Bipolar and Mental Illnesses are written about here. Written by a bipolar person themselves.

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Cyclothymia 

Cyclothymia

  • A quote from below: “Cyclothymic disorder symptoms may also worsen over time which can lead to a clinical diagnosis of bipolar or bipolar II disorder.”


When I first found out about cyclothymia, I was really interested in finding out more. I discovered it’s related to being bipolar, but it’s a much lesser form. Lucky, so I thought to myself, since I have bipolar disorder. I sure wish I had half of the disorder too! This article explains all about cyclothymia and what things you might do to help someone. 

“Cyclothymic disorder is a mild form of bipolar disorder in which a person has mood swings over a period of years that go from mild depression to euphoria and excitement. It is classed as a “mood disorder” with mood swings that are “less severe” than for bipolar disorder. Episodes of “hypomania” and “mild depression” are present for at least 2 years in adults and (1 or more years in children & adolescents).”


“Cyclothymic disorder is a chronic mood disorder which causes alternately states of depression, sadness, discomfort and excessive states of happiness, increased energy and activity, and between these states – periods of even-tempered behaviors. One of the main differences from bipolar disorder is that cyclothymic disorder consists of “short periods of mild depression and short periods of hypomania” with periods of even-tempered mood. Bipolar disorder is more severe as it consists of at least one major depressive episode along with manic episodes and/or mixed episodes.”


“Cyclothymic disorder has a “dysthymic phase” which includes symptoms of difficulty making decisions, problems concentrating, poor memory recall, guilt, self-criticism, low self-esteem, pessimism, self-destructive thinking, constant sadness, apathy, hopelessness, helplessness and irritability. Also common are quick temper, poor judgment, lack of motivation, social withdrawal, lack of sexual desire, self-neglect, fatigue, appetite change and insomnia.”


“Cyclothymic symptoms include unusually good mood or cheerfulness (euphoria), extreme optimism, inflated self-esteem, rapid speech, racing thoughts, aggressive or hostile behavior, lack of consideration for others, agitation, massively increased physical activity, risky behavior, spending sprees, increased drive to perform or achieve goals, increased sexual drive, decreased need for sleep, tendency to be easily distracted, and inability to concentrate.”


“Although cyclothymic disorder’s symptoms are “less severe and episodes are not as long lasting” as with the symptoms of bipolar disorder it can still cause a lot of distress and a marked impairment in a person’s functioning. Cyclothymic disorder symptoms may also worsen over time which can lead to a clinical diagnosis of bipolar or bipolar II disorder. I believe that before I was diagnosed with bipolar II disorder I suffered from cyclothymic disorder. For me I had periods of depression that alternated with periods of euphoria or “mild mania” along with having times where my mood was fairly even/level. Because I was misdiagnosed with only having depression (dysthymia) for years I was not on the correct medication and over time my symptoms became worse. I also have adhd and generalized anxiety disorder as secondary diagnoses so that complicated things even more. I was never actually diagnosed with cyclothymic disorder but I had all of the symptoms that I have mentioned earlier. So in my case I believe that my cyclothymic symptoms progressed into a bipolar II disorder. I am not sure if my symptoms will worsen over time and turn into a full blown bipolar disorder. I am hoping this is not the case. Since being diagnosed with bipolar II about a year ago it seems that my psychiatrist has me on the proper medication as I have been getting more stable day by day.”



“Treatment for cyclothymic disorder can include medications such as mood stabilizers and antidepressants, along with individual psychotherapy and/or group therapy. It is important to get the proper medical treatment for cyclothymic disorder as it can turn into bipolar disorder, so your symptoms should be closely monitored. Any kind of “self-medicating” through alcohol and/or substance abuse can also make symptoms worse. Because cyclothymic disorder is a chronic condition characterized by numerous hypomanic episodes and numerous periods of depressive symptoms for at least 2-years it is important that you and your doctor monitor your symptoms on a frequent basis. If you find that you have trouble tracking your moods a good therapist or mental health counselor should be able to help you with that. It would also be beneficial for you to educate yourself as much as you can on cyclothymic disorder.”

Source: Cyclothymia

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A Neuroscientist Explains What Happens To Your Brain When You Meditate

Source: Collective-Evolution   
“Meditation is becoming very popular lately. Perhaps it’s the anecdotal evidence friends are sharing with each other or the fact that more and more science is coming out to confirm the benefits of meditation that it’s encouraging people to take up the practice. Meditation has shown to decrease stress, increase happiness,quality of life, increase gray matter in the brain, making people more compassionate, lowering blood pressure, increasing memory and more. A great series of benefits from such a peaceful practice.”

  

“Meditation can be discouraging at times. It’s not easy to calm your mind, stop the thoughts and get into a space that is quiet. Since many of us, especially in western culture, are never taught to explore this practice at a young age it can be even harder to get into a quiet meditative space realizing that we are not our thoughts or mind. If you are discouraged you can get some tips here. If you are looking for some great ways to get into meditation, you can check these out.”
What Happens When You Meditate ? 
“A group of Harvard neuroscientists came together to study the benefits of meditation on the brain and how it affects mindfulness. Sara Lazar enrolled her team of 16 subjects in a 8 week mindfulness program to see if meditation, over a short period of time, could begin to create changes in lifestyle and the brain.”

  

“The subjects were given a 45 minute guided mindfulness exercise to be used daily and they were encouraged to do various daily activities with as much mindfulness as possible. On average the subjects performed about 27 minutes of mindfulness each day.”

  

“Britta Hölzel, the lead author on the paper says, “It is fascinating to see the brain’s plasticity and that, by practicing meditation, we can play an active role in changing the brain and can increase our well-being and quality of life.””

  
“One of the biggest things that happens to our brains when we meditate is that it stops processing so much information. Beta waves generally indicate a processing of information. When beta waves are decreased, we see a decrease in information processed. Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, (MRI) we can see how and where beta waves are decreasing the most. This is indicated by the color changes in the image below.”

  

Taking things a little deeper, the following areas of the brain were affected by meditation in different ways.”


  • Frontal lobe

“This is the most highly evolved part of the brain, responsible for reasoning, planning, emotions and self-conscious awareness. During meditation, the frontal cortex tends to go offline.”

  

  • Parietal lobe

“This part of the brain processes sensory information about the surrounding world, orienting you in time and space. During meditation, activity in the parietal lobe slows down.”

  

  • Thalamus

“The gatekeeper for the senses, this organ focuses your attention by funneling some sensory data deeper into the brain and stopping other signals in their tracks. Meditation reduces the flow of incoming information to a trickle.”

  
  

  • Reticular formation

“As the brain’s sentry, this structure receives incoming stimuli and puts the brain on alert, ready to respond. Meditating dials back the arousal signal.”

  
  

““This study demonstrates that changes in brain structure may underlie some of these reported improvements and that people are not just feeling better because they are spending time relaxing.” Sarah Lazar Ph.D., the study’s senior author.”
Societal Benefits For The Bigger Picture

“When we begin to consider the benefits of meditation we can start to imagine how different our world might look if everyone, or even the majority of people began practicing meditation more regularly. Could an increase in mindfulness, happiness, care, and empathy for others make an impact on our world? How about reduced stress and better memory? As opposed to many of the practices we do in our society today, drinking, smoking, drug use, pharmaceuticals for EVERYTHING, television, which are all seen as generally acceptable, imagine if a portion of the time spent doing things destructive to our body and mind was replaced with meditation instead. What might the outcome look like?”

“Certainly some interesting things to ponder when you realize that many of the issues we see today in our world on a daily basis stem from a lack of mindfulness and a take over of egoic individuality where we lose sight of how our actions might affect others or how we can get caught up in taking things personally. For example, studies have shown that meditation makes people connect better with others and feel more compassionate towards them. Given how many of our daily and worldly challenges stem from seeing others as a problem to our own lives, isn’t it fair to say that suddenly seeing beyond these perceived perceptions and gaining a connection to others could instead create a more peaceful and joyous reality?”
“I feel that many of our worlds problems are not necessarily due to the structures around us presenting limitations but because the consciousness or mindset that acts as the foundation for our world is creating this experience. To change our world from the source, a change in mindset (consciousness or world view) would trigger a different understanding of how we could live and create our world. Instead of simply operating from belief and programming as we do today, we could strip that away and create from a space connected with our hearts and true selves, something I believe would drastically change our world.”

Want to learn more? Check out these articles: 

  1. This is Your Brain On Meditation
  2. Meditation Can Change the Brain
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All About Tanzanite 

Learn About Tanzanite  
About Tanzanite:

“Found in just one place on earth, tanzanite is a relatively recent discovery. This blue variety of zoisite was named for Tanzania, the country where it was found, by Tiffany & Co. Because crystals show different colors depending on viewing direction, cutters can choose bluish purple or the more favored pure blue or violetish blue hue depending on how much weight they want to retain from the rough.”

  
“Tanzanite is the blue to violet to purple variety of the mineral zoisite. It is mined commercially only in one area of the world: the Merelani Hills of Tanzania, which is where it gets its name.”

“Tanzanite’s appearance is influenced greatly by its pleochroism, which is the ability of a gemstone to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions. Tanzanite can be violetish blue—similar to a sapphire color—or much more purplish. Often, both the violetish blue and purplish colors are readily visible in a fashioned stone when it is gently rocked and tilted.”

  
HISTORY

“Tanzanite is relatively new to the colored stone galaxy. As the most common story of the tanzanite mining boom goes, in 1967 a Masai tribesman stumbled upon a cluster of highly transparent, intense blue crystals weathering out of the earth in Merelani, an area of northern Tanzania. He alerted a local fortune hunter named Manuel d’Souza, who quickly registered four mining claims.”
“D’Souza hoped that he’d been shown a new sapphire deposit. Instead, the deposit contained one of the newest of the world’s gems.”

  

“Although it’s a newcomer to the gemstone industry, tanzanite has quickly become one of the most popular colored gemstones.”

“Within a short time, 90 more claims appeared in the same 20-square-mile area. No one was quite sure what the beautiful crystals were, but everyone wanted to lay claim to the profits they were certain to produce. The new gem would eventually be known as tanzanite, and it would, at times, rival the Big 3 in popularity.”

“Tiffany & Company recognized its potential as an international seller and made a deal to become its main distributor. Tiffany named the gem after the country it came from, and promoted it with a big publicity campaign in 1968. Almost overnight, tanzanite was popular with leading jewelry designers and other gem professionals, as well as with customers who had an eye for beautiful and unusual gems.”

“The instant popularity of this transparent blue to violet to purple gem was tied to its vivid color, high clarity, and potential for large cut stones.”

  
MORE ABOUT THE STONE…

“Tanzanite.com was launched in 1996 as an extension of the 30 year family wholesale business in Tanzanite. With offices based in New York, Africa, Belgium, Israel, Thailand, Hong Kong and Sri Lanka, the family has been able to maintain strong relationships with owners of Tanzanite mines as well as Tanzanite cutters from around the world.”

“The reputation of Tanzanite.com and the family behind it is one of implacable quality and reliability. We have obtained a great amount of the world’s finest quality of tanzanite throughout the years and continue to only buy the rare exquisite colors and clarities that the mines produce.”

“Although our the families main business is to sell to retail stores and fine boutiques from around the world, Tanzanite.com was formed to deal direct with the gem collector and the regular shopper who simply wants the best.”

  

WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING:

COLOR

“A deep saturated “sapphire” blue is tanzanite’s most valuable color, although some consumers favor gems with an intense violet blue hue. Exceptional tanzanites display an intense violetish blue with red flashes of pleochroic color. As with any colored gem, paler hues are more affordable.”


CLARITY

“Eye-visible inclusions decrease the value of tanzanite, particularly in lighter colored stones, where they’re more visible against the gem’s bodycolor. Any inclusions that might pose durability problems—such as fractures—lower tanzanite value greatly.”


CUT

“Tanzanite is available in a wide range of shapes but cushion and oval cuts are most common. Cutting orientation has a big impact on a gem’s face up color and its price. Cutting to emphasize a gem’s bluish purple color usually wastes less rough than cutting it to get a pure blue or violetish blue hue.”


CARAT WEIGHT

“Tanzanite is available as fine, larger pieces with strong color or lighter material cut to standard sizes for use in mass market jewelry. Tanzanite color is less saturated in smaller sizes. Gems must be above 5-cts. in size to have deep, fine color.”

  

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The 6 Worst Employee Communication Mistakes 

Having Trouble Communicating?  
“Assuming you’ve done a good job of hiring, your employees have skills that contribute to the growth of your business—but that doesn’t mean they’re all great communicators.”

“Business owners often encounter difficulties in getting their employees to better express themselves and interact with others.”

Here are six of the worst employee communication mistakes, with suggestions for improvement:

1. Vague emails, lacking a call to action

“Email communications are so pervasive in our daily lives that it’s easy to forget basic business email etiquette. Among the most common errors:”

“Too wordy, with no clear substance.”

“USE OF ALL CAPITAL LETTERS”

“Vague or misleading title in the subject field.”

“An unprofessional tone (joking, sarcastic, indignant, impolite).”

“No clear call to action.”

•Consider holding a brief “refresher course” or send out helpful tips to get people on the same page. Remind employees to:

“Keep messages concise.”

“Let the email recipient know whether the message is urgent or time-sensitive.”

“Be explicit about what you’re asking for, be it information or action.”

  

2. Failure to double-check spelling and grammar

“Emails with improper grammar and misspelled words are unacceptable when employees communicate with management or, most important, with your customers.”

“Make sure employees understand that spell-check alone doesn’t guarantee an error-free message. They must re-read their messages and ensure that spell-check hasn’t substituted an incorrect word for the one intended. Also, find and fix ambiguous language.”

  

3. Lack of a prompt response to emails from others

“Employers must also take responsibility for getting employees to respond to emails in a timely manner. Don’t indulge in a long-winded message forcing the recipient to puzzle out what to do next.”

“If you need answers, ask specific questions. Request a response by a certain time or date. And restrict the number of people receiving the email. Seeing a long list of recipients, any one employee may think others will respond instead of him or her.”

  

4. Gossiping in the workplace

“Every employer knows how destructive gossip can be. To cope with this human weakness, try these tactics:”

“Indicate a zero-tolerance policy for gossip in your employee handbook. This makes everyone aware of the company’s position from the first day of employment.”

“If you learn about someone gossiping, speak directly to that individual and remind them about your company policy.”

“Share as much information about your business as possible, thus discouraging people’s tendency to speculate in a vacuum of knowledge.”

  
5. Inability to read body language

“Some are more adept than others at reading body language and picking up on nonverbal cues. If your business involves frequent face-to-face encounters, consider holding training sessions in how to read body language, with particular attention paid to:”

“How close or far another person stands while talking to you.”

“The degree of eye contact made.”

“Whether the other person has his or her arms crossed or open.”

“Signs of fidgeting or nervousness (indicating defensiveness or resistance to the speaker’s message).”

“Encourage employees to concentrate more when interacting with co-workers or customers. Stay alert to facial expressions, hand gestures, and other types of body language.”

  

6. Monopolizing meetings

“Some employees are extroverts and tend to dominate meetings, to the detriment of others. How can you discourage this behavior?”

“Politely hold up your hand to indicate you’d like the person to stop speaking.”

“When the employee takes a breath, redirect the conversation to include others.”

“If the problem persists, take the offender aside in private and, while showing you appreciate their input, ask them to hold back or at least limit their comments so others can speak.”

“With positive guidance, employees can learn to avoid these common communication mistakes.”

  

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3 Easy Steps To Breaking Bad Habits

Break that Habit!  

3 Steps to Breaking Pesky Habits:

“We may be loath to admit it, but most of us have at least one bad habit. And while some bad habits — such as smoking — can pose serious health risks, others like nail biting, throat clearing, and knuckle cracking are really just plain irksome (for us and for the people that love us).”

“Odds are you have been biting your nails or cracking your knuckles for a long time. So how can you be expected to break these bad habits now?”

“Where there is a will, there is a way. No matter what your bad habit — whether nail biting, knuckle cracking, cuticle picking, chronic coughing, or throat clearing — WebMD’s cadre of experts have a simple three-step solution that can be customized to whatever habit needs breaking.”

  
Step No.1: Make It Conscious

“The first step is to figure out when — and why — you bite your nails, crack your knuckles, or engage in any other bad habit. “If you can notice when you are doing it and under what circumstances and what feelings are attached to it, you might be able to figure out why you are doing it and be able to stop,” says Susan Jaffe, MD, a psychiatrist in private practice in New York City.”

  
Step No. 2: Put It in Writing So It Really Sinks In

“”Log it,” says Janet L. Wolfe, PhD, a clinical psychologist in New York City and author of several books including What to Do When He Has a Headache. This will help you establish a baseline, she says. “Put down the antecedents, the emotions surrounding the knuckle cracking and what goes through your head when you crack your knuckles,” she says. “This will make your bad habit more conscious.””

  
Step #3: Bait & Switch

“Once you realize when and why you are biting your nails, cracking your knuckles, or engaging in any other bad habit, the next logical step is to find a not-quite-as-annoying temporary or permanent replacement for it.”

  

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Mini Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

thiscrazygirlcanbake

I have been cleaning out my apartment for what seems like weeks. I never knew I had so much stuff. I started to clean out my pantry on Sunday and came across a can of pumpkin. It needed to be used, so the hunt for a recipe began and I found a recipe for pumpkin cupcakes on pinterest. Since it’s Halloween and I had a ton of cute Halloween themed mini cupcake liners, I decided to make mini cupcakes. Besides, mini cupcakes are super cute, especially with sprinkles. Everything is better with sprinkles.

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The recipe I found called for one 16 oz can of pumpkin. My pumpkin was only 15 oz, but I forged ahead and hoped for the best. The original recipe, that I slightly modified, is from Book Bound, All Things Inspired by Books. The original recipe can be found here: Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting.

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Schizophrenia Is Really Eight Distinct Disorders, Study Suggests

Schizophrenia

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“Rather than a single disease, schizophrenia can actually be broken down into eight genetically distinct disorders, according to research published in the online American Journal of Psychiatry.

Investigators came to their findings after analyzing DNA variations in 4,200 people with schizophrenia and 3,800 healthy control subjects and matching those variations to symptoms in individual patients.

In doing so, they identified distinct gene clusters that seem to cause eight separate types of the disorder, each with its own particular symptoms.

“What we’ve done here, after a decade of frustration in the field of psychiatric genetics, is identify the way genes interact with each other, how the ‘orchestra’ is either harmonious and leads to health, or disorganized in ways that lead to distinct classes of schizophrenia,” said senior investigator C. Robert Cloninger, MD, PhD, the Wallace Renard Professor of Psychiatry and Genetics at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.”

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“Among patients who experienced hallucinations or delusions, specific genetic variations identified by researchers demonstrated 95% certainty of schizophrenia. That certainty extended to a full 100% for the gene variations researchers identified in patients with disorganized speech and behavior.

Overall, researchers found 42 clusters of genetic variations that increased a person’s risk of schizophrenia between 70% and 100%.

Researchers hope their findings will lead to improved diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia.

“People have been looking at genes to get a better handle on heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, and it’s been a real disappointment,” Dr. Cloninger said. “Most of the variability in the severity of disease has not been explained, but we were able to find that different sets of genetic variations were leading to distinct clinical syndromes. So I think this really could change the way people approach understanding the causes of complex diseases.”

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