Agoraphobia

The dictionary definition of agoraphobia is an extreme or irrational fear of open or public spaces, but to the sufferer it is so much more. 

Panic attacks can blight a sufferers’ life and often anxiety will lead to avoidance and they can find that leaving the security of their home is very difficult and sometimes impossible.

Agoraphobia can cause the sufferer to have different levels of fear and limitations depending the whether the condition is mild or severe.  Some people with mild agoraphobia may be able to leave their home and live a relatively normal life but with elevated anxiety, whilst a severe sufferer may not be able to leave the house at all. 

Agoraphobia is often much misunderstood and those who suffer the condition can become more and more isolated. Here we look at the condition and hope that in doing so the subject will become more understood.

Symptoms

Symptoms of agoraphobia include those related to anxiety (some or all of the following):

  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling hot and sweaty
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Diarrhoea
  • Upset stomach
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Feeling faint

People who suffer from agoraphobia will usually try and avoid feeling these anxious symptoms and this may lead to avoidance related issues such as becoming unable to go to certain places, even being unable to work, or becoming housebound.

Irrational thoughts

Along with the physical symptoms of anxiety, it is often the psychological affects and negative ‘spiral’ thinking that can affect the way a sufferer deals with their phobia. A sufferer may worry that a panic attack will make them look stupid in front of others, or that a panic attack will be life-threatening.  Panic attacks can be so severe that when they strike the sufferer can imagine that their heart will stop or they will become unable to breathe.  Other frightening thoughts can include the fear of being trapped in a place or situation where a panic attack may occur. 

Many agoraphobia sufferers fear that they are ‘going mad’ or that they might lose control in front of others.  Some also fear that they may start to shake or blush in front of other people or just fear that they may get stared at.

Causes

The symptoms of agoraphobia can be very similar to a panic attack.  Very often it is a panic attack that occurs away from the home that sends an individual back to the security of their own four walls.  It may be that, in an attempt to avoid feeling like this again, they then remain in the house.  Other people may develop panic attacks at home and avoid going out into public places for fear of having those feelings in front of others.

Although agoraphobia is often associated with panic attacks, other causes can be found.  People who have low self-esteem or are feeling depressed may simply decide that they don’t have the desire to go out in public, this can then lead to the anxiety of going out.  Some people feel that they need the help of others to survive in order to function and will not go out alone.

Occasionally people with agoraphobia develop a condition called monophobia which is the fear of being at home alone. 

Diagnosis

Your first port of call should be your doctor.  You should always seek medical advice if your symptoms become so restricting that they impede your personal or professional life.  You may feel that you need medication or that you are becoming depressed.  Your doctor can help with these symptoms and feelings. 

The symptoms of panic attacks, which have been mentioned above, should always be checked out by a health professional.  Your doctor will be able to assess whether you are suffering from agoraphobia and/or rule out other disorders.

Treatment

If you feel that you may be suffering from agoraphobia it is important to get treatment as quickly as possible.  The sooner you seek help, the greater your chances or overcoming the condition. 

There are two main ways of treating agoraphobia, psychological therapy and medication.  Your GP may refer you to see a mental health specialist.  Either your specialist or your GP will discuss your different treatment options.  If they do not then don’t feel afraid to ask, it is your right to approve and understand any treatment which may be offered.  If it is not offered then ask them to outline what types of treatment are available and to outline the different advantages of each.  It is also useful to know if there are any possible risks or side effects associated with either therapy or medications.  It is important to find a treatment which suits your personal preferences, the severity of your condition and your health.

Talking Therapy

The most common form of psychological therapy is cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT.  CBT is a very effective form or therapy and teaches you to behave in a way that challenges your negative thoughts.  Your therapist should also be able to teach you useful techniques to deal with panic attacks such as breathing correctly.  There are other techniques which you can learn in order to remain calm when having a panic attack.

CBT and other forms of ‘exposure therapy’ get the sufferer to challenge negative thinking and slowly allow themselves to be exposed to that which frightens them. This sounds very scary, but a good therapist will be able to guide you though the process and will take things at the right time for recovery.

Sometimes other forms of counselling are used, especially if there is a pinpointed problem that needs to be discussed or overcome. Counselling can often help a sufferer explore negative experiences and boost self-esteem.

Medication

It is sometimes helpful to use a combination of therapy and medication to treat agoraphobia. Occasionally symptoms of anxiety and related issues such as insomnia may require short-term medication. Medium term medication may be deemed helpful, but this will be assessed depending on your symptoms and any other comorbid conditions. It is very important you get an accurate diagnosis from a GP or psychiatry professional before any treatment is decided upon.

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Why does anxiety lead to avoidance behaviours?

Today I am going to cover the subject of avoidance with anxiety. Some sufferers have a real problem with this, some hardly at all, but I think everyone can get something out of this message.

Avoidance can take many forms; some people may avoid social situations, driving, the supermarket, answering the phone. Some may turn down invites to meet with friends, not go for the job they want or not join that evening class they so want to go to.

The person who falls into avoidance behaviour restricts their own life due to becoming a prisoner to how they are thinking and feeling. They may find doing things too much effort and or not want to face triggering the anxiety that’s within them, and so they find it easier to avoid.

The above was me, and at the time I thought that I had to work out the magic formula and then I would feel normal and have my life back. The problem was that I did not know how to feel normal again, I had tried everything, read every book, tried every technique given to me and yet nothing had worked. So I was stuck in this continual pattern of avoidance.

I then realised that the outside was not going to change for me, it would just keep spinning the same while I shied away from it. I realised that there was no knowledge out there that was going to make everything OK. No day would arrive where I could just step outside and carry on with my life as before without feeling uncomfortable.

I realised by hiding away I was only strengthening the problem, I was continuing to send the message to my subconscious mind that there was danger in the outside world and social situations. I realised that the only way out was to start conveying it a different message, one that taught it that everything was OK out there.

I concluded that the best way to break out of these old avoidance patterns was to ‘Do everything I did before I had anxiety’ this meant allowing myself to feel uncomfortable until I no longer did.

Listen to wisdom and not the voice of anxiety

path to freedom from anxiety

Even though now I was putting myself out there more, it was like there was a little voice in my head that would try and keep me safe by telling me not to go here or there and not to put myself in certain situations.

This voice was my mind talking to me and trying to keep me safe, this is a built-in system within everyone, and it acts on what information it receives. But the information it received from me previously was faulty; I had no reason to avoid the outside.

So if this voice was faulty, then it had no truth to it, and so I just needed to ignore it and do it anyway. In doing this, I would eventually silence that voice.

If you avoid certain places, then your mind registers this and files it under dangerous and will kindly let you know the next time you are in that situation, what a great operating system ! Well it is until we send it the wrong messages.

Understanding your inner voice

Listening to your inner voice

Someone without anxiety may have been fine with dogs, until one day they get bitten.

If this person then goes straight back out there and doesn’t start avoiding places where they may encounter dogs, then the reaction may still be present but not too much of a problem.

If on the other hand, this person then goes on to avoid dogs and any place where they may encounter them, then the mind would then pick up on this threat and registered as a severe one due to your behaviour of avoidance.

The inner voice would then be overprotective and fearful and guide you to make sure you never encountered one, and if you did you did, then you would feel an intense fear reaction. The mind has picked up on the threat and is now keeping you safe and telling you to get the hell out of there.

Do you now see how the mind picks up and reacts to the information we are sending it? It is not a reaction to the actual situation, only what you have made of it. It is picking up on the information it receives from you as to how high its reaction needs to be to keep you safe.

This understanding is what freed me of my avoidance, as I now understood why I felt the way I did and why I had such a reaction to the harmless situations I had previously avoided. I now understood that these reactions were not merited and I was just being tricked by my mind’s response and not the reality of the situation I found myself in.

My wisdom had finally shone through, and I now realised that there was no actual danger in these situations and eventually through my action of non-avoidance my mind would get this message too and so turn down its overbearing response.

Learning to reprogram the brain
Reprogramming the brain

So as you can see it is us that has created this false programming in our mind through our past actions, which is great news as now we can be the ones to reprogram it by changing how we behave.

The old subconscious programming in our mind will still have a certain pull to it and will try and keep us in these old patterns. This is because our mind still has our best interests at heart and believes by keeping us in old habits it is doing us a favour.

Even with this understanding, it is at this point where many people may fall back into old patterns of behaviour that are not serving them. They do so because trying to come out of old behaviours feels uncomfortable and so it is easier to stay on the old path.

But all that is happening is that your rational mind has got this understanding, but your subconscious hasn’t and so you feel uncomfortable when you try and step out of these old behaviours.

If you understand what is happening, then you are more able to allow yourself to feel uncomfortable and see that this is part of the process of reprogramming your mind. All you have to do is see it as growth and that you can’t create any true inner change without some discomfort.

Many people say to me ‘I got this last week and started to change and go out more, but now I’ve fallen back into my old behaviours of avoidance.’

I tell them the same thing that the subconscious mind takes a lot longer to get it than the rational mind and so it will try and pull you back into old behaviours, acknowledge that pull but do it anyway. In time the subconscious mind will get it, and the pull will leave you.

There is no big secret to changing this; it is all about understanding what is going on., I just finally understand that it was me that had created this problem and only a change in my behaviour was going to solve it.

I just stopped listening to this inner voice and so from now if the phone went off, I answered it every time, anxious or not.

If I got invited out to any social gathering, then I would go, even if my inner voice tried to warn me about what would go wrong.

If a neighbour approached then I would no longer follow my inner voice or emotions and rush to get back inside, I would walk right up and chat.

That inner voice and my emotions continued to try and keep me safe, but I just thanked them for doing their job and told them through my actions that I was perfectly fine, knowing they would get the message soon.

In time this inner voice and the emotional reactions left me. I slowly, but surely reprogrammed my subconscious mind and emptied it of all its old fears and beliefs and was now free to go anywhere with no problems whatsoever.

The journey was quite exciting, seeing my life come back slowly, but surely, I even got a thrill out of testing myself and seeing how fearless I could be while watching the progress I was making.

I will finish with a famous quote by Vincent van Gogh

If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced

How very true !

Depression? Or Am I Sad?

All of us feel sad and upset at times. When that sadness seems to last longer than usual, or feels more extreme, you might ask yourself, “Am I Depressed?”

The question doesn’t always have a clear-cut answer, especially because the symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. But it’s a question worth considering, especially if your emotional state is making it difficult for you to function in your day-to-day life.

How Does Depression Differ From Sadness?

There are many life events that may trigger feelings of melancholy, hopelessness, or detachment. Examples include the death of a loved one, tragic global events, job loss, or the end of an intimate relationship. In those situations, it’s natural to grieve and even to do so intensely. You may feel what you’d describe as dark or depressed thoughts, and wonder if you are experiencing depression.

However, as the American Psychological Association (APA) explains, sadness caused by painful life events differs from depression in a few key aspects:

  • When you are grieving, you will usually feel a mix of sad thoughts and also happy thoughts, as you recall memories of what you have lost. The grief can be powerful, but not a constant state.
  • While grieving, you can still maintain your sense of self assurance and general confidence. Clinically depressed individuals usually experience chronically low self-esteem.

It’s important to note that grief can also be coupled with a case of clinical depression, or gradually move in that direction. If your grief seems to last much longer than expected, and if you experience depressive symptoms along with the grief, this is one way to tell if you’ve crossed into depression.

What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?

Clinical depression is a serious mental illness that affects your emotions, your thoughts, your body, your physical wellbeing, and your ability to carry out everyday tasks. It is more common than you might realize, affecting 1 in 15 adults each year, and 1 in 6 people at some point in their lives. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it isn’t serious. Whether your depression is mild or severe, you should know that depression is treatable.

As you consider the question “Am I Depressed?” you may consider some of the most common — though sometimes overlooked — symptoms of the disease. These include:

  • Mood changes: feelings of sadness, low energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Inability to enjoy activities you once did
  • Heightened fatigue
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping excessively
  • Weight loss or noticeable weight gain
  • Pacing, difficulty thinking clearly
  • Feelings of low-self esteem and hopelessness
  • Suicidal ideation

Generally, these symptoms need to last more than two weeks to be considered signs of depression. But of course, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or self-harm, it is an emergency, and you should immediately see your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room.

The APA notes that some of these symptoms may be caused by medical issues like thyroid problems, brain tumors, malnutrition, or vitamin deficiency, so it is worth getting a medical evaluation if these symptoms are new to you.

What Causes Depression?

Usually depression is caused by multiple factors at once — the perfect storm, so to speak. Sometimes extreme life events can cause depression (remember, sadness is normal after a loss of any kind, but sometimes this sadness can transform into a case of clinical depression).

Although depression can affect anyone at any time in their life, there are usually some risk factors that make a person more prone to depression. You may want to consider these factors as you ponder the question of whether or not you are suffering from depression.

Some factors that may trigger depression include:

  1. Brain chemistry: Differences in biochemistry may make certain people more prone to depressive symptoms.
  2. Genes: Your genetic makeup influences your propensity to depression. You may find that depression runs in your family.
  3. Temperament and personality: Negative self-image, pessimistic attitudes, and people who are easily affected by the stress of life may experience depression more frequently.
  4. Adverse childhood experiences: Abuse (physical and verbal), neglect, poverty, or exposure to violence or trauma during childhood can increase your likelihood of experiencing depression as an adult.

Could I Have Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Many people notice that their depressed symptoms seem to increase or emerge during the winter months, as sunlight decreases and the days become shorter and drearier. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is real, and if you notice a correlation between the timing of your depressive symptoms and the winter season, you may be experiencing it. Symptoms of SAD are the same as those of clinical depression, and can range from mild to severe.

According to the APA, one way to tell that you have SAD is if your symptoms come on during the winter, and then dissipate — and also, if you have experienced these winter depressive symptoms for two or more winters in a row.

Treatment options for SAD are similar to those of general depression. Add more sunlight to your days by going outside as much as possible, make sure to eat healthfully (don’t rely on carbs and sweets!), stay physically active, and of course, seek the help of a licensed therapist whenever necessary.

How Is Depression Treated?

Depression itself makes it hard to believe that there is any hope of feeling better, but it’s vital to understand that help is available to anyone who needs it. The fact is, there are many options out there for the treatment of depression, and it’s possible to find an option that works best for you.

There are therapists — both online and in person — who specialize in the treatment of clinical depression, and can tailor their treatment to your specific needs. “Talk therapists” use many different modalities for treating depression, and have various approaches, experience levels, and “vibes,” so it’s worth searching until you find a therapist that you feel most comfortable with.

Because depression is sometimes caused by multiple factors, including brain chemistry, medication combined with therapy may be an option worth considering. Most therapists can connect you with a psychiatrist or MD who can guide you through the process of using medication to treat your depression.

When you first ask yourself “Am I Depressed?” it’s natural to feel uncertain, confused, and overwhelmed. Figuring out if you are experiencing depression, and what to do about it, is the first step. Remember that you are far from alone, help is out there, and you are so worth it.

Let Me Introduce You To Chronic Fatigue…

Living with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – a survival strategy

I had always been a hard worker. Ever since I left school back in 1999. Here we are in 2019… When Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) first struck me I was doing a demanding full time job and trying to set up my own company in my spare time. I suppose it was the stress of this that made me so ill?After a few weeks of not dying, I realized that life wasn’t going to end. But it wouldn’t ever be the same again.

At that stage it was too early to know that I had CFS (sometimes called ME – myalgic encephalomyelitis – or post-viral syndrome). That only became apparent when I suffered exactly the same symptoms again a year or so later. But I already knew that I couldn’t go back to how I was before the illness. Something had to give.

Since then, CFS and I have never been far apart. Mostly it stays in the background, but every few years it launches a full frontal assault on my immune system, leaving me unable to work for weeks or months at a time.

cfslarge

These days I’m better at managing it. I recognise the signs that it’s about to return, and I stop whatever I’m doing and lie down. I’m better at setting my goals lower, avoiding stress, doing less work. I’ve learned how to live my life in slow motion.

I wonder sometimes if I could ever hold down a “proper” job again. What kind of boss would tolerate me slinking off for forty winks after lunch, then leaving work in the middle of the afternoon to potter in the garden or do some yoga? How many companies would put up with an employee who took two months off sick every few years?

I no longer kid myself that I’ll ever be cured of CFS.

Most people don’t know that there’s anything wrong with me. I don’t look ill, and I don’t act ill, most of the time. Sometimes my partner has to tell people, “Shaun’s not well.” The next day or week they’ll ask her if I’m better, but she knows, and I know, that I’ll never be truly well again.

cfswarning

If you have CFS, my advice would be to not fight it. Instead learn to live with it. Recognise when you need to slow down or stop. living with CFS, I know what tends to bring on an attack (for me at least) – stress, overwork, very cold weather – and I try to avoid these.

I also know what helps – music, rest, a calm environment, early nights, gentle exercise if I can. When I’m feeling strong I used exercise hard, but I sense that I’m pushing myself close to the edge if I run or cycle too far. Life has become a balancing act.

Perhaps most importantly I’ve learned how to reduce stress. Allow plenty of time to get things done. Don’t impose arbitrary deadlines. Permit failure. Try again another day. Don’t multitask. Eat a relatively high fat diet. Take regular exercise when possible. And never watch or listen to the news, and never read the comments sections in blogs.

Having the illness has lowered my expectations, but it’s also enhanced my life-work balance. I have no plans to rest on my laurels. Not everyone who suffers from the illness manages to pick themselves up, but for many it is possible to live a nearly normal life.

Kevin Briggs – IS the guardian of the golden gate bridge.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:000000248 EndHTML:000071133 StartFragment:000013946 EndFragment:000071001 StartSelection:000013997 EndSelection:000070989 SourceURL:https://www.ted.com/talks/kevin_briggs_the_bridge_between_suicide_and_life/transcript Kevin Briggs: The bridge between suicide and life | TED Talk

I recently retired from the California Highway Patrol after 23 years of service. The majority of those 23 years was spent patrolling the southern end of Marin County, which includes the Golden Gate Bridge. The bridge is an iconic structure, known worldwide for its beautiful views of San Francisco, the Pacific Ocean, and its inspiring architecture.

Unfortunately, it is also a magnet for suicide, being one of the most utilized sites in the world. The Golden Gate Bridge opened in 1937. Joseph Strauss, chief engineer in charge of building the bridge, was quoted as saying, “The bridge is practically suicide-proof. Suicide from the bridge is neither practical nor probable.” But since its opening, over 1,600 people have leapt to their death from that bridge. Some believe that traveling between the two towers will lead you to another dimension — this bridge has been romanticized as such — that the fall from that frees you from all your worries and grief, and the waters below will cleanse your soul.

But let me tell you what actually occurs when the bridge is used as a means of suicide. After a free fall of four to five seconds, the body strikes the water at about 75 miles an hour. That impact shatters bones, some of which then puncture vital organs. Most die on impact. Those that don’t generally flail in the water helplessly, and then drown. I don’t think that those who contemplate this method of suicide realize how grisly a death that they will face. This is the cord. Except for around the two towers, there is 32 inches of steel paralleling the bridge. This is where most folks stand before taking their lives. I can tell you from experience that once the person is on that cord, and at their darkest time, it is very difficult to bring them back. I took this photo last year as this young woman spoke to an officer contemplating her life. I want to tell you very happily that we were successful that day in getting her back over the rail.

When I first began working on the bridge, we had no formal training. You struggled to funnel your way through these calls. This was not only a disservice to those contemplating suicide, but to the officers as well. We’ve come a long, long way since then. Now, veteran officers and psychologists train new officersThis is Jason Garber. I met Jason on July 22 of last year when I get received a call of a possible suicidal subject sitting on the cord near midspan. I responded, and when I arrived, I observed Jason speaking to a Golden Gate Bridge officer. Jason was just 32 years old and had flown out here from New Jersey. As a matter of fact, he had flown out here on two other occasions from New Jersey to attempt suicide on this bridge. After about an hour of speaking with Jason, he asked us if we knew the story of Pandora’s box. Recalling your Greek mythology, Zeus created Pandora, and sent her down to Earth with a box, and told her, “Never, ever open that box.” Well one day, curiosity got the better of Pandora, and she did open the box. Out flew plagues, sorrows, and all sorts of evils against man. The only good thing in the box was hope. Jason then asked us, “What happens when you open the box and hope isn’t there?” He paused a few moments, leaned to his right, and was gone. This kind, intelligent young man from New Jersey had just committed suicide.

I spoke with Jason’s parents that evening, and I suppose that, when I was speaking with them, that I didn’t sound as if I was doing very well, because that very next day, their family rabbi called to check on me. Jason’s parents had asked him to do so. The collateral damage of suicide affects so many people.

I pose these questions to you: What would you do if your family member, friend or loved one was suicidal? What would you say? Would you know what to say? In my experience, it’s not just the talking that you do, but the listening. Listen to understand. Don’t argue, blame, or tell the person you know how they feel, because you probably don’t. By just being there, you may just be the turning point that they need. If you think someone is suicidal, don’t be afraid to confront them and ask the question. One way of asking them the question is like this: “Others in similar circumstances have thought about ending their life; have you had these thoughts?” Confronting the person head-on may just save their life and be the turning point for them. Some other signs to look for: hopelessness, believing that things are terrible and never going to get better; helplessness, believing that there is nothing that you can do about it; recent social withdrawal; and a loss of interest in life.

I came up with this talk just a couple of days ago, and I received an email from a lady that I’d like to read you her letter. She lost her son on January 19 of this year, and she wrote this me this email just a couple of days ago, and it’s with her permission and blessing that I read this to you.

“Hi, Kevin. I imagine you’re at the TED Conference. That must be quite the experience to be there. I’m thinking I should go walk the bridge this weekend. Just wanted to drop you a note. Hope you get the word out to many people and they go home talking about it to their friends who tell their friends, etc. I’m still pretty numb, but noticing more moments of really realizing Mike isn’t coming home. Mike was driving from Petaluma to San Francisco to watch the 49ers game with his father on January 19. He never made it there. I called Petaluma police and reported him missing that evening. The next morning, two officers came to my home and reported that Mike’s car was down at the bridge. A witness had observed him jumping off the bridge at 1:58 p.m. the previous day. Thanks so much for standing up for those who may be only temporarily too weak to stand for themselves. Who hasn’t been low before without suffering from a true mental illness? It shouldn’t be so easy to end it. My prayers are with you for your fight. The GGB, Golden Gate Bridge, is supposed to be a passage across our beautiful bay, not a graveyard. Good luck this week. Vicky.”

I can’t imagine the courage it takes for her to go down to that bridge and walk the path that her son took that day, and also the courage just to carry on.

I’d like to introduce you to a man I refer to as hope and courage. On March 11 of 2005, I responded to a radio call of a possible suicidal subject on the bridge sidewalk near the north tower. I rode my motorcycle down the sidewalk and observed this man, Kevin Berthia, standing on the sidewalk. When he saw me, he immediately traversed that pedestrian rail, and stood on that small pipe which goes around the tower. For the next hour and a half, I listened as Kevin spoke about his depression and hopelessness. Kevin decided on his own that day to come back over that rail and give life another chance. When Kevin came back over, I congratulated him. “This is a new beginning, a new life.” But I asked him, “What was it that made you come back and give hope and life another chance?” And you know what he told me? He said, “You listened. You let me speak, and you just listened.”

Shortly after this incident, I received a letter from Kevin’s mother, and I have that letter with me, and I’d like to read it to you.

“Dear Mr. Briggs, Nothing will erase the events of March 11, but you are one of the reasons Kevin is still with us. I truly believe Kevin was crying out for help. He has been diagnosed with a mental illness for which he has been properly medicated. I adopted Kevin when he was only six months old, completely unaware of any hereditary traits, but, thank God, now we know. Kevin is straight, as he says. We truly thank God for you. Sincerely indebted to you, Narvella Berthia.” And on the bottom she writes, “P.S. When I visited San Francisco General Hospital that evening, you were listed as the patient. Boy, did I have to straighten that one out.”

Today, Kevin is a loving father and contributing member of society. He speaks openly about the events that day and his depression in the hopes that his story will inspire others.

Suicide is not just something I’ve encountered on the job. It’s personal. My grandfather committed suicide by poisoning. That act, although ending his own pain, robbed me from ever getting to know him. This is what suicide does. For most suicidal folks, or those contemplating suicide, they wouldn’t think of hurting another person. They just want their own pain to end. Typically, this is accomplished in just three ways: sleep, drugs or alcohol, or death. In my career, I’ve responded to and been involved in hundreds of mental illness and suicide calls around the bridge. Of those incidents I’ve been directly involved with, I’ve only lost two, but that’s two too many. One was Jason. The other was a man I spoke to for about an hour. During that time, he shook my hand on three occasions. On that final handshake, he looked at me, and he said, “Kevin, I’m sorry, but I have to go.” And he leapt. Horrible, absolutely horrible.

I do want to tell you, though, the vast majority of folks that we do get to contact on that bridge do not commit suicide. Additionally, that very few who have jumped off the bridge and lived and can talk about it, that one to two percent, most of those folks have said that the second that they let go of that rail, they knew that they had made a mistake and they wanted to live. I tell people, the bridge not only connects Marin to San Francisco, but people together also. That connection, or bridge that we make, is something that each and every one of us should strive to do. Suicide is preventable. There is help. There is hope.

Thank you very much.

One More Light ~ #MakeChesterProud

Should’ve stayed, were there signs, I ignored?
Can I help you, not to hurt, anymore?
We saw brilliance, when the world, was asleep
There are things that we can have, but can’t keep
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
The reminders pull the floor from your feet
In the kitchen, one more chair than you need oh
And you’re angry, and you should be, it’s not fair
Just ’cause you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it, isn’t there
If they say
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Who cares if one more light goes out?
In a sky of a million stars
It flickers, flickers
Who cares when someone’s time runs out?
If a moment is all we are
We’re quicker, quicker
Who cares if one more light goes out?
Well I do
Well I do

Borderline Personality Disorder….. My Brief Explanation…

So, I was diagnosed with B.P.D. back in 2018 BUT I feel it has been years too late, but that’s 99% my own fault for not opening up about my problems and thoughts throughout my 35 years of existence.

However, we must not forget that this disorder is also called Emotional Unstable disorder (E.U.P.D.)

Now, this is one of my most battling disorders I am at war with, what I mean is, I can now recognize the early warning signs of my anxiety and depression, where as this disorder likes to catch you off guard, can turn up at ANY moment day or night and mostly give you no dam warning.

The symptoms of BPD can be grouped into four main areas:

emotional instability – the psychological term for this is “affective dysregulation”

disturbed patterns of thinking or perception – (“cognitive distortions” or “perceptual distortions”)

impulsive behavior

intense but unstable relationships with others

The symptoms of a personality disorder may range from mild to severe and usually emerge in adolescence, persisting into adulthood.

Genetics, brain chemical problems, problems with brain development and even environmental factors have been researched into a cause of B.P.D

Now brain chemicals for me, I find fascinating, and I can relate to this a lot, now if you have seen my hemiplegic migraine post, obviously you know I suffer from this rare form of migraine which too has a major factor in the brain chemical world. I have been told that I have ‘’low’’ serotine levels hence the above, plus my early life issues, this all now makes sense, where as before, it was a total huh and what the hell did the psychiatrist just say it is? There is so much stigma around this disorder, an example is, if you say I have depression 9/10 people will know about it, tell them you have B.P.D. watch the raised don’t know what you are talking about eyebrows! Its just how it is, but people like me, with fellow advocates and bloggers, we are changing this, and shouting out about BPD. Now, I have copied the NHS website for BPD for you to see

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/borderline-personality-disorder/

This will explain, causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, who to call, like all health websites do, now I am not saying that’s wrong, but just a little dated in my own opinion.

The truth with BPD in a nutshell is this; its either all or nothing, basically its either black or white with us. Sorry, its just how we are and how we think and feel. Example; she hasn’t texted me back yet, she hates me, what have I said etc., but 9/10 it will be she’s driving or was in the bath, a logical explanation basically, but we don’t see that you see, now please don’t think well just stop and think for a change, we often feel isolated or abandoned is a better word. For example, the feeling of black sheep of the family, work colleagues don’t like me, there may be no reason for this, and it may not be true, but these thoughts of loneliness and isolation are powerful, and I mean powerful, so much so, they are so believable. Hope this is all making some kind of sense? I am hoping some of this waffling is giving you and insight or/and understanding this disorder fraction bit better?

But please remember WE ARE NOT OUR DIAGNOSIS, WHATEVER WE ARE DIAGNOSED WITH.