How to Mood Map #MoodMapping

I created ‘How to Mood Map’ as part of a project for the NHS in Lincolnshire, UK in 2014.

If you click on the fuzzy photo below, a link will take you to a printable pdf.

Please let me know if you find this useful.

Also, please get in touch if you feel you can help me make this site even more useful.

Brain Health Course with Roger Smith

Brain Health – It is what we all need.

I hope you can join us at Folks & Fables Cafe, Long Acre, Bingham, Nottinghamshire  NG13 8AFBrain Health - Feb 2018 at Folks and Fables


 

Choosing high energy and positivity = ‘Busy’ mood. “Today, while I can still see one starfish alive, washed up on this massive scorched beach, I’m going to continue to check they know which way it is back to the sea.”

We tend to react to stress by changing our mood to allow us to take the actions needed. Actions to protect ourselves and/or actions to protect those we love.

However much stress we experience, we will still be in one of the 4 basic moods described in Mood Mapping. (If not familiar with Mood Mapping please download my free ‘How to Mood Map‘ pdf.)

The names of the moods have changed over the years. Personally, I have settled on; Anxious, Busy, Calm and Down as the names for these 4 basic moods. Yes, we may have many sub-moods and feelings, but as humans we will we either choose to be in one of those moods or end up in one by default.

“…starfish on a beach in hot sun”? How do we react when we see our friends in danger?

We may:

  • Rush to their aid in a state of HIGH energy with low positivity… in an Anxious mood,
  • Freeze in a state of low energy with low positivity… in a Down mood,
  • Stand back in a state of low energy with HIGH positivity, with a belief that someone else will intervene and we will thereby minimise risk to ourselves… in a Calm mood,
  • Think carefully, consult with experienced people we trust, in a state of HIGH energy with HIGH positivity then take decisive action… in a Busy mood.

Now, if your friends are NOT aware they are in danger and a change in behaviour could help them massively, then you may well appear crazy and risk being (re-)labelled as bipolar. In the analogy, a starfish may be unaware it is in danger or perhaps not want to be thrown back into the surf.

The downside of a busy mood is that if I (or you perhaps) get stuck in one then we can appear manic to others as it tends to look like an obsession with excess focus on one challenge to be overcome.

I have a very good friend, I’ll call G and he’ll know it is him, who insists that we can always choose our mood. I love that idea and always believed it until an incident I describe in SP/SS that convinced me that we can indeed always choose our moods (and perhaps actions) until we stop believing we can choose. That debate never ends as ultimately it is what we believe and our attitude that will shape all our futures.

Whether I choose to be a rescuer at my own expense or whether this is a role that has been thrust upon me, I cannot tell.  I just know that I prefer ‘Busy’ rather than ‘Down’ or ‘Anxious’, while a little Calmness now and then ensures I am not getting stuck in a mood.

If you have read and understood the above then you are ‘my kind of person’ so please do stay in touch… and can I help you?

How we were getting well and staying well back in 2019

Listening to, or watching, mainstream media (MSM) in 2021 seems to be increasing people’s level of fear. This messes with our mood/emotions, which in turn can weaken our immune system. As I said in an earlier blog, avoiding MSM can leave space for new even more frightening memes from social media to take hold.

I am therefore recommending some older memes from before the 2020/21 gloom (remember a meme is any idea that can be accurately copied, and I’d say these two fit that description)

There’s something special about you.

Your body is designed to adapt to this planet.

If you…

  • have been feeling gloomy lately
  • would rather live with less fear
  • want to repair your body, mind and emotional health quicker
  • desire long-term good health…

…then please take notes, ideally with an old-fashioned pen and paper, from one of the best ever lectures on how to get well and stay well… with minimal medical intervention. It is 60 minutes. He starts off saying about ‘God’ – It is okay, it is a talk about health not religion, its just John’s way… stick with him… he’s great!

Remember: What happens to each of us depends a lot on what we each believe. Believe we have the intelligence within us to adapt and thrive when we ignore the crazy new ideas and stick with what has always worked.

 

 

 

A Different Approach – ToxaPrevent

After about 11 years med-free = no prescription medications at all, I accepted a prescribed antipsychotic drug to help me sleep. I have found that I sleep a little more when I take this, yet each day I am so very tired and doing (what seems to me) to be far too little.

TOXAPREVENT ‘Tim Animation’ – “Animation about the toxins, heavy metals and histamine that affect your digestive tract and skin.”

I have met with a nutritional therapist who has suggested that my troubles may be largely due to excess toxins. If this is so, then I need a way to get these toxins out of my body (and especially out of my brain). Can this be done?

Perhaps the best hope is with a product called ToxaPrevent(R). This film explains about toxins in the body and how ToxaPrevent may do exactly what I need it to do.

The instructions I have are to take both the powder (for detoxing from upper digestive system) and the capsule(s) (for detoxing from lower digestive system) 30 minutes before each meal.

I have just taken first dose of each, so now to cook, eat and see how I feel later.

Everyone (even Dr Bruce Lipton) is talking about a virus. I’ll risk sharing my less expert thoughts…

  1. Does talk of a pandemic and self-isolation mess up people’s moods and make them more vulnerable to all illnesses and disorders?
  2. Is the following too controversial?

As Bruce Lipton points out, corona-viruses cause the common cold as well as ‘flu.

We have probably all been infected by corona-viruses, when catching colds, most winters, as tends to happen in our early years. As our immune system matures, if well-nourished and not too stressed we rarely catch colds or ‘flu.

The amount of harm any virus can do to us is related to our cortisol levels (as well as our nutritional status (i.e. have we been eating real food and taking any essential supplements such as vitamins C & D)).

To keep cortisol low; avoid stress and ideally spend time with friends or family and most especially we others who have a keen interest in health and longevity.

Here is a link to Bruce Lipton’s words being read by a man on a boat!. Why man on boat? …because I do not know yet how to link from here to his original article.

How I am monitoring my sleep these days

Sleep and Mood are so much linked. I was told this again and again while in hospital in ’97, ’98, ’99.

How to sleep well and monitoring hours slept was a big part of the self-management courses I started attending in June 2000 and went on to teach for the next few years.

I became so good at glancing at the clock every time I woke that I could plot how long I was sleeping to the nearest few minutes and did this for about 12 years. This helped me manage medications and gradually reduce the amount I needed.

It was sometime after coming off all the medications that I came to appreciate the habit I had of looking at the clock the moment I woke, any time, day or night, might be less than ideal.

Just recently I have adopted a new way of sleep monitoring. It is not so precise yet, for me, is very easy. I’d like to share with you.

How I am monitoring my sleep these days

How much influence caffeine has on sleep varies a lot from person-to-person. Many people cope easily with lots of caffeine as teenagers, then by 30, 40, 50 years old suddenly find that coffee late in the day disrupts their sleep. Timing of caffeine intake has certainly been a factor for me for decades.

I was not sleeping well for the first half of 2019, then decided to record every time I had any caffeine. I log how much and at what time for coffee, tea, dark chocolate and cocoa. The immediate effect was that I consumed a little less caffeine and within days I was sleeping better.

I did not plot these results until a few months after moving house and finding I was waking too often in the night. Then the idea of plotting my first drink of the day came to me. This tells me a lot about my sleep because one way I manage my mood is to go to bed when I am tired which most nights is about the same time. Then because I almost always make a hot drink within minutes of getting up, I had near enough been recording my getting up time.

It was a visiting friend who said they were unable to tolerate the chemicals from new carpets that prompted me to keep my bedroom window open all day and all night. The graph reveals a step change from the first 24 hours I kept that window open.

Sleep and MoodHere are just a few of the things I find influence my sleep:

  • Caffeine
  • Fresh air
  • Cool bedroom with enough bedding to stay warm
  • Distanced walked in a day (especially in the evening) matches well with hours slept
  • Not eating late
  • No excessive drinking in evening
  • Darkness – This did not use to matter to me, but sleeping at the front of my new house on a road with only a little traffic at night – each set of car headlights seemed to disrupt my sleep, so now, no gaps in curtains.

 

34 Days without Wheat and Milk #bipolar #gluten #electro-sensitivity

Last month I shared’ “I am in agreement with others who study recovery from mood troubles that a first step is to have a long trial of no wheat and no cow’s milk/cow dairy” and, “Being half-hearted in eliminating wheat (usually barley and rye products too) and dairy rarely works.”

I was already avoiding all dairy produce. Within a few days of clearing my house of all wheat containing foods and choosing not to eat any of these anywhere, my gut discomfort mostly disappeared. I was no longer being woken by gut pains.

Was this the cure for my sleep and mood troubles? Not all, as soon as the gut pain went the mild tinnitus I had been experiencing became far worse. Waking in the early hours the whistling sounds in my ears was as bad as almost any gut pain. Along with the whistling a feeling I used to only get if standing near a microwave oven or laboratory magnetic resonance equipment was now troubling me in my own home. Different people have different responses to microwaves and powerful magnets. For me, this feeling has always been like my head being crushed sideways in a vice.

Moving my bed downstairs eased both the whistling and the crushing pain. A few nights later putting the mattress on the floor helped more. Then removing the mattress and sleeping on a thick blanket on the concrete kitchen floor helped even more. By now, every time I went upstairs the whistling and crushing pain returned.

Using my laptop I could tell that the whistling and pain was related to the number and strength of WiFi signals in different parts of my house. I spoke with some of my nearest neighbours who agreed to turn their WiFi and a WiFi enabled printer off overnight. This helped and the first night with that printer off was, for me, one of the longest and most refreshing sleeps this year.

This did not solve my troubles. Day-after-day I just seemed to be becoming more electro-sensitive. It was not just WiFi. I needed changes to the wiring and ways I was using electricity in my own home.

I am continuing to investigate local sources of the man-made radiation and how to reduce their effects on my wellbeing. I need to do this so that I can again use the upstairs of my house.

What about my dairy and wheat experiment?

Other than tea with milk on 3 occasions, I have been 100% free of dairy produce, which has helped enormously with my breathing.

I had zero wheat/oats/barley/rye for 34 days, then had a portion of chip-shop chips, which I normally avoid as I consider the types of fat and deep frying process to be detrimental to health. I think these chips were contaminated with gluten as many chip-shop chips are. That evening I had a tiny glass of beer. I slept well, but woke feeling dreadful. The next evening I finished the 500ml bottle of beer. I did not sleep well. I was awake from 12:30am and felt extremely unwell. I won’t go into detail here about my next 12 trips to the toilet over the next 24 hours, other than to say these were very much non-standard.

I had kidded myself that the German beer would be free of gluten. It was not. I now saw the allergy advice on the label was very clear. “Barley: contains gluten”.

Why do we keep on wanting dairy and wheat/barley/rye even when again and again we have proved, to ourselves, these are damaging our health?

I used to say that my desire was largely driven by habits and social pressures as most people around me continue to consume these many times every day.

There is also the calming/relaxing effect from morphine like compounds from partially digested dairy and wheat.

After what happened over the 35 days I am thinking about one more ‘advantage’ of consuming wheat: It was only when I stopped both dairy and wheat consumption that my electro-sensitivity became so bad as to almost totally disable me. As soon as I consumed the contaminated chips and clearly labelled beer the tinnitus and crushing pain lessened, with my new obsession with protection from man-made Electro-Magnetic-Fields (EMF) subsiding.

It is like with physical pain when our attention is always drawn only to the greatest or most acute pain. I am wondering if others have noticed what I have. Already being free of all prescribed medications/drugs and then avoiding the morphine-like-compounds associated with dairy and gluten, my brain increasingly noticed the man-made radiation ‘soup’.

This has left me with another question: How many bipolar diagnosis are linked in some way to exposure to EMF, WiFi and now perhaps ‘smart-meter’ radiation.

Thinking back to my own hospitalization in 1997, mobile (cell) phones were still a rarity in the UK. In the 5 days leading up my hospitalization I was away from home and had borrowed a mobile phone, which I used excessively, holding it pressed up against my ear. Prior to this I’d had very little contact with mobiles. I certainly am not claiming that mobile phones alone can cause severe mood disorders. I am suggesting mobiles and other sources of EMF may be contributors to many, if not all, modern psychiatric troubles.

What do you think?

I am going back to zero dairy and gluten. I am also admitting that the risks of gluten from beer are too high for me at this time.

I’ll close, as I did a month ago, by saying that the first step in recovery from almost anything would seem to be getting out of denial and accepting we may need to do something radically different. On Friday, I have called a group together to discuss the effects of EMF and what we can do to better understand its effects and how we may each need to respond to the increasing number of sources and the strength of these new sources, such as the role out ‘smart meters’.

 

If diagnosed as bipolar, how much might lowering unhealthy carbs while increasing healthy fats help? #LCHF #notjustbipolar

Does HCLF cause mood troubles? Does HFLC help to eliminate mood troubles?

A bit of a generalization here:

  • Countries that have been early adopters the Standard American Diet (often called the SAD diet) have far higher rates of mood disorder, including bipolar.
  • Countries that seem to have resisted the Standard American Diet or have been slow to adopt it have far lower rates of mood disorder, including bipolar.

This does not prove anything as there are probably hundreds of other factors. It is probably just as true that countries that have more televisions per capita have higher rates of depression. This does not show TV causes depression but may, at most, suggest some weak link between affluence and more mood troubles.

Healthy brains are made mainly from healthy fat and healthy cholesterol. In whatever way we might choose to deprive ourselves of healthy fat and healthy cholesterol we will run into brain health troubles. Choosing not to eat cholesterol does not seem to be a problem. If eating good food a healthy human liver will make healthy cholesterol as needed. (Recent research indicates that almost any cell in the body can also make healthy-cholesterol if it is a well-nourished cell.) Depriving ourselves of essential fats (and I believe, going very low on some of the non-essential fats) will lead to brain deterioration and mood troubles.

Energy: The bulk of the energy in our food and drink always has to come from either fat or carbs. (It has become clearer-and-clearer that getting more than about 20% of our energy from protein damages the liver, kidneys, may even increase the likelihood of diabetes) We need to think, ‘fat or carbs?’ This is a decision I believe most people need to make.

The S.A. Diet has for a few decades been high in unhealthy fats and exceptionally high in unhealthy carbs. This is a lethal combination for both the body and the brain.

I have been teaching about diet for a long time and used to warn people against all sorts of things that I now tend to suggest people investigate eating more of, such as saturated fat (although I stress the importance of this being from organic farming). Examples include butter if you like the taste of it or coconut oil for the strict vegans. Moderation is still important, as you have to stick within what your digestive system, liver and blood vessels can handle in any one hit.

What have I seen in people around me? Those consuming higher levels healthy fats and very little of the least healthy (highly processed) carbs are both physically and mentally fitter and are better at the sort of thing Tom Wootton talks about, which is to be able to function well almost regardless of emotional upsets.

And me, personally? It has been a long road, in which I have used many tools and done a lot of experimenting on myself. I am convinced that consuming quite a lot of healthy fat every day has been doing me good. It is, for me, just one of hundreds of dietary and other changes I needed to make. What does not work for me is when I add refined carbs on top of my high-ish-fat plant-based meals.

Example: So far today…

  • The only food I had before driving to a meeting in Nottingham was 20g of 100% chocolate (less than 1% sugar and very high in saturated fat)
  • I next ate between 2pm and 3pm when I had a large ripe avocado, olives, walnuts and loads of vegetables, finished off with another 20g of that same chocolate.
  • Currently, I wait to see how I feel before my next meal and if I feel I need it I’ll include fatty fish or two ORGANIC eggs. If I don’t feel in need of food from animals I don’t have those. It is better for me not to always eat the way I was brought-up and almost certainly better for the planet if I only eat what I need. I’m not eating much meat at all these days, partly because it is not that easy to get organic meat around here and partly because I just don’t seem to need it like I used to.
  • Last night I had some organic beans late in the evening and slept soundly – I may do the same this evening. I am currently considering organic beans as a source of healthy carbs, although I know purists on HFLC might avoid beans.

[I like chocolate – I don’t eat chocolate everyday, else, for me, it can become an addiction!]

How important is it to get onto HFLC or at least make a decision about how to eliminate the most unhealthy of the carbs? I think an even more important meme to keep in our heads, whether or not we have been said to be bipolar, is,

The most important decision we make each day is what we put in our mouths.

The more I think about this the surer I become that it is so true.

As a last thought on this subject for now: I find that each day… what I eat that day;

    • influences my moods,
    • has a huge impact on how I well I can function,
    • has the biggest impact on my energy levels
    • and usually can provide good and steadier energy levels allowing me to achieve a great deal
    • and be something like the person I want to be…

…the next day.

—————————————————–

As I often do, I am going to finish by saying that just because medical people said I had a mood disorder and I no longer take any prescription medications that does not mean it is easy to stop taking these. Getting the right food undoubtedly helps, just be aware there are so many other lifestyle changes that may also be needed before any changes of prescription medications. Make sure you have the best doctors you can find and talk with them.

Bipolar Driving Analogy #Wootton

Yesterday, in ‘Psychology Today’, my good friend, Tom Wootton posted a useful short article called, “Bipolar Treatment Is More Than Just Tools To Lower Intensity

Here are a few words from it; “I see too many people who have never learned yet convince themselves that they know how to drive. When their mania gets stronger than they can handle they don’t even have the good sense to put on the brakes. And then, when someone else puts on the brakes for them, they go back to imagining that they know how to drive. Their repeated failure to actually learn the necessary steps is just reinforcing the false notion among everyone around them that it cannot be done.

In the work I have been doing I have found car and driving analogies to be really useful. It fits with the picture millions of people have of recovery, or even everything about life being a journey.

Most people reading this will have passed a driving test after many hours of instruction from a tutor with a great deal of experience. How many of us have done such intensive training for managing our moods and our long-term well-being?

Regarding side-effects of psychiatric drugs

Dear reader,

I am glad you found my answer to your question of, “When taking Carbamazepine I have heard it said to only have bottled water to avoid chlorine that that may interacts with Carbamazepine – is this true and important?” As you say, it is worth sharing these thoughts on Carbamazepine and other psychiatric drugs, as others may also find this discussion useful so I will post what I was saying here:

Answer:

It is worth looking at the side-effects of carbamazepine in the link below. I have heard hundreds of stories of weird interactions like the one about chlorine and carba… These may or may not have some truth in them but 99% of the time such ideas are trivial. The drugs are toxic so, in the very long-term, the more we take the sicker we get.

How to help your mum?… The food she is having is likely to be cheap rather than good, so maybe check on what supplements she is having to make up for some of the deficiencies. E.g. Any sort of omega-3 supplement? Omega-3 being good for the heart, brain and joints.

Drugs

All drugs have lots of side-effects. A simple way of looking at psychiatric drugs is that they are;

  • intended to make us less anxious and therefor have to…
  • cause us to have less energy
  • this requires them to be toxic
  • and so they cause just a little damage with every dose

It is the less energy bit that explains how they work. If you think of a mood map, then less energy takes us down and out of the anxious quadrant and into the ‘low’ quadrant. The drugs work when the dose is low enough to take the edge off the anxiety such that we can;

  • better explain our troubles to a good listener
  • listen to good advice from people who have been through similar troubles

The trouble with this approach include;

  • The dose is usually too strong (Dr Moncrief writes about this)
  • Drugs are used for too long (All were originally intended for short term use by the scientists who created them – but the marketing people know there is more money to be made when patients fail to recover)
  • Addiction gets worse with time as our bodies adapt to expect to have to cope with toxins everyday
  • Damage is cumulative

These troubles are all obvious, but the other two troubles that make the drug route pretty useless are;

  • We struggle to find good listeners
  • The health service puts us in front of people who have not been through what we are going through and so their advice is rarely much use

So, when you read the side-effects of carbamazepine… really, pretty similar to most psychiatric drugs. These drugs are never going to be part of a cure unless short-term and matched up with talking (listening/talking) therapies.

http://www.drugs.com/sfx/carbamazepine-side-effects.html

I have to add that it is almost always dangerous to come off any drug quickly. Change has to start with better lifestyle and that usually needs to include better nutrition.

 

Bipolar In Order by Tom Wootton – A Book Review

Bipolar In Order – 223 pages – Tom Wootton 2010 – 5 Star Amazon Review

Bipolar In Order is based on a very simple premise: we can learn and grow to the point that we see bipolar as an advantage in our lives. (Most of the following appears on the amazon UK site where I added my review)

bipolar-in-order

Wootton takes on the treatment, basic misunderstandings, and assumptions that are in the way of achieving Bipolar In Order. Living with bipolar and depressive conditions is never underestimated in Tom Wootton’s books. By examining all states of depression, mixed states, and mania unflinchingly and deeply he arrives at conclusions that challenge the current paradigm.

The author insists on a higher level of Insight, Freedom, Stability, Self-mastery, and Equanimity as end goals that are achievable. Asked time and again why someone would resist treatment, Wootton states that the most important thing to offer is a life worth living! Expecting someone to park their brain in the garage like an unused Ferrari is not an appealing treatment model.

Rather than receiving the training, therapy, mind skills and behavioural control that is the foundation of real stability, current models of “avoidance therapy” try to mask and remove symptoms that will never go away. Living in fear of the wide ranging states of consciousness and mood that those with mental conditions experience is not a life worth living. Confronting these conditions head on, identifying one’s strengths and learning self-mastery is a more viable solution proposed by Bipolar In Order.

Book Review:

Bipolar in Order is Wootton’s best book yet. It is a distillation of his unorthodox views of what it means to be bipolar. Bipolarity brings with it a wide range of moods and emotions, from suicidal depression to ecstatic mania and everything in between. Conventional wisdom advises bipolars to maintain their moods somewhere in the middle, flattening out their emotions so that they are neither too high nor too low. Wootton shifts the paradigm: it is not the feelings, but our response to them that is the problem. The feelings actually enrich our lives and deepen our humanity. Using introspection and the other tools outlined in Bipolar in Order, Wootton believes that bipolars can learn to control their outward behavior, allowing them to enjoy the entire spectrum of their emotions.

First UK review:

Essential reading for anyone working in the mental health field

“I very much enjoyed reading ‘Bipolar In Order’ and this is one of the books I now show to people when I am training ‘Understanding Mood and the Bipolar Diagnosis’.

My own journey has a lot in common with Wootton’s approach of building a team and moving on with life without waiting for all troublesome feelings, thoughts etc to go away.

This book is a must for anyone working in the mental health field to understand just how differently it is possible to view mood disorder and how successfully difficulties can be overcome by someone with hope, determination and realism.”

Glutinous Bipolar – Gluten and Bipolar Symptoms

Glutinous Bipolar – Gluten and Bipolar Symptoms

It is 16 years since I was last detained on a psychiatric ward, 15 years since I learned how to self-manage and stay away from psychiatrists. It is now more than 4 years since I last took any psychiatric drug.

Today, it feels like I am ‘back to square one’ with words from a 1960’s song in my head.

Lock me away and don’t allow the day, here inside, where I hide with my loneliness…

Everything was going well, so why am I feeling this way?

It was cold and dark with a bitter wind. I was walking back to the train station when I got some bad news on my phone just as a welcoming fish ‘n’ chip shop came into view. I had promised a friend I would not eat chips. I went in and bought a sausage instead.

Somehow I convinced myself that any gluten in the sausage would not matter. This was not good food for me, but it was hot and seemed to be what I needed to deal with the cold and bad news. Was this self-harm? Were things going too well? Could it be my “inner saboteur” getting the better of me?

After more than a month with no gluten at all, with minimal pain, great positivity and plenty of sustained energy, just an hour after eating the gluten… my world was starting to fall apart.

Three days of misery followed with stupid coffee drinking and loads of dairy produce. Three days of binging, increasing gut pains and foggy and confused thinking.

Was it always gluten? It is 19 years since I was prescribed medications to calm my guts, but it was one of these that made my insomnia worse and led to the psychiatric drugs. These sedated me and in many ways made my life easier, but all the time they were allowing more gut damage to occur.

Each new doctor said it was all in my head and nothing to do with my gut, so I had to figure it out for myself. Now it seems I can only survive and thrive if I can learn from my mistakes and so avoid gluten regardless of what life throws at me.

Food and Mood / Natural Nutrition courses

Low fat diets damage brains #Perlmutter

Teaching about nutrition and mental health since 2005, I have found that all my students who have had mood disorders (who have told me what they eat) have been on low-fat diets. Some simply choose low-fat options from the supermarket, while many have had periods of extreme low-fat dieting. Others simply choose to eat lots of fruit and avoid foods such as butter because they believe fruit = good / butter = bad.

None of this is surprising as food companies, drug companies, governments and health services tell us not to eat too much fat.

One change I noticed recently is more of my students are now already aware that the brain consists mainly of fat (65% to 75% depending on how it is measured) and this helps in explaining why healthy fats are necessary to allow our bodies to support and repair brain cells. What is less well-known is that healthy fats and in particular those rich in omega-3 allow you to create new healthy brain cells regardless of your age. This is contrary to what doctors were being taught up until a few years ago. Your current doctor may be unaware of this important new finding.

Part of recovering from any mood disorder is, I believe, to get expert nutritional advice on how much fat is likely to be good for you and how to get a full range of healthy fats into your diet. This is something I can help you to get to grips with, so please contact me if you are seriously considering dietary changes to help stabilize/improve your mood.

If you have not been convinced so far of how essential fat is for a healthy brain then please pay special attention to at least the first ONE MINUTE of this interview of Dr Perlmutter…

You can find out more about nutrition and brain health by visiting:

Dr Mercola’s website 

I have just posted a direct link to the full Mercola Perlmutter Interview       22nd January 2015

Bipolar or Adrenal Fatigue Part 1 of 3

Bipolar or Adrenal Fatigue

There are many causes of variable energy levels. If you used to be OK and now you are not so OK, you may be wondering what is going wrong.

How you describe your struggles can make a huge difference in how you recover and get back to something like your usual self.

I am only just starting to study Adrenal Fatigue, so bear with me as I make tentative efforts to show the similarities and differences between this and bipolar disorder diagnosis. I intend to come back to this article and make it more detailed and precise as I learn more about Adrenal Fatigue. In fact I am going to publish this only part written and add to it bit by bit when I have the energy to do so.

Similarities and differences:

ENERGY:

  • Both diagnoses involve changes in energy level
  • Adrenal Fatigue is likely to affect you to some extent every day until you deal with whatever is causing it. Bipolar disorder is said to come and go and is said to allow you to have days that are symptom free. If you are running out of energy during daylight hours when you did not used to run out of energy then this is likely to be related to poor functioning of the adrenal glands.
  • If you are suffering from Adrenal Fatigue you are likely to have or seem to have periods of higher energy as you are likely to need to be very busy while you do have energy to catch up for when you do not have energy. If you have Adrenal Fatigue and are not dealing with it then you will find these periods of higher energy get shorter and perhaps less frequent. The bipolar diagnosis does not necessarily predict shorter and less frequent high energy periods.

MEDICAL TESTS:

  • There are no medical tests for bipolar diagnosis. Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric label that covers a range of physical and psychological troubles. It cannot be detected by brain scans or blood tests. Bipolar is diagnosed by observing someone who appears to have variable moods and involves asking questions of that person, their family and people who come in contact with them. To a psychiatrist or similarly informed doctor anyone with Adrenal Fatigue could be thought to have bipolar disorder.
  • Adrenal Fatigue blood tests – The adrenal glands produce cortisol and a hormone (maybe technically better described as a hormone precursor) known as DHEA. The adrenals produce the ideal level of these chemicals to match your body’s requirements. Both these naturally occurring chemicals can be detected in the blood. The level detected in a blood sample gives a snap-shot of how your adrenals are working. Exceptionally low levels are associated with Adrenal Fatigue. However, you and your doctor need to know the time of day the sample is taken as cortisol and DHEA vary throughout the day.
  • Adrenal Fatigue saliva testing – Cortisol and DHEA are small molecules that travel to all parts of your body including the saliva glands. The test involves spitting in a sample tube and this being sent to a laboratory for analysis. With no need for syringes and needles this test is relatively inexpensive. The main advantage of this test over blood tests is that it is easy to take several samples in one day and with less stress than making a trip to your GP for blood to be taken. How the cortisol and DHEA vary during the day allow a precise measure of how your adrenals are working and it only takes one day of testing to confirm your level of adrenal fatigue.
  • I will repeat here that there are no medical tests for bipolar disorder. If you suspect you may be diagnosed with bipolar disorder a good option is to ask for a day of saliva testing just to be sure your symptoms are not related to Adrenal Fatigue.

OTHER SYMPTOMS:
If your adrenal glands cannot produce enough cortisol quickly enough you will struggle with all situations that you find stressful. With insufficient cortisol you will be displaying all sorts of symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue that match symptoms of bipolar diagnosis.

  • Sleep pattern: Variable and seen as problematic for both bipolar and Adrenal Fatigue
  • Need to lie down during daytime – only said to happen during depressed phase of bipolar. With Adrenal Fatigue this is going to be happening most days unless you are consistently stimulated – perhaps having a demanding daytime job, so have to keep going and then collapse in the evening.
  • Irritability – You need a good level of cortisol to be able to cope with annoying people and without enough you will react in a way that ‘bipolar people’ are said to react.
  • Concentration – same as bipolar.
  • Pessimism, periods of feeling hopeless/helpless, negative thoughts and feelings – all the same as bipolar.
  • Reaction to stimulants such as caffeine – as for bipolar
  • Appearance – likely to be over-weight or under-weight with a tendency to lose weight when not taking sedatives, such as ‘antipsychotics’ / ‘antidepressants’ / ‘mood stabilizers’. Often looking tired – as for bipolar
  • Development of food intolerances – as with bipolar this may be several years after diagnosis.

TREATMENTS:

  • As with bipolar lifestyle changes, such as; what you eat, what you drink, what drugs you take and avoid, who you spend time with, the time you go to bed and so on, will decide the course of the disorder.
  • In general, bipolar disorder diagnosis (in the UK at this time) results in a lifetime of medication. Adrenal Fatigue rarely requires any drug treatment and recovery usually involves finding ways of living with minimum use of drugs.
  • Treatments for bipolar will in the long run make your Adrenal Fatigue worse.

I have typed all the above without reference to any text books or on-line articles. There may be errors. I am going to publish this as blog on www.rethinkingbipolar.com in this rough draft form, as I think it is such an important debate that needs to happen. Are millions of people whose adrenal glands struggle to cope with the modern world being diagnosed as bipolar, and not being given advice on how to look after their glands and feel less stressed?

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