My view on Iranian women and Iran.

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Hi all, this is an article I researched and wrote back on Christmas 2009.  That day I had been thinking about my Christmas’s in Iran, and although I despise what happened to me, these women and girls (my students) made me feel warm and welcomed in a country where I was put into the most judgmental spot of all by Mohammad’s family.  Iranian women are strong women they have to be, and in this country these woman accepted me and knew nothing of my past to judge me by and made me feel more secure in a female relationship than I even have felt in the USA.   And also remember what these women must endure.  When and if their daughter is hung (due to boredom by her husband so he accuses her of adultery) the COMPASSIONATE thing these barbaric men do and consider compassionate is to allow the mother to walk the daughter to the noose and spend a few minutes with her.  These women are strong, as we all are, but I wanted to let you into the world I lived in for four years.           (**BY NO WAY AM I ENCOURAGING YOU TO VISIT IRAN!!!!)  I hope you enjoy and become enlightened.  I wrote this for helium and it was the number one article for quite some time.  Lori

The condition of women in the Middle Eastscan0001-318x211[1]

*My students in Iran, Layla on the right was drowned in her fathers swimming pool for not being a virgin on her wedding night.

If you write a study, essay or a book, be prepared to answer even the most ludicrous of questions. What may seem to you as ridiculous or common knowledge is very foreign or strange at best when viewed by others that have no clue about the boundaries outside their comfortable little world.

The mere mention of Iran invokes suspicion and a sense of backwardness, fundamentalism, and terrorism. The name brings to mind conflicting images of men-bearded, militant, hostile and not least of all chauvinist, ….and women-veiled, oppressed, and submissive. Shrouded in their black chadors (the ultimate symbol of their oppression), women on the television screen are angry, holding their hands up and chanting anti-American slogans. The women are more than willing to fight.

Westernization and US domination in the region, they contribute in the process to their own oppression. What is the truth behind these images? Is there one single truth? Are the so-called truths only media propaganda, to feed a public hungry for answers to the unknown? Are some images manufactured collages that deprive millions of people of their humanity, denying them their voice and the right to a decent proud existence? Who is the woman, the individual behind these images? Her appearance typifies the ultimate inferiority and oppression of the “second sex” in the region. But I beg to differ…From an outsiders view that had the opportunity to view within, I’d like to add the following observations of these wise, proud, highly intelligent yet tactful if not manipulative at times heroes.

The Iranian woman is oppressed yet rebellious. She is subjugated yet unruly. She is controlled yet defiant. She is hushed and subservient. She is a religious fanatic living a secluded life. She is a revolutionary, a fighter, yet segregated and oppressed. Willing to die for her nation, she is a mother and a wife. The images contradict, with each emerging to deconstruct the others. Outsiders, foreigners, and bystanders, however tend to hold onto certain characteristics of these images, unaware of the role the West has itself played in the creation and perpetuation of a certain branch of Islamic revivalism.

For them, these stereotypical attributes contain momentous significance because they remain resistant to the passage of time, oblivious to the change of governments, and blind to the dramatic socioeconomic changes that has swept the country during the twentieth century. The undue loyalty to the convoluted images-perhaps even the psychological, political, and economic need to view these differences through the lens of inferiority-has induced many a viewer to avoid questioning the validity of such images (to avoid inquiring about the politics of the region and to avoid acknowledging the complete humanity of those who live there. The mere fact of difference signifies to the outsider a lack of change, transformation, and movement through time. The outsider is perplexed because of the extremity of these images. The difference testifies to the all-encompassing superiority of anything Western.

These images while contradictory have proven most resilient; they have enshrouded reality. A thick white fog has fallen. It is a beautiful and mysterious fog, but because of it, we have lost our vision. Image and reality, dream and nightmare, illusion and everyday life all become one. A true understanding of the humanity embedded in these convoluted pictures is denied.

No single image adequately can reveal the complexity of the lives that Iranian women live. To expect a manufactured image to explain amply the existence of more than thirty million women are unrealistic; no single image adequately can reveal the totality of any one person, let alone millions of people. The diversity of individual lives defies such confinement. The reduction of the lives of millions of women to a single familiar picture that appeals to the gaze of outsiders gravely distorts reality and minimizes the complexity of cultures and of individual lives.

Do all Iranian women share a history and culture that uniformly shape women’s lives and their experience? I will post part two on this when I get back from my forced sabbatical…until then…. Fight strong and Proud Iranian women you have earned the right…

Part Two Iranian Woman

Part of my goal in doing this is to partially educate myself on the thoughts of Iranian women who are in the USA, either by choice or displaced. When one lives amongst the subjects at hand, your focus becomes very blurred and biased. That is why I’m including views from when I lived there as well as views by Iranian women who live in the USA today. Also in doing this I hope to share a certain part of Eastern culture with Americans who are ignorant to the personalities, lives and hardships of those women that live in Iran.

Therefore, this study is not about the generic title, “Iranian women”. To the degree that the label “American women” is problematic because it overlooks racial, ethnic, and class differences, the title “Iranian women” also presents its own problems. Such general terms deny women their personal qualities, obscuring their diverse backgrounds and various lifestyles.

This article is not about Islamic feminism or feminism in Iran. Women’s lives and rights in Iran have received considerable mention/attention since the early 1980’s.

The dramatic changes introduced by the Islamic Republic only a few years after its ascent to power prompted many scholars as well as students of Iran to start studying up on as well as examining closely the position of women in Iran during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. While such study has revealed women’s veiled but volatile presence in sociopolitical domains, it has also exposed the fragile and nascent nature of modernization attempts that were begun during the Pahlavi regime.

Historical studies on Iranian women, e.g. have recorded the lives and excerpts written by individual women who tried to introduce the first schools for girls in Tehran (1907); or in other cities.

The founders of these institutions were denounced, attacked, harassed by the authorities and at times even by their own families. Ostracized and alone, these women nevertheless paved the way for the opening of the first public schools for girls by the year 1918. Despite their veiling requirements they still drove on and pushed for change.

A few years prior to these above attempts a small group of women from all social classes but mostly the upper-and upper-middle-class families became politically active, playing a noteworthy role on the side of Constitutionalists.

Condemning the Russian governments intervention in Iran’s affairs in 1911, these women formed secret societies using their veils, they transferred messages and arms to various parties involved. At the conclusion of this there were over 1000 women who were protesting Russia’s interference. In a country and at that historical milestone where society condemned any outside activity by women or ones that women were involved in were considered immoral. Despite this the women still managed to express their opinion on the future of their country. The gathering of more than one thousand veiled women outside the parliament on November 29, 1911, to reprimand the men for yielding to Russia’s ultimatum is a historical image never to be forgotten within the mind’s eye.

The Iranian Revolution started a whole new group of scholars anxious to study the frighteningly limited and oppressive lives women had lived at the turn of the 20th century. It also set the scene for these courageous and brave women to demonstrate to the world their insistence for social change and political integrity.

Historically, the “veil” created mystery; gender segregation brought seclusion, isolation and perhaps a narrow and limited worldview. Draconian laws and cultural practices created hardships for women’s mobility and their civic rights.

But the women of the 20th century showed a great deal of initiative in shaping their own destinies. If the new studies of women in 20th century Iran display or exhibit the hardships Iranian-women endured, it also brings to light their resilience and determination to change their lives.

The 1979 Revolution led to an arduous process of gender wake-up calls. Women’s lives both in the private and public realms became topics of conversation and debate. Parallel with this time frame the government tried to reverse the secular changes enforced during the 20th century to control educational opportunities and career options and instead to introduce a new image of the Muslim woman. The government was set to Islamacize the country and create an ideal Muslim image for all women to revere and embrace.

While laws, albeit secular or religiously based, affect women’s lives, their opportunities in terms of education, family life and career opportunities; and even their choice of dress style and color, women lived/live their lives both within and beyond the boundaries set forth by the government in power. Now I will start part 3 off with how these women deal with everyday life struggles and exhibit a layer of reality that reaches far beyond any concept of reality of what any government does and does not do.

Part Three Iranian Woman

POV: Moving to the USA

One woman who relocated to the USA during the revolution states the following: * Some excerpts were used with express permission by either the published authority or the women themselves.

“My move to the United States made my life both exciting and unsettling. The political turmoil in Iran further exacerbated the situation; cutting ties to my family back home. The Revolution had started and Iran was on the news every night. I remember days of darkness in 1979, living in absolute confusion about what was happening in the country not knowing if my family or people I knew were all right. All of a sudden, we, the Iranian foreign students, became the enemy, the unwanted aliens in the US. All of a sudden, our collective identity changed from being an ally and supporter of the US’s politics in the region to that of a hostile adversary. Because of this situation, the past 20 years, especially those early days- have not been easy. Living with an identity not of our own choice, an identity bestowed on us because of political expediency and international relationships, has been problematic if not excessively uncomfortable. But life goes on.

While I was never able to pick up where I left off with my sister, those topics of conversation remained as poignant as ever. After the Revolution, I had even more reasons to think about men and women, fathers and mothers, marriage and divorce. The Revolution had introduced dramatic changes that affected not only women’s civil and family rights but also men’s lives.

The old topics of conversation and issues related to women’s experiences seemed to have gained an enormous significance. These topics and related questions became sources of casual conversation with friends, colleagues, and those interested in the changes happening in Iran. However, these conversations occurred in the US with men and women who had left Iran some time ago. Obviously, our perspective was different from those who were still living in Iran.

Given the upheavals the country was going through, women’s lives were a recurring theme of conversation for those of us living abroad. Needless to say, those women were our mothers, sisters, aunts, and friends. However, while we talked about women in Iran, the voices of these women were absent from our conversations. While we talked on their behalf, trying to grasp the depth of their feelings and daily experiences, there was a grave need to hear the voices of women still living in Iran.”

My experience with Iranian women

While living in Iran from May of 1998 to November 2001, I had more than enough opportunities to listen to women directly. The women mostly talked about their lives in the present rather than speculating on them in the future. While women are supposedly the second class citizens in Iran, I learned that men depend heavily on their words, actions and look to them for advice…A paradox for me to witness was that most men in Iran were especially closer to their mothers than their fathers. While this may be due to the oldest male child takes financial responsibility of the family if anything should happen to the father is the case or not I don’t know…Or maybe it is my theory, that

(Page 6 of 9)

Created on: December 25, 2009

Islamic law has taken women out of the realm of acquaintance to men in public, thus leaving them as some great mysterious enigma, only to be figured out once an arranged marriage is in the works.
I truly believe that everything they told me was on a factual basis…I was an English instructor to many younger and older girls in Iran, both in a school and private setting. For whatever reasons these women found it easy and comforting to talk to me…Many begged to stay past their 1 ½ hour time allotted for private classes, just to continue venting.

Parisa

* All statements unless otherwise stated are those of the woman that the focus is intended upon.

One girl in particular who spoke to me, yet mimicked many thoughts of Iranian women was Parisa Nasrizadeh.

Parisa had started coming to my private English classes in July ’99…she was still a student of mine when I left Iran in 2001. Parisa’s husband had relocated to Texas, USA, and had explained to her that she and their 2-yr.old son would have to wait until he became settled before he could send for them.

Parisa was more than excited about the thought of moving to America, but after almost 2 years, the weekly telephone calls from her husband had dwindled to a monthly call if that. His attitude had changed remarkably and Parisa suspected that he had a girlfriend in Texas. Well her suspicions were well founded in December 1999, when she called her husband only to have his mistress answer the telephone.

Parisa came to my house crying and a wreck. Although she did not have a class scheduled for that day, I put off all other appt. to talk with her, she felt like she couldn’t divulge this information to her family or they would see her as a failure.

For whatever reason in Iran the family has the stigma associated to them of failure if their daughter isn’t a virgin on her wedding night, or if her once happy marriage turns sour. This puts a lot of undue pressure on the women to be all things to their husbands. Also it is law for Iranian men to retain custody of the children in a divorce; from my understanding up to age, seven they are to be with their mother and after that their father.

Parisa married young as was the tradition in Iran, and she states she gave her youth so that she could have her old age to herself.

In the beginning the marriage was a romantic dream she says, he was so kind, loving and we talked for hours on how big of a family we would have, as well as me continuing my education for my engineering degree.

He literally put the stops to that after the first year of proving his worth as a good provider and husband. All my hopes since H.S. were cremated in that second year of marriage! I was pregnant and he had just stated very matter of factly that I would not be returning to college, since my place now was in the home as a mother and wife.

I learned one thing and that was not to argue with him. We had our conflicts in the past, he had always won out, and the punishment of taking the car privileges away so that I could visit my parents was more than I could bear.

After learning that he had plans to move to the USA and that his immigration papers were approved, I felt a depth in my stomach I could not describe. It was one of living out my dreams vicariously through him, yet dreading the one day I knew would come and that was him telling me I couldn’t come to the USA.

I don’t know what made me think this way, it was a gut feeling, and so far, my gut feelings were infallible.

Upon learning of his mistress, I immediately told her to have him call his wife and son in Iran upon his return. She hung up rather aggressively. She had no right to be angry, I was the one after all that had been hurt, cheated on, betrayed, and manipulated.

He did return my call late that night, and he was very angry, upset, and yelling at me. I quietly told him that I would file for “tadiq” which is a divorce in Iran. He resisted, stating that he would be coming home in the summer to see his son. I humored him, but only until I couldn’t bear the thought of throwing my life away any longer for a man who did not love or respect me as his wife and mother of his child.

What I did next was not only looked upon as a personal failure but attributable to my family as a failure in raising me as well. My parents did not take the news well since they initiated the marriage. My father who has always been kind to his wife and us his daughters became somewhat put off. He had asked me why? I told him that he had found another woman. My fathers reply: What couldn’t you do to satisfy him? I replied nothing. My father’s last words were: You must have did or didn’t do something right so work on it and perfect it for or if there is a second chance for you.

So here I was a single parent in a society that looked down upon this. They not only found it appalling they harassed single women parents as well. Well this is when my mother became such an integral part of my life, as well as all my female friends.   will end this one account synopsis here to start Part 4 re: Mothers, Daughters, and the ties that bind…

Part Four Iranian Woman

Examining the mother-daughter relationship reveals the isolation and the powerlessness, at times, forces some mothers to turn to their daughters, most often eldest daughters, as companions, friends, or confidants. Having a mother confide in the female child brings the world of childhood to an abrupt end and puts the child in a contradictory position, forcing a too-immature entrance into the adult world and risking possible exposure to intimate but potentially disturbing aspects of the marital relationship……..While doing this I wanted to explore the various ways in which mothers have internalized the dominant societal attitudes about the superior/male and inferior/female aspects of gender relations.

The more than often-powerless position of mothers in the marital relationship perpetuates a cycle of powerlessness in the female child and critically colors her attitudes toward the father and other men. Furthermore, this situation may retard the development of both parties in the future.

While this part of the essay explores those relationships that are cherished by daughters, it also articulates the darker side of the mother-daughter bond and family interactions. Like all studies based on qualitative research, the sample in this study is small therefore caution must be taken not to generalize the findings to all mother-daughter relationships. It is important to emphasize the variability in mother-daughter relationships and avoid attributing universal and invariant features to them.

Many women cherish close relationships with their mothers and have developed lifelong friendships. But I wanted to explore the multifaceted and nourishing relationship-a vital relationship without which the survival of the family institution as we know it today would be jeopardized. It also examines the ways in which patriarchy harms women and retards the development of happy and fulfilling relationships between men and women, husbands and wives, and mothers and daughters.

“HER PAIN IS MY PAIN”

When I discuss the mothers I would like to clarify the group in which this is focused on which would be; a cohort of women who were born between the early 1920’s and the late 1930’s. For most Iranian women of this generation, marriage was not a personal choice based on romantic love. Rather, it was viewed as a family affair, decided by the parents of the young couple. All of the mothers with one exception had married men chosen by their parents. It must be noted that it was not only women who entered into blind marriages. The men whose mothers chose a wife for them and whose fathers approved of the choice also entered into marriage blindly. There were also occasions where the fathers gave their consent without consulting either the mother or their daughters.

Therefore, an arranged marriage was a blind contract for both partners, often entered into with either minimal or no prior knowledge of the other person’s appearance or personality.

The mothers typically married at a young age, moved to a new house that they most often shared with the husband’s relatives, were considerably younger than their husbands, and were expected to abide by cultural perceptions about appropriate gender roles. These factors led to unequal life-long marital relationships. Thus upon starting a new life, the couple played their roles according to societal expectations and dominant traditions that dictated an unequal relationship between the two partners. This in turn created the situation in where the women live in them.

So as I have mentioned, Iranian woman is oppressed yet rebellious. She is subjugated yet unruly. She is controlled yet defiant. She is hushed and subservient. She is a religious fanatic living a secluded life. She is a revolutionary, a fighter, yet segregated and oppressed. Willing to die for her nation, she is a mother and a wife. The images contradict, with each emerging to deconstruct the others. Outsiders, foreigners, and bystanders, however tend to hold onto certain characteristics of these images, unaware of the role the West has itself played in the creation and perpetuation of a certain branch of Islamic revivalism!

And in an important synopsis is to end DOMESTIC VIOLENCE against women in ALL COUNTRIES!!!   ____Stop_Violence_Women

        Learn more about this author, Lori Foroozandeh.

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PTSD- Your not alone!

 

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a traumatic event. A traumatic event is something terrible and scary that you see, or that happens to you, like:

  • Combat exposure
  • Child sexual or physical abuse
  • Terrorist attack
  • Sexual or physical assault
  • Serious accidents, like a car wreck
  • Natural disasters, like a fire, tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake

During a traumatic event, you think that your life or others’ lives are in danger. You may feel afraid or feel that you have no control over what is happening around you. Most people have some stress-related reactions after a traumatic event; but, not everyone gets PTSD. If your reactions don’t go away over time and they disrupt your life, you may have PTSD.

My experience was, FLASHBACKS.

You also have something called “FLASHBACKS”.  These are what I suffered from in addition to the above symptoms.  When I returned from Iran and the torture I suffered there, I started having what were called “non-epileptic” seizures.  These are real seizures but can not be traced to epilepsy as the cause.  I also had flashbacks, and when I suffered from these I would all of a sudden just leave this world and return to the location where I suffered all the pain and torture.  I would either see something that reminded me of that place or etal.  Then I would either try to start physically hitting myself or banging my head against the wall or floor, I would talk in farsi (the language of Iran).  I would push people away from me because I was afraid they were coming to rape me.  This is a horrible mental disorder that is suffered by many people with trauma in their life.  Veterans are also a big population that suffers from it.

How does PTSD develop?

Most people who go through a trauma have some symptoms at the beginning. Only some will develop PTSD over time. It isn’t clear why some people develop PTSD and others don’t.

Whether or not you get PTSD depends on many things:

  • How intense the trauma was or how long it lasted
  • If you were injured or lost someone important to you
  • How close you were to the event
  • How strong your reaction was
  • How much you felt in control of events
  • How much help and support you got after the event

What are the symptoms of PTSD?

PTSD symptoms usually start soon after the traumatic event, but they may not appear until months or years later. They also may come and go over many years. If the symptoms last longer than 4 weeks, cause you great distress, or interfere with your work or home life, you might have PTSD.

There are four types of symptoms of PTSD

  1. Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms)

You may have bad memories or nightmares. You even may feel like you’re going through the event again. This is called a flashback.

2.  Avoiding situations that remind you of the event

You may try to avoid situations or people that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You may even avoid talking or thinking about the event.

3.  Feeling numb

You may find it hard to express your feelings. Or, you may not be interested in activities you used to enjoy. This is another way to avoid memories.

4.  Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal)

You may be jittery, or always alert and on the lookout for danger. This is known as hyperarousal.

I suffered from all of the above but at different times.  My main symptoms or events were feeling keyed up, and feeling numb.  Unlike the above I would purposely NOT avoid stressful situations because I thought I HAD TO GET ON WITH REAL LIFE, so if I avoided every stressful situation then I wouldn’t be able to function.  This included watching TV shows like Law & Order SVU, which dealt with a lot of rapes and childhood sexual abuse *both of which I’ve suffered from.  I can’t say these shows don’t affect me because they do at times, and I have to quit watching, but I think (my own opinion not professional) that if I keep dealing with life on it’s terms then it will all work out in the end.

Plus I have a WONDERFUL SUPPORTIVE MAN who has given and put up with so much of my downfalls and also the accomplishments that makes me blessed to have him in my life.

What other problems do people with PTSD experience?

People with PTSD may also have other problems. These include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, shame, or despair
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Drinking or drug problems
  • Physical symptoms or chronic pain
  • Employment problems
  • Relationship problems, including divorce

In many cases, treatments for PTSD will also help these other problems, because they are often related. The coping skills you learn in treatment can work for PTSD and these related problems.

Needless to say I’ve suffered from all the above, but counseling and the right doctors can help you TREMENDOUSLY.  Most of the above symptoms are now under control to a level that I can function in HIGH capacity.  (Not HIGH to mean on drugs:))

What treatments are available?

When you have PTSD, dealing with the past can be hard. Instead of telling others how you feel, you may keep your feelings bottled up. But treatment can help you get better. There are two main types of treatment, psychotherapy (sometimes called counseling) and medication. Sometimes people combine psychotherapy and medication.  I personally don’t advocate some of the treatments below, while I don’t believe medication should be a cure all either, I believe a MD, and a therapist who has a LOT of experience with PTSD patients are your best bet.  But again these are my opinions.

Psychotherapy for PTSD

Psychotherapy, or counseling, involves meeting with a therapist. There are different types of psychotherapy:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective treatment for PTSD.  There are different types of CBT. such as cognitive therapy and exposure therapy.
    • One type is Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) where you learn skills to understand how trauma changed your thoughts and feelings.
    • Another type is Prolonged Exposure (PE) therapy where you talk about your trauma repeatedly until memories are no longer upsetting. You also go to places that are safe, but that you have been staying away from because they are related to the trauma.
  • A similar kind of therapy is called eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). This therapy involves focusing on sounds or hand movements while you talk about the trauma.
  • Medications for PTSD

    Medications can be effective too. A type of drug known as a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is also used for depression, is effective for PTSD. Another medication called Prazosin has been found to be helpful in decreasing nightmares related to the trauma.

    IMPORTANT: Benzodiazepines and atypical antipsychotics should generally be avoided for PTSD treatment because they do not treat the core PTSD symptoms.

Where to Get Help for PTSD

 Are you are in crisis? You have options:

  • Call 911
  • Go to the nearest Emergency Room
  • Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
  • Contact the Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255, press 1 (text 838255) or Confidential Veterans Chat with a counselor   To have a private chat with a veterans counselor who has experience with PTSD go to the link below.

http://www.veteranscrisisline.net/ChatTermsOfService.aspx?account=Veterans%20Chat/

  • National Institute of Mental Health’s Anxiety HOTLINE 1-888-826-9438
  •  Online support forum:    http://www.findthelight.net/forum/login.asp 
  •   National Center for PTSD – The National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) conduct cutting edge research and apply resultant findings to: “Advance the Science and Promote Understanding of Traumatic Stress.” Fact sheets, videos, and more about trauma to help answer your questions about PTSD and related issues.
    www.ncptsd.va.gov
  • National Resource Directory – The National Resource Directory (NRD) provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels that support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov
  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline – The hotline is staffed 24 hours a day by trained counselors who can provide crisis assistance and information about shelters, legal advocacy, health care centers and counseling. There is also a toll-free number for the hearing impaired, 1-800-787-3224
    www.thehotline.org
    1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)
    www.rainn.org
    1-800-656-HOPE This number will direct callers to a local rape crisis center
  • National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hotline
    www.ncadd.com
    1-800-622-2255
  • SAMHSA – works to improve the quality and availability of substance abuse prevention, alcohol and drug addiction treatment, and mental health services.
    www.samhsa.gov
    1-800-662-HELP (4357)

I’ve tried not only to include the numbers and websites for help for PTSD but for those disorders that might be the ROOT cause of why we suffer from it.  I only wish ALL of you well.  I know how important it is to have resources and many people don’t know where to go or look for links or numbers so I hope that I’ve helped some of you out.  If you need ANYTHING, please don’t hesitate to email me at lori@loris-song.com and put PTSD in the subject line.  I will help you in any way I can within my capabilities.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL! Thanks for reading, Lori


One song does not an album make

I would like to share with all of you some sites that I thought were very interesting because they touched on the very subjects that are dear to my heart, such as CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE.  These sites also have another common thread they are named exactly  like my site except with the suffix of .ORG rather than .COM.  I just wanted to share these sites because they can help us out too with their information:

http://www.lorissong.org/

http://www.lorissong.net/

it also has the website of

http://www.loris-song.org/

I found this rather odd, but instead of getting all “territorial” I decided to share it with you.  We all need resources in times of need and this seems like a very worthy website.

Here are some other resources for those in need or crisis:  Maybe you know someone who might be at risk or suffer from: PTSD, Depression, suicidal behavior or thoughts, childhood sexual abuse, bipolar, substance abuse or other event where they might need someone to talk to.  

 Crisis and support lines

Veterans ~ 1-877-838-2838 ( 1-877-VET-2VET )

Youth ~ 1-877- 968-4843 ( 1-877-YOUTHGUIDE )

National Sexual Assault hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE

Crisis Clinic – 866.4CRISIS – 866 427 4747

Crisis Services – 716.834.3131

Crisis support services – 1.800.SUICIDE/ 1.800.273.TALK (8255)

National Hopeline Network – 1.800.784.2433

En Española ~ 1-800-784-2432 ( 1-800-SUI-CIDA )

CANADA RESOURCES:

  • Canada – 1-800-232-7288 – or 911 – http://www.dcontario.org/
  • Canada: (514) 723 4000
  • Canada Crisis Counselors National Hotline 1-800-448-3000 . TTY – National Hotline 1-800-448-1833
  • Canada (French) – 1-866-277-3553 – http://www.cepsd.ca/

I only wish you ALL the very best and if I can help with anything please don’t hesitate to email me at:  lori@loris-song.com  I will answer any questions you might have, or if you just need someone to listen to you.  I can’t guarantee that I have a lot of time or that I’m on the computer a lot but I will definitely give it my best shot.  Maybe together we can help prevent another suicide, homicide or mass killings like Newtown.

After all RECOGNIZING MENTAL ILLNESS is the FIRST STEP in preventing any harm from coming in its path.

God Bless you ALL,

Lori

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting to know BIPOLAR-Facts and my views

I would like this post to be about educating those that don’t know a lot about Bipolar.   I was diagnosed with it in 2005, after a lifelong struggle with ups and downs which I had no idea how to treat or what it was.  My family would just say, “that’s Lori being Lori”.  They had no idea about it either.

What many people don’t know is that Bipolar is a “MOOD DISORDER”.  It involves extreme ups and downs, where the person goes through manic phases of increased confidence, excitement, and extreme spending habits.  There are other symptoms and signs of mania too but these are the most common.  The downs are depression so deep that you want to commit suicide at times, because you don’t want to live your life in such a deep hopelessness of despair.  There are many types of bipolar too, such as “rapid cycling bipolar” “bipolar one”, “bipolar two”, etal.

Bipolar is a mood disorder where the person who suffers from it does not have complete control over their thoughts and feelings. Most of us have a trigger is our brain to make us realize a situation is bad for us, and those with bipolar lack this. There may be people that you know that have the signs of being bipolar but having those signs can be confused with many other mental conditions that are around.

The mood of one with bipolar can go from happy to sad in a matter of seconds. When they get mad, it is almost like they are not happy until those around them are upset and angry also. Another symptom of bipolar is having high energy but still being in control. One of the biggest complaints from people with bipolar is that their brain does not shut off, even when they are trying to go to sleep at night. Many people that have bipolar also have ADHD or ADD. They cannot concentrate long enough on one thing to complete a task that they have before them.

Those suffering from bipolar also have great bouts of depression and have feelings of no self-worth at this time. They also talk very fast and are hard to follow. Many people with bipolar jump from subject to subject with no break in-between. They also have a hard time keeping a job and getting along with others. Unfortunately, many also abuse drugs and alcohol making their condition much worse. They also have a very hard time sleeping at night and this can cause the problems at work.

All of these combined does not mean that a person has bipolar, but it is wise to get someone tested.

What illnesses often co-exist with bipolar disorder?

Substance abuse is very common among people with bipolar disorder, but the reasons for this link are unclear.7 Some people with bipolar disorder may try to treat their symptoms with alcohol or drugs. However, substance abuse may trigger or prolong bipolar symptoms, and the behavioral control problems associated with mania can result in a person drinking too much.

Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, also co-occur often among people with bipolar disorder.8-10 Bipolar disorder also co-occurs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has some symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder, such as restlessness and being easily distracted.

People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses.10, 11 These illnesses may cause symptoms of mania or depression. They may also result from treatment for bipolar disorder.

Other illnesses can make it hard to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder should monitor their physical and mental health. If a symptom does not get better

How does bipolar disorder affect someone over time?

Bipolar disorder usually lasts a lifetime. Episodes of mania and depression typically come back over time. Between episodes, many people with bipolar disorder are free of symptoms, but some people may have lingering symptoms.

Doctors usually diagnose mental disorders using guidelines from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM. According to the DSM, there are four basic types of bipolar disorder:

  1. Bipolar I Disorder is mainly defined by manic or mixed episodes that last at least seven days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, the person also has depressive episodes, typically lasting at least two weeks. The symptoms of mania or depression must be a major change from the person’s normal behavior.
  2. Bipolar II Disorder is defined by a pattern of depressive episodes shifting back and forth with hypomanic episodes, but no full-blown manic or mixed episodes.
  3. Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (BP-NOS) is diagnosed when a person has symptoms of the illness that do not meet diagnostic criteria for either bipolar I or II. The symptoms may not last long enough, or the person may have too few symptoms, to be diagnosed with bipolar I or II. However, the symptoms are clearly out of the person’s normal range of behavior.
  4. Cyclothymic Disorder, or Cyclothymia, is a mild form of bipolar disorder. People who have cyclothymia have episodes of hypomania that shift back and forth with mild depression for at least two years. However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for any other type of bipolar disorder.

Some people may be diagnosed with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. This is when a person has four or more episodes of major depression, mania, hypomania, or mixed symptoms within a year.2 Some people experience more than one episode in a week, or even within one day. Rapid cycling seems to be more common in people who have severe bipolar disorder and may be more common in people who have their first episode at a younger age. One study found that people with rapid cycling had their first episode about four years earlier, during mid to late teen years, than people without rapid cycling bipolar disorder.3 Rapid cycling affects more women than men.4

Bipolar disorder tends to worsen if it is not treated. Over time, a person may suffer more frequent and more severe episodes than when the illness first appeared.5 Also, delays in getting the correct diagnosis and treatment make a person more likely to experience personal, social, and work-related problems.6

Proper diagnosis and treatment helps people with bipolar disorder lead healthy and productive lives. In most cases, treatment can help reduce the frequency and severity of episodes.

Medications

Bipolar disorder can be diagnosed and medications prescribed by people with an M.D. (doctor of medicine). Usually, bipolar medications are prescribed by a psychiatrist. In some states, clinical psychologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and advanced psychiatric nurse specialists can also prescribe medications. Check with your state’s licensing agency to find out more.

Not everyone responds to medications in the same way. Several different medications may need to be tried before the best course of treatment is found.

Keeping a chart of daily mood symptoms, treatments, sleep patterns, and life events can help the doctor track and treat the illness most effectively. Sometimes this is called a daily life chart. If a person’s symptoms change or if side effects become serious, the doctor may switch or add medications.

Some of the types of medications generally used to treat bipolar disorder are listed on the next page. Information on medications can change. For the most up to date information on use and side effects contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)External Link: Please review our disclaimer..

  1. Mood stabilizing medications are usually the first choice to treat bipolar disorder. In general, people with bipolar disorder continue treatment with mood stabilizers for years. Except for lithium, many of these medications are anticonvulsants. Anticonvulsant medications are usually used to treat seizures, but they also help control moods. These medications are commonly used as mood stabilizers in bipolar disorder:
  • Lithium (sometimes known as Eskalith or Lithobid) was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes.
  • Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.23, 24 Also see the section in this booklet, “Should young women take valproic acid?”
  • More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.
  • Other anticonvulsant medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) are sometimes prescribed. No large studies have shown that these medications are more effective than mood stabilizers.

Valproic acid, lamotrigine, and other anticonvulsant medications have an FDA warning. The warning states that their use may increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People taking anticonvulsant medications for bipolar or other illnesses should be closely monitored for new or worsening symptoms of depression, suicidal thoughts or behavior, or any unusual changes in mood or behavior. People taking these medications should not make any changes without talking to their health care professional.

MY VIEW ON BIPOLAR AND MY ACTIONS

I personally am on Lamictal, with the anti-depressant Cymbalta and Thorazine to sleep (since they’ve tried every other sleeping pill and it wouldn’t work).

A lot of my episodes are triggered by flashbacks of what happened to me in IRAN.

Just remember there is help and below are some links that might explain and give you resources for getting tested or finding out more information.  I hope this has been helpful because so many people misunderstand bipolar.  Some celebrities with bipolar:  Katherine Zeta Jones (Michael Douglas’ wife), Johnny Depp, Robing Williams, Jim Carey, and a few other well known people.  The movie “CATCH ME IF YOU CAN” with Leonardo DiCaprio was based on a man with bipolar.  Most bipolar people are HIGHLY INTELLIGENT!!!  And get upset with others because they don’t understand their highly creative nature and higher level of functioning.  My IQ tested to be 155 and 168 recently, *(NOT BRAGGING just giving you an example, even though I don’t feel smart at all).  Also if a bipolar is hell-bent on completing a task of some sort they usually can talk anyone into anything, and this is very true.  You wouldn’t believe some of the things I’ve gotten away with in my life, even when I was high.   Another thing to realize is that when I bipolar person starts getting pissed with someone and they talk very nasty to you, it’s nothing personal.  I know that sounds ridiculous, it’s just their task to make everyone around them feel as miserable as they do.  So please get tested and CONTROL your moods ….to a degree:)  I truly do hope this helps if you have any questions please feel free to ask.  Thanks for listening.

RESOURCES:  http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/bipolar-disorder/complete-index.shtml

http://www.ManagingBipolar.com

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/bipolar-disorder/ds00356

http://crowdsourcemyhealth.com/browse/index/239/?wr=information%20on%20bipolar&ru=p&subid=&fuse=wizcb&range=1598141&thm=oud9zdzs&adid=1533445336

http://www.bipolar-lives.com/bipolar-resources.html

http://bipolarchild.com/resources/online-resources/

http://www.thebalancedmind.org/learn/resources