Depression, Obesity, and Inflammation

I’m going away for a few days to see the eclipse, so if you write, expect a delay in getting an answer. I love eclipses and am really excited. To make it even better, I will be with family (we get along great!) and I will meet an e-friend I feel very close to. It will be a wonderful experience.

August 
8/21 Total solar eclipse: totality visible in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina; partially visible in other parts of the United States, Canada, Central America, northern South America, western Europe, and western Africa.
September
9/4 S Labor Day
9/6 Full Moon
9/5 – 9/7 Marriage to the Beast (Satan)
9/7 Feast of the Beast
9/20 – 9/21 Midnight Host
9/22 Fall Equinox
9/29 Michaelmas (?)
October
10/5 Full Moon
10/13 Backwards Halloween
10/13 Friday the Thirteenth
10/22 – 10/29 Preparation for All Hallows’ Eve
1
0/31 Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve/
Important dates in Nazi groups
9/1 Start of WW2
9/17 Hitler’s alternate half-birthday
10/16 N Death of Rosenburg
10/19 Death of Goering
10/20 Hitler’s half-birthday

Depression, Obesity, and Inflammation
I subscribe to the email edition of Med Page Today because I’m sorta nerdy when it comes to articles about medicine. I’m also, thanks to a statistics course in grad school, pretty good at critiquing research design and interpretation. And that is fun, especially when I am on the verge of giving up doing something I am not very good at, like learning Cantonese. (Now why would I want to do that? Because learning a new language is supposed to ward off dementia. And why am I worried about dementia? Because I am neurotic. But that is another post.)

Okay, the article that caught my attention is “Obesity and Depression Are Related — But How?: Finding physicians who can address both is a challenge” by Shefali Luthra, Kaiser Health News August 11, 2017. https://www.medpagetoday.com/Psychiatry/Depression/67216?xid=nl_mpt_DHE_2017-08-12&eun=g620615d0r&pos=2 A lot of doctors have noticed that many depressed people are obese and many obese people are depressed. I could have told them that years ago. Self-esteem goes down as weight goes up, and that is depressing. Being depressed feels awful, so people turn to food to soothe themselves and numb out. And when you are in black depression, you are barely able to do familiar things, like get out of bed in the morning, let alone take on something new and hard like going on a diet. So it is a vicious cycle.

This affects an awful lot of people. People who are obese are 55% more likely to be depressed, and people with depression are 58% more likely to develop obesity, according to “Overweight, Obesity, and Depression: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Longitudinal Studies.” http://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210608

Exactly a year ago, 8/20/2016, I posted about the connection between depression and systemic diseases, including chronic pain. A Danish study showed that people with serious infections (read, a lot of inflammation) were apt to become depressed. My post said, “So…inflammation factors can cross the blood/brain barrier. If my body is inflamed, I get depressed. And if I am depressed, my body becomes inflamed.”

If the authors of the article I am discussing had read up on this, they might have guessed how obesity and depression are related.

The second part of the article discusses how treating depression is assigned to psychiatrists and treating obesity to nurses and dieticians. These professions, of course, don’t communicate.

Of course that is not exactly news. They never have; at best, it’s a quick referral. So there is no treatment that addresses both conditions together. The dietitians assume that you are up for cheerfully counting calories and going to the gym and the psychiatrists don’t consider weight gain when they choose medications. I know; depression meds gave me an extra eighty pounds.

And that leaves it up to us, at least for now. I think our energy would best be directed at how to cope with this double whammy and the double stigma it brings. (It’s a triple or quadruple whammy or more if other chronic inflammatory diseases like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lupus, arthritis, etc. etc. are factored in.)

I don’t mean to be a downer. We can do that, and we are the best people to do it. We’ve shown the value of peer support in all kinds of other situations: PTSD, grief, having a hard time getting a book published, being single mothers who have to work to feed their kids. And, I am proud to say, healing from ritual abuse.

I think that what we need is a message board that accepts a large number of people with a wide range of weight and varying length and severity of depression. Then we could support each other emotionally; grieve the unfairness, rant at society’s rejection of us and at the lack of resources in the health care system, cheer each other on, and laugh together. We could share what has and has not worked for us. Knowing that so many share our struggle would make us feel less like losers and freaks.

And, just maybe, some professionals would find the message board and be open to learning from us. Because we, who have the condition, are the experts and have so much knowledge to share.

Does such a board already exist? I hope so, for I would join in a minute. If not, anybody want to start one? I just can’t – I’m spread too thin as it is, sadly. It’s not all that hard to start, and there would be a lot of people who could help you do it. I could coach you, but I can’t actually do it myself.

Any takers?

 

 

 

 

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I Hate Uncertainty

I will probably will write about the post-Christmas period in the next blog. But no promises!

Here are two pages about my personal feelings about Christmas:
 https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/christmas-plans/ (The images disappeared — I don’t know why.)

https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2014/12/20/ephemeral-equilibrium-another-christmas/

This page is about the source of winter holiday customs. I wrote about Yule and the winter solstice but a great deal applies to Christmas, too. https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/yulewinter-solstice/

Whether it’s personal or on a big scale, uncertainty makes me nervous. I know intellectually that things can change in an instant, any instant, and I will be absolutely unprepared, but I wrap that horrible idea in a cozy blanket of denial. Gets me through the day.

There is massive uncertainty about the direction America will take. I pass on that: nothing much I can do. I will just endeavor to be a decent human being, giving of myself when I can, being as productive as I can. And trying to be more aware, loving, and grateful each day.

On a personal level, I have learned that I can sometimes diminish uncertainty by becoming more informed about whatever it is that is bothering me. Sometimes, not always. Sometimes things just get convoluted.

The Internet is awesome for gathering information! I remember the old days when I had to go to the library. I always ended up surfing the stacks and I spent lots of time sitting on the floor reading books that had nothing to do with whatever I was trying to research. Fond memories – the dusty smell of books, old leather bindings, the joy of coming across a wonderful mis-filed book. But it took up a lot of time, much more than surfing the Internet, even with the distraction of crosswords and cat videos.

I especially hate uncertainty about medical matters. I find that if I have a name for something, I calm right down. But when the doctor doesn’t know or won’t tell me, I am on my own. I can tell the difference from a legitimate website and misinformation or attempts to sell me some magic product that will make me all well again. It’s hard to do, though, because I’m anxious and it is time-consuming.

I’ve just done a good job of avoiding what I thought I wanted to talk about.

Deep breath. Recently I have noticed that I am having trouble with my short-term memory. For example, I put dinner on the table and sit down to eat. But I haven’t brought a fork. So I get up and go to the kitchen to get a fork. But when I am in the kitchen, I have no idea what I came to get. It takes a long moment to come back to me. This can happen a dozen times a day.

I was like that when I first remembered stuff and I was totally overwhelmed. I knew my behavior and the remembering were connected, so I spent exactly zero minutes wondering if I was getting demented. But this time I think it has nothing to do with my RA background. Of course I might be wrong, but it just doesn’t feel the same. Feels more like being stoned. And, of course, I have been reading recently about “mild cognitive difficulties” being a pre-clinical symptom of Alzheimer’s. It apparently shows up about ten years before Alzheimer’s sets in, so I have some time to prepare.

I’ve noticed a couple of other changes. One of the side-effects of the anti-depressant I take, Wellbutrin, is trouble remembering the right word for something. It’s been there for quite a few years but it got a good deal worse about three or four months ago. I stop in the middle of a sentence, frozen because I can’t remember the word or a substitute for it. I can see the object if it is a noun, and I have an idea of what it is I want to express if it’s a verb or adjective, but there are no words associated with the image or idea. If I am writing, I just put XXX where the word should be. By the next day I can fill in the blank.

I know this is aphasia because my mother became progressively more aphasic before she died. It was from TICs — transient ischemic attacks, mini strokes, when the brain is deprived of oxygen for a short time. But her arteries were all clogged up, and mine are clear. So that’s not the explanation.

(Huh. I just thought that this is the linguistic version of not knowing which object I wanted from the kitchen.)

Another problem is that my fine-motor coordination is shot. Can’t thread a needle, even though I can see the thread and the eye of the needle. My typing is horrible because my fingers don’t land where I want them to. It often takes me as long to clean up a sentence as it did to write it. Very annoying, given the amount of writing I do. It’s also embarrassing when I am rushed and miss some mistakes.

I’m not as worried about clumsiness being a sign of early dementia because I have never read anything about it’s being associated with dementia. But who knows? Maybe I just need to do more surfing.

Now that I have put my fears down in writing and told y’all, it’s unlikely I can keep the denial going. Time to get sensible. My first step will be trying to find some self-administered screening tests for cognitive decline. If things don’t look rosy, I will tell my doctor, who is absolutely wonderful. I can’t think further than that.

Thanks, everybody, for listening.

Ritual Abuse – the Gift that Keeps on Giving

Upcoming Satanic and Nazi holidays  
Please note that Satanic sects build the year around pagan holidays Christian holidays, and major secular holidays. It is the Neo-Nazi groups that defile Jewish holidays.
Also see: August Ritual Dates https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/august-ritual-dates/
Fall Equinox https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2012/09/16/the-fall-equinox/
Labor Day https://ritualabuse.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/labor-day/
9/1 (Nazi) Start of WW2:  9/5 (Satanic) Labor Day (US and Canada):  9/5 – 9/7 (Satanic) Marriage to the Beast:  9/7 (Satanic) Feast of the Beast:  9/16 (Satanic) Full Moon:  9/17 (Nazi) Hitler’s alternate half-birthday:  9/20 – 9/21 (Satanic) Midnight Host:  9/22 (Satanic and Nazi) Fall Equinox

 

Some gift.

First I thought that when I became independent and didn’t have to do what my parents said, things would be fine.

Then I thought if I could only figure out what was wrong with me, I would be fine.

If I married, if I had kids, if I went to graduate school, if I lost five pounds, I finally would be happy.

Then I thought if I could shake my depression, I would be fine.

I got married, had kids, got my degree, and am no longer depressed, thanks to Wellbutron. I still have a few pounds to lose  –  aha! that must be it!

Seriously, what’s wrong is my ritual abuse background. I’ve worked like hell on ritual abuse for many years, and I think things are probably almost as good as they are going to get. They might slowly get even a little bit better in the next few years. If they do, I won’t complain.

It’s true. Ritual abuse affects your whole life, every single year of it, right through the “Golden Years.” <snicker>

I’ll tell you what set off this rant. An article from WebMD News by Amy Norton entitled “Serious Infections Tied to Suicide Risk: Danish study finds greater association in those hospitalized with HIV or hepatitis.” It is an easy-to-read description of an article by  Lena C. Brundin, MD, PhD and Jamie Grit, BSc  “Ascertaining Whether Suicides Are Caused by Infections.” JAMA Psychiatry online, August 10, 2016. It is at https://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2542678  The abstract and first page are free; the rest of article can be purchased. The WebMD article is at http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/news/20160810/serious-infections-tied-to-suicide-risk

Denmark has kept marvelous medical records since 1977. The National Patient Registry includes all inpatient, outpatient, and emergency room visits. It is a health care statistician’s dream come true.

The authors studied patients who had been hospitalized for infections and compared them to those who had not had infections. Their suicide rate was 42% higher. The suicide rate of people hospitalized with HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, both really serious infections, was more than twice that of people who had had neither HIV/AIDS or hepatitis.

It’s known (but not by me, this was the first I had heard of it) that inflammation can cause depression. Interferon, used to treat some infections and some cancers, causes an inflammatory response; almost half the people on interferon become seriously depressed. It’s not that it’s depressing to have an infection or cancer because people taking other drugs have far lower rates of depression.

So…inflammatory factors can cross the blood/brain barrier. If my body is inflamed, I get depressed. And if I am depressed, my body becomes inflamed.

One of the main after-effects of ritual abuse is depression. If the body isn’t already inflamed from the abuse (which it surely is), the depression causes inflammation. Or makes the body become more inflamed. That explains why so many us are chronically sick – and depressed – as adults.

I’ll offer myself as an example. Looking back, I can see I was clearly depressed by first grade. Suicidal ideation appeared briefly as an adolescent and then became chronic in my late thirties. Interestingly, when I was thirty I had a mysterious illness that caused pain in my hands, arms and legs. It hurt to even hold a pen. Was it fibromyalgia? The only diagnosis offered was, “Middle-aged women sometimes get this.” It cleared up in my forties when I took an antidepressant.

Unfortunately, the antidepressants I took made me gain 80 pounds. Obesity causes inflammation. Inflammation causes arthritis. Arthritis causes inflammation. Luckily the antidepressant I am on now doesn’t make me gain weight. I am on antidepressants for life because every time I try to stop I fall into a black depression and the suicidal thoughts come back.

After living with arthritis for over twenty years, I can no longer walk without a walker and can only go about a quarter of a block without sitting down. I don’t know what the next chapter of this story will be, but I hope the pace of the arthritis will slow now that I am neither obese nor depressed.

I think that if we could take great good care of our bodies when we are young we could avoid some of the conditions that cause inflammation. Dealing with the ritual abuse itself can lessen depression. Then we might get fewer diseases that cause inflammation when we get older and our depressions might be milder. But it is unrealistic to expect this amount of self-care when we have no idea that we are ritual abuse survivors or we are in the early chaotic stages of remembering. It takes all our energy just to stay alive. Besides, we were not taught self-care as kids and we have to painstakingly learn it as adults.

It is so unfair. There ought to be a rule that a person only has so much suffering in their life. Or that they get equal amounts of suffering and happiness. But it doesn’t work that way. The shadow of ritual abuse falls across our whole lives, like it or not.