BS Podcast: Do People With Mental Illness Suffer from Trauma?

Many people don’t understand how mental illness, in and of itself, can be traumatic. Everything from the emotions, physical sensations, and even treatment – locked in a ward or a hospital, often against our will – is a recipe for trauma. While every person with mental illness is different, most people with serious and persistent mental illness describe being traumatized in addition to the impact of the illness itself.

In this episode of Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast, our hosts discuss their own traumas as they relate to living with – and getting help for – mental illness. They both recall their time receiving treatment in the psychiatric hospital and Michelle tells the story of her encounter with a police officer that ended less than ideally.  more

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I survived combat in Iraq and a suicide attempt at home. But many veterans aren’t so lucky.

Sometimes, trauma can be more deadly than war itself. But the VA’s existing mental health services are woefully inadequate for a growing problem.

I’m supposed to be a statistic.

On July 14, 2012, drowning in grief and guilt, I tried to kill myself. Like so many veterans, I had found civilian life desperately difficult. War had drained me of joy. The sights, sounds and smells of the battlefield had been relentlessly looping in my head. The suffering seemed endless. And so, thinking there were no other options of escape, I turned to suicide.

Luckily, I survived. I avoided becoming one of the 20 veterans who kill themselves every day in this country. But I also witnessed firsthand all the ways that our nation’s mental health resources fail our fighting men and women. Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and the military simply aren’t equipped to properly treat sick vets. We must do better.  more

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Veteran Traumas and how best to Help

After applying for DD214 online and receiving the document, it could be easy to think that the veteran has left everything to do with their service behind.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Many veterans suffer with mental illness after returning from duty and this affects everyone, including the service members and their families.

It is entirely possible that some people may not experience some of these symptoms until a few years after leaving the armed forces. They may also delay seeking help for several reasons, such as thinking that they can cope, fear of criticism or feeling that therapists will not understand.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is perhaps the most infamous mental health problem veterans face after returning from duty.  more

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The Many Heath and Sleep Benefits Of Music

Music is an incredible tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep.

Music is a regular fixture in my daily life. I listen to music to keep me motivated while I exercise, to relax and distract me when I travel, and for a quick creativity boost when I’m writing. My family—especially my kids—have music playing around the house all the time. I also use relaxing music to unwind before bed. Music is an especially effective part of my own Power Down Hour on nights when my brain is wired or I’m feeling tense.

Music is an incredibly therapeutic tool for emotional health, daily performance, and sleep. It has been used as a healing therapy for most of human history. Ancient Arabic cultures had musicians working alongside physicians. The Greeks used music to treat mental illness. After WWII, musicians were brought to US hospitals to aid the healing of soldiers’ physical and emotional trauma.  more

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Why Recognizing Male Depression Can Be So Difficult

Anger, alcohol use and high risk activities are not commonly directly associated with depression.

Depression impacts millions of people worldwide. It is not just those suffering directly with depression, but loved ones who feel the effects too. Recognizing depression and getting appropriate professional help is the first step to cohabiting with depression. But sometimes that is easier said than done.

Depression can be a consequence of a life event. It can be the result of chemical changes in your brain. Depression can also stem from grief or trauma, or chronic pain.

Evidence also suggests that depression can be hereditary, related to genes.  more

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I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND MY MOTHER’S PSYCHOSIS UNTIL IT WAS TOO LATE. NOW, I FACE MY OWN MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES

No one ever explained my mother’s illness to me, and the trauma I experienced had lasting effects. I worry that young people nowadays face the same challenges

When I was 12, my mother cornered me in the bathroom of our suburban Vancouver home. “Your teeth are too yellow,” she said, handing me a can of Comet.

Though disappointed that little about me ever pleased my parent, I understood from past experience how to get through the current predicament. I sprinkled green powder on my toothbrush and did my best to not let any of it go down my throat while I scrubbed.

The things I didn’t do: report her to authorities; confide in a reliable adult; tell my school friends; cry. Perhaps my mother was right and my teeth were ugly. Or perhaps the shame I felt overshadowed the grievous nature of her request.

As my sole guardian, my mother was the most important person in my life. And under her roof, I played by her rules, no matter how bizarre, because losing her was unthinkable. I didn’t know she suffered from psychosis. I only knew that when she stared at me, her brown eyes near black and glittering with relentless intensity, what she saw didn’t meet her approval.

“an invasive apprehension moved into my nervous system. Just the tap of her heels on the kitchen linoleum sent my heart rate into rapid ascent”  more

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From Abused Child to Serial Killer: Investigating Nature vs Nurture in Methods of Murder

“Childhood trauma does not come in one single package.” ― Asa Don Brown

Deeply traumatic experiences, especially during childhood, can have an even deeper impact in adult life. They can significantly shape an individual’s personality and life choices, spurring research into the connection between childhood abuse and criminal behavior. In particular, the extent of childhood abuse reported among serial killers has raised the question: Are serial killers born or made?

Nature vs Nurture

Not all abused children become serial killers, and not all serial killers are victims of childhood abuse. However, the connection between the two cannot be dismissed as just coincidence. According to criminologist Dr Adrian Raine, both biologic and social factors contribute to the making of a murderer. Reviews of more than 100 twin and adoption analyses showed that approximately 50% of variance in antisocial behavior is attributable to genetic influences. In his book, The Anatomy of Violence, Dr Raine explains that “Genetics and environment work together to encourage violent behavior.” For example, those with a specific variant of the enzyme monoamine-oxidase-A gene are more prone to displaying violent behavior if they have had an abusive upbringing. A child susceptible to genetically driven violent conduct does not necessarily become a criminal. However, genetics, in tandem with environmental factors such as violent childhood experiences, work together to shape a person.  more

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Navy Sexual Assault Survivor Gets Discharge Upgrade

A Connecticut Navy veteran who was sexually assaulted while serving in Japan has been awarded an honorable discharge after she challenged the “bad paper” discharge status she had been given.

Bianca Cruz successfully defended her Navy record in an appeal to the Naval Discharge Review Board, which concluded that “she served honorably as evidenced by no punitive items in her record.” She was separated from the Navy in 2015 with a general (under honorable conditions) discharge, started the appeal process the next year and filed her appeal in November 2017. The board ruled Aug. 7 and notified her by email Sept. 17.

Cruz, 24, of North Branford, was assaulted in 2014 while serving on a ship in Japan. She reported the assault, was transferred to South Carolina to get away from her attacker who was also a sailor, attempted suicide, and was ultimately discharged with a status of general (under honorable conditions).  more

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Building Strength And Resilience After A Sexual Assault: What Works

Emily R. Dworkin, a senior fellow at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, studies how the social interactions of trauma survivors can affect their recovery. She was also the lead author of a paper published in the journal Clinical Psychology Review in 2017 that looked through more than 100,000 studies conducted in the last 50 years and found nearly 200 relevant ones on the relationship between sexual assault and mental health to analyze.

What she found, Dworkin says, is strong evidence that sexual assault is associated with an increased risk for multiple forms of psychological harm “across most populations, assault types and methodological differences in studies.” Too many survivors still face stigma and internalize that blame, and that can make it harder to seek help. And while some types of therapy have been shown to be helpful, she says, more information on evidence-based treatments for survivors “is critically needed.”

Sexual assault [any type of sexual activity or contact that happens without the consent of both people] began getting research attention in the ’70s as society as a whole was going through a feminist awakening, and it kind of developed at the same time as PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder], which was then known as “combat trauma.” Many things can lead to depression or anxiety. People with PTSD relive the trauma in the form of intrusive memories, nightmares, or even flashbacks. They avoid things that remind them of the trauma.  more

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The Battle Over Brett Kavanaugh Has Ended. But the Pain His Hearing Triggered Has Not

Since #MeToo went viral, survivors have been inundated with stories of sexual assault and harassment on a weekly — and for some stretches, daily — basis. But nothing had evoked memories and pains of past traumas in some survivors, and particularly women, as much as the respective testimonies of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Judge Brett Kavanaugh. Senators, television personalities and people across the country heard stories from loved ones that they had never been told before. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) saw a 388% increase in traffic on its hotline from the Thursday of the hearing to the following Sunday. That Friday was the busiest day in the organization’s 24-year history. No other single #MeToo moment appeared to precipitate that sort of deluge.

Survivors with histories of sexual abuse are at higher risk of exhibiting PTSD symptoms whenever a #MeToo story hits the news, according to Freyd. But such allegations are often blips in the 24-hour news cycle. The Kavanaugh story dragged on, with an apparent strain on many survivors that the Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby allegations did not inspire — and it will continue to do so as he takes his seat on the Supreme Court. Experts say that all that has happened could have lasting effects on the psychology of many victims of sexual assault.  more

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