Sleep Apnea (Part Three of Three)

My sister takes very good care of her health but has constant dark circles under her eyes and gets tired and sleepy along with other symptoms. My brother also has dark circles and so many symptoms that it is a no brainer. He recently had surgery and his condition deteriorated to the point where it appeared he wouldn’t live. Doctors could not understand what caused it because the surgery wasn’t major enough to bring it about. He has always been slow to heal but this was very serious. I’m no doctor but knowing what I know now, I would bet that it has to do with his sleep apnea. However, as I have written before there comes a point where you just have to let go and allow people make their own decisions and experience consequences.

I had a lady tell me that her husband has obvious Sleep Apnea but is too macho to use a CPAP machine. Using a machine for a minimum of four hours a night for the rest of your  life seems to be the main deterrent. Yet, many have become dependent on sleep medications that don’t last more than four hours and do not supply restful sleep. I thought I was sleeping good after we moved to Colorado from Texas but in actuality I was getting very little restful sleep. In my opinion, most of us don’t give enough credibility to how important sleep is to our overall health.

Once I overcame many of the obstacles to sleeping comfortably with the CPAP, I have come to truly enjoy using it. I love the feeling of fresh air blowing into my face and have added aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear. I have had a need to have air blowing in my face for quite some time thinking it was helping me breathe and it was. It’s nice to no longer have to lie awake for 2 hours before getting to sleep or dread going to bed knowing that sleep won’t come easily.

I now fall asleep easily and pretty much sleep through the night. I previously would get up sometimes 10 times a night to empty my bladder. While I would go a little, it was not enough to justify getting up for most people. But I could not sleep because I was obsessed with the urge to go. The truth of the matter is that often I would worry that I would have to get up which triggered the power of suggestion.

Getting adjusted to using the CPAP is not a walk in the park for most people but the suppliers know this and have come up with products that make using it more tolerable. There are many, many people who are dependent on CPAP therapy and most experience or have experienced common issues. By sharing what works for each of us, we all benefit. There is even a forum for CPAP users.

I have found cushy covers to pad the straps and liners for my mask that keep me from having air leaks and increases comfort. I add aromatherapy to keep my sinuses clear negating the day to day sinus cleansing and I have a hose management aid. Medicare pays for new masks complete with headgear and filters every 3 months and per my doctor’s  prescribed that I be provided a mask of my choice and I have been through four before I found the one that is right for me. I no longer have the whooshing sound of the air coming in and out and don’t hear my breathing magnified. Being diligent in my therapy has improved my lie immensely after just four months.

Physically, mentally and emotionally I feel much more healthy. I have more energy and feel more alert, and I find it easier to manage my anxiety and impulse control. I still get sleepy during the day but it is getting better.

If you suspect or if someone suggests that you have sleep apnea, please at least get tested or suggest that they be tested. It is much more important than you might think.

 

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Sleep Apnea (Part Two of Three Parts)

When I told Dr. Washburn that I was sleeping well at night, he explained to me that my apneas (breathing stops) would cause my brain to shout, “Wake up, wake up and breathe” I would start breathing and be right back to sleep without even realizing that I woke up. There were times that I probably woke up without realizing why and thought I had to use the potty explaining why I would go up to 10 times a night.

Having the apnea documented in order for insurance to pay for the therapy is a hoop jumping process. I went through a regimen of tests which included x-rays and blood tests to rule out everything else, a home sleep study, a lab sleep study and four pulse Oximetry’s.

The first test was pulse oximetry I had that showed a significant drop in heart rate when I slept. I don’t recall the numbers but the pulmonologist explained that I woke up 94 times. I was in denial because I certainly didn’t remember waking that many times. He explained that when my heart rate dropped or I stopped breathing, my brain would alert me to wake up and start breathing. He said I wouldn’t be conscious of being awake for the periods of time it took to start breathing again because they were very short. A technician also explained to me that we can be awake without being conscious of it which explains my being awake for two hours without it seeming like it. As if that wasn’t scary enough, I did a home sleep study that showed that I stopped breathing 699 times in about 6 hours.

I was put on a trial 30 day CPAP (Constant Positive Airway Pressure) therapy. The CPAP provider monitors my sleep and breathing activity by transmissions from my machine directly to them and the provider keeps the Pulmonologist apprised.

I had to have an in-lab sleep study done after the 30 day trial period to show that the therapy was working. My apneas were greatly reduced though my heart rate still drops enough that the pulmonologist wanted to add oxygen titration to my machine. The study showed that it wasn’t much under the satisfactory minimum so Medicare said no. Heck, I was just happy to have them pay for the machine and supplies. I had been fortunate in that I had turned 65 right before the therapy was prescribed so I had to go on Medicare in addition to Blue Cross Blue Shield. Medicare has less stringent requirements than Blue Cross. I am sure I would have qualified even for Blue Cross since my tests showed the Sleep Apnea to be severe.

 

Sleep Apnea (Part One)

My last post was about my peeking out of denial about my being overweight. Little did I know that there was a bad actor lurking in the shadows that had been affecting my life at least since I was a pre-teen.

Sounds dramatic, doesn’t it? It seemed dramatic to me but like all things that affect my psyche, I was somewhat relieved that there was an answer.

It started with a trip to the dentist. I was asked if I was experiencing any problems as they always do. I haltingly began to list the things that were occurring especially at night like pains in my jaw, soreness in my teeth and gums, headaches… And as I always tend to do started coming up with self diagnoses like TMJ etc. The dentist listened thoughtfully and when I was finished, he ordered me to have a sleep study to diagnose for sleep apnea. He didn’t even give me the option of waiting one day, he told me to call my doctor that day for an appointment. I was puzzled as was my husband and primary care physician as to “why the dentist?’

Dr. Whitman, the dentist, later informed me that most people with sleep apnea have had a tonsilectomy and/or adenoid removal bringing about sinus issues. Both surgeries were very common with my generation. If a kid had a sore throat, out with the tonsils they don’t need them. However, mine were very bad as a result of waiting too long to have the surgery.

My husband wasn’t surprised that I might have sleep apnea because everyone knows I have a tendency to snore loudly and even sometimes snort when I am awake. He has always believed that my ADD was caused by sleep deprivation.

Dr. Washburn, my new pulmonologist was convinced as a result of my answering a few questions and a brief examination of my throat that I had sleep apnea and had for most of my life. In fact, he said he wold bet his next paycheck.  I insisted that I was sleeping well since our move to Colorado and he explained that I was not getting quality sleep. He listed effects of sleep deprivation as follows:

  • Weight gain
  • Snoring
  • Snorting
  • Anxiety
  • Exhaustion
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Aches and pains
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Emotional Sensitivity
  • Bursts of Unexplained Anger
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Inability to Concentrate and/or focus
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Frequent nighttime urination
  • Daytime Sleepiness
  • Sleepiness while driving, reading, and in general
  • Lack of interest in sex

He said that sleep deprivation can affect every area of your life. I had to admit that I had all of the above. He informed me that rather than my weight causing sleep apnea, the sleep apnea was most likely the cause of my weight gain. Well, I don’t know if I would go that far but both my primary care physician and Dr. Washburn said that I would probably continue to have problems losing weight until I got the apnea under control.

I told Dr. Washburn that the first thing I said every morning was, “I’m so tired.” and that my husband assured me that I couldn’t be tired because I just woke up. Dr. Washburn’s response was, “Of course you are tired, you aren’t getting the rest your body requires.”

I have had sleep studies done in the past but because I had difficulty sleeping, it wasn’t an accurate test. I was diagnosed with upper airway obstruction based on limited data.  I had difficulty sleeping enough for an accurate result and Blue Cross wouldn’t pay because “it wasn’t bad enough” to qualify. I was offered a discount but I declined based on cost and inconvenience.

Denial

Up until I had a hysterectomy and got happy (yes at the same time), I was tiny, bitty.

11979633-young-business-women-arguingPeople would criticize and comment and ridicule and I would try to gain weight to the point of making myself sick. Be careful what you wish for because now people are “worried” because I am overweight and I have no idea what they say behind my back.

18465933-fish-dish--fried-fish-fillet-french-fries-with-vegetablesI don’t think I gained all this weight overnight and I’m sure eating whatever I wanted had something to do with it. You see, I had developed that habit when I was thin so it was a part of me. My mother tried to tell me when I was younger that I was developing bad eating habits that would catch up with me. To be fair, I was and am a vegetable eater though not exclusively. As the weight was added, I would tell myself that a little weight wouldn’t hurt and I avoided the mirror like the plague. I was happy to be able to buy adult clothes and liked my face being a little fuller.

3487178-dos-muchachas-j-venes-intimidaci-n-otra-ni-a-al-aire-libreThen I started to worry that people wouldn’t want to be around me or like me
because I’m fat. There were actually articles as I was growing up on not hanging out with the “fat” or “ugly” chick in order to be seen as successful. Have you ever noticed that almost any magazine you pick up has an article on weight loss? While I agree that it is important to stay healthy, some people’s body types can handle a little added weight, mine isn’t one of them.

16686055-female-skier-looking-at-the-camera-after-falling-down-on-mountain-slopeNot only does the weight make me look unbalanced, it has affected my health. Being 4’11” my BMI is ridiculous and I now have to take blood pressure medicine, reflux medication even after having reflux surgery, medicine for high cholesterol… Having moved to high altitude country, I am constantly out of breath and because I have all my weight in the lower front, I fear falling over when I do outdoor activities. I can get up but I fear that someday I won’t be able to.

Family conflictWhen I recently took a trip to Texas, my mother made comments about my weight that she tried to backtrack by telling me that to her I would always be beautiful. My family have no filters so I tried to dismiss it. When I got back home, I wrote mom a letter telling her to stop worrying about my weight and making all these bold excuses and explanations. Being the child of an alcoholic, I know denial when I see it and that letter was complete and utter denial.

Weight loss surgery had been suggested by a previous doctor but I am fearful about A_Black_and_White_Cartoon_Two_Children_Walking_To_School_Royalty_Free_Clipart_Picture_100713-145833-444053something that will change my life forever. I did my research, made an appointment with my new doctor and requested that my husband accompany me. I feel like whatever decision I make is going to affect both of us and also he knows medication. Another fear I have is becoming addicted to weight loss medication.

Danny and I had already discussed a new medication that has been successful in 9319250-two-young-business-people-talking-and-discussingaiding weight loss. He was familiar with it and knew that it had been helpful in weight loss with little to no side affects. It was decided in my doctor’s appointment that we would start with this medication called Contrave and go from there. The doctor said that her patients who had tried it had experienced success in losing and keeping it off. Thoughweight loss surgery would see faster results, getting insurance companies to pay for it is tricky. Even though I have most if not all the conditions that they take into account, they will still balk at paying. So we made a plan that I would come in monthly to be weighed and check in with her so we will have documentation to present to the insurance company as well as monitoring my progress.

I would like to tell you that I have seen huge changes at least in my eating habits but I 9052883-a-shopping-cart-full-of-fresh-colorful-products-illustrationtend to be a lightweight when it comes to some medications. The drug makes me extremely drowsy so I am only taking half doses at this time. I still have to surrender to the drowsiness but it’s manageable. I am noticing a small change in my eating but some of it is knowing that I can’t just rely on medication. Fake it till you make it!

Gaining and losing WeightMy take on dieting is that unless you keep it up for the rest of your life,
it becomes the yo-yo effect. I lose inches fairly easy but as soon as I get the compliments and see the results, I’m right back to where I started. Some people eat to live and I live to eat. I do use common sense when I cook and mostly when I eat though binging is not unheard of. Yes, I will have to add exercise to my regimen. I do like walking so I just need to get started.

I am hopeful that this journey will take me to better health and increased self acceptance. It’s time.

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Anxiety

To my Friends and Loved Ones:

I borrowed this from a fellow blogger. Perhaps this will help you to understand me better.

 

Written by Guest Contributor: Myka S. (USA)Founder of: Thoughts of an Anxious Mind There are so many times we want to tell you why our heart is pounding, why our thoughts are racing, why we’re biting our nails and twisting our hair…but we can’t. We try and try to conjure up the perfect words to explain our […]

via 5 Things People with Anxiety Wish You Knew — MakeItUltra™

20 Years Later

Have you ever looked at the ways that you and your spouse complement each other, how you  are alike, and how you differ?

Danny and I complement each other in these ways:

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  • I like the soft fluffy french fries, he like the crispy, skinny ones.
  • I like the middle slices of bread, he likes the heel.
  • I like to feed the fish, he likes to feed the cats.
  • I like to pull weeds and he likes to cut the grass.
  • I like to decide where the pictures will go on the wall, he likes to hang them.
  • He likes to clean the garage and I like to clean the house.

 

We have these things in common:

 

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  • We are both people persons.
  • Neither of us ever met a stranger.
  • We both like spicy foods.
  • We have very similar tastes in decor.
  • We both love left-overs.
  • We both love nature.
  • We both love cats and fish.
  • We both love Subaru’s.
  • We both enjoy off-road adventures.
  • We both like to eat out at the same restaurants.
  • Our family backgrounds are similar.
  • We are both family oriented.
  • We both like psychological thrillers.
  • We have the same spiritual beliefs.

 

We have these differences:

 

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  • He is the glass half-full and I am the glass half-empty.
  • He is oblivious to his aches and pains and I am sensitive to mine.
  • He keeps his own counsel and I verbalize everything.
  • He is the dreamer and I am the realist.
  • He researches everything and I fly by the seat of my pants.
  • He is task oriented and I get side tracked.
  • I am impulsive and he is methodical.
  • If I think something, I voice it. He thinks about something before he voices it.
  • I stick, he runs.
  • What’s his is yours, what’s mine is mine.
  • He is athletic, I am not.

 

The thing is…

We have had scary moments.

 

5754686-unhappy-couple-breaking-woman-trying-to-hold-back-man-leawing-with-suitcase-and-clothes-in-hand

 

We have had ecstatic moments.

 

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We have had angry moments.

 

20638912-young-couple-arguing-in-the-kitchen

 

We have had peaceful moments.

 

Day2_1816

 

We have been on the same page.

IMG_1047

 

We have been in different books.

 

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But after 20 years, we are still two halves of a whole.

12418478-coraz-n-roto-con-el-rbol-blanco-y-dos-p-jaros

 

 

 

Crisis Text Line (CTL)

14296015-3d-render-of-a-person-helping-another-man-3d-illustration-of-human-character-people

If you are interested in doing volunteer work that you can do from home, here is an idea for you:

While working as a Crisis Telephone Counselor for Crisis Hotline (CHL), we assisted CTL when we could so I am familiar with this organization. Now that I am no longer employed or volunteer with CHL due to having relocated, I have entered the volunteer program at CTL. Though I have been through a version of their training as a continuing education requirement and having been through CHL’s training, I am finding the CTL volunteer training to be very beneficial. This is a rewarding endeavor and for those who like doing things for others anonymously, this is your ticket. All training and working on the texting platform is done from your computer at home. You set your own schedule and the text line is open 24/7 so working it into your personal schedule isn’t difficult.

If you are nervous about crisis support, let me reassure you that you will be well-trained and their training includes live observations. Also, you will have all the tools you need right in front of you. All texts are monitored by a supervisor who is always available if you get stuck or need assistance. Though it is a mandatory reporting agency for imminent risk of suicide or homicide as well as child abuse, the reporting is actually done by the supervisor, however, these instances do not occur often. The way I look at it is “It’s just a conversation.” There is no script but you will learn active listening and productive conversation.

Rather than quote all the information regarding CTL, I am posting their FAQ sheet. You can also go to crisistextline.org

Text START to 741-741

FAQ

Jump to

Texting in
Data
Donate
Financials
Partnerships
Tech Issues
Media
Volunteers
Our Approach

TEXTING IN

Q: HOW DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK?

A:

  1. You text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA.
  2. A live, trained crisis counselor receives the text and responds quickly.
  3. The crisis counselor helps you move from a hot moment to a cool calm to stay safe and healthy using effective active listening and suggested referrals – all through text message using Crisis Text Line’s secure platform.

Q: WHO SHOULD TEXT IN?

A: We exist to help anyone in crisis at any time.

Q: WHO ANSWERS THE TEXT MESSAGES?

A: Crisis Text Line crisis counselors are both rigorously trained volunteers and employees of our crisis center partners.

Q: WHAT CAN I EXPECT WHEN I TEXT IN?

A: You’ll receive an automated text asking you what your crisis is. Within minutes, a live trained crisis counselor will answer your text. They will help you out of your moment of crisis and work with you to create a plan to continue to feel better.

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE ACTUALLY ANONYMOUS?

A: Yes. Crisis counselors only know what texters share with them, and that information stays confidential. We take your anonymity seriously. Check out our terms of service here.

Q: HOW MUCH DOES CRISIS TEXT LINE COST?

A: We do not charge texters. If your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon, texts to our short code, 741741 are free of charge. If you have a plan with a different carrier, standard text message rates apply.

Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE SHOW UP ON MY CELL PHONE BILL?

A: Nothing will appear on your bill if your cell phone plan is with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, or Verizon. If your plan is with another carrier our short code, 741741 will appear on your billing statement. Read about how this happened here.

Q: WILL CRISIS TEXT LINE WORK WITH MY PHONE?

A: Crisis Text Line works on all major US carriers, and most minor regional carriers. However, shortcodes (like 741741) are not allowed on many prepaid plans like T-Mobile’s.

Q: I HAD A GREAT EXPERIENCE WHEN I TEXTED IN, CAN I TEXT IN AGAIN?

A: You can text in again, if you are experiencing a crisis. However, you should not feel dependent on us. Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for long-term counseling, in-person therapy, or a friend.

Q: HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WAIT TO TEXT WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR?

A: Our goal is to respond to every texter in under 5 minutes. During high volume times, such as at night or when people are talking about us on social media, wait times may be longer.

Q: IS THERE A CHARACTER LIMIT WHEN TEXTING CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: Yes, our system is only able to process 140 characters in one message.

Q: WHY AM I RECEIVING AN ERROR MESSAGE OR NO RESPONSE AT ALL?

Sadly, there are some carriers who have not adopted the use of shortcodes–and the small percentage of people with these phones, can’t use Crisis Text Line. (We hear that sometimes you get an auto-error response. Sometimes nothing at all. We know this is shitty and we wish those carriers would enable us). If your phone carrier doesn’t enable shortcodes, here is a list of hotlines you can call.

Q: IS THERE ANY OTHER WAY TO REACH CRISIS TEXT LINE BESIDES TEXT?

A: Yes, you can reach us through Facebook Messenger. Access to message Crisis Text Line is located through Facebook’s Safety checkpoint. This is accessible by flagging a user’s post.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, DOES ANONYMITY APPLY?

A: Yes. We do not have access to your Facebook profile. The only know information about you that we’ll know is what you share with us.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHO HAS ACCESS TO THE DATA?

A: Three parties: you (in your Messenger thread), Crisis Text Line, and Facebook.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER AND I WANT MY DATA DELETED, WHAT DO I DO?

A: Message us back with the word ‘LOOFAH’. We’ll scrub your data from our system, and make a request to Facebook to do the same.

Q: IF I REACH OUT VIA FACEBOOK MESSENGER, WHICH TERMS OF SERVICE APPLY TO ME?

A: By contacting Crisis Text Line through Facebook Messenger, users agree to Facebook Messenger’s Terms of Service, as well as Crisis Text Line’s Terms of Service.

Q: WHAT ARE ALL OF THE CRISIS ISSUES YOU TRACK? CAN YOU ADD MORE?

A: See the issues we track at www.crisistrends.org. If you’re a researcher or practitioner with interest in another issue, submit your suggestion in the form at the bottom of www.crisistrends.org.

Q: WHO CAN APPLY FOR ACCESS TO CRISIS TEXT LINE’S DATA?

A: Data access is available to approved academic researchers. The application will be available here in late January 2016. Otherwise, please visit www.crisistrends.org to see the latest trends in how texters are experiencing crisis.

DONATE

Q: HOW CAN I DONATE TO CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: You can donate via Paypal (link here) or by sending a check to:
Crisis Text Line
Attn: Finance Dept.
24 West 25th Street, 6th Fl
New York, NY 10010

Q: IS MY DONATION TO CRISIS TEXT LINE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?

A: Yes! Upon receiving your donation, we’ll send you a thank you letter that clarifies your donation is tax deductible.

FINANCIALS

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE REALLY A NOT FOR PROFIT?

A: Yes, we are! Here are our latest financials as proof.

Q: HOW IS CRISIS TEXT LINE FUNDED?

A: We’re privately funded. This means we receive funding from foundations, individuals, and corporations.

Q: WHERE CAN I FIND CRISIS TEXT LINE’S FORM 990?

A: 2014 here and 2015 here.

Q: I SAW YOU RAISED A BUNCH OF MONEY (WOOHOO!) FOR THE ORG. WHERE IS IT ALL GOING?

A: We are focused on three main initiatives: (1) supporting our Crisis Counselor community with better products and more emotional support, (2) integrating with tech companies to provide support to users inside things like After School, Kik, YouTube, and Facebook Messenger, (3) white labeling our service for other orgs and locations– providing a free text service for the National Eating Disorder Association and cities like Newark and Atlanta.

PARTNERSHIPS

Q: WHO CAN PARTNER WITH CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: We partner with not-for-profits, colleges and universities, and corporations. Want to partner? Fill out this form!

TECH ISSUES

Having technical issues with the site or text line? Check out our Help Center.

MEDIA

Q: CAN I GET MARKETING MATERIALS WITH THE CRISIS TEXT LINE SHORT CODE TO SHARE WITH MY COMMUNITY?

A: Absolutely. Download our Volunteer Flyer or Text Flyer.

Q: WHOM I CONTACT FOR A PRESS INQUIRY?

A: Email support@crisistextline.org

VOLUNTEERS

Q: HOW CAN I BECOME A VOLUNTEER?

A: We are always accepting applications! Apply Here.

Q: WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BECOMING A VOLUNTEER?

A: To become a Crisis Counselor, you must:

  1. Pass a background check – that means no felonies and no violent or sex-offense misdemeanors
  2. Have a US Social Security number (in order to complete the background check)
  3. Be at least 18 years old
  4. Have access to a computer with a secure, reliable internet connection
  5. Commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year

Q: WHAT’S THE TIME COMMITMENT OF VOLUNTEERS?

A: We ask our volunteers to commit to volunteering 4 hours a week for 1 year. Volunteers are able to break up their commitment into two 2-hour shifts each week if they would like.

Q: HOW ARE VOLUNTEERS TRAINED?

A: After a rigorous application process, our volunteers complete a 34 hour training course over 6 weeks. This includes ongoing simulated conversations and personalized feedback from our experienced trainers as well as 8 hours of on-platform observation. Training content is based on best practices in crisis counseling and Crisis Text Line data.

Q: WHEN IS YOUR NEXT CRISIS COUNSELOR TRAINING?

A: We accept applications on a rolling basis. A new training cohort starts every two weeks, so apply whenever you want! We’re excited to meet you!

Q: WHAT’S IT LIKE BEING A CRISIS COUNSELOR VOLUNTEER?

A: Check out our blog to read stories from our volunteers.

Q: ARE VOLUNTEERS SUPERVISED?

A: Yes. Our experienced supervisors oversee and assist our volunteers, when necessary, while on the platform.

OUR APPROACH

Q: IS CRISIS TEXT LINE COUNSELING?

A: No, our specialists do not counsel, but rather practice active listening to help texters move from a hot moment to a cool calm.

Q: WHAT IS ACTIVE LISTENING?

A: Active listening is when someone communicates in a way that is empathetic, understanding, and respectful. It includes focus on the texter and thoughtful answers.

Q: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRISIS TEXT LINE AND THERAPY?

A: Crisis Text Line is not a replacement for therapy. Therapy includes a diagnosis made by a doctor, a treatment plan of action, and a patient/therapist relationship. Crisis Text Line helps people in moments of crisis. Our crisis counselors practice active listening to help our texters find calm and create an action plan for themselves to continue to feel better. Crisis Text Line’s crisis counselors are not therapists.

Q: WHO STARTED CRISIS TEXT LINE?

A: We were founded by our CEO, Nancy Lublin. After seeing a need for the service we provide, Nancy hired a team to build what is our current platform. The original team included a data scientist and an engineer. Hear our story here.

 

Didn’t find your answer? Check out our Help Center or email support@crisistextline.org.

Privacy Policies

Terms of Service

Privacy Policy

Website Privacy Policy

FAQs

Check out our FAQs

Help Make it Happen

Want to start a crisis text line in your country? international@crisistextline.org

We’re hiring:
Apply now

Press inquiry?

Email press@crisistextline.org
If you are in crisis, text START to 741-741.

Keep me posted

 

 

Anti-Depressants and Psychotherapy

I have had people tell me that they do not want to take anti-depressant medication because it will cause them to be unable to cry. I would suggest that anyone who has this experience should check with their doctors or get honest with themselves. I have been on anti-depressants for many, many years and I have no problem crying when emotion calls for it yet I do not cry constantly with no clearly discernible reason as often happens with untreated depression.

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Many people do not understand that depression is not always situational. There are those of us who have a chemical imbalance that brings about depressive  symptoms. When depression is situational, most people are able to stop therapy or taking anti-depressants after the situation comes to a resolution or they come to terms with the outcome of the situation. However, please be aware that getting off anti-depressants is not something that should be done without the guidance of a medical doctor, psychotherapist or psychiatrist who will instruct the patient in the best way to taper off the medication.

I have a friend who refused to take anti-depressants because she didn’t like the way they made her feel. I spent time with her after our not seeing each other for a while and she was like a different person. She was happy, positive and upbeat images.duckduckgo.com because her doctor put her on an anti-depressant that worked for her. My sister has gone off her anti-depressants from time to time because she is very health conscious and didn’t want to take pills. She has gone back on them every time because if you need them, you need them. Unfortunately, there are times that a person has to try several different anti-depressants until the right one for them is found. It is understandable that one would get frustrated and want to give up but when the right medication is found, it is worth the necessary journey. There are anti-depressants that I cannot take because I metabolize medications slowly or because they aren’t a good fit for one reason or another. The medication my friend has found that works so well for her is one that I cannot take. I have had it prescribed and/or suggested by doctors because it would seem to be the perfect medication for me but it has the undesired of inhibiting my focus.

Another thing about anti-depressants not always understood is that it is sometimes beneficial to change to a different brand or strength after a period of time. I have changed several times over the years because there is a more current, more effective or more beneficial drug or strength for me.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

There seems to be a stigma about psychotherapy just as there is about anti-depressants. That stigma can be quite dangerous because depression can14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-men destroy not only one’s quality of life but can destroy one’s life itself. I have also heard that some will stop psychotherapy because there comes a point when they cannot stop crying. This is a valid point because emotions that have been stuffed inside or ignored are released by talking through experiences or opening up about thoughts and/or needs. This phenomena is referred to as “getting your feelings” and is an important point in therapy. Rather than being something to be avoided, it is a desired effect of therapy.

Anti-depressants are so widely prescribed these days that some researchers think that the symptoms could be caused by poor diet, lack of sleep or evolving changes in the environment. I believe those could be valid causes as I also  believe that the tendency to have depression can be passed down from generation to generation as mine seems to have been. In Ala-non, we learn that when you have a sudden and/or temporary change in mood or experience depression-like symptoms, you might ask yourself if you are hungry, lonely or tired. I have found that any one of these three conditions will cause me to experience a temporary anger or depression.

If you are hesitant to seek treatment for your depression, I encourage you to re-visit your decision by doing research and having a discussion with a physician or psychiatrist. You may be in serious trouble long before the realization hits you or even worse, it may not hit you until it is too late.

2592

Grief

14867860-broken-heart-carried-on-a-stretcher-by-box-menI don’t think many realize that grief is not just about the loss of a person to death. There are many types of losses and each loss is as important as the next. The most difficult losses for me are the loss of a relationship or of a dream. I don’t know about you but in my earlier years I thought it would be easier to lose a love to death than to lose them in life. To lose someone who is still living, you know that they are still out there living their life without you and it not only hurts but it can give you a sense of desperation.

In order to truly accept a loss, we must grieve. If you do not grieve, you will keep running from the feelings and someday, somewhere you will blow up and wonder where your reaction came from. It is referred to as “coming out sideways”. “Coming out sideways” is when your reaction to a situation is actually due to emotions left over from a past situation that have not been dealt with. When you don’t grieve each loss, the emotions build up until you can no longer contain them and they have to come out somewhere.

Grief is not fun so we often try to avoid it by putting our attention to other things or any other thing. In crisis counseling, many callers had a situation they had not grieved. It could have been the loss of a job, a friendship, a home but whatever it was, they would admit that it had an impact on their lives and left unresolved emotions. Each person grieves in their own way but there is a model that grief typically follows and it is referred to as The Seven Stages of Grief and are as follows:

SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. YouTetsu420full798969 may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.

PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable 2592pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.

You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn’t do with your  loved one. Life feels  chaotic and scary during this phase.

“DEPRESSION”, REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, aI am O.K. today.

long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be “talked out of it” by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.

During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.

ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for 7822968-gay-couplethe death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.

 

THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to live without your dear one, your life becomes a images.duckduckgo.comlittle calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your “depression” begins to lift slightly.

 

 

RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you stock-photo-young-blonde-needlewoman-fitting-dress-on-dummy-248408176will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.

ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to12358046-vector-illustration-of-justice-scales accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.

You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.

Recover from Grief.com

Though this version of the model covers loss through death, it can be applied to any type of loss. When you experience an anger or depression for which the reason cannot be pinpointed, ask yourself “What is missing?” and/or “What has changed?”. You may have to think back in time but there will more than likely be some feeling that you have been avoiding or running away from.

Rather than thinking of crying as being a weakness or self pity, see it as cleansing. Crying is a release of pent up emotion and is healthy.

e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7

So You Think You’ve Escaped Alcoholism

2592So you think you’ve escaped alcoholism, not a chance. You don’t have to be an alcoholic to be effected by alcoholism.

Alcoholism affects everyone who comes in contact with an alcoholic. It could be a parent, a sibling, a relative, a boyfriend, a girlfriend, husband, wife, friend, child, or a co-worker. That is why Ala-non, is a support group for families and friends of alcoholics not just families of alcoholics. You may not have the disease but I can say that you have the ism’s  without ever having met you.

It is said that alcoholism is a family disease and I believe it with all my heart. I grew up in an alcoholic home. Why do I call it an alcoholic home? Does that mean that all my family members were alcoholics? No, our home revolved around my alcoholic mother because her actions or in-actions affected every one of us. Our emotional make-up developed around coping with her drinking and the effect it had on us. I like to see my mother as having alcoholism rather than as an alcoholic but it is my habit to use the term alcoholic which is unfortunately a label. She grew up in an alcoholic home just like I did.  I have the utmost love and strive to understand because but for the grace of God, go I. As alcoholism is said to be genetic, I could have followed in her footsteps. I am lucky, I don’t like the taste of alcohol and yet I am unlucky in that I don’t like not having control. Why is that unlucky? Because I have to fight the tendency to control everything around me to ensure that it doesn’t give me that feeling of not having control over my life and to avoid the helpless feelings I had growing up. I also believe it is a learned behavior, we do what we know and alcoholism is what we know.

That is why even though you think you have escaped the parent or ex, you are wrong. You were affected and I can prove it.

Do you have problems with authority figures?e75f70e61261afa370d84fcbf1da6be7

Do you have problems getting along with others?

Do you have control issues?

Is your relationship picker broken?

Are you hyper-vigilant?

Do you fight depression?

Do you lack confidence?

Are you an under or over achiever?

Are you a people-pleaser?

Are you a care taker?

Are you a fixer?

There are many other symptoms but I’m sure you get it and you know which one of these have developed in you.

In my work as a Crisis Call Counselor, I could pretty much bet that regardless of the crisis, the conversation would eventually reveal that the caller had been affected by alcoholism, either theirs or someone in their past or present life. I consider alcoholism an “emotional” disease because it can bring about anger, sadness, depression, resentment, etc. in the alcoholic or those affected by a person’s drinking. The reason persons affected by another person’s drinking are considered to be co-dependent is that while the alcoholic is addicted to alcohol, the affected person is addicted to the alcoholic. I have had so many friends, boyfriends and a husband who were addicted to alcohol and in the beginning of the relationship, I didn’t know there was a problem. It’s like a magnet! I have friends in Ala-non who say it is because alcoholics are charismatic and exciting. Perhaps we see something in their personalities that we wish we had.

I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “I’m not with him/her any more, so I don’t need Ala-non.” I have thought that myself but I always end up going back because my ism’s become overwhelming. This post is not meant to advertise or push Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics, yet it is what I know so I do highly recommend them. Just like the person with alcoholism, only you can decide that you need help and what support is best for you. I have been told, “When it hurts bad enough, you will get help.”

“Co-dependent No More” by Melody Beattie is a really good book for understanding the effects of alcoholism. I read this book like a person dying of thirst drinks water. It told me that I was not crazy and there was hope.

People addicted to alcohol and/or drugs will to try to convince others that it is your fault, don’t take it on. Think 3 C’s – You didn’t cause it, you can’t control it and you can’t cure it. Seeking help is nothing to be ashamed of, alcoholism in you or someone else is not your fault but it is your responsibility. If you are afraid of the alcoholic becoming angry because you are seeking help, 12 step support groups are anonymous as is therapy. If you go to a meeting or see a therapist and you are not comfortable with the environment or personalities, try another meeting or therapist. There are many meetings and therapists available. If you are in a remote area, I understand that there are meetings online. Just do an Internet search of Ala-non or Adult Children of Alcoholics. There are two daily readers, One Day at a Time in Ala-non and Courage to Change that are utilized by Ala-Non. I find ODAT (nickname) useful when you are in a relationship with an alcoholic and Courage to Change is a good all-around book. I mostly use Courage to Change and it seems to be a favorite among recovering Ala-Non’s. Before using these books, it would be helpful to do some research on alcoholism. People active in Ala-Non attend open AA meetings to learn what the person with alcoholism experiences.

I have tortured my mother all my life by trying to get answers or justifications.

Whatever you decide to do, know that you are not alone. Everything you have experienced, someone else has experienced. It helps to talk with other people who are experiencing the same thing or who have been there and survived.

There is always hope.