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Monday, October 21, 2013

Vitamin D Deficiency and Depression and Sunshine

"What does this have to do with psychiatry? Glad you asked. Recent studies by Springer, and research results reported in the New England Journal of Medicine and by the Vitamin D Council, are indicating a link to depression. Of note: Canadian researchers reviewed 14 studies, consisting of 31,424 participants and found a strong correlation between depression and a lack of Vitamin D. The lower the Vitamin D level, the greater the chance of depression. But, the big question is still causality. Does one get depressed because of a deficiency of Vitamin D, or does depression lower the vitamin level"  (for the entire article read here.) Source: Psychology Today

Are you HIV+, next time you go in for your quarterly labs, blood work, ask your provider to add that they check your vitamin D levels, this is a start, then talk to both your provider and Psychotherapist.

Other helpful resources:

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tips to Help You Manage Anxiety and Depression

Tips to Manage Anxiety and Stress

When you're feeling anxious or stressed, these strategies will help you cope:
  • Take a time-out. Practice yoga, listen to music, meditate, get a massage, or learn relaxation techniques. Stepping back from the problem helps clear your head.
  • Eat well-balanced meals. Do not skip any meals. Do keep healthful, energy-boosting snacks on hand.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine, which can aggravate anxiety and trigger panic attacks.
  • Get enough sleep. When stressed, your body needs additional sleep and rest.
  • Exercise daily to help you feel good and maintain your health. Check out the fitness tips below.
  • Take deep breaths. Inhale and exhale slowly.
  • Count to 10 slowly. Repeat, and count to 20 if necessary.
  • Do your best. Instead of aiming for perfection, which isn't possible, be proud of however close you get.
  • Accept that you cannot control everything. Put your stress in perspective: Is it really as bad as you think?
  • Welcome humor. A good laugh goes a long way.
  • Maintain a positive attitude. Make an effort to replace negative thoughts with positive ones.
  • Get involved. Volunteer or find another way to be active in your community, which creates a support network and gives you a break from everyday stress.
  • Learn what triggers your anxiety. Is it work, family, school, or something else you can identify? Write in a journal when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, and look for a pattern.
  • Talk to someone. Tell friends and family you’re feeling overwhelmed, and let them know how they can help you. Talk to a physician or therapist for professional help.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Give Yourself Credit. .You, I Deserve to Be Happy

 HIV+, living with bipolar disorder, struggling with addiction and alive! 
Give yourself credit.
 You and I deserve to be happy.

If you haven't read my September 15th  blog post you may want to, it's one of my most private posts, this one my second is also about survival, wanting to live, wanting to live with fewer and fewer thoughts of suicide. If you go there from time to time like I do, just keep telling yourself that you deserve to be happy.

I totally understand, I'm a fellow consumer, I started advocacy work as a way of self-help and it has paid off big time for me, as well as others. My journey as the Bipolar Bear has introduced me to so many fellow consumers, one I had the pleasure of running into years later, we met through a forum and then at a function that we both are passionate about. I'm out about my trio, not everyone is and this person was not but we found one another, and when we did I knew I was making personal gains for myself, that my self help was going to pan out for me as it did for this person who went on to get married, is working and having a child, it doesn't get any better then that.

Recovery works, there's so many models.  I use crystal meth less and less, I practice harm reduction, I will write more about this in another post, but I mention it because it has kept me going, through both the stormy and the calm periods in my life, and I still do this without a traditional twelve step setting, but I have my therapist and my P-doc, slang for psychiatrist, I'm on medications and I have a support network, tools necessary for both traditional and non-traditional approaches towards recovery.

Give your self credit, You and I deserve to be happy:

HIV+, bipolar disorder, the fifty percent risk of substance abuse, each of these on its own is very hard to recover from, I'm so close to a full recovering from all three. My journey just shy of eighteen years, I still get teary eyed when I think of it, these aren't all bad memories, there's a lot of good in those same years and this is what you have to stay focused on, all the good.  The bad, talk that through with your family, your minister, your closets friends. There are recovery groups for addiction and addiction and mental health, there are support groups for HIV+ and bipolar disorder and with social media there are virtual support groups, today help is literally at your finger tips. (please visit the helpful links at the bottom of this page).

So again I say if your thoughts go south, if you are thinking about suicide seek help, it's better to get it out, let it out and when you are feeling better and you will, keep adding to your tool box those things in your journey that you gain strength from, add to it this mantra, I'm a good person, I deserve to be happy.


Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Trevor Project 1-866-488-7386

National Alliance on Mental Illness

Depression Bipolar Support Alliance Support Group Locator

AIDS.GOV National Locator, enter your Zip Code
Offers Comprehensive Resources:
HIV Testing, Housing Assistance, Health Centers, Ryan White Care, Mental Health, Substance Abuse, Family Planning