beneficial to all concerned? Every thought, decision and action is to pass through these four questions. If it fails one of these then they don't proceed.

Happiness is achieved when we become true to ourselves and there's nothing to hide. There's no cognitive dissonance.

"What if you began to expect the best from any situation?  Isn't it possible that you could write new chapters in your life with happy endings?  Suspend your disbelief?  Take a leap of faith?  After all, what have you got to lose but misery and lack?" -Sarah Ban Breathnach.[3]

When we're open to the possibilities, it's amazing what we'd otherwise miss out on. Even if we suspended our doubting genuinely for one month and lived by faith, there is little we'd lose--and how much we'd gain? 

We must do this today and waste no more time!

Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham.  All Rights Reserved Worldwide.

[1], [2], [3] sourced from Ruth Hegarty, EzineArticles author.

The Highs and Lows Of Manic Depression

The moods of a manic depressive person are like that of a pendulum swinging from one extreme to the other. As the term itself implies, manic depression is a psychological disorder wherein a person has bouts of mania and depression. Manic depression is associated with extreme mood swings and sudden behavioral changes. In one instance, a person may be extremely buoyant and talkative, has rapid flight of ideas and heightened energy that may lead to decreased amounts of sleep. This manic phase of manic depression can last for hours, days, weeks or months, and it is a racing, giddy state of elevated mood.

This hypomanic episode can present itself as a strange behavior, as although it can pass for sociability, the hypomanic person can sometimes exhibit aggressive behavior. A person usually has a turgid and aggrandized self image when in the hypomanic state. When deeply traced, though, the person usually has fragile self-esteem Another phase of manic depression, also called bipolar disorder is the major depressive episode. This phase basically has a greater drawback as a person's enthusiasm for life takes a back seat. In the major depressive episode, a person deviates himself from his peers and his family and his normal activities are put to a halt.

This might also strike as an unusual behavior as the depressive person isolates himself from his external environment. In the depressive episode of manic depression, a person's self-confidence is not only lacking, but is at an all time low at that. Whereas the hypomanic phase make a person "sociable" to some extent, the major depressive episode can be devastating and debilitating. Another episode of manic depression is the mixed episode, and as the term implies, it is a combination of both mania and depression. Manic depression is categorized as Bipolar I disorder and Bipolar II disorder. Bipolar I is categorically the hypomanic phase and this heightened mood can last from hours, days, weeks or months.

Bipolar II disorder is the depressive episode with at least one hypomanic episode. Bipolar II disorder is more incapacitating as this category of manic depression gravely hampers a person's social life and elicits erratic mood changes. Anybody can potentially suffer from manic depression as it is not exclusive to any specific age bracket. Manic depression episodes initially occur during late adolescence or early adulthood but there are cases wherein children and the elderly have bouts of manic depression. Neither is bipolar disorder confined to a particular gender, race or class although manifestations between men and women are generally different. With proper consultation, medication and therapy, manic depression can be treated.

Once diagnosed, the medications can regulate the mood swings and the accompanying psychotherapy can trace and unravel the psychological causes of the manic depressive bouts. As psychiatry also trace mental disorders to a chemical imbalance in the brain, certain antipsychotic drugs are generally prescribed to normalize the imbalance and neutralize the extreme mood swings. Psychotherapy on the other hand allows the patient to express and relieve his anxieties. Regular therapy is the flushing out of psychic garbage until eventually the patient comes to terms with himself. Manic depression must never be left untreated as it can result to personality deterioration and eventually dysfunctionality.

Family and peer support are also essential for a person to overcome manic depression. Psychological disturbances can be curable. Advances in psychiatry as well as community education and awareness have made it possible for those with mental disorders to live a full and happy life.

Depression Symptoms - And 4 Actions You Can Take To Heal Yourself

Depression can be quite debilitating. I have gone through difficult periods and know from personal experience that even mild symptoms of depression can ruin one's life.

Here are some common symptoms: inability to sleep, inability to concentrate, decreased sex drive, feelings of hopelessness, negative thoughts that you can't control or just will not go away, lack of appetite or excessive binging, and a lack of self-esteem.

This last one is particularly important. As human potential coach Brian Tracy once put it, self-esteem is not our self-concept. It is not in idea about ourselves. It is the feelings that we have about our own selves. Do we feel that we are valuable, do we feel successful, or do we feel that we are complete failures?

The first thing you have to do is change your thinking. Many people trip themselves up by the definitions they attach to certain words. For example, how do you define success? If your mind comes up with some unattainable image of a Hollywood-style mansion and a bunch of objects or achievements you must have in order to feel successful, then you have sabotaged yourself. So the first thing you must do is to define happiness in simple terms. You have to do this for yourself, you can't wait for society to give you the answers. Externally-imposed answers can never be what you truly want.

The second thing you have to do is change your lifestyle. If you spend a lot of time alone, then start spending time with other people. It doesn't matter exactly how you do it, the important thing is that you do it and that you force yourself to do it. Call old friends, go to Starbucks and talk to a stranger, anything to change your habit of being alone. If you spend a lot of time in the city, go on a hiking trip, sign-up to a mountaineering club, go to a park.

The third thing you must know is that exercise has been proven to be more effective than pharmaceutical drugs at improving and alleviating the symptoms of depression. Any type of exercise will do. If you have no time, then do a 20 minute workout in your home. Run up and down the stairs a few times. Do whatever your body can handle and never do it in excess. The chemical cascade that will result in your body will make you feel better.

The fourth point is to change your diet and take concentrated fish oil supplements every day. In cases of depression, simple sugars and refined carbohydrates are your biggest enemy. You should stop eating white bread, white rice, white flour, sugar and sweets and even sweet fruits. You should restrict yourself to brown rice, brown bread and sour fruits, such as Granny Smith apples, Kiwis and grapefruits. Also, it is very important to eat enough cholesterol, as cholesterol is what your body needs to make the hormones than deal with stress.

As far as supplements go, there is nothing better that y you can do for yourself than to take molecularly-distilled concentrated fish oil capsules every day, at a dose of a minimum of six capsules a day. Concentrated fish oil contains DHA. DHA is one of the most important substances in the brain. Research has shown very consistently that an increase in DHA consumption can help eliminate or at least alleviate depression.

Make sure that you buy a pure, top-quality concentrated fish oil by a reputable manufacturer, made with fish from clean, uncontaminated seas, such as those off the south coast of New Zealand. It should be accompanied by an independent certificate of analysis proving that the product is clean, safe and effective.

Being a Christian, Being Bipolar and a Prophetic Christian

The Manic high beats everything

I asked a friend one day, a friend from my school days who has Bipolar like me, "Compared to all the drugs you have done, where does the "Manic" high stand?"

"It beats everything," he replied with a knowing smile.

Well the only drug I have done is pot and that made my head go a bit crazy and I only had it a few times and the more I refused it, the more I was offered the drug for free from all sorts of people. So I have to take my friend's advice on it.

Because the high is so powerful and the visions of grandeur so darn good, anybody would want to really achieve what your mind tells you. For many years, I believed I was one of the two last prophets that are going to visit the earth shortly before Christ returns. These prophets have a whole chapter devoted to them in Revelation chapter 11 and I wanted to know all about my job and spent many years trying to find the "other" prophet. This caused me a lot of heartache. In all the years I believed that I was one of the two prophets, few people ever seemed to agree with me. The idea of being one of the most important people in the history of the world gave me great feelings of importance and boosted my low self image considerably.

The Bipolar "high" is a feeling for me that I am all powerful and that I am right and everyone else is wrong and when I need to go to hospital I am the only one that seems to think I don't have to go. This causes people who love me much distress.

Your friends and family suffer.

My friends and family have suffered much from my sickness and I am confident this is why I will remain on my medication. I have seen my mother in tears and really worried and this image is always in my mind. The illness can be very deceiving to a person when they suffer and the "Voices" tell you everything is fine when everything is not fine. I have much compassion for the loved ones of people who suffer.

I might add that the feeling I was one of the two prophets mentioned did not go away in the six years between hospital visits, yet my need to tell people that I was, diminished considerably.

Anti Depressants make me high.

I have experienced a strange thing, and I am told it is possible. I have been in the midst of a chronic depression and yet been manic. That seems impossible but it happened to me.

I have been on about six anti-depressants and all of them have after a few weeks made me manic. So in the midst of a medicated depression I went through the roof in a state of mania and was very close to being admitted to hospital. On that occasion I stayed up three days, I had two full nights without sleep before my house-mate reported me to my case worker and the medical guys came around and questioned me.

Let me add here a notice for people who suffer depression or people who know people who suffer. The ONLY medication that didn't make me high but treated my depression and took the ill feelings away was St Johns Wort. I took it in tablet form and it was very effective for me and whenever I fall into serious depression, for me about once a year, I take St Johns Wort and it takes about three weeks to build up and be effective in my system.

You can lose your creativity on medication.

As a writer I lost my ability to write when I became medicated. I have written two four-hundred page novels and two one-hundred and twenty page film scripts and I went about three years on medication without being able to write and that was very sad for me. I have in the past few years retrieved the gift and I am most happy about it. I have to warn you if you are someone who looks after someone with Bipolar or any other mental illness that the compulsion to give up the medication so you can get back to creativity is very strong. Medication stealing a talent off you is very sad. I imagine for many artists the choice between creativity and staying sane is a hard choice indeed.

Being up for days gives me a buzz and gets me creative.

It's hard to explain and put into words the feeling I get when I stay up for two days. My creativity seems to increase and in Christian terms I become more "anointed." It's exciting to be able to stay up a full day with friends and late into the night and then go home and stay up and do another whole day and night. Around the second night up I am so in the flow of things and to type a message or write something seems really easy, as easy as just finding the keys of the keyboard. All my loved ones seem to worry when they find I have been up for a few days. All of them seem to know if they get a phone call early in the morning that I have been up all night as they know my habit of sleeping in. I look at the story I wrote about the man called Legion in the article called "The Man That Juggled Olives That Changed My Life Forever" and it must be one of the finest pieces of writing I have ever done in my life and it was done after being up all night. Writing for me is something I love and I feel my illness helps me with this. I think if my illness were taken away so might my gift for writing.

With my three breakdowns I lost self confidence.

I have to say that having Bipolar is not an easy thing. One of the things it has done to me is that it has stripped away some of my self confidence. What used to be easy like having a full-time job and doing life like an ordinary person is harder now and the idea of working full time is something that is too hard for me to comprehend at the moment.

Bipolar has a stigma also that takes its toll.

People assume because you have something wrong with your mind that you are stupid also. As a born again Christian who hears from God this puts me in a funny camp. Some people consider because I am Bipolar that I am NOT hearing from God and am deluded. This sort of relegates me to the side or the fringes in my Christian experience. Because I hear "voices" people assume that I NEVER hear the right "voice" and that they should not listen to anything I say that I feel God is saying to me and to them.

Of course when I consult a professional they are not too helpful as they call my voices auditory hallucinations. I am not really sure what they think, in all my years of seeing doctors, but they definitely DON'T think I am hearing from God as they don't believe in God.

On the other hand I go to a church that does not seem to consider demon possession to be something today and so they can't help much either. This is upsetting.

Sometimes I wish I knew a Christian expert in mental illness. Some-one that knows the "Voices" I hear are both the Holy Spirit and evil spirits, some one that knows the difference between them being "in me" these spirits or just communicating with me.

Besides being misunderstood and having a stigma, we are left to suffer alone or to have other friends who suffer with us to talk to. This can get you down at times. I find that this loneliness helps me with my relationship with Jesus.

People may say I am too spiritual. People seem to like to have Jesus Christ and their spiritual life in a compartment in their life that only comes out on Sundays.

No one wants to listen in the mental health system.

One thing that upsets me is in the twelve or so years of being in the mental health system is that no one has ever really seemed to listen to me. The doctors listen long enough to work out what is delusional and what they want to know but no one seems to dig out the core issues in a person's life and refer them on to counsellors that can help with these emotional issues. That upsets me as I feel that I am not the only sufferer.

One great thing that I have to say is that the medication for me really works. When I am not on medication the voices go crazy and they deceive me and have me doing really crazy things. Without medication I would be in jail all the time I reckon.

So sadly, churches seem to fail me and the mental health system fails me in some respects and both seem to be at odds with each other. One time I told one of my doctors if hearing from God was a pre-requisite to being mentally ill, then most of the preachers in the world should be on medication.

The educated world runs on science but what is happening inside is spiritual.

In the scientific world, Noah's flood did not happen, nor did the ten plagues of Moses, nor did the miracles of Jesus Christ.

Yet I know a man that made two bottles of Coke appear out of thin air, a man who raised a man from the dead with a prayer, a man who blessed some oil which healed a whole district's cows, and another man who was raised from the dead after being dead for three days. Both of these men live in India and they are doing today the mighty miracles of Jesus Christ.

I know not many of my articles will convince sceptics of things spiritual. I don't write these things to educate doctors. I just write to share my heart with Christians who suffer Bipolar or Christians who know people that do.

I suffer as sometimes all I can do is sleep.

Mentally ill people suffer. I am staying up tonight simply because I have been stuck in a cycle for three days of sleeping all day which if it continues will put me into depression. Something I don't want to happen, so I am trying to break the cycle.

You just can't snap out of clinical depression.

Clinical depression is not something one can just snap out of. I know that Jesus Christ and His peace and joy can counteract it, but you have to access to that kind of blessing. St Johns Wort does not seem fashionable with doctors as they say it is dangerous to take with other prescription medications and yet I have never seen a doctor worry about two or three prescription medications playing up with each other. If your loved one can't get their depression under control, St Johns Wort will be valuable in many cases. Take it from someone who has suffered major depression.

Hearing evil spirits it not good.

As a person who suffers, I often hear a voice that I assume is the Holy Spirit (God's voice) but in actual fact it is a demon(a fallen angel) pretending to be the Holy Spirit. This false Jesus, who speaks to me can be very damaging to me and can distort some things for me and lead me to say and do things that are not good. Last week a pastor that runs a good church I have started to go to told me what I can ask my "voice" to confirm if it is the Holy Spirit. A good friend of mine who is Bipolar asks the same question and so now I have adopted it. 1 John 4:1-6 speaks on this matter.

It is this spirit that told me I am one of the two last prophets and got me into all sorts of trouble through the years. It is tempting as a Christian just to switch off and not listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit or this spirit and I did that once for a whole year.

I told my doctor once that I could turn off the voices by an act of self will and he was shocked and wondered why I would not do it. I told him if he was hearing from God would he turn to voice off, and he told me that God doesn't exist. That was not a very profitable conversation except that I really shocked him, which kind of shocked me as he has about three hundred patients and I was surprised another one of them had not told him the same.

There are many people hearing voices, some make a profession out of it and are called mediums and clairvoyants and make money.

Hearing from God brings blessings.

There are also people who hear the Holy Spirit very clearly and get messages for individuals or groups of people and this gift is called prophecy. In church every few weeks the LORD gives me a message for the people in the church and I am often happy when the songs and message preached that day line-up with the prophecy.

Many times I have messages from God for total strangers and people are very happy to get a message from God and most of the people are very blessed with the message. Something as simple as telling a male and female that God designed them both for each other and they should get married often brings the ladies great delight and gives the men confidence.

I hope the hours I have put into this will benefit you. I hope you have a little more insight into my mental illness now. I also have schizophrenia symptoms, and yet I did not put that in the title.

I would not turn my voices off, the gift of prophecy is something that brings me and others much blessings. For a year I have offered free prophecy to Christians all over the world on the web. It is amazing how blessed some people have been.

I have my ups and downs but some people suffer more than me.

God bless!