This flower, whose name, Self-Heal or Heal-All, says everything, and it is not insignificant that this was the first wildflower that started me on my Field Botany path, and was also the agent of my natural history conversion experience:
Last night was a very difficult night, as you know.
I did not believe the nurse when she told me this morning that E–, who was an animal lover, would never have killed herself, leaving her beloved parrots to fend for themselves. She said it simply went against the grain of most animal people to kill themselves while their “children” still needed them. It turned out, though it took me a while to “grok” this, that E– apparently died of a combination of diabetes type 1 and asthma. The details are unclear and unnecessary but I was assured by both nurse and the building social worker that it was not suicide. Thank god.
However, early this morning things were not well, and I wonder if what happened later on was not at work last night as well. Let me explain:
I had an appointment to see my psychiatrist, Dr Angela, at 10 a.m. and as usual I got up to drive myself there, a short distance over the bridge to the next town, maybe 6 miles away tops. It is a trip I have done dozens and dozens of times, perhaps hundreds now.
This time, however, things were different. Halfway there, on a stretch of road — I’m talking back roads not highway — a road that I know like the palm of my hand, I was suddenly overcome by a feeling, an intense almost nauseating feeling of “jamais vu.” This is the opposite of “deja vu” — that sense that things you have never done have happened before. Jamais vu is the sense that while you are in familiar places or with familiar people, they seem strange or new or utterly unfamiliar. I have had deja vu many times, as have a lot of people, and I think it is a fairly common experience to feel as if something has “happened before” even though it is really a new experience.
But never before, at least not since I was ill, severely and neurologically ill, with Lyme disease, have I felt this intense feeling of non-familiarity in a situation that I know I knew very well. I was terrified, if briefly. I was not at all certain where I was. I mean, I kept driving, because my instincts told me to keep going, that my hands would make the proper turns. But my conscious brain had no recognition of where I was and no conscious notion that wherever I was I had ever been before. It was, as I said, terrifying and very, very strange.
Luckily, within minutes things had resolved enough so I knew that I had arrived at the Whole Foods parking lot, which my doctor’s office and the doctors’ complex shares. I still felt very weird. I felt in fact that I was not completely embodied, even though I carried a heavy enough bag to embody or burden down anyone.
When I got to Dr Angela’s office, the first thing i told her was that something was wrong. Yes, I had sent her the email I mentioned here yesterday, but I did not mean that. I meant the foreign feeling, the jamais vu intensity, which though faded still scared me. Thinking back, when i was so ill with Lyme it was actually deja vu, in an incredibly brilliant and vivid form, that afflicted me rather than the alienating jamais vu, but I knew that both deja and jamais vu can be commonly a symptom of either an aura or a seizure itself. Especially the much rarer experience of jamais vu.
I have had several different kinds of seizures in my life, and I have just been taken off Topamax, an anti epilepsy drug I have taken for years. I did this in preparation for a neuro-ophthalmology appointment in October (not sure why I thought it had to be stopped). So i have and had some sense that it was the d/c of this anti-convulsant that was the proximate cause if not the absolute cause for my symptoms.
But I was terrified that this jamais vu would generalize into a full-blown seizure, which I couldn’t bear the thought of. Dr Angela was quite responsive and suggested that I 1) take an immediate Ativan, .5mg as that is reasonably effective as an anticonvulsant, though better IV than oral and 2) when we found that I had stashed 100mg of Topamax in my pill compact, she had me take that as well, figuring I would get back to my usual 200-300mg within a week or two.
The appointment went — well, I don’t remember much about it, frankly. All I recall is leaving, promising to get a cup of coffee before I drove home, then realizing once I got to the parking lot that there was no way I could drive, coffee or not. I felt simply too weird. And weirded out. Too scared of having a full blown seizure, whether temporal lobe or otherwise to get in the car.
To my great luck, when I contacted my case manager, Rebecca, who works in next town over, she was immediately available and came to pick me up. That was a huge relief. I didn’t even have to wait more than 5 minutes. More, the Whole Foods grocery store people didn’t bat an eyelash when I asked if I could leave my car in the lot overnight.
Later on, Tim went and got my car for me, so I didn’t even have to do that. I simply went home and took a nap. When I got up I felt at least ten times better. Not so weird, not so seizure-y. Less scared, and finally able to be convinced that the huge balloon of misery and terror from last night was just that, a balloon, a mistaken notion…a fiction. I was wrong, that was all. Even though the conviction and certainty felt as real as anything, they were only FEELINGS, and as so many people including my brother assured me, those feelings would change if I hung in there.
Lo and they did change and have changed. Thank heavens.
Now it occurs to me that perhaps even that huge balloon of certainty may have been seizure-related. I don’t have any real reason to think otherwise. I know, I know, my shrink brother has his theories. But I felt so UN-conflicted about it, so hugely convinced, that the explanation of seizure activity, comparable to the certainty that I “have never been here before” of jamais vu even though I knew I had, and also knew, as I said, that I had not caused the putative suicide…this explanation simply makes more sense and feels “more right” to me. After all, why would I suddenly feel like I did anything to E— who was not all that important to me, or no more than anyone else in the building really. It felt morever just so hugely compelling, in precisely the same way that impending doom feeling of a temporal lobe seizure feels — it isn’t real but it is unshakable, utterly unshakable.
I don’t know, of course. The shrinks — and I include Dr Angela and my brother — would like to make it all about me, all about my conflicts and my mental illness however they want to define that. But I wonder now how much my ongoing (but unofficially diagnosed, that is, only by psychiatrists) TLE has affected me all along. I wrote about this conflict, this contamination of any schizophrenia diagnosis with temporal lobe epilepsy, and months ago. It seems strange that so many have “both”…|
Nevertheless, I have never had my seizure feelings checked out, largely because I do not want anyone curtailing my voluntary driving. And I don’t like doctors having that power over me. I also do not trust them to take me seriously, as a NON-psychiatric patient. I do take AEDs to prevent olfactory hallucinations, (NOT as mood stabilizers) and such, but why see a neurologist who might tell me I can’t drive a car for any length of time when I have never even had a fender bender from this? Or who might, and this would feel just as bad, tell me it is “all in my mind” not in my brain…!
And now for something really different. Cartoons that tell you about my life these days.
Hope you can make out the text okay…It is a little difficult,. granted. But I tried to photograph the pages clearly as possible.
Gargantua is the name of a book, and a character in the book. In it someone says, Appetite comes with eating. It helps me to think about that when I find i cannot find a way to put food enough in my mouth to keep going…I need to eat on schedule if only to keep my strength up.
Meanwhile I am not in a good state at all. Bill wanted to talk about an email I sent him saying as much as the above, but I am much too shaky to be able to deal with it. I just cannot use him to talk TO alone…I have friends with whom we have shared equally all along, and so I do not feel a burden now when I am in trouble. But Bill has ceased talking about himself a long while ago, and I am to blame for letting him withdraw. I felt slighted but felt that perhaps he was reserved and saved his intimate moments for his girlfriend…But no more. I cannot be using HIM as a pair of ears and feel that he shares nothing back. THen I feel guilty and a selfish user! That isn’t fair to me let alone to him…It won’t happen. It won’t be. Not any longer. Hear that, Bill? YOU are an important part of our friendship, as a person,. and if you don’t want to be a person, I do not want a NON-person as a friend.
Enough. I feel like I am going to die. And now even the doc doesn’t want to suggest that I take even a sliver of Abilify now that I am off it…So I am really up a creek..Up a creek because I dunno how long I can tolerate this. I smell rot rising inside me, smell it for real., Like my body is rotting from within…Where is it coming from? I brush my teeth several times a day (unusual for me!) but still the rot smell persists!
I am not a praying person, but I know many of you are. I am in such deep shit. I will be going to art therapy today, perhaps that will bring some relief. in the meantime, if you feel prayer can help, pray for me…?
Thank you , all of you, for hanging in with me. I am NOT a quitter, I am not a quitter!
This is from a 2011 entry on my About Schizophrenia blog. However I have changed it and updated and added to it, so I thought I would post it here. Dunno how many of my wordpress readers might not have seen the first version at all. I have also added a discussion of Xyrem, my sleep medication to the “mix” as I consider it a “minor miracle” that has been underreported and never before used.
Okay, I admit it, I have had my conflicts surrounding schizophrenia and the issue of medication — whether to take it, when to take it and what, if anything, I will take. In fact, I admit that this remains an issue, though less of one so long as there is a medication that I find inoffensive. But more on that later. First let me address the problem of that conflict itself.
In the “old days,” which is to say, during the 1980’s and early 90’s, I was treated with the so-called “typical” neuroleptics like low-potency Thorazine and Mellaril (in doses as high as 1500mg which left me with an eye problem known as chorioretinopathy, which activated once and could reactivate at any time and potentially lead to blindness…). I was later treated with high potency, lower dose drugs like Haldol, Trilafon, and Prolixin, either orally or by long-lasting depot injection. Although I was compliant with these meds for a while, I eventually found them so troublesome that while hospital doctors insisted they “helped” me, more often than not I would take them in order to be released from the hospital, only to stop them again.
This became a pattern that led, familiarly, to what was called the revolving door in and out of psychiatric units. While I understood this only vaguely, I found the dulling side effects, not to mention the physical discomfort of these medications so terrible that even if not taking them meant yet another hospital stay, nevertheless I often refused — in fact I could not bear to take them despite the psychosis that resulted. Had anyone bothered to ask me why, I would have told them that the drugs’ side effects were simply worse than the illness; they were hell and there were no two ways about it.
All the hospital staff and outpatient doctors and nurses believed that no one could possibly wish to choose “madness” over mere drug side effects, but I was someone who frankly preferred the former to the agony of the latter.
Now, while I speak as if I knew I was psychotic, that is not altogether true. All I knew was that I was being hospitalized a great many times, that I had been told that if I took the pills I was given, I would be able to stay out. I did not at the time believe that I had any illness at all, and did not for a very long time believe it. However, what I did want was to avoid the often brutal treatment of various hospitals, and their use of four-point restraints, sometimes for days at a time, spread-eagled tied to the corners of the bed, in the 90’s , and that was what sometimes persuaded me to take them, not the understanding or agreement that I was ill.
But surely I was not alone in feeling that the side effects of the meds were worse than the consequences of not taking them. There would not be so many people with schizophrenia who like me refused them, if so. Whether I believed I was ill and needed to take medication or not, it hardly matters when the pills I was given caused unbearable pain, or so deadened me, I felt, that my life was scarcely worth living…
I know those meds in particular– the older drugs both lower potency and higher potency, at almost any dose, caused me physical side effects and physical suffering. That alone was enough to make me ambivalent about taking them. What I never knew, and still do not really know for certain, was whether the drugs themselves emotionally deadened me, or whether what I came eventually to appreciate might in fact have been illness after all was the cause of my feeling deadened. Did I lack enthusiasm and passion because of the illness or because of the medication side effects?
Through the early 90s, I was on Prolixin as the least distasteful anti-psychotic, and having been more or less forced to take the long-lasting depot medication, I could not “stop” taking it, not once my weekly injection had been given. Then finally, Connecticut’s Medicaid program started paying for Clozaril, and I was among the first people in the state to try it. All went well at first, and I seemed to be off to a good start. But unfortunately, once discharged to home, “all hell broke loose” with devastating side effects that were if anything worse than anything I had experienced on Prolixin or any other older neuroleptic. This may have been unusual, I do not know, but I had horrendous and immediate side effects: sensations of impending doom that made me afraid of falling asleep; then an inability to swallow even my own saliva; a kind of uncontrollable jerking, seizure-like, while I was conscious; and when I was awakened — nearly forcibly — in the morning, I experienced an unbearable sedation that took hours to wear off…
I gave the drug several trials, but I was not disappointed when I developed a very low white cell count and was no longer permitted to take it. After that, it was back to Prolixin, and back to what had never really lifted, not even with the so-called awakening miracle drug of Clozaril: the deadened feeling. I felt hopeless, as if nothing would ever really work better for me, but then again, why should it when I didn’t really suffer from an illness like schizophrenia to begin with?
My therapist, the one who had tried me on Clozaril so many times, left her practice, and I was shunted to a nurse-therapist at the Clinic, one who took an immediate disliking to me. I felt a similar antipathy for her and so with no love lost between us, it was a huge surprise to me when, after she gruffly suggested I try this new drug, called Zyprexa, that I woke up only a few days later feeling, well, not only awake and better, but awakened. Awakened, alive, even reborn. I could read, I could remember what I read, I could study and I felt enthusiastic about it all in a way that before then I could only dream of.
Oh, I knew that I wanted to feel that way, but it had literally only been a dream or a wish before then. I had been vaguely hungry for this, but until I took Zyprexa, it seemed that I had been completely unable to grasp or fulfill my wish to do any of it. On the drug, I could pay attention and concentrate for longer than I had in decades, and learn things and retain what I learned. I felt that I had a whole lifetime to make up for, and started to make up for lost time. What is more, I was so confident in my ability to read and study now that I had found a drug that helped me, it seemed entirely possible to do so.
Why do I tell you this? Because while Zyprexa was the real miracle drug, a medication that did not so much give me back my life as give me a life I truly never had, it was, as I may have said before, also the side effect drug from hell. As I would soon discover, my weight started to increase almost from the first week, and it kept going up and up, despite my longstanding history of strict weight control and a vegetarian diet. Also, it is a very sedating drug, so that I had to fight off sleepiness that added exponentially to the sleepiness that my narcolepsy had caused for years.
Luckily my psychiatrist soon thereafter was also a sleep specialist; she had no problem treating this with the appropriate drug, Ritalin, and so it was not the problem it might have been, but the weight issue was, and is in fact, one of the reasons I have on-going conflicts over taking that particular medication.
Side effects of any sort remain 1) the major reason I will not take a given medication, and 2) the major reason I do take the medications that I take. If this surprises you, let me explain. First the latter: Of my present medication regimen, the salient ones for this discussion are Abilify and Geodon, and I take them not for the reasons my psychiatrist may have prescribed them, but for their “side effects,” at least as I perceive them. For instance, it was only once I started taking Abilify combined with Geodon — I could never tolerate Abilify by itself — that I found myself able to do art, and to write so fluently and so abundantly as to be unable to stop once I start. In fact, I call these two my output combo, medications that make my creative productivity enormous, whereas Zyprexa is just as literally my input drug, my intake drug, insofar as I can read and absorb information, and also eat, eat, eat.
For the same reason, though, I will not take Zyprexa because of its intensely dispiriting side effect of causing obesity and with it diabetes and and the concomitant conditions that go along with that. I wish I could take it: I miss reading terribly, miss the heady feeling of intellectual confidence and the ability to learn and remember and such.
Unfortunately, despite my early paean of praise for Latuda, I have to admit I have reconsidered it, as I found that though I cleaned my apartment regularly, I slowed down on my drawing and writing, and at the same time had not found myself interested in reading, nor even in watching my usual documentaries…It felt like a kind of straitjacket. I had weathered the psychotic crisis, but after that its usefulness seemed to be limited, and limiting. I agreed to take it, if necessary, in a crisis, but aside from then, I did not find that it helped beyond attenuating the worst symptoms.
Actually, in the two years since i took Latuda that one time, i have come to believe that the drug did little or nothing for me. I think that i simply managed to pull myself out of a bad time by myself… It can be done, and most especially when i am not facing that critical six month vulnerability time. And this was in fact in between the six months – during a period of relative strength. So my sense is that the latuda functioned mostly as a placebo, and that i myself pulled myself out of trouble.
In truth, given my druthers, in a crisis and forced to choose between one hell versus another, I might prefer Zyprexa over Latuda, since the benefit of the first outweighs the complete lack of any positive benefit from the latter. Which is to say, even if both happened to treat psychosis, only the Zyprexa has any positive side effect in addition to that. Latuda only has the negative side effect of strait jacketing me in the process.
The next two paragraphs were in my original post…i keep them as is here only so that i can follow up with a “but now” discussion of how things have changed:
One other “benefit” from taking Zyprexa, discovered within just the first week or so, was the realization that a medication made a difference, a huge difference. The conclusion I began to draw from this was not so sudden, and it was reluctant, but eventually I had to decide that perhaps, if a medication made such a radical difference, and a medication, Zyprexa, supposedly “treated an illness called schizophrenia” perhaps, whether it was schizophrenia or not, I did have some illness. Surely, if this medication, which did not help most people, made such an enormous difference for me, it must mean something…
I was reluctant for a long time to answer that further, and still cannot say a lot more without cringing. But if indeed there is a real entity, a real singular illness of schizophrenia, as opposed to a syndrome, and if Zyprexa really is a treatment for it, an effective and appropriate one, then god bless it, I will accept the diagnosis. I might still refuse to take the drug, but I would accept that I have the illness and continue to say that Zyprexa was the best miracle drug from hell I ever took!
But now i still cringe and cannot use the word schizophrenia without wanting to say, Psychiatry is an art of making an opinion…and even more often of making judgments. Two worse things to base a field of so-called medicine on i cannot conceive. Yes, Yale diagnosed schizophrenia, and did NOT decide to diagnose a personality disorder on top of it, which was, truth to tell, a huge relief*, because I KNOW that it is only the abusive hospitals that do that, and they diagnose an Axis II disorder largely to blame the victim, blame me for PTSD behavior that they induced! You simply cannot seclude or 4-point a vulnerable patient, viciously and brutally, and expect that person not to respond with traumatized behavior, which is predictably unpredictable…But can be described and has been.
In any event #1 how interesting that Hartford Hospital, in the 90s, when it was independent of the IOL, and often kept me for months, never saw any personality disorder in me when Sharon Hinton was head nurse…ONLY “schizophrenia, chronic” as I would read upside down on my admission papers. Personality disorders are lifelong and chronic. You do not suddenly develop them midstream in your life. It makes NO sense that Hartford Hospital as the IOL would now suddenly “detect” an axis II borderline disorder that they never did before. No, in fact, what happened was they traumatized me, and then blamed the victim for TRAUMA behavior…Or actually, for no behavior at all, since I never even resisted the restraints except once. And then the last night when I screamed bloody murder. And I did not even know that I would be released the next day. That was purely chance…and good luck.
In any event #2, I also took Zyprexa at Yale Psychiatric Hospital in February and March, and this disturbs me, because while I did some reading, my art output was tremendous as well. And Zyprexa was supposed to be only an INput drug. Of course, I gained ten pounds in two weeks…Worse, ever since I left, and got back on the Abilify and Geodon, and am taking NO Zyprexa, I haven’t done a thing, no poetry, no artwork of any sort. Not even a single trading card.
I do NOT believe in schizophrenia, not for me at any rate. I do not think I even need Zyprexa. But on the other hand, I wish I could take it, because I feel so much better when I take it and I do not know why. I mean, even when I am not fighting voices, I feel better on it. WHy is that? That doesn’t make sense…You should only take Zyprexa for symptoms that’s what I have always felt. Once the voices go away, forget it. Yet, yet, yet…I know my brain works better on it, and always has. It doesn’t seem fair. (Not that life is or should be fair…But I mean, really, my single most hated drug in the arsenal, and it is the one that works best and not only that it works really well…???) CRAP! My biggest fear is gaining weight. I understand how petty that is, and I should be bigger than that spiritually, but I am not. I simply cannot do it.
So there I am, and that’s the picture. Now you know how two-faced and hypocritical I am about medication. I tell people to take theirs. Or not. And I wont even take the one medicine that I know helps me, because it will make me fat. That is really the only reason I do not take it. The only reason. It is that petty, and that simple. But that impossible.
One additional drug that I take now, in addition to Abilify and Geodon and Ritalin is Xyrem, sodium oxybate, an anti-narcolepsy sleep drug, that helps me get delta sleep at night, slow wave deep sleep and to need less Ritalin during the day. As far as I am concerned the less Ritalin I take the better. I have never liked needing it or taking it, but I have always needed it just to stay awake during the course of a normal day. I haven’t gotten through a single day without several periods of sleepiness since college, when I would fall asleep at any time of the day, very unexpectedly.
Now that I take Xyrem at night, twice a night, though, I need fewer pills for alertness during the day, which is great. I also find that my appetite is vastly reduced, which might help with the Zyprexa, except that I could not take the two drugs together, as they are both very sedating and cannot be combined…What it does do is prevent any confusion of dreams with reality. I simply do not remember any dreams, and do not confuse the two any longer, I do not know why. I am not sure if this effect would hold true for all or if it is just for me. It is possible that dreams would increase for others. I only know that I used to have a huge problem, before the Xyrem and the other meds, with nightmares every night and being unable to tell dreams from reality…but now that I no longer dream I simply have neither problem at all.
*A huge relief: When I write that I am glad and relieved they did not Dx a borderline personality disorder, I must tell you that I am aware that in the hospitals where I have been abused, they dx such Axis II disorders as a way of communicating to all the staff that a patient is “manipulative and devious” and basically you cannot trust anything they say. I KNOW this to be the case because I have two psychiatrist siblings so I have gotten the lowdown, ie the truth about such terms in hospital REALLY mean. And to be called “A Borderline” in a hospital, is not a good thing. It is shorthand for being called a Royal Pain in the Ass.
Now, having Borderline Personality Disorder is something different from being called A Borderline…And having the disorder means you are suffering a great deal ALL the time. But in the hospital, when they claim to “suddenly detect” borderline personality, it is something wrong with the hospital, not the personality. And my point is that when they have brutally secluded or restrained a patient, that is NOT the time to suddenly be detecting anything except iatrogenic PTSD…
I think I will start with the recipes, since that might interest everyone. First, what is more the quintessential comfort food than mashed potatoes? So this comfort food main course starts with mashed potatoes, but it adds a cholesterol-lowering “superfood” curly kale, which is not only a deep cruciferous green, and therefore anti-all sorts of cancer and a first rate antioxidant, but it is extremely low-calorie, so you can eat virtually all you want. What we are going to make is a healthy version of the Irish dish, Colcannon, a dish that many cultures have some version of. It is not only easy enough to make from scratch, but we are going to cheat, as much as we can, to make it absolutely as easy as possible. I do however insist upon using fresh curly kale, since that is the only way you can obtain all the benefits of that vegetable. Here is the recipe, but don’t stop with that because following it is a recipe for a low-calorie, sugar-free, diabetic friendly cheesecake!
LOW-CALORIE COLCANNON (mashed potatoes and curly kale plus…)
2 bunches of curly kale, or about 6-8 leaves
1 box of prepared mashed potatoes, enough for 8 servings of 1/2 cup each, though for our purposes we will be allowing each person a whole cup!
7 walnuts per person (crushed into pebble-sized pieces)
Butter-flavored salt or butter buds, or sea salt or any herbs or seasoning you like (I like Badia brand All-purpose Seasoning, but the choice is yours.)
Procedure: Chop off the Kale stems and then chop the leaves into small bite-size pieces, approximately 1/2-1 inch square. You can also use a food processor and coarsely shred the leaves too, I imagine. STEAM these in a small amount of water until tender but still a deep bright green. Do not over-cook or you will lose all the “goodness.”
Prepare the mashed potatoes without the butter or milk, using ONLY water. (If you really insist, you can add a tablespoon or two of low fat dried milk to the water but remember that this will add calories…). Add your butter salt or seasonings to taste.
Now mix the kale and mashed potatoes together in microwave safe bowl or a saucepan and add crushed walnuts. If you need to reheat at this point, you can do so either in the microwave or in the same saucepan as you made the mashed potatoes on the stove.
Ta dah! The best part of this is that you can eat 2 whole cups and only consume 300 calories, which is PDG, in my humble opinion because most people are quite full after that.
Here’s the breakdown, in case you don’t believe me.
Plain mashed potatoes without milk or butter = 70 calories per half cup.
Kale= 30 calories approximately for 3.5 ounces…essentially negligible but we will call it 1/2 C.
Walnuts= 100 calories for 7 nuts
Seasonings= 0 calories
If you eat 2 cups of equal parts of kale and potatoes, you are only having 1 cup of potatoes, or 140 calories, plus maybe 1 cup of 60 calories of kale, plus 100 calories of walnuts. So that comes out to 300 calories total.
Now for the Low-Calorie Diabetic Friendly Cheesecake. This one is unbelievable delicious and simple to make. If you want to avoid ALL fat, simply make it without the crust, or experiment with making the crust without butter. I think it should work fine.
1 large container of NO-fat Greek yogurt (120 calories/C.)
1 package low-calorie, no-sugar cheese-cake pudding mix
1/2 large bag shelled walnuts
2-3 Tbs butter or oil
Approximately 1-1 1/2C sucralose or Splenda-like sweetener
First if you are making the crust with butter, heat the butter in a small no-stick pan on moderate heat until it begins to sizzle. Add the walnuts. Toss them for about a minute but do not let them brown or burn. Add the Splenda and toss for about a minute or two. The Splenda will not melt so the mixture will remain crumbly. It will not get particularly hot. After a couple of minutes, remove mixture from heat and pour into a slightly greased shallow bowl or platter with a lip on it. (I use a large salad bowl.) Make sure the layer has no holes or tears and is relatively thick. It should resemble a largish pancake of crumbles. About 8-9″ circumference.
For the “cheesecake”: scoop Greek yogurt into a bowl and add the package of cheescake pudding mix. Stir vigorously until mixture is nice and thick and makes hearty peaks. With a rubber spatula, spoon over the crust, being careful not to tear apart and smooth it with care. Cover and refrigerate for around 8-12 hours. Enjoy!
Depending on size of slice, you can calculate calories from these:
1 C Greek yogurt= 120 calories (4 C. per large container, so likely 1/2-1/3 C per serving of cheesecake)
7 walnuts=100 calories
1Tb butter=100 calories (Since this recipe makes a whole cake, your slice shouldn’t have more than a pat or two or 30-60 calories)
1 serving of low-calorie cheesecake pudding mix=35-40 calories
(My estimate from this is: approximately 250-300 calories for 1/8 -1/6 slice of the cake…)
I will write more soon about the post topic, i.e. the personal question, Do I have PTSD? But I have written for an hour and a half already, including what is copied below, so for now I am too tired to add much more. I will only say that my results of the test at the bottom, when I took it, definitely indicated that I have PTSD, despite the fact that I did not experience a trauma involving death or the possibility of death or serious injury (as the good doctors have now decided to redefine trauma.) Note that if you take the test at the site, they will evaluate it and give you a score, which you cannot get by taking it here, though you can get some idea of how you would do just by looking at it.
Finally, I don’t know if it is really okay to “lift these” directly from another website, but as I am providing a direct link as well as full attribution, I cannot imagine that the originators would object strenuously.
The first website is PsychCentral.com and here is the link to the PTSD symptoms and diagnosis article below: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-ptsd/
Also as is noted below, the article was written by Harold Cohen, PhD
Cohen, H. (2006). Symptoms and Diagnosis of PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 29, 2012, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/symptoms-and-diagnosis-of-ptsd/
By Harold Cohen, Ph.D.
There are three main kinds of symptoms that clinicians look for when diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These include re-experiencing symptoms, avoidant symptoms and symptoms of increased arousal.
Re-experiencing symptoms include ways in which the person persistently re-experiences the traumatic event. These symptoms may include the following:
- Intrusive memories of the traumatic event
- Recurrent, distressing dreams about the traumatic event
- Acting or feeling as if the traumatic event is reoccurring
- Mental and physical discomfort when reminded of the traumatic event (e.g., on the anniversary of the traumatic event)
Avoidant symptoms are ways in which the person tries to avoid anything associated with the traumatic event. These symptoms may also include a “numbing” effect, where the person’s general response to people and events is deadened. Avoidant symptoms include the following:
- Avoiding thoughts or feelings, people or situations (anything that could stir up memories) associated with the traumatic event
- Not being able to recall an important aspect of the traumatic event
- Reduced interest or participation in significant activities
- Feeling disconnected from others
- Showing a limited range of emotion
- Having a sense of a shortened future (e.g., not expecting to have a normal life span, marriage or career)
- Difficulty concentrating
- Exaggerated watchfulness and wariness
- Irritability or outbursts of anger
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Being easily startled
Difficulty in Diagnosing PTSD
Identifying people with PTSD can be difficult and this disorder is often unrecognized. PTSD is unique among psychiatric disorders in that it is identified not only by symptoms, but also by the precursor of the illness (the traumatic event). Since talking about trauma may evoke painful emotions, people often refrain from discussing past traumatic events.
When a person is unable or unwilling to discuss a traumatic event, accurate diagnosis is difficult. For example, domestic violence and sexual abuse are subjects that many persons feel uncomfortable in raising, even with professionals. For others, feelings of shame and guilt related to the event and social pressures to “deal with” the symptoms that come afterward make talking about it difficult. Additionally, persons with PTSD often have other disorders, such as substance abuse or depression. These other disorders share some of the symptoms of PTSD and can also make diagnosis more difficult.
Doctors and health professionals may also ignore the signs and symptoms of PTSD. Indeed, it has been argued that at times society turns a blind eye to the existence of traumatized individuals, denying that posttraumatic responses constitute a disorder. Indeed, PTSD has only recently been recognized by the official psychiatric nomenclature. Persons who suspect that they are suffering from PTSD should seek out professionals who have experience with this disorder.
Then the following is an online PTSD Test, which you can also find along with other psychological tests at the link below. Note that I have NO opinion regarding the online therapy offered except to say, beware of all such offers and check everything out first…
|Do you often experience flashbacks? (A flashback is a painful or intense memory; a vivid memory of a traumatic experience that returns repeatedly.)|
|Do you have nightmares or thoughts frequently in regard to frightening, horrible, or upsetting things?|
|Have you been exposed to a traumatic event involving a real or actual death threat, a threat to your physical integrity or that of others, or experienced a serious injury that resulted in responses involving intense fear, horror, or helplessness?|
|Do you often re-experience the traumatic event in one or more of the following patterns: intrusive/recurrent memories; acting/feeling as if the event is still occurring; nightmares; intense psychological or physical distress once exposed to cues (triggers) that associate with the traumatic event?|
|Are you constantly watchful, on guard, or easily startled (extremely vigilant)?|
|Do you feel detached from others, your surroundings or activities?|
|Do you frequently have sleepless nights, or insomnia?|
|Do you persistently avoid stimuli associated with a traumatic event, or experience general emotional numbness?|
|Do you experience extreme reactions to images or sounds that remind you of a traumatic event?|
|Do you have persistent symptoms that increase arousal responses that were not there before a traumatic event? Persistent symptoms may include sleep interruptions, irritability, outbursts of anger, excessive vigilance, exaggerated startle-response, or difficulty concentrating.|
|Have the symptoms lasted for more than one month and caused significant disruption in your life, including significant distress or impaired functioning?|
|Do you experience night sweats often? (Note: not everyone with PTSD experiences night-sweats.)|
|Do you often avoid the things that remind you of the past traumatic event?|
|Have you experienced memory loss, or amnesia because of seeing something that reminded you of the past event?|
|Do you often feel emotionally numb, emotionally responsiveness, or feel deadening emotions after being triggered back to the past event?|
|Are you easily startled by noise?|
|Do you feel depressed?|
|Do you show a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed?|