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Archive for August, 2007

Women have a complicated history with fat. I still meet lots of women who are borderline phobic about consuming it, convinced as they are that a low-fat diet is the most healthful one.

It all started back in the 80s, when the federal government starting issuing all sorts of low-fat and no-fat messages and the food industry responded with an extensive line of fat-free and low-fat foods. They were just trying to do their job and keep up with the latest nutritional buzz. Unfortunately, this may have been a bad move. Since the removal of fats from the American diet, we as a nation have seen marked increases of obesity, heart disease, diabetes…and mood disorders! So maybe we need those fats, after all?

As it turns out, we do indeed require dietary fat for the proper functioning of our bodies. More specifically, there is a particular class of fats without which we cannot live optimally.

The fat I’m referencing here is Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs). EFAs are so named (“essential”) because they cannot be made within the human body; they have to be obtained through food. The body relies heavily upon EFAs as a building block in the construction other substances in the body responsible for:

  • Proper functioning of inflammatory pathways
  • Cellular communication
  • Brain function
  • Mood regulation
  • Nutrient-rich breast milk

As a health counselor working in a busy holistic health care practice, I see the importance of these fats for our patients every day. We find that nearly 90% of our patients have a likely deficiency of these fats and so we recommend supplements and changes in diet to fill in the gaps. Here’s what happens when we get people on these so-called “good fats”:

  • Cholesterol profile normalizes
  • Aches and pains diminish
  • Hair and skin get healthier
  • Moods stabilize
  • Brain function and memory increase

So how does all of this technical and nutritional mumbo-jumbo relate back to you, dear reader? PPD is in large part a result of a brain gone awry. And a brain with insufficient fat has a tendency to do that. Your brain is actually composed of 60% fat! You must keep it well stocked. In my own battle with depression and anxiety, putting these fats into my body – along with counseling, prayer, and a whole foods diet — played a significant role in my stabilization.
Action points:

  1. Increase your consumption of foods high in omega-3 and omega-6 fats. These foods are walnuts, oily fish (e.g., salmon, herring, mackerel, and trout), flaxseed oil, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and leafy greens. These foods should be a regular part of your diet (daily).
  2. Consider starting on fish oil supplement that contains EPA and DHA (two types of omega-3 fatty acids). It seems that for most people, the DHA strain is particularly helpful for brain/mood related concerns. You’ll want to take 2 to 6 grams of fish oil daily. Please note: quality and sourcing matters here (since mercury and other heavy metal contamination is an issue with fish oil products), so don’t buy the cheapest one you can find. Metagenics and Nordic Naturals are two companies that hold water.
  3. Don’t avoid the other fats either. Apart from trans fats (hydrogenated oil), all the other forms of fat have a place in a healthful diet. Use unsaturated plant oils like olive, canola, and coconut in your cooking and drizzled over your salads. By regularly supplying your body with fat in food, you will have better regulated blood sugar levels, feel full longer, and free your body up to give the signal that says, “okay, we can shed that old fat in the storage closet now.”

Meet Brooke, the author of this piece.

Brooke N. Sellers, MA, CHHC
As a master’s level counselor, I spent hours working with people who were depressed, anxious, and out-of-sorts. To be honest, I was all of those things myself! I struggled with the disconnect between what I could offer to my clients as a mental health professional and the seemingly insignificant difference it made in their lives and my own. On the other hand, I wasn’t comfortable with the medical system’s contribution to the dis-ease crisis I was witnessing all around me.

After three years of working under the mentoring of a brilliant naturopathic physician during graduate school and through my own research (I’m a borderline-obsessive reader and learner), I came to see that the solutions to people’s dis-ease are much more holistic. I could no longer rely on mere mental health counseling nor on traditional medical systems; there was need to see people in a larger context and to address their illness on multiple levels: physical, emotional, spiritual, and relational. Once I started implementing these holistic principles in my own life and in the lives of my clients, I started to see meaningful changes occur.

I am also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition which is affiliated with Columbia University. At Integrative Nutrition, I have learned to synthesize all of these parts into a cohesive whole, making me uniquely equipped to empower people to move toward true wellness in their lives.

Holistic wellness is a way of life for me. It shows up in my whole foods cooking, the decisions I make about leisure time (walking, enjoying community, reading, travelling, and constantly growing), and who I am becoming. I believe that I can only take my clients as far as I myself have travelled. For this reason, I strive to walk my talk.

I love what I do! I have the best job that I can imagine possible. What makes it so great is that I am a daily witness to the personal transformation of my clients. I would love to play a part in your road to healing as well.

You can read more about what I do and the services I offer by visiting www.awakening-wellness.net OR www.drdenboer.com/about/lifestyle_therapy.php.

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This is a picture of me last summer. A family from church gave us a week’s use of their cottage on the lake so that we could have our first ever family vacation.I was so incredibly low that entire week. My husband tried to take pictures of me smiling, or having fun, but I didn’t even want to look at a camera much less smile–this was the best I could muster up.

After we got back home and looked through our photos, I was shocked and surprised to see pictures like this one of myself. I knew I was bad off, but seeing myself with the glazed, glassy look in my eyes, and painfully trying to contort my face into a smile made me realize just how bad I was.

I was horrified. I didn’t want my kids to have to see me or remember me this way. I didn’t want to be this way and determined to fight tooth and nail to either beat it or at least manage it well until my body and mind found equilibrium again.

I think that’s when I got really serious about taking better care of my health. Instead of taking 1/2 doses of my meds just to keep the cost lower, I took my regular dosage, and when even that wasn’t helping I called the Dr. to up it more.

I went to see a psychiatrist. I sat on her couch and sobbed, and reveled in the tears as it had been so long since I’d been able to “feel” or emote anything beyond the static numb that was handicapping me from being me.

I became a support-group junkie. Our group met every other week, but I and others needed more–two weeks between groups was too long. You can do a lot of damage in two weeks if you’re not eating, sleeping, or taking care of yourself or baby. So we started meeting weekly and arranging playdates as well.

I read voraciously about PPD, anything I could get my hands on. I was obsessed with getting better.

I asked a lot of questions about God. I prayed a little. I asked friends and family to pray for me as I seemed to have a hard time doing it myself. I read books on spiritual topics to help lift my spirits and remind me that God has a plan to prosper me, not to harm me. It’s been in this time when I’ve felt God the least, I’ve known He’s there the most.

Now I am 18 months postpartum, and still not yet feeling like I’ve kicked this thing. I think that compounding 3 births in 4 years with hardly a decent night’s sleep in as much time, my body is more worn down this time and healing is taking longer.

But if you were to snap a picture of me today, you’d better believe I’d look right into the lens of that camera and flash you a big, toothy smile. Looking back a year ago to today, I’ve come a long way. It does get better. You will get better. There IS hope!

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Summer and winter and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth
Thine own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

Words: Thom as O. Chis holm, 1923. According to Chisholm, there were no special circumstances which caused its writing—just his experience and Bible truth. The hymn first ap­peared in Songs of Salvation and Service, 1923, compiled by William M. Runyan. It is the unofficial “school hymn” of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, with which Runyan was associated for a number of years.

Runyan wrote the music specifically for these words; it appeared in the 1956 Baptist Hymnal:

He writes, “This particular poem held such an appeal that I prayed most earnestly that my tune might carry its message in a worthy way, and the subsequent histo­ry of its use indicates that God answered prayer.”

GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS © 1923 Hope Publishing Company
380 South Main Place, Car ol Stream, IL 60188 (800-323-1049)
Used by permission. Cyberhymnal

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Do you have a picky eater? Does your baby spit her green beans right back out at you? Gag on baby cereal? Refuse to eat anything but hot dogs and French fries? Below is some fascinating information about how children eat from Dr. Pam Popper of the Wellness Forum.

Dear Dr. Pam: Do you have any thoughts on why children have such a dislike for certain foods? Do you believe it is a psychological, a learned behavior or truly an aversion to certain foods?

Tastes begin to develop when babies are in the womb. In fact, studies have shown that infants and toddlers exhibit preferences for foods consumed frequently during pregnancy and breast feeding.

There are several things to remember when introducing solid foods to infants. Many times kids do not like foods the first time they try them, but studies show that repeated exposure often causes them to accept foods previously rejected – in other words, familiarity causes gradual acceptance.

It is also important for parents not to inflict their own preferences about foods onto their children. I have had many parents tell me that kids just won’t eat certain foods, when the reality is that they (the parents) don’t like them. Kids will eat a variety of foods if they are presented properly and consistently, and if junk foods are not offered as a constant alternative.

Furthermore, kids are experts at getting parents to give them their way. Kids often become picky eaters because parents give them the option to be. If the kids refuse to eat salad and steamed vegetables, parents then provide macaroni and cheese and corn dogs. Parents often make statements to me such as “That’s what he wants to eat,” or “He’s just picky.”

The job of parents is not to give children what they want or to let them do what they want to do. They want to eat ice cream for breakfast, skip their homework and watch movies until 11:00PM. The job of parents is to be parents – to teach children the right things to do and insist that they do them until they are old enough to make decisions for themselves.

So, if your “picky eater” does not want to eat the healthy dinner you have prepared, do not force him or her. Do not provide an alternative, save the dinner for later in case he gets hungry and asks for food, and wait until he figures out that you’re not running a cafeteria. Most children will only go to bed hungry a few times before they catch on and start eating what is put in front of them.

For more information and tips on healthy habits for kids, visit the RealAge Parenting center online where you can take a healthy kids test online and read up on the latest children’s health news. Based on the book Good Kids Bad Habits.

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My wife asked me to guest blog on LAB.

I’m the husband, father of three, creative director (at a church) with his own bouts with depression.
That’s just a bit of a background before I begin because it might help to know all of that.

Having babies is fun. Having a wife who just had a baby is not always as much fun. And in my case, it pretty much sucked (sorry) for a while. But really, I don’t need to say that to you. You’re living through this, surviving through this.

And so are we, the husbands, family members, friends, and support persons of post-partum women.

After our first child was born, we were thrilled. He was absolutely beautiful. The birth went as smoothly as possible. We went home as typical first time parents ready to care for our son yet knowing nothing about raising kids, or being married with kids, or… or… or….

And then…

The next 2..4…7…..9 months became a blur of life on the edge of despair, little (read no) sex, unknowns with questions, and barely surviving. All the while thinking, “What is going on here? I did NOT sign up for this! Who is this beast I’m having to walk on eggshells around and where is my wife? This can’t be what parenting is about.”

But we kept silent. Because all the pictures show smiling parents, looking lovingly into each other’s eyes while cradling their quietly sleeping newborn.

Eventually, the craziness turned to peace. The distance turned to connection. We were back, a bit confused at what we had just experienced. But at least we were better, right?
I always feel like a brat when I vent about life as a PPD husband. After all, my wife’s body has turned on her making her life unbearable, turning joy into sorrow and confusion.

I kept thinking to myself, “she’s a wreck, but I’m fine”, but I really was not fine. PPD dads, we’re really not fine. We don’t understand. I do wish that more of us would admit that. We can’t fix this. We shouldn’t even try. And I don’t mean loving our wives and partners with true LOVE. I mean, PPD is not a problem that we can solve, a car that we can fix.

However, we might be able to paint it or dance with it, as long as we know that we’re not necessarily always going to be able to choose the color scheme or lead every step. I’m an artist, so bear with me on this analogy.

I think the more I began to understand PPD, the more I saw the textures of the depression and mood shifts, a bit Jackson Pollok, a bit Monet, but mainly like Picasso. I realized that I could set the soundtrack to The Cure transitioning in a second to Motley Crew but at the end of the day seemed more like the soundtrack to RENT.

The past four years of our life together has been one much like the movements above, and in those paint strokes and dance steps we became a marriage built on love that is known when not felt, heard when unspoken, strong when everything around us is weak, stable even when everything around us appears to be broken.

Texture.

Depth.

Beauty.

The challenge for the husbands, families, and support persons helping new moms transition through life after baby is to throw in the towel on conquering the challenges of the postpartum time of transition and allow yourself to live life. It may not be the best year (or 10) of our lives, but if we hang on to the love that is known, someday the love that is felt will return, stronger and ready to weather anything that the world can throw at us. We need to experience ups and downs with grace and patience (please notice that I didn’t say our wives’ ups and downs).

Our wives are experiencing the same lack of control that we are and really more so. We must travel this road together, as hard and as long as it may be. It must be together; neither of us can do this alone. If we’re going to be broken, at least we should be broken together. The healing at the end will be that much greater as we survive this thing TOGETHER.

Hindsight is always 20/20. If I could do it over, I would make some changes during each bout. We’ve had three. I could complain about a lot as the PPD husband, but where would it get me? It’s better to embrace this stage of life and ride it out. Make sure you talk about PPD to loved ones, get help from doctors and therapists, take medication, educate yourself and others (see The Postpartum Husband) do what it takes to find healing, but in the meantime…

Paint.

Dance.

Laugh.

Love.

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I’ll never forget the trip to “register” at Babies “R” Us before our first baby was born. Just having the scan gun in your hand seems to instantly turn one into a greed monster.

I think the lengthiest discussion we had was over the diaper bag. Not just a pouch of pragmatism, but also a symbol of style. Oh, the toil and turmoil and arguing that went into this paramount decision. How are the pockets placed? Can it hold everything the baby will need? Is it easy to open? Do the colors match the stroller? Is it comfortable on my shoulder? Will you be embarrassed to use it? Is it too girly? Is there a place for my cell phone? Too boyish? Does it come with a changing pad? Will we be able to use it for all our children no matter what their gender? Is it too expensive so no one will buy it for us? Is it too big? Too small?

We were gifted the Eddie Bauer diaper bag we registered for, as well as another that we didn’t register for. And little did we know the hospital would send us home with a Similac diaper bag as well as another bag with the hospital logo on it. And that we’d get another bag on our first visit to the Dr.’s office.

The Eddie Bauer bag ended up in the closet, barely used. The other bag was tried but hardly used. The hospital logo bag became the library book tote. The Similac bag turned into the bag my son uses to put his race cars into. The Enfamil bag sold at a garage sale for$0.05.

The most used and appreciated diaper bag came from the most unexpected place. Ever. We have a cousin who works in New York for the Montel Williams show. One day the show taped a surprise baby shower, in which all the studio audience received a gift bag filled with the latest and greatest baby paraphernalia. This cousin thoughtfully gave us a gift bag when we traveled east for Thanksgiving. And low and behold, there was an O Yikes! diaper bag inside. My husband and I argued over this bag…argued over who got to wear/carry it each time we went somewhere, that is!

I think the passage in Matthew says it best. Why do we worry and fuss so much over “things” when God our Father has so much love for us that He’s going to take care of our every need? Looking back, I’m embarassed to think of the greed and arguing that occurred in Babies R Us–how much time and effort we spent disputing about a diaper bag. But mostly I am humbled at how our needs…and wants…are more than taken care of.

“Has anyone by fussing in front of the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? All this time and money wasted on fashion—do you think it makes that much difference? Instead of looking at the fashions, walk out into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They never primp or shop, but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them.

“If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. (Matthew 6: 27-33, The Message version)

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a time to rest FLAT header

Although you may not suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, like the author of the article from Rest Ministries below, sometimes parenting can seem to have many of the same exhausting symptoms. Read and be encouraged. Then take a nap.

When exhaustion takes over.
One of the hardest things in which to adjust when one is diagnosed with a chronic illness is the fatigue that accompanies it. It is an exhaustion that I had never experienced until I was diagnosed with a chronic illness a few years ago. I was relieved to be diagnosed, believing that having a name for my fatigue and pain would validate those days when I move a little slower at work. I hoped that people would stop saying, “Smile!” or “You sure look tired today.” If I tried to explain that my illness tended to make me tired, they would respond, “Oh, I’m tired too. I had a late night.” Is there any way to explain that my tired is different than their tired?

The word exhaust is from the Latin root word, which means “to draw out.” We may often experience that feeling of being “used up” or “having nothing left.” It’s scary when you realize that you may likely never have the kind of energy you once did.

Remember, just because we may be tired does not mean that we are weak or ineffective in our ministry for God. He can work through us even when we are exhausted. So, what do we do when we just can’t do it all?

(1) We can accept the help of others. When we are used to doing it all for ourselves and others too, it’s difficult to ask for help or to accept it when it’s offered. We need to let go of finding our value in what we can accomplish for ourselves (like how big a dinner party we can throw and how much of the house we can clean). Instead, we need to consider what God wants us to accomplish.

When the Israelite army was attacked by the Amalekites, (Exodus 17: 8-15) Moses said he would stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in his hands. As long as Moses held his hands up to God, the Israelites were winning, but when he let them fall, the Amalekites began to win. So was Moses able to pull through the long hours holding up his hands? Not without the help of Aaron and Hur.

“When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up-one on one side, one on the other-so that his hands remained steady till sunup” (v. 12). God’s power was flowing through the fingertips of Moses, and yet God still allowed Moses’ arms to become tired. Was that so Moses had to accept help? What would have happened if Moses had said, “Don’t worry about it, guys. I can handle it. Go on down the hill and I’ll come later when I finish this battle.” God was able to work through Moses when Moses accepted the help of others.

(2) Know that true strength comes only from God. “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40: 29-31).

As I was talking with a friend the other day, she remarked how, before her illness, she was an extremely busy person, on the go wanting to do it all and more. God has slowed her down. She has been forced to change her lifestyle, and yet she has grown closer to God because of it. When God gives strength to the weary, he doesn’t promise where we will feel that strength. It may be in our relationship with him or others and not in our body. Only He knows what is perfect and what we truly need.

(3) We can realize that God is able to work in our lives despite our exhaustion. One of the most often-told bible stories is of Jesus talking with the Samaritan woman at the well. She became a believer and left to follow Jesus. Her testimony to others brought many people to God. How did Jesus meet this woman? “Jesus was tired from his journey and sat down by the well.” (v. 6).

Even Jesus became tired. He wanted to sit down to rest and have some water, and God used His son’s fatigue to bring many people to know Him. God can use us under any circumstances if we will allow him the opportunity. It may not be in the way we would like. We probably won’t have a bungy jumping ministry, but God will work out His plan for our lives in His timing. It’s just so hard to wait and see what that plan is!

(4) We need to take comfort in the fact that God never tires. Thank goodness we have such a wonderful God, and that He will never grow weary. You may remember as a child, your father coming home from a long day at work. He would walk in the door looking tired, but as soon as you ran through the house, yelling, “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!” his weary eyes would begin to sparkle, and soon he had plenty of energy to play until you went to bed. We all have those days where we want to put the covers over our head and not get up. Some of us have days where we would like to get up, but our broken bodies won’t allow it. We must stay put.

During these times, it’s especially comforting to know that our God will never be bedridden; He will never put the covers over His head and say, “I can’t deal with my children today.” “The Lord God is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary.” (Isaiah 40: 28). When I am truly tired, my eyes crave darkness and stillness; my body longs for the warm comforts of my grandmother’s quilt.

Perhaps the hardest thing to accept is that even if these longings are fulfilled, I will still awake wishing for more sleep, never feeling refilled. Spiritually, however, I can be filled by going to God and asking for His comfort, His strength, and the renewal of my spirit. When I go to the Father and am filled with his peace, I can find rest that no amount of sleep will ever replace. “I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” (Psalm 4:8).

Lisa Copen is the founder and director of Rest Ministries. She lives with rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia and is the author of When Chronic Illness Enters Your Life Bible Study.

Reprinted from …And He Will Give You Rest
monthly support newsletter, Volume I1, Issue 2. ©

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My husband and I were at a friend’s house for dinner one night when after a stressful, messful eating experience with our kids, I made a very inappropriate comment about how I’m afraid one day I’ll get so frustrated I’ll “go all Andrea Yates” on them. I had crossed the line. With them. But in my mind, thoughts like that had crossed the line unbidden by me many times over.

Having attended a support group, I learned that these were called “intrusive thoughts”. In group, we talk openly and honestly about them. Everything can be said out loud-no matter how scary or silly:

  • I was sure my baby was going to fall out of a boat and drown
  • I had visions of me putting the baby in the car seat, placing it on top of the car, then seeing it fly off the roof of the car and watching it and my baby smash to smithereens
  • Every time I saw a knife on the counter, I saw myself or my baby being cut by it
  • Envisioning slapping, shaking, or throwing my child when I couldn’t get him to stop crying
  • Thinking about strangers grabbing my baby and running off with it
  • Not sleeping because I was sure I was hearing the baby choking
  • I was afraid I was going to put my baby in the microwave and turn it on in my sleep

These are plaguing thoughts and scenes that can replay endlessly in our minds. But at group, I found out that I am not the only one that thinks these kinds of “crazy” and “irrational” thoughts. As parents looking out for the safety of our kids, these thoughts are pretty “normal”. But their replaying over and over in our minds, or causing anxiety attacks, panic, and fear stem from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and/or repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

There are many ways to manage intrusive thoughts. If you recognize that you are having them, then you are almost assured safety from actually acting on them. It is less than 1% of people who have these thoughts and don’t realize they are irrational and “not real” that may be experiencing psychosis (Psychosis is a loss of contact with reality, typically including delusions–false ideas about what is taking place or who one is–and hallucinations–seeing or hearing things which aren’t there (Medline Plus).

Untreated cases of psychosis are, unfortunately, the ones that end up on the news and strike fear and shame into the rest of us who experience intrusive thoughts. Some of the saddest stories I’ve heard in group are the ones of a mom who is brave enough to share her intrusive thoughts with a spouse, friend, or family member only to be censured for having those thoughts or no longer allowed to hold their own baby because this uninformed person believes mom is about to hurt baby.

Consider this very sensitive question and the advice given from PsychCentral– “the Internet’s largest and oldest mental health social network created and run by mental health professionals to guarantee reliable, trusted information and support communities to you, for over 12 years.”

Four months ago I became very fixated on Andrea Yates drowning her five children.
by Kristina Randle, LCSW
August 6, 2006

Q. I became obsessed with it and thought about it all the time. It kept me up at night. I began to think that all children were in danger and would have images of my own children being killed. In my head I could feel the fear of the children. It makes me feel physically ill. It subsided over the past few months. I started taking medication and the thoughts went away but I stopped taking the medication because of all the side effects. Now the thoughts have returned again. The thoughts pop into my head at any given time and I can tie anything that comes up in my head to those murders. I have tried everything I can to get rid of these intrusive thoughts. They fill me with such a sense of dread and despair and affect my outlook on life. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since I was 15, but this is something new. I do not want to take medication but I can’t seem to fix this.

A. I am glad that you recognize that this fixation is a problem. I believe that you are going to need medication in combination with professional help to remedy this reoccurring intrusion. I know that you do not want to take the medication because of the side effects. I understand this but you should go back to your doctor and ask if he or she is willing to prescribe you another medication. Keep trying different medications until you find one with side effects that you can live with.

Maybe the medication you are currently taking (that seems to lessen these intrusive thoughts) can be reduced. If reduced, maybe that medication will not produce side effects. It is at least possible that a medication reduction will produce less intense side effects.

Please consider meeting with your doctor about this fixation. Explain to the doctor that you are bothered by the medication side effects and that you wish to lower the dose. Or if you do not like this idea, ask your doctor about trying a different medication. Whatever you decide, please do not let this problem go untreated. Be proactive and seek help for your invasive and scary thoughts. If nothing else, do it for your children. They need a mother who is mentally stable, compliant with her needed medication and able to properly care for her children. Let me know how your medication changes go. Good luck.

I would have to say that medication, talk therapy, support groups, and lots of prayer have helped me take my intrusive thoughts captive and not let them take over my daily thought life. My brain has needed the chemical balance medication provides, the safety of sharing and the healing of an understanding community in support group, the reassurance and education a therapist provides, and the limitless power of the One who created me to help put things back in order.

I still have thoughts creep in every once in a while, but when they do I am able to say, “this is not real, I will not act on this, I will not let this happen, I am in control”, and move my thoughts to a positive place instead. My friend Danielle actually envisions a stop sign in her mind telling the intrusive thoughts to “stop”, then thinks about her “happy place”–which is at a park with her husband and daughter the first time her little one said “duck”. It takes some practice, experimenting, tweaking, honesty, sometimes even silliness or seriously professional help, but you don’t have to be obsessed with intrusive thoughts.

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