Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts
Showing posts with label depression. Show all posts

Friday, May 5, 2023

US Senator uncommon mental health champion

After a whirlwind year, John Fetterman is back in the Senate

Manuela López Restrepo
April 20, 2023
Then in February, after a hospital visit related to lightheadedness, Fetterman checked himself into Walter Reed medical center to receive treatment for clinical depression.
Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA) speaks to reporters on the way to the weekly Senate Policy Luncheons at the U.S. Capitol Building on April 18, 2023 in Washington, DC. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
What's the big deal? Fetterman's public acknowledgment of his own mental health struggles is rare for politicians, even as depression has become an increasingly common challenge for Americans.

After six weeks of treatment at Walter Reed National Medical Center's neuro-psychology unit, Fetterman says his doctor told him his depression was in remission. Depression in stroke survivors is fairly common. NPR's Rhitu Chaterjee also reported that around 30% of stroke patients will go on to have depression in the first five years after the stroke. That risk increases if they've already dealt with depression in the past, like Fetterman. With his transparency, Fetterman has created a platform for discussing mental health issues, and encouraged other politicians to share their own stories.

On creating a platform to discuss mental health:

I'm honored to have the ability to try to pay it forward, because I was blessed in my opportunities. I want to say the kinds of things that I would have heard years ago that got me into action. And I would tell anybody listening to this interview, if you suffer from depression, or you have a loved one, please let them know that you don't need to just suffer with that depression. Get treatment, and get help. If I'd had done that years ago, I would not have had to put my family and myself and my colleagues [through] that if I had gotten help.

So if you suffer from it, you have an opportunity to get rid of it. And I didn't believe it. But right now I'm the guy that didn't believe that I could get rid of my depression. And now I did.
learn more here

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Isn't it time for you to write a happier ending for your own story?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 15, 2022

When you are the protagonist in your own story, understand the ending is up to you. How do you want to write the next chapter of your own story? Can you rewrite your character? No, because your character is "you" but you can become the champion in your own story and write the next chapter your way.

Merriam-Webster defines the protagonist as this.
: the principal character in a literary work (such as a drama or story)

: the leading actor or principal character in a television show, movie, book, etc.

: an active participant in an event

: a leader, proponent, or supporter of a cause: CHAMPION
Struggle, or conflict is central to drama. The protagonist or hero of a play, novel, or film is involved in a struggle of some kind, either against someone or something else or even against his or her own emotions. So the hero is the "first struggler", which is the literal meaning of the Greek word prōtagōnistēs. A character who opposes the hero is the antagonist, from a Greek verb that means literally "to struggle against".

CNN had a touching video tribute to Boss and within it were the thoughts we should all keep in our own minds.
“It’s heartbreaking to hear that someone who brought so much joy to a room, was hurting so much behind closed doors,” Justin Timberlake wrote in a tribute on Instagram. “I’ve known [Boss] for over 20 years through the dance community - he always lit everything and everyone up. You just never know what someone is going through.”
You don't know what someone is going through unless they tell you. You may guess something is wrong but not understand what's wrong. All too often human nature causes us to internalize it. We wonder what we did wrong. When they choose to leave us, instead of talking to us, again, we blame ourselves. The what "ifs" flood our brains and we drown in unanswerable questions only the one we knew could answer.

If you are the one going through dark times, keep that in mind because the chances are, the people in your life have no idea what you are going through unless you tell them. Maybe you don't want them to worry about you? They already are. Maybe you don't want them to think less of you because you need help when you are the one they always turn to to help them? They won't but they may be wondering why it's ok with you to help them but not trust them to help you when you need it. Whatever is stopping you from turning to the people in your life, understand that is the point of having people in your life, and not just people you know the names of.

Trust them enough to take a chance and open up. If they don't understand what it is, then they will at least know you're hurting and need to work through it. Don't settle for just waiting to get over it but search for those that can help you.

I have a lot of people in my life but I could be in a crowd and feel totally alone at times. When I needed help the people I love could not give, I turned to a therapist I could open up to and she's helping me work through it. My family knows I need more help than they can give and they ok with that because they want me to be happier than I was struggling.

I am the protagonist in my own story and it is up to me to write the next chapter filled with doubts and confusion and struggles, just as each one will contain victories. Isn't it time to take a chance at happiness?

Thursday, March 21, 2019

New depression treatment from VA can cause suicidal thoughts? Seriously?

VA to Offer New Ketamine-Based Nasal Spray for Depression
Patricia Kime
March 20, 2019
As with any other medication, there are risks. Spravato carries a boxed warning for side effects that include misuse, the reason it is administered under a doctor's supervision. The list of side effects includes sedation and blood pressure spikes and disassociation, such as feelings of physical paralysis and out-of-body experiences. It also can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
The newest FDA-approved medication to treat severe depression, a nasal spray based on the anesthetic (and misused hallucinogenic party drug) ketamine, will soon be available to veterans treated within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

In a move that may help thousands of former service members with depression that has not improved with other treatments, VA officials announced Tuesday that the department's doctors are now authorized to prescribe Spravato, the brand name for esketamine, a molecular variation of ketamine.
read more here

Sunday, January 13, 2019

In the shelter of your arms

You are my shelter

Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 13, 2019

An open letter to Jesus

This is a very hard time for me because it seems no matter what I do, what I know and how much work I do, others get praised, even if they are thieves passing my work off as their own.

I have no power to stop them. I have no power to make anyone listen to what I have to say. The only power I have is to do whatever I can to help whoever seeks it.

You know what is in my heart and I know that the gifts I have came from you. You guide me to seek knowledge and share what is truth. You give me courage to bypass fear of the powerful for the sake of the flock. You arm me in spite of those who ignore all you equipped me to do.

You are my shelter. 
Psalm 91 1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.
4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.
5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day,
6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.
Psalm 91

You brought me into my veteran Father's home and surrounded me with other veterans. You brought me into my veteran husband's heart and showed me what pure love is, as well as the pain I saw in his eyes. 

Then You showed me what it was like to go beyond the times of darkness, so we could walk the rest of this journey together, still holding hands and loving the way our lives have grown beyond what others thought was even possible.

You know the hours, the heartache and you know what it is like for me when someone reminds me of why I do what I do.

You had put a voice within me that I used to gladly sing, but those years have passed and while there has been a song in my soul, it has not passed my lips because there has been too much pain within me.

So now I sing a song for You beyond the tears that came because I know, if I share this with those I am supposed to reach, they may know that others go through the same dark times, even if they believe, as I do, that nothing is beyond Your love. 
The Shelter of Your Arms
Neil Diamond 
In this cold world
No matter where I go
The crowds are all the same
To them I'm just
A pebble in the sand
A face without a name
Nobody gives a hang
For what I say or do
But you
And in the shelter of your arms
I find peace and comfort and care
For I am wanted there
In this cold world
You struggle to survive
And sometimes
You can fall
You think someone
Would lend a helping hand
They'd sooner see you crawl
But just when life itself
Seems more than I can bear
You're there
And in the shelter of your arms
I can find strength and safety and then
I rise and start again
Just give me one good reason
To go on living
To keep on trying
For what I ask you, for what
If not for you
And all your love to see me through
But just when life itself
Seems more than I can bear
You're there
And in the shelter of your arms
I can find strength and safety
And then
I rise and start again

Saturday, December 24, 2016

5 Ways For Better Christmas With PTSD

5 ways to get through a blue Christmas
The (Clarksville, Tenn.) Leaf-Chronicle , WXIA
Tim Parrish
December 24, 2016
"They believe no one can understand their situations unless 'they have been there.’ Some suffer survivor’s guilt about why they survived but their buddy was killed in action." Rev. Jodi McCullah
For some people, Christmas is not all sweetness and light. (Photo: Getty Images)
Society has great expectations for people to have the perfect house, bake perfect cookies and show off the perfect family in Christmas letters, Facebook posts and Instagram photos.

But look more closely at the people you meet, and you might see expressions of grief and depression.

Sometimes, Christmas is a holiday to soldier through, and some people would rather escape from it.

“Christmas is normally a family time. It might be the only time for some people to get together,” said Henry Moore, a social worker and grief counselor at AseraCare Hospice in Clarksville, Tenn.

“If you are grieving over the death of a loved one, you might think being around lots of happy people would make you happy. That’s not how it works," he said. "Happy people only remind you of what you no longer have.”

While everyone deals with grief differently, Moore said a lot of common emotions come up at the holidays, and they often revolve around family traditions.

"A sense of hopelessness and despair are not uncommon," he said. "Sadness can be overwhelming at times when you see people or places once special to you and your loved, but now that person is gone.”

Grief isn't always about death. It can come from a divorce, losing a job or trying to adjust to life after being deployed in a combat zone.
1. Start new traditions but don’t throw out the old ones. Keep as many as you can.
2. Accept invitations to events and then attend them. Interacting with people can be difficult but important.
3. Be honest to close friends and family about how you're feeling about the holidays.
4. Include a place at the dinner table for a missing person.
5. ​Don't use alcohol or drugs to deal with emotional pain.
read more here

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Veteran's Dogs Did More to Save Life than Suicide Prevention Hotline

Veteran says he was repeatedly put on hold by veterans' suicide hotline 
Hotline has problems with handling number of calls
ABC News
Adam Walser
Apr 13, 2015
He put himself in danger to protect our country, but when he needed help to save his own life all he got was a recorded message. Ted Koran was thinking about committing suicide Saturday night.

He reached out to the VA and the Veterans Suicide Hotline for help, but said he couldn't get any until after he was repeatedly put on hold for up to 10 minutes at time.

Veterans in Crisis: Vets put on hold for 36 minutes His case is just the latest the I-Team has been exposing for months now.

When the Veterans Crisis Hotline was first set up by the VA in 2007, it averaged 60 calls a day on four manned phone lines.

Now, 52 operators at a time field about a thousand calls a day, and that's not always even enough to keep some veterans on the verge of suicide from being placed on hold. read more here

Thursday, January 22, 2015

UK Military Prevalence of Anxiety, Depression, Plus PTSD

Anxiety and depression twice as prevalent in military - study says 
January 21, 2015
"The findings draw attention to the need for Defence Medical Services to continue to focus on identifying and treating depression and anxiety in addition to PTSD."

The high levels of stress that soldiers experience could be a factor, researchers say
Members of the UK armed forces are twice as likely to develop depression or anxiety than members of the general working population, a study suggests.

The King's College London research compared surveys from 7,000 military personnel with people in other jobs.

It found 18% of men and 25% of women in the forces reported symptoms of common mental disorders, compared with 8% of men and 12% of women in other areas.

The MoD said it had improved mental health services for the military.

The researchers said the study, published in Psychological Medicine, was fairer then previous studies which included results from unemployed people and those with long-term health problems and disabilities - who researchers said were more likely to report symptoms of mental illness.

The findings could be explained by the frequency and intensity of stressful events experienced by those in the military, researchers said.

Military life also required extended periods spent away from family and friends, they added.

The survey included questions such as whether the subject felt they were "playing a useful part in things".

Respondents from the military were almost three times more likely to disagree with this statement than those from the general population, the study found.
read more here

Saturday, January 10, 2015

9-11 PTSD Study Eye Opener For Veterans

This was one event during one day. It wasn't over in a day for the responders or the survivors. For veterans, there are many events during many days while deployed. If you are still not understanding why you have have PTSD, this is a good place to start.
PTSD and Depression in Survivors a Decade after 9/11
Health Canal

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most commonly reported mental illness in survivors of the World Trade Center disaster in New York City.

A new study co-authored by Steven D. Stellman, PhD, professor of Epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health and senior author, has found a high prevalence of comorbid PTSD and depression among nearly 30,000 persons who were rescue or recovery workers, lower Manhattan residents or area workers, or passersby on the morning of 9/11 a decade or more after the terrorist attacks. Findings are published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress.

Participants were enrollees in the World Trade Center Health Registry who had participated in three waves of data collection between 2003 and 2012. One-fifth of those studied, or 5,896 enrollees, screened positive for either PTSD or depression 10 years after 9/11, and just over half of those, or 2,985, screened positive for both conditions. In other words, persons with either condition were more likely to have both than either outcome alone.
read more here

Monday, January 5, 2015

Canada: Suicide is based on sense of hopelessness

This report is out of Canada about what families go through after losing someone they love to suicide.
Durham families haunted by the ‘why’ of suicide
January 5, 2015

Protective factors
• Feeling like you belong • Spending time with people you enjoy • Having good physical health • Feeling in control of your life • Being able to solve problems • Having your basic needs met (e.g. safe housing, stable income)
Risk factors
• Childhood trauma • Traumatic life experience • Being isolated and or feeling alone • Having alcohol, drug and/or gambling problems • Having a parent with a mental health problem or illness Source: Durham Region health department

“I felt that deep sense of responsibility had slipped through my hands. That was unbearable. We were supposed to be there for each other ... why did I not see it, why? The word ‘why’ has a lot of counterparts to it.”
And as much as the “why” haunts suicide survivor families, there are no simple answers.

According to the World Health Organization, someone takes their own life every 40 seconds, and for every one of them, there are many more people who attempt suicide. 

Let that sink in for a minute.  

Long enough.

Add in that almost every hour a US veteran has taken his/her own life. 

Families get the added misery of trying to figure out how they made it through combat, but not able to make it back home where they were loved.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sinister side of social media depression app

Ok, so what sounded like a good idea to many made the hair stand up on the back of too many necks when it involves using social media to predict depression.

Let's get honest here. I use Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus for Wounded Times but on a personal level, I don't get into any of them very often. I just don't have time. I work a full time job for a paycheck and then full time on tracking news reports. A lot of people I talk to don't use social media because their friends share everything from what they just ate for lunch to how many times their baby needed a diaper change.

Then there are people with a lot of "friends" on their list they don't know and real friends too busy to read every keystroke. What is worse is when someone does unload how they're feeling and no one responds.

There are times when social media pulls someone out of a huge jam, solves problems and changes lives for the better but most of the time, people end up wondering why no one cares about them or why they are not one of the chosen to receive what others get. It isn't how many friends you have, but what kind of friends you have that makes the difference in life.

There were some cases of depressed veterans with PTSD being talked off the ledge because of Facebook and it even happened a few times to servicemembers. Most of the time, it doesn't happen at all.

There are great sites with experts working on PTSD and proper peer support but then there are far too many with hacks more interested in their own glory pushing their followers to believe garbage tossed at them as if they have the answers to all the problems in life.

Now there is a far darker side to what sounded like a good idea and that how depressed people reaching out for help can be left victimized with no assurance from anyone.

The CDC already knew depression levels by state but what they don't mention is, after all these years they still haven't come up with a way of addressing clinical depression and that is in itself depressing.
CDC Data and Statistics
Feature: An Estimated 1 in 10 U.S. Adults Current Depression Among Adults
United States, 2006 and 2008. MMWR 2010;59(38);1229-1235. 
(this map includes revised state estimates)

Risks in Using Social Media to Spot Signs of Mental Distress
New York Times
DEC. 26, 2014
For one thing, said Dr. Allen J. Frances, a psychiatrist who is a professor emeritus at Duke University School of Medicine, crude predictive health algorithms would be likely to mistake someone’s articulation of distress for clinical depression, unfairly labeling swaths of people as having mental health disorders.

For another thing, he said, if consumers felt free to use unvalidated diagnostic apps on one another, it could potentially pave the way for insurers and employers to use such techniques covertly as well — with an attendant risk of stigmatization and discrimination.

The Samaritans, a well-known suicide-prevention group in Britain, recently introduced a free web app that would alert users whenever someone they followed on Twitter posted worrisome phrases like “tired of being alone” or “hate myself.”

A week after the app was introduced on its website, more than 4,000 people had activated it, the Samaritans said, and those users were following nearly 1.9 million Twitter accounts, with no notification to those being monitored. But just about as quickly, the group faced an outcry from people who said the app, called Samaritans Radar, could identify and prey on the emotionally vulnerable — the very people the app was created to protect.

“A tool that ‘lets you know when your friends need support’ also lets you know when your stalking victim is vulnerable #SamaritansRadar,” a Briton named Sarah Brown posted on Twitter. A week and a half after the app’s introduction, the Samaritans announced it was reconsidering the outreach program and disabled the app.

Munmun De Choudhury, an assistant professor at Georgia Tech. Credit Amber Fouts for The New York Times Social media posts offer a vast array of information — things as diverse as clues about the prevalence of flu, attitudes toward smoking and patterns of prescription drug abuse. Academic researchers, often in partnership with social media platforms, have mined this data in the hopes of gaining more timely insights into population-scale health trends. The National Institutes of Health, for instance, recently committed more than $11 million to support studies into using sites like Twitter and Facebook to better understand, prevent and treat substance abuse.
Dr. Eric Horvitz, the director of the Microsoft Research lab at Redmond, Wash., said his group’s studies demonstrated the potential for using social media as a tool to measure population-level depression patterns — as a complement to more traditional research methods.

“We could compute the unhappiest places in the United States,” Dr. Horvitz said. He added that social media analysis might also eventually be used to identify patterns of post-traumatic stress disorder immediately after events like tsunamis or terrorist attacks. “You can see the prospect of watching a news story break and using these tools to map the pulse of society,” he said.

But researchers generally agreed that it was premature to apply such nascent tools to individuals.

“People always ask, ‘Can you predict who is going to try to commit suicide?’ ” said Dr. Dredze, the Johns Hopkins researcher. “I think that’s way beyond what anyone can do.”
read more here

I buried a lot of people in my lifetime and most of the time I was depressed as hell about it. My ex-husband tried to kill me our last night together and after that level of betrayal, it crossed my mind that I didn't deserve to live. That was over 30 years ago before I met my current husband. Imagine if we had the internet back then. What would have happened if I actually shared that feeling online? Would my boss find out about what I managed to keep secret from him? What would he have done if he knew? I worked hard for him and he trusted my judgement but I have a feeling he would have treated me differently if he had known what I was going through.

It is up to me who I share things with and up to my judgement to decide if I trust them or not. I don't expect them to share my secrets with anyone the same way I cannot share secrets at all as a Chaplain. To think that someone I don't know is tracking what I tell a friend on Facebook makes me sick to my stomach. It limits what I do share and considering my profile has been viewed over 10 million times while Wounded Times reaches people around the world, I am picky what I share in the first place. As for the rest of it, there is always email and the thing called a phone people used to speak into instead of thumbing through life as if they are communicating.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Learning from Twitter Veterans with PTSD Tweets

One more thing worth thinking about when you read this article about a study on PTSD and tweets is the US military has been cutting troops, leaving them unemployed. That isn't the worst. They lost a part of who they are on top of that.

For far too many, this is all they ever wanted to do with their lives. It was part of who they are. Far more attached to their jobs than anyone else, these career choices came with being ready to die on the job. Military life is part of their identity.
Tracking traces of depression and PTSD in tweets
Beta Boston
Nidhi Subbaraman

Losing a job can take a toll on mental health. That’s a case that’s been made time and again.

For the first time, researchers are showing that this relationship can be seen in the geo-tagged tweets sent by Americans across the country.

At the Joint Statistical Meeting held in Boston last week, researchers from the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center and Johns Hopkins University presented early evidence that counties in the U.S. with higher rates of unemployment also had a higher proportion of Twitter users with depression-signifying language in their tweets.

That isn’t all. In counties with high populations of veterans, more Twitter users showed traces of post-traumatic stress disorder in their public posts. Counties with a lower median household income had a higher proportion of people who had tweets with signs of depression.
read more here

Linked from
Twitter opens a window on depression and PTSD Boston Globe AUGUST 19, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams Died at 63

Robin Williams dead at 63
Entertainment Inside Movies
By Nicole Sperling
Aug 11, 2014

Oscar winner and comedian Robin Williams died this morning at 63. While his publicist wouldn’t confirm that his death was a suicide, a rep did issue this statement. “Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

Williams, who won an Oscar for his supporting role in Good Will Hunting, will reprise his role as Theodore Roosevelt in the third installment of Night at the Museum this December. He had recently signed on to reprise his beloved role as Mrs. Doubtfire in a sequel to be directed by Chris Columbus, and was last seen opposite Annette Bening in the indie film The Face of Love. His sitcom The Crazy Ones premiered on CBS last fall, but was not picked up for a second season. read more here

Remembering Robin, Good Morning Vietnam, Rest in Peace Robin

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Depression claims life of gifted author Ned Vizzini

Popular young adult author Ned Vizzini, 32, dies in New York
Dec 21st 2013

NEW YORK (AP) - Ned Vizzini, a popular young adult author and television writer who wrote candidly and humorously about his struggles with depression, has committed suicide. He was 32.

Vizzini jumped off the roof of his parents' home in Brooklyn on Thursday, said his brother, Daniel Vizzini. New York City's medical examiner's office confirmed Friday that Vizzini took his own life and had sustained blunt impact injuries consistent with a fall. Daniel Vizzini said his brother had battled mental illness for much of his life and had "taken a turn for the worse" in recent weeks.

Ned Vizzini's autobiographical novel "It's Kind of a Funny Story" was adapted into a feature film of the same name. A resident of Los Angeles in recent years, he was a prolific author of fiction and nonfiction and spoke around the country about mental health and the healing effects of writing. On his website, he recommended Andrew Solomon's "The Noonday Demon" and the Dalai Lama's "The Art of Happiness" to readers coping with depression.

"At his signings, countless kids would approach him to say that he changed their lives - he gave them hope," his longtime publisher, Alessandra Balzer of Balzer + Bray, said in a statement Friday. Balzer + Bray is an imprint of HarperCollins.

John Green, Megan McCafferty and Sarah Dessen were among the authors mourning him on Twitter. In a telephone interview with The Associated Press, an emotional Judy Blume called him one of those people "who just touch your life in a certain way."
read more here

Sunday, September 29, 2013

United for Care to Petition for Medical Marijuana Amendment in Florida

UPDATE out of Maine
Medical Marijuana Law Changes Help PTSD Patients
WABI News 5
By Catherine Pegram
Posted Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Mainers living with post traumatic stress disorder will soon have another option to manage their symptoms.

Next week, state law will allow doctors to legally recommend medical marijuana for patients.

“Until I found medical marijuana, I was a ticking time bomb.”

When Marine Corps Sergeant Ryan Begin’s elbow was blown off by a roadside bomb in Iraq in 2004, that was just the beginning of his pain.

Doctors also diagnosed him with post traumatic stress disorder.

“Any situation you see, all you see is the danger side of things. You don’t just see a street, you see a road that could be full of bombs. You see drunk drivers, you see people being unsafe, you see all of these horrific things around any daily event.”

Begin finally found relief in marijuana, then started working with advocates like Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine so others could find relief, too.

“We ran in humvees and we dealt with IEDs and stuff, so when I go under an overpass now, I still – the hair on the back of my neck, it’s still nerve wracking. But now with the use of medical marijuana, it only occurs for a brief second, a couple of seconds. It’s there and then it flows through me. It’s not just beating me in the back of my eyeballs continually.”

Supporters, like former Marine Corps Corporal Bryan King, say legally allowing patients to use pot will help anyone dealing with PTSD.
read more here
There are many conditions medical marijuana helps treat. Alzheimer's disease, Epilepsy, Multiple sclerosis, Glaucoma, Arthritis, Hepatitis C, Cancer, Morning sickness among others but the ones we should talk about here are Depression and Anxiety because they are part of PTSD.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta of CNN recently wrote a great report about how he became informed and change his mind of legalizing it.

The medications veterans are on have been more about numbing them than helping them live a better quality of life. Pot helps their bodies calm down but does not leave them feeling as if they are zombies. It doesn't freeze out their emotions. Given a choice between the side effects of most PTSD medications the VA provides getting chilled out and having the munchies isn't that bad. Then there are more that actually do not work any better than a placebo.

If you think that people will just abuse pot, think again. People abuse all kinds of things but we do not make them illegal. We put laws on them like drinking and not being able to drive drunk. They get arrested. Medical pot should not be any different just as there are laws to control the use of all medications. The other factor to consider is that veterans are very respectful of the law. They don't want to break the laws of the nation they risked their lives to defend, so even if there is something out there that helps them, they will not seek it if it is illegal.

On the flip side they end up with medications that are more dangerous to them because the drugs the VA provides are legal. Do we want to help them or not? Do we want to numb them or take care of them to give them the best quality of life they can have?

If you are still against it then think of this. Most medications are taken from plants. Pot is a plant too. Just because a pharmaceutical corporation doesn't have their label on it, doesn't mean it isn't a good thing.
United for Care to Petition for Medical Marijuana Amendment in Florida

With John Morgan leading the charge, United for Care has said they will petition Florida’s Secretary of State in the 2014 election to add an amendment to the state’s constitution that will legalize medical marijuana.

“I have the finished product in front of me,” John Morgan, founder of Morgan and Morgan and chairman of United for Care, said. “I’m going to have it delivered to the Secretary of State office by Friday or early next week at the latest.”

United for Care have solicited approx. 700,000 signatures necessary to get the item added to the 2014 general election ballot.

United for Care, a statewide organization at the forefront of the push to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, and the subgroup behind the campaign, People United for Medical Marijuana, have solicited around 700,000 signatures necessary to get the item added to the 2014 general election ballot.
read more here

Thursday, August 29, 2013

NFL and players reach $765 million settlement over head injuries

NFL and players reach $765 million settlement over head injuries
NBC News
By Tracy Connor, Staff Writer
august 29, 2013

The National Football League has agreed to pay $765 million to settle lawsuits by former players over head injuries, it was announced Thursday.

The proposed agreement, which was hashed out during court-ordered mediation, will dedicate $675 million to a compensation fund for retired players who can show they have severe cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer's or Lou Gehrig's disease.

The amount each player gets will be determined by doctors and court administrators, and players can apply for more funds if their condition deteriorates over time.

Another $75 million will be spent on medical exams for retired players, and $10 million will be earmarked for a research and education fund.

The settlement covers dozens of lawsuits filed by more than 4,500 ex-players who accused the league of glorifying the violence of the sport while ignoring the health risks and failing to warn players that repeated concussions could cause brain damage or leave them prone to depression and suicide.
read more here

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Employers need to know PTSD comes in different levels

Employers need to know PTSD comes in different levels
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 12, 2013

After being without a steady paycheck for five years, I can tell you that looking for a job is hard. First you have to find a job you are qualified for. Then you have to figure out how to make your resume stand out, write a great cover letter and then find the will to repeat it as many times as you can during the day. If you are lucky, you get an interview but do did 30 others.

In my case, I am over 50. While that means I do have a lot of experience I can also prove that I love to learn. Last year I finished training at Valencia College with 5 certificates in Digital Media. I filmed over 40 events last year and created more of them on PTSD. I am a researcher and with almost 19,000 posts on this site, that is obvious. I've written thousands of articles and two books. I have over 25 years experience working in offices and in sales. I even worked at a church for two years as Administrator of Christian Education. I can't find a job! I don't fit in anywhere anymore even though most of my talents are showcased on Wounded Times.

We have to remember that employers and HR representatives are human too. They have their own ideas about people. Even if they don't admit it, they have their own bias. Right now, they have their own thoughts about veterans because of PTSD simplistic reports causing them to misunderstand what it is.

This may help. It is from the VA on how they compensate for "mental disorders."

A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication .............................. 0%

Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication .................. 10%

Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events) ............................ 30%

Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining Effective work and social relationships ………………..50%

Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships ...................................... 70%

Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought process or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation occupation, or own name …………………..100%
As you can see, they compensate at different levels simply because there are different levels of PTSD. It depends on the veteran and what their experiences are as well as how much it has changed their lives.

If a veteran is compensated between 70% and 100% they are usually not looking for work because frankly, they have PTSD taking over most parts of their lives. We also have to remember that while about a third of the over 2 million veterans have different levels of PTSD, it is being treated in almost 8 million others. Because of privacy laws, they do not have to disclose they have any type of mental health issue. Employers never know if the person sitting in front of them is being treated or even if they are being treated for depression. The rate of American adults being treated for depression is 1 out of 10. Again, all at different levels.

If a veteran has 50% or lower, he or she actually heals faster when they feel useful. The majority of veterans seek positions in public service. Anywhere from law enforcement, firefighters, emergency responders, medical and teaching. Why? Because they are happier doing for others. It is just part of their nature. Even veterans with high levels of PTSD heal better when they are getting involved with helping others.

So why wouldn't an employer want to hire a veteran? It is because they just don't understand them. It is time they were educated so they will not lose out on hiring some of the best employees available. If you are a veterans and have PTSD, send this to the HR department of the company you want to work for and let them know. If it doesn't help you land the job, it will at least open their eyes when the next veteran shows up.

Why should they hire a veteran?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Surviving sadness at Christmas

Surviving sadness at Christmas
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
December 20, 2012

When Christmas comes the images we see are of happy families, gathering together to open gifts and eat huge meals. We see them going shopping, wrapping gifts, writing out addresses on cards to people to let them know they are thinking of them in this season of "love" and all is right with the world. If you think that is what Christmas is then you won't want to read anymore of this. For too many families, Christmas is not a happy time.

Fifty years ago, I went to see Santa just like every other kid in America. I was thinking about toys because that was what my Mom told me he gave. I didn't ask him for the miracle my family needed. I don't remember what I asked him for, but I bet I asked him for a baby doll since that is what is sitting next to me in the next picture. It was 1962.
This is what Christmas looked like for me and my two brothers. My oldest brother Nick is sitting on the sofa and Warren is on the floor with me. If you think we didn't look too happy, we weren't. Our family was not what most families were but at age of 3 I didn't know that. To me, it was the only "normal" I knew.

We didn't have much money but my Mom did the best she could to buy us what we wanted, what she thought would make us happy even if it was just for a little while. She knew our lives were hard. My Dad was an angry alcoholic at that time. I didn't know other Dads were not like that until I got older and had more friends.

Nick was sweet and smart. He was my hero. He was always there, watching over me. Considering I was always getting into some kind of trouble, he had his hands full. I kept wondering who would be watching over him when I could hear him crying in our room. Three of us had to share the bedroom since we didn't have enough money to buy a house. We lived in an apartment in my uncle's house.

I thought if we had enough money, then we'd be happy and my Dad wouldn't be so mad all the time. I was wrong. By the time my parents bought their first house, my Dad had become violent. He beat my brother Nick most of the time and broke things around the house when he got an argument with my Mom. By then I knew that the way we lived was far from "normal" and I wanted what everyone else had.

In the summer of 1963 my family went to a drive-in movie. One of the things we did together that was a happy time. My Mom made bags of popcorn and we put on our pajamas, piled into the station wagon with our pillows and had our adventure.

When my Mom went to buy sodas, my Dad stayed in the car and my brothers took me to the play ground areas. I wasn't allowed to go into the big kids area by myself. One night, I got away from them, headed to the huge slide, climbed to the top and suddenly I realized it was terrifying without my brother Nick. I froze at the top, clinging to the hand rails. The kid behind me was yelling at me to go, but I couldn't. He pushed me hard on my right side and I went over the left side of the slide. I fell head first onto the concrete. Nick found me laying on the ground and thought I was dead.

Long story short, after the hospital stay, my scull was cracked and I had what we now know as traumatic brain injury. I couldn't talk right anymore but no one connected the changes I went through to the accident.

Things at home were better for a long time. My Dad wasn't drinking much and I wasn't waking up in the middle of the night crying because of the fights. Then it all started again. By Christmas, I wanted peace back so I bashed my head against the wall over and over to try and crack it again thinking my Dad would stop hating and start loving again.

Growing up I looked like everyone else but did not live like everyone else. My Dad stopped drinking when I was 13. He never drank after that. He had a lot of heart attacks and strokes but said he wasn't going to put his family through that again. He passed away at 58. My brother Warren died in his 40's, Nick died at 56 and my Mom passed away at 85.

I've had some years when there was plenty of money to buy gifts and send boxes of Christmas cards out just as I've had years when there was not enough money to pay bills. When most people went to the malls and checked sales, I avoided them.

If you are having a hard time this Christmas, know you are not alone. Here is some advice for surviving sadness at Christmas.

First remember that just because we celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, it is not the day he was born and it is not the day the wise men showed up with gifts. Joseph and Mary didn't buy Jesus gifts. They gave Him love. He was born into poverty and spent His three years preaching living as a homeless man depending on the kindness of strangers while giving gifts far beyond the tangible. He gave healing, hope and compassion that lasted well beyond a day. He didn't celebrate Christmas but He did celebrate life even though He knew how His life would end and when.

Some want to pretend that the way Christ was crucified was not the way His time on earth was supposed to end. They are missing the real powerful reality of He knew exactly how much He was going to suffer and exactly how many people would turn against Him but he still healed the sick, made the blind see, preached about loving and compassion even though He knew none of that would be there for Him in the end. John was the only friend staying by His side when the rest abandoned Him. His last words were about forgiving.

Christmas shouldn't be about buying gifts or regretting we don't have any to give. It should be about what true love is and what we give that cannot be bought, broken or worn out. It is about giving real love.

There was a time when I thought people really cared about me when my mailbox was full of cards and people showing they were thinking of me. Much like growing up was different than how it seemed, so were these empty thoughts. When I sent out a lot of cards, I got a lot back. The last few years have been financially hard and there hasn't been extra money for cards or stamps. This year I received a total of 5 cards. That made me stop and think about how foolish I had been thinking the world would fall apart if I didn't buy stuff for other people.

They don't care any more or less of me than they would otherwise. Most of the people I know don't really know me, what I do, how I feel, what I need or what I want out of life any more than I know them. Just as it was when I was a kid, normal for one family is not normal for others. Stop thinking that this one day means more than any other day.

Christ should live in our hearts, our deeds, our giving what we have to those in need in great and small ways as long as it is done with love. When you give anything, expect nothing back other than the feeling you get inside doing it. Don't think that you will matter more or less to the people in your life who do really care about you. If you have pain, share it because someone out there will know exactly what you're talking about and feeling just as alone as you do while no one else will understand. Let them know you do understand and give them a gift that will help the rest of their lives.

My gift to you is forgiveness. You didn't deserve to be treated the way you were in your life anymore than I did as a child. You are not responsible for what other people do anymore than I was. Let go of what happened in your own lives by making peace with it and forgive people who harmed you as well as yourself. You are not just some name in an address book that gets pulled out once a year with a check box indicating you sent them a card last year. The people in your life are in your life everyday. The friends you have were strangers at one time, so if you ran out of friends, there is a stranger today that can be your friend tomorrow. What you think is "normal" for everyone else is not really what it seems so stop thinking everyone else is happy, surrounded by love and an abundance of all they want.

I looked like every other kid 50 years ago and asked Santa for what all girls my age asked for but I needed a lot more than he could deliver. What I got sustained me through every heartache and hardship. I got hope that tomorrow will be better than this day and if not, then yesterday didn't destroy me. I survived it then and can do it again today. So can you.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Drug-Resistant Depression Improves With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Reminder, nothing works for everyone but something will. You don't have to stay the way you are and you can heal the way thousands of other veterans did because they didn't give up. I know it is frustrating but keep trying different ways to heal until you find what works for you.
Drug-Resistant Depression Improves With Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Patients unresponsive to antidepressants can benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy, and their depression may even enter remission, says a new study.
By Jessica Firger
Everyday Health Staff Writer
FRIDAY, Dec. 7, 2012

In the United States, depression is the leading cause of disability, affecting 15 million people each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. And while many people with depression who are prescribed antidepressants improve — and even go into remission — some remain unresponsive to drug treatment.

Researchers from the University of Bristol in Great Britain are reporting that a certain type of talk therapy had a dramatic impact on individuals in their study whose depression didn't respond to drugs. Based on their findings, they recommend that clinicians treating depression suggest cognitive behavioral therapy to patients as the next course of action, when antidepressants are ineffective.

Cognitive behavior therapy is a type of psychological counseling that teaches a person how to think in healthy ways.
read more here

You will still have to be treated for PTSD but this may help with the depression part of it. Talk to your doctor.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Fort Hood soldier shares struggle with suicidal thoughts

Sensing session: Fort Hood soldier shares struggle with suicidal thoughts
Fort Hood Public Affairs Office
Courtesy Story
By Heather Graham-Ashley
III Corps and Fort Hood Public Affairs

Courtesy Photo
Spc. Robert Kearney, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) at Fort Hood, Texas, holds the Buddy Card issued to all Wrangler Brigade troops. The card reminds soldiers to watch out for each other and be a buddy to their comrades. Kearney has already taken advantage of help offered at Fort Hood.
(Photo by Heather Graham-Ashley)

FORT HOOD, Texas -- During a sensing session here with III Corps and Fort Hood Commanding General Lt. Gen. Don Campbell Jr., Spc. Robert Kearney stood up and asked a question.

"I wanted to know why it was just senior enlisted and senior leaders talking [about seeking help]," Kearney said. "Why aren't E-4s and below talking?"

The general was meeting with leaders and soldiers from the 4th Sustainment Brigade Monday, following the brigade's loss of three soldiers in less than a week. Campbell wanted to dialogue with soldiers and get their feedback about how to help. When Kearney posed his question, Campbell asked him if he would talk about his story.

Kearney talked.

"I was depressed," Kearney said.

The wheeled mechanic was struggling with a divorce and estranged from his children when he reported for a doctor's appointment last summer.

"It was just a regular doctor's appointment," Kearney said.

On the questionnaire that all patients complete before each visit, Kearney came to the question that asked if the patient thought about hurting him or herself.

Kearney marked "yes."
read more here

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Canadian Military Suicide study supports depression-suicide link

Major depression drives suicidal thinking in soldiers and vets, new Canadian study shows

Sharon Kirkey
2 hours ago

Soldiers and veterans seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder should be screened closely for major depression, say the authors of a new Canadian study that shows depression is the single greatest driver of suicidal thinking.

Appearing in this month’s issue of The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, the study of 250 actively serving Canadian Forces, RCMP members and veterans comes as record numbers of suicides are occurring among American troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq, and as the number of suicides reported among Canadian Forces personnel last year reached its highest since 1995.

In vets diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, about half also experience symptoms of major depressive disorder at some point in their lives, the authors of the new study write.

But “the task of predicting which people may be at an increased risk of completing suicide is a complex and challenging care issue,” they said.
read more here