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Recovering From Compulsive Overeating – Dec. 1

Recovering From Compulsive Overeating – Dec. 1

Stopping compulsive overeating isn’t as simple as just saying you’ll quit. As HealthyPlace.com Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft explains in this week’s blog post, there’s a significant emotional component to compulsive overeating.
Most overeaters use food as a way to hide from emotions, fill a void inside, and cope with daily stresses. Many people dealing with compulsive overeating feel guilty for not being “good enough,” shame for being overweight, and have very low self-esteem. They turn to food to cope with their painful feelings, which only leaves them feeling worse. Sufferers often have a constant need for love and validation, and without it, may go into obsessive episodes of overeating as a way to forget the pain.

Coping with Compulsive Overeating

As a group, compulsive overeaters tend to be overweight, have a history of weight fluctuations, and are usually aware that their eating habits are abnormal. Our guest on this week’s HealthyPlace Mental Health TV show is no exception.

Josie Lenore first began to use food for emotional soothing when she was around 9 or 10 years old and that’s when she first noticed her weight start to creep up. By the time she was 17 and at college, Josie received a full-immersion crash course in disordered eating from the “bikini clad laxative popping” girls in her dorm. Her weight would go up and down by 30 or so pounds for the next several years. She tells HealthyPlace.com that she was determined to be thin and she tried everything, “literally everything.” But each attempt missed the mark and added insult to injury.

Josie eventually recovered from overeating with the help of some well-known books on compulsive overeating and some information she found tucked away in a research study she came across.  She’ll be sharing her story Tuesday night. (Josie if offering HealthyPlace TV viewers a chance to download her free audio)

About the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

The HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show airs live every Tuesday night at 5:30 pm PST, 7:30 pm CST, and 8:30 pm EST. Our guest will be taking your personal questions.

If you miss the live show which can be viewed on our site, you can always click the “on-demand” button on the player and watch the show at your convenience.

Share Your Experiences with Compulsive Overeating

We also invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience with compulsive overeating. What has it been like for you, why did you start and how are you coping? What has and hasn’t worked for you? (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

More Info on Compulsive Overeating and How to Stop Overeating:

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Mental Illness Show Reset for Tuesday, Dec. 1

Mental Illness Show Reset for Tuesday, Dec. 1

As you probably already know, our guest for last Tuesday’s show on Mental Illness in the Family had some technical difficulty. The show will air live, this Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 5:30p CT, 6:30p ET. You can read Rebecca’s post: My Daughter’s Mental Illness Has Turned My World Upside Down

It will be followed by our regularly scheduled live show on Compulsive Overeating at 7:30p CT, 8:30 ET. I hope you’ll join us for both shows.

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Mental Illness in the Family – Nov. 24

Mental Illness in the Family – Nov. 24

Whether it’s a mental or physical illness, it’s natural to concentrate on the person who has the illness. Many forget that family members and loved ones are also suffering. The impact of mental illness on families comes in the forms of grief, denial, frustration, exhaustion, and stigma.

Mental Illness is Foreign to Most People

It is difficult for anyone to deal with strange thinking and bizarre and unpredictable behavior. Imagine what it must be for families of people with mental illness. It is bewildering, frightening and exhausting. Even when the person is stabilized on medication, the apathy and lack of motivation can be frustrating.

Take, for example, our guest on this Tuesday’s HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show. Rebecca is a 33 year old mother of 3 young girls. She has spent the last two years watching her oldest daughter, age 12, “fall apart.”

Her daughter has experienced repeated fainting spells, severe headaches, catatonic episodes and bizarre hallucinations. Even with a college degree in psychology, Rebecca was not prepared for the diagnosis her daughter received – Dissociative Identity Disorder.

In her guest blog post (My Daughter’s Mental Illness Has Turned My World Upside Down), you can tell Rebecca has great sympathy and empathy for her daughter’s situation. At the same time, her family has shouldered a huge emotional and financial burden. And you can feel the enormity of it all…the toll it has already taken.

On Tuesday, Rebecca will be sharing her story of mental illness in the family and some things that she has learned through experience that bring her brief moments of relief.

About the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

The HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show airs live every Tuesday night at 5:30 pm PST, 7:30 pm CST, and 8:30 pm EST. Our guest and HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, will be taking your personal questions. (Read Dr. Croft’s blog post on Coping with Mental Illness in the Family for additional insight into the struggles of family members.)

If you miss the live show which can be viewed on our site, you can always click the “on-demand” button on the player and watch the show at your convenience.

Share Your Experiences on Mental Illness in the Family

We also invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience – whether as a family member or loved one of someone with a mental illness. What has it been like for you and how are you coping? (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

Helpful Mental Health Information

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My Daughter’s Mental Illness Has Turned My World Upside Down

My Daughter’s Mental Illness Has Turned My World Upside Down

(This post was written by Rebecca, our guest on Tuesday’s HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show on “Mental Illness in the Family.”)

Hello. My name is Rebecca. I am writing in response to the article I just saw on the HealthyPlace website about living with DID. I am a 33 year old mother of 3 little girls and have spent the past 2 years watching my oldest daughter completely fall apart. I watched her go from being a normal, albeit extremely emotional, little girl to not even knowing which parts of her life are based in reality and what is happening in a reality that exists only within her own head.

Out of nowhere, my daughter, at 10 years old, suddenly broke into severe bouts of psychosis, hallucinating horrific things happening over-and-over to all of the people she loves, forgetting her own age, school, family, home, friends, etc. In the hospital and in therapy, she would answer questions about herself incorrectly, sometimes with the answers being consistent for hours or days at a time, even though they were incorrect.

After over a year of intensive in-home and outpatient psychotherapy, repeated stays in Children’s Hospital and going through every test that every doctor could possibly think of, with still no clue as to what was causing her repeated fainting spells, severe headaches, catatonic episodes and hallucinations, her psychiatrist and psychotherapy team came to me with a potential new diagnosis; Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Little Prepared for Coping with Severe Mental Illness in My Family

I actually hold a bachelor’s degree in psychology and thought that I was very knowledgeable about Dissociative Identity Disorder, but would never have associated many of the symptoms I watched my daughter suffer through with this disorder. Our real breakthrough came when my daughter’s psychiatrist suggested that the next time she began to fall into one of these hysterical, hallucinatory episodes, that instead of asking her age, school, etc., to try to see if she was still based in reality, that I simply ask her name.

Even with a bachelor’s in psychology, I still thought this was a ridiculous request, but agreed to comply. Sure enough, that same day she went into an episode and when I asked her name, it took 20 minutes to convince her that I was not one of the “bad people” that she had been hallucinating, but she still denied that I was her mother and refused to tell me her name. I told her that we had just returned from the ice cream shop and asked what kind of ice cream she had just eaten. At that, she looked at me and said, “wait a minute, are you (daughter’s name) mommy?”

This was the beginning of a conversation that lasted all through that night, where numerous alters each came out to introduce themselves and tell me a little bit about what they knew about what was happening to my baby girl. I found out that the original split had occurred when my daughter was only 3 years old and was mauled severely by a rottweiler. This alter was so traumatized that she actually split at some point into twins. After this, every year on her birthday, a new alter was born, to watch out for her, just in case. Yet, every time something emotional did occur, it seems that a new alter was formed to deal with it.

Today, my daughter is 12 years old and I have personally met and spent time with 19 individual alters, not including my daughter herself. Some are young and sweet and fun, some are terrified, and some are just plain mean and angry.

The Impact of My Daughter’s Mental Illness: The Nightmare That Is Our Life

It’s been almost a year now since we figured out that this is what was going on with my daughter, and it just seems to get harder every day. During the year that she was 11, she was so stressed out and traumatized by the realization of her alters, her missing time periods, and all of the other drama that has been part of her learning about what is happening inside of her mind, that she continued to form new alters throughout the year simply to deal with the new stress of having alters. Currently, I know of 7 alters who are 11 years old.

This condition has been tearing apart our family and our lives and we all feel so isolated and alone. I feel like I must be the only mother in the world raising 20 children all in the same body, all with very different likes and dislikes, who even fight with each other. As stressful as this has been to me and my other daughters, I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult it must be for my daughter. She lost it last week when she realized it was 6 pm and the last thing she remembered was going to bed the night before. She was so upset about the missing time that she convinced herself that she must be dreaming, wrapped up in a blanket, and spent over an hour pinching herself and pounding her head on the floor, trying to wake herself up from the “nightmare” that is her real life.

This disorder has torn our family apart mentally, physically, emotionally and financially. I can’t work because I was being called home every day to deal with hallucinatory fits in school or spending weeks at a time in the best hospitals we could find to try to understand what was happening to her. My marriage ended when alters began to come forward and tell me and therapists that my (now ex) husband was abusing her when I was at work.

I tried living with another woman going through a divorce who had children with mental illness as well. That ended after a year of them all having to also deal with tantrums, hallucinations, etc. I’m sitting on the verge of losing my home and even custody of my daughter because it is just so much to deal with and I have now become physically very ill myself and have an extremely difficult time even just keeping up with day-to-day life. We all feel like we are drowning and there is no hope.

The Strain and Stigma of Mental Illness

Please help me to find other families, other mothers, other children, other siblings, friends, who are living this same nightmare. We are desperately in need of help from someone who really understands what we go through every day, especially my daughter. She feels like a freak, she’s afraid to tell anyone, even her closest friends, which means that she does and says things to them that she has no recollection of and which has caused repeated problems for her with trying to form and maintain friendships, making her life that much more difficult to process.

I don’t know what exactly I really expect from you, I just know that we need help, we need friends, we need understanding, and most of all, we need hope. Please help to put us in touch with other people who might possibly be able to help us understand that there can be hope for her, for us, to still find happiness and live a full and positive life. I just don’t know where else to turn.

(Ed. Note: Rebecca is our guest on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show, Tuesday, Nov. 24. Click for more details. For additional insight into the Coping with Mental Illness in the Family, read Dr. Harry Croft’s blog post.)

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Intersexual, Intersexuality and What That Entails – Nov. 17

Intersexual, Intersexuality and What That Entails – Nov. 17

I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to be intersexual. Most of the autobiographical stories, written by intersexuals, that I’ve read online talk about years of living with pain, shame, confusion, embarrassment and depression. (Read Dr. Croft’s blog post: What is Intersexuality?)

For those not familiar with the term intersexual, the Intersex Society of North America defines it as:

“a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male. For example, a person might be born appearing to be female on the outside, but having mostly male-typical anatomy on the inside. Or a person may be born with genitals that seem to be in-between the usual male and female types—for example, a girl may be born with a noticeably large clitoris, or lacking a vaginal opening, or a boy may be born with a notably small penis, or with a scrotum that is divided so that it has formed more like labia. Or a person may be born with mosaic genetics, so that some of her cells have XX chromosomes and some of them have XY.”

A vast majority of the time, doctors make a decision as to what sexual identity the child will have. Some intersexuals undergo surgery to “normalize” genital appearance. Other parents of an intersex child are told, raise your baby as a “boy” or “girl.”

Congratulatons! Your Baby is an Intersexual

As a parent, it’s a traumatic experience and confusing to say the least and most are not prepared in any way for the birth of an intersexed child. Thus they rely on the doctor’s advice…and from what I’ve read, it varies widely, from doctor-to-doctor.

For the intersexed child, there are years of doctors visits, not understanding your condition, feeling disconnected from your body, knowing that you are not like everyone else of your gender and the shame of living with that, being socially isolated, plus “feeling” your parent’s feelings about being an intersexual.

Which Brings Us to Our Guest …

Kailana is 39 years old.

“When I first realized I was different is a very hard question to answer mostly because my early medical life as a young kid was confusing. Too many doctors appointments out of town and out of state that I look back on and only remember crappy memories. Too many physical examinations and odd comments and questions. I ended up with a life as a kid and teen only being confused about what I was because doctors and parents kept asking me one question over and over, “are you happy as a boy?”

“The answer was simple, I am not a boy and apparently no one understood what those few words meant. I ended up being ignored and while I looked like a boy, sort of, I did not feel it.”

In 1993, Kailana received an official diagnosis of “intersexual.” She says “the diagnosis pretty much destroyed what little life I had held onto.”

We’ll be discussing the various psychological and emotional aspects of “being intersexual” (read Kailana’s blog post – Intersexual: Raised the Wrong Sex) plus a common question that spans all of mental health: How do you deal with a trauma or traumatic event that is seemingly beyond your control? Watch the video on intersexuality.

About the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

The HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show airs live every Tuesday night at 5:30 pm PST, 7:30 pm CST, and 8:30 pm EST. Our guest and HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, will be taking your personal questions.

If you miss the live show, you can always click the “on-demand” button on the player and watch the show at your convenience.

Share Your Experiences on Intersexuality

We also invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience – whether as an intersexual, a parent or loved one, or a medical professional. (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

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Intersexual: Raised the Wrong Sex

Intersexual: Raised the Wrong Sex

(This post is written by Kailana, who is intersexual. Here, she discusses the impact of the intersex diagnosis and her experieces as an intersexual. She is an upcoming guest on the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show this Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 at 7:30p CT, 8:30 ET.)

Experiences as an Intersexual

Gender Confusion

When I first realized I was different is a very hard question to answer. Mostly because my early medical life as a young kid was confusing. Too many doctors appointments out-of-town and out-of-state that I look back on and only remember crappy memories. Too many physical examinations and odd comments and questions. I ended up with a life as a kid and teen only being confused about what I was because doctors and parents kept asking me one question over-and-over: “are you happy as a boy?”

The answer was simple, I am not a boy and apparently no one understood what those few words meant. I ended being ignored and while I looked like a boy sort of, I did not feel it.

Diagnosis: Intersexual

I cannot really explain myself better than this. I did not know I was intersex or even what intersex was until I was 22 years old and diagnosed with Adrenal Genital Syndrome and later with a XY/XO Karyotype that was explained to me to be Turners Mosaicism.

I hope that doesn’t confuse people but my diagnoses were in 1993 and many people make the mistake of assuming I am saying I am a Turners woman. Which I am not. I am an 45XO/46XY Mosaic Assigned male that is a true hermaphrodite by gonadal developement with some Turners features with Adrenal Genital Syndrome which is usually called Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia now adays. I have no official diagnosis for the Form of CAH I am affected by, although 17B is the most likely.

This is second and third-hand information, ie, this is a judgement by me based on information provided by others. I am still waiting for that first-hand official diagnosis that seems to be eluding me. For the last 16 1/2 years, I have been stuck with a XY/XO karyotype and Adrenal Genital Syndrome DX with no clarification or validation that both diagnosis are in fact correct.

The Impact of an Intersex Diagnosis

The intersex diagnosis, in 1993, pretty much destroyed what little life I had held onto. I lived as a guy. I served in the military for four years where I was diagnosed as being intersexual and left the service. Then I came home looking for answers and found none.

My local medical records were purged after I came home in July of 93; thanks to my mother. I have now spent 16 years looking for more information and ended pretty much being treated like crap by all the doctors and medical staff I have encountered because of the standards in place for treatment of intersex people. The medical standards used for decades has destroyed my faith in doctors.

Acceptance of Intersexuals and Intersexualty

The staff of the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show asked for information about family and society acceptance and I will make it clear that family can be the worst people to rely on when they are ashamed of what they have allowed doctors to do. I hope people understand that, in society, I am generally well-treated, it is the family issues of acceptance and the medical issues with acceptance that are difficult to live with.

Medically, I am treated or I should say not treated because the provisions of HIPA allow doctors to withhold information that they believe could be damaging. HIPA laws are being misused to hurt people like me who need answers and fair treatment in a so-called society that is supposed to be humane. Unfortunately, the medical world is not humane. The medical practitioners and their practices have contributed to more damage and harm to the entire intersex community than they or their forefathers could have ever understood would happen.

My apologies, but I am a well-versed Intersex activist who understands extremely well how crappy of a life a person can have when it is doctors and family who are hurting people, when they should be helping them.

I will close with saying that without my friends open, loving acceptance of me, I would have no life at all. See society is ready and willing to understand and accept people as Intersex. The medical world needs to open up our records and to share with the world just how varied humanity actually is. I will say that, hopefully, those with some clout do themselves a favor and ask for our permission first before sharing information about us, so that no additional harm is done when we find out that the world is being shown us when no one else will acknowledge who we are.

I hope this helps, although I sort of doubt that people will understand. An intersex diagnosis only really matters when those with the ability to understand it actually acknowledge them. Otherwise an intersex diagnosis just makes life difficult when no answers are available to explain it.

Watch an interview with Kailana on intersexuality.

About the author: Kailana is an Intersex activist. She is 39 years old. She’ll be a guest on the Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2009 HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show on “Being Intersexual and What That Entails.”

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Body Image Distortions, BDD – Nov. 10

Body Image Distortions, BDD – Nov. 10

Imagine the psychological torture of being told by others that you look fine, yet inside, you know that your (perceived) physical deformities make you unattractive. That is the crux of Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Many associate it with eating disorders, but Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is an anxiety disorder which centers around being excessively concerned and preoccupied by a perceived defect in the person’s physical features (body image). It usually starts in adolescence, a time when looks can be everything, and affects both women and men. (Read: Body-Image Distortion a Growing Problem Among Women and Men)

The sufferer may complain of a single, or several specific features, or a vague feature or general appearance, causing psychological distress. BDD can impair work and/or social functioning, sometimes to the point of severe depression and anxiety, development of other anxiety disorders, social withdrawal or complete social isolation, and more.

The Impact of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

This week’s guest, Rebecca, is a bright woman, age 27, college educated, and writes medical literature geared towards children. She says the symptoms of OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder) appeared at age 7. By the time she was 22, OCD consumed her to the point she was unable to leave her home. “I couldn’t function in the slightest sense,” says Rebecca.

Rebecca finally found a therapist to treat her OCD. The therapist also recognized the symptoms of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Her issues revolve around perceived facial deformities. “I feel my nose is too wide. My chin is too weak. My lip lies too low on my face.”

All this has contributed to physical, as well as psychological and social problems, which Rebecca will be talking about on this week’s show.

About the HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show

The HealthyPlace Mental Health TV Show airs live every Tuesday night at 5:30 pm PST / 7:30 pm CST / and 8:30 pm EST. Our guest and HealthyPlace Medical Director, Dr. Harry Croft, will be taking your personal questions. (Read Dr. Croft’s blog post on Body Dysmorphic Disorder)

If you miss the live show,  click here to watch the video on Body Dysmorphic Disorder.

Share Your BDD Experieces

We also invite you to call us at 1-888-883-8045 and share your experience with body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). (Info on Sharing Your Mental Health Experiences here.) You can also leave comments below.

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