Women of Iran

Hello all!  I posted this article a few months back and forgot to share it with my blogger buds.  This is really important to me because it gives insight as to how “ALL” women and “MOTHERS, SISTERS, AUNTS…etal” are the same at the core.  We forget to see this in our NEGATIVE society.  We only dwell on the bad and totally overlook the good.

I hope this article helps you understand why I loved my Iranian girl students, who also happened to be mothers, sisters, aunts etal…but most of all STRONG WOMEN!

Thank you and your comments would be welcome!

 

 

 

Crossing the lines of culture – My experience in Iran by Lori Foroozandeh

                       

 

If you write a book about something that is little known, you have to be prepared for questions. Some will be silly and trivial, some will be deeper: but there will be questions. I wrote about Iran. Immediately I learned that many Americans know little about that country and its culture. Many of the questions I have been asked have been about the women of Iran. They seem so different from the women of America, so different and so very hard to comprehend.

The mere mention of Iran invokes suspicion. Backwardness, fundamentalism, and terrorism were some of the words that seemed to immediately spring to American minds.  Iranian men are seen as bearded, militant, hostile, and chauvinistic. The women are assumed to be veiled, oppressed, and submissive. Shrouded in their traditional black chadors (the ultimate symbol of their oppression), Iranian women shown on television appear angry. Holding their hands in the air and chanting anti-American slogans, they are more than willing to join the men in a fight against the United States.

Is the anger and anti-Americanism of the Iranian woman real? Are these so-called truths only media propaganda? Are these mass images a reflection of “the people,” or are they just manufactured collages that deprive the individual Iranian woman of her personal humanity? Exactly who is the Iranian woman?

While her appearance seems to typify inferiority and the oppression of the “second sex” that is so prevalent in that part of the world, I beg to differ with the stereotype. Having lived in Iran and having been in day-to-day contact with many of these women, I know them to be wise, proud, and highly intelligent. They are also tactful if not downright manipulative as they deal with the male dominated society around them. They are in many ways truly heroes.

The true Iranian woman may be oppressed, but underneath she is rebellious. She is subjugated but unruly. She is controlled and at the same time defiant. She may seem hushed and subservient, but she is strong in her faith—a true believer—and ready to fight for it. However segregated and oppressed she may be, the Iranian woman is a revolutionary, a fighter, and willing to die for her nation. Yes, she is a loving mother and a dutiful wife, but she has the heart of a warrior and the soul of Persia beats within her.

In short, there is a contradiction between the submissive and the fierce sides of these women. Westerners tend to see only the passive and subservient side. Perhaps that is because Western observers have been so fascinated by what they have seen as so different from their own cultures. Certainly the conflict with Western values has highlighted the anti-feminist aspects of Iranian culture and Islam. In part the revivalism of modern Islam has fortified these traditional values and appearances.

However, having lived in Iran for three and a half years, I have seen the other side of Iranian women. Oriented very much in the here-and-now, Iranian women are pragmatic and are often looked to for advice. Most Iranian men were closer to their mothers than their fathers.  Of course, older sons have a sense of responsibility for their mothers and sisters should anything happen to their fathers. Also, because women are removed from men in the common run of things, they may seem somehow more enigmatic, some one who has to be understood—especially after an arranged marriage, when the man is suddenly expected to take on the role of husband, a role for which he has had so little training.

It is interesting to see how greatly Iranian women change when they come to the United States, especially those women who come by themselves. Without the pressures of family, Iranian women who immigrate to the U.S. frequently give up the chador. They wait to marry. And perhaps most importantly, they continue their educations.

While the women who come here with their families and husbands continue the traditional ways (or perhaps are pressured into doing so), the women who are on their own quickly adapt to this land of new opportunities. Perhaps the most immediate sign of that adaptation is the change in their clothing. The drabness of traditional dress is suddenly replaced with color. But underneath that exuberant change, they are still some of the kindest people you will ever meet.

To read more of my experiences in Iran, visit http://www.loris-song.com/

My book is on Amazon at:  http://www.amazon.com/Loris-Song-Story-American-Captive/dp/1432738291/ref=tmm_pap_title_0

BOOK FAIR and other SUBJECTS

Hi all, I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I just wanted to inform everyone that their is a VIRTUAL BOOK FAIR every week-end i.e. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  This fair is for readers & authors.  Readers can find new books they’d like to read, and get in on the edge before they become BEST SELLERS:) Also I’d like to hear some of your stories that relate to PTSD, Childhood Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, Substance Abuse and living with Bipolar.  If you have any stories you’d like to share with us, reply to this post or send me an email lori@loris-song.com and I will post it for you (let me know if you’d like anonymity or I can use your name.  I’d love to hear how other people deal with these disorders.  I’ve posted a lot of informational stuff, but I plan on sharing my stories too.  Thank you for belonging to the group. IF YOUR AN AUTHOR and you’d like to have your book one of them featured in the book fair, go to this website and you will find the directions on what you have to do.  Regardless of what date is there it’s the same every week, just the date changes.  So you can have a chance not only to share your book but an excerpt as well (lonnnngg or short), it’s a GREAT FAIR, and I sold over 10 books this week-end.  Here is the link:   https://www.facebook.com/groups/169126186575183/ Take care all, and be safe returning to school and back from vacation.  Also if there is ever a time you need to share something with the group, let me know at my email address or reply to the specific subject matter.  Lori

To LIVE or EXIST?

Today is one of those “BAD” days, where you have to force yourself out of bed, and look outside and say I’m lucky to be alive and with someone who loves me.  There was nothing special that happened to make me so apathetic or sad, just another day in the life of a bipolar, addict, PTSD survivor and sexual abuse survivor.  I think having one of these is bad enough and GOD I can empathize with your moods, but I think the reigning disorder that makes me feel like I do today is called BIPOLAR.

Now I’m not sure if adding all of the above with the bipolar does anymore to me or less, but I know my bipolar has changed since I was younger.  When I was younger and went on manic episodes I was creative, proud, confident and got things accomplished *just in a lot shorter time period:).  But now all I get is “she’s manic again”.  No one lets me express me or let me bask in the moment of confidence and wanting to accomplish the world, instead it’s a BAD THING to be manic.  I’m sure there are bad episodes of being manic, but I’m sure there are GOOD PRODUCTIVE ONES too.  The medication that were on doesn’t really help either.  It helps those around us (because were apathetic and don’t make their lives anymore confusing) but for us it is like the loss of “LIFE”.  I don’t mind being stable and I’m pretty sure I don’t get out of control like I used to, but I still enjoy my manic days, and no one can understand that.  I’m writing this to get YOUR INPUT on how you view your bipolar.

Now on to substance abuse.  I speak now at a rehab facility, and one thing I say (WHICH IS MY BELIEF) if you don’t have anyone to get clean for then your not going to get clean.  I know they preach about doing it for “YOURSELF” but I still say unless you have a motivating factor that bugs your conscience about not wanting to do drugs anymore than I don’t think you’d get clean.  If I were alone and had no one that loved me, I would have never went to rehab, I probably would have done MORE DRUGS!   When you finally find a reason to live albeit health recovery or someone you meet then you have a DESIRE to quit and seek out that new life with the person you love.  Now don’t get me wrong and think I mean you have to have a “LOVER” or B/F or G/F, I mean anyone that cares about you and wants you clean to the point that you finally get tired of seeing that person hurt.  It could be a child, a spouse or mother or BFF, hell it could be your pet.

Now on to the cravings, I’m on this drug called SUBOXONE, and I’m taking 4 8mg/2mg tabs a day, this is NOT what people normally take.  They usually are weaned off this drug before leaving the clinic.  But since I’ve been severely injured in IRAN, and suffer from so many pain issues they decided to keep me on this dose, so I wouldn’t go back to pain pills.  Virtually I gave up one addiction for another, since these pills are narcotics.  They are also supposed to help you not crave ANYTHING you have abused in your past.   BS, every time I see a movie where someone is doing coke, I get such an urge it isn’t funny.  The only difference now is I DON’T GIVE IN TO MY CRAVINGS, although sometimes I do try to do a logic summation of IF I did give in, how would this not hurt me.

Now onto PTSD, where no one understands how noises, smells, or certain situations can leave you feeling nervous or even worse make you feel like your going to die in that moment, because you feel like you’ve been there before.  Well you have been there before they are called flashbacks, and anything can trigger them, a loud noise a TV show like Law  & Order SVU (rapes), a certain smell, (these happen to me a lot) but it’s really like your back to that moment in time which was your HELL ON EARTH.  People don’t get it or they think were faking it for attention, I just want to make people aware that these things are VERY REAL, and the best thing to deal with them is a loving supportive friend or pet.

In a synopsis I just wanted to point out how I feel during these and because of these events and WELCOME YOUR INPUT on how you deal with life under the circumstances of one of these disorders.  Your INPUT will not only help me it could help others realize different ways to deal with them.  PLEASE COMMENT!!!

Also I feel better now that I’ve written this and vented a little. And remember we have TWO CHOICES IN LIFE, to LIVE it or just EXIST in it, you decide, God Bless.

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

Words I “TRY” to live by!

DESIDERATA

Yes I agree. I’ve lived by this one writing most of my life, well since I found it way back in 1992 it’s called Desiderata Here is the poem.

DESIDERATA Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

Here and there…no matter where you look LIFE is NOW!

Sometimes there are days when I get up and really have to work at staying out of bed.  It has nothing to do with recent events or any particular reasons but I’m just depressed.  I guess that is how Bipolar works.  Other days I’m so hyper that I don’t let John get a word in edgewise.  No matter where I look, LIFE IS HERE AND NOW.  I’m on medications but all I see some days are just the pessimistic views about life and how it drags us down with us.  Then I go online and see something a friend has posted to me, or a funny cat picture and I smile without even realizing my day is better than when it started.

We all take things for granted, and expect those around us to be there forever and we don’t think about losing them on a daily basis.  I usually think about that every night before I go to bed.  I think to myself, my God what would I do if I lost one of my best buddies (my cats) or if something happened to John and usually shed a tear or two at the thought.

But this keeps me appreciating and praying thankfulness for the time I do have right here and now.  I try to tell myself everyday just how lucky I am to have the life I do right now, and try not to focus on the past.  But then I will get a nightmare that brings it all back to the surface.  John usually wakes up to see me sleeping sitting up.  *we couldn’t lay down in the camp even at night so Faresh and I would put our backs together and sleep sitting up leaning on each other.  Even though that was over 11 years ago I still feel safer sleeping sitting up.  This goes to show that no matter how hard we try to get on with our lives there will always be something that “pops” up to remind us of a horrific event in the past.

It is how we deal and justify these returning memories that makes us survive another day.  When John finally wakes me up, I feel so relieved that I’m in a bed next to the man I love and no one can hurt me right now.  I think that is why I have such a feeling of ‘greatfulness’ to God like I’ve never had before.   It just goes to prove that sometimes we are tested, no matter who we are, but the test is alot less stressful than the event was.  And it gives us pause to realize that all of that mourning isn’t going to waste, it is reminding us how GREAT life is NOW!  No matter what your belief system is you can’t deny the affect that God has on us.  I’m not what they refer to as a “BIBLE THUMPER” but I have a strong faith in God, and I know he was with me at that camp, as well as he is here with me now.  When I was in that camp and the night before we were going to escape, I felt someone touch my shoulder, I jerked around to see if it was a soldier and no one was there, then I heard a voice say, “Lori your going home”, and I looked all around to see if someone was mocking me and everyone was either trying to close their eyes but none were looking our way.  And I HAD NO IDEA WE WERE GOING TO ESCAPE THE NEXT NIGHT.

Whenever I feel doubt or someone into evolution tries to sway me to a LOGICAL STANDPOINT, I just tell them, we might have evolved, we might have experienced everything that the scientist say, but still SOMEONE HAD TO BE THE INITAL CREATOR FOR ANY OF THAT TO HAPPEN in the first place.  I can’t believe they don’t get it. 

Anyway I just wanted to share my thoughts for the day,  and make some of you realize that sometimes if I don’t reply positively it doesn’t mean I’m mad or sick of people, I’m just in the midst of realizing that you have two choices in life, to exist in it or live it, and I choose to LIVE IT.  GOD BLESS YOU ALL in your endeavors and remember you will be tested, and no matter what our test is it is far less than what Jesus did for our lives that we are living NOW!  :):)

My new interview with Pastor Justin Steckbauer!

Interview with Lori Foroozandeh on Being Held Prisoner in Iran

An Incredible Interview About Personal Strength and the Power of God in Times of Struggle

Justin Steckbauer

Justin Steckbauer, Yahoo! Contributor Network Jan 31, 2013 “Share your voice on Yahoo! websites. Start Here.”
I was working on my business Facebook account when I was approached by an author by the name of Lori Foroozandeh with some questions about publishing and marketing. What developed was a conversation that blew me away. She told me she had written a book about being held hostage in the country of Iran by a man she met in college. I asked her if she’d do an interview on my blog. Here is that interview. Give us a quick introduction on yourself and your book. My name is Lori Foroozandeh and the book is “Lori’s Song” it is my true life story of childhood sexual abuse, substance abuse, PTSD, and living with bipolar. This all culminated with moving to Iran with my Iranian husband who turned out to be a terrorist and I didn’t know it. Once I got there the real horror began.Give us a little history on the events leading up to your move to Iran. I was in an accident in 1992, I was introduced to Vicodin then. Gradually I went from that to Morphine, Demerol, and then I met Mohammad while I was attending Northern Michigan University for nursing. He also was addicted to Vicodin but he also liked to sniff Ritalin, I was far from a saint and did my share of recreational drugs, but toghether Mohammad and I escalated to doing hard drugs such as heroin and crack. Eventually I was caught writing false prescriptions and that is when Mohammad suggested we move to Iran to start over. He was a DEA snitch so he was able to get me out of jail on bond then we took off for Iran. Mohammad had a LOT of money and at the time I had no idea he was shipping cars to Iran with weapons in them. He ran a car dealership and this is what he did. He was also a terrorist who would kill Iranian war vets for the govt. so they wouldn’t have to deal with the disabled veterans

You mentioned abuse while you were a child. Do you think that lead into drug use? I’m sure it did. When my adoptive family got me at 6 months old, I had a LOT of cigarette burns and rashes all over from not getting bathed or my diaper changed. Then when I was 10 -11 yrs. old my adoptive brother started molesting me. I emancipated myself from my family at age 15 to get married and get away from my brother.

Then you started attending Northern Michigan University? How did you meet Mohammad?  He was visiting his children from a previous marriage. Beth (his ex-wife) and I were friends before I met him, and she told me she had to go into the witness protection program to get away from her ex husband because she was afraid she would end up dead or her kids taken away. But when I met Mohammad I thought Beth must have been crazy. Mohammad found Beth because he was close to the police department (in every county due to being a snitch) and they got the information for him. I was living in family housing at the University.

Tell us about your move to Iran. I had a 13 yr. old son (Doug) when I left, and I had asked him if he wanted to go with us or stay with his dad back in the USA. He chose staying with his dad. (In hindsight I’m so GLAD HE DID). We went to NY first and Mohammad had some secret dealings with his (COUSIN) he received a LARGE sum of money and then we took a plane to Iran. When I arrived I couldn’t speak Farsi (the persian language) and his family accepted me and were kind. They even held the traditional sacrifical lamb event, and I had to step over when welcomed to their home. I was an animal lover and this bothered me. I had to keep my head and body covered with a chadora or a roose a ree which was a scarf. The chadora was a big black wrap around piece of cloth. Paradoxically though I loved Iran, I taught English to girls aged 10-21 in a school called Zabanoomazan Language Institute. I loved my students and the feeling was reciprocated. I loved the fact that no one knew my past and loved me for who I was, that was until Mohammad started beating me.

Was the culture in Iran very different from the United States? The culture in Iran is so different. First thing I learned when we arrived at the airport and they took my passport, was that I needed my husbands written permission to leave the country. Mohammad had lied to me and told me how much more Iran was modernized now. When we got into a a nice limo like car at the airport the first thing I saw was a building that said “DEATH TO AMRIKA” then I saw women who were being slapped in the face for walking too close to their husbands.

They hang women quite regularly for sins like adultery. But a man only needs two people to back his story to get his wife killed. I think they don’t want to divorce her so they kill her. I saw them hang them with contruction cranes, and they want the children to watch too. They consider “compassion” as letting the womans mother walk her to the noose and spend five minutes with her. They consider Friday their day of rest and only have that day off work. All the shops shut down in the day from 2-4 for lunch and nap time. After dinner the men go smoke opium together.
Tell us about the events leading up to your being taken hostage. I had heard rumors from Mohammad and other women that something was going to happen on 911 (they picked that date because it correlated with our signal for distress). We didn’t know what or where just that something was going to happen. I tried to call home on the 9th,10th and the morning of the 11th, and the operator said no international calls being placed at that time.
Mohammad said we had to leave the country in case something happened and the USA retaliated ( i still didn’t know what they would retaliate for) we went to the Shiraz bus station and were going to catch a bus to Istanbul then a plane to America. About ten minutes or less two convoy cattle type trucks pulled up and took me one way and Mohammad another (that was literally the last time I saw Mohammad. I was blindfolded and taken to this camp in the hills. There was a L shaped cement building which we were led thru to the outdoor camp where we were handcuffed to one other person for the entire time. We were beaten, raped and starved for six weeks, the girl I was handcuffed to was Faresh she was from Bahrain, she told me that anyone who was American or who had ties to America were being picked up. She was a younger girl and when the guards saw that after they took one of us girls to rape us we would communicate sympathy to one another when they came back by facial expressions. This angered them so they started publicly raping us because then we were too embarrassed to look each other in the eye then. Fareshes parents and brother had to watch her get puclicly raped, and eventually her brother worked something out with the guard (I have no idea what but they were from a rich family) and one night we were finally going home. I told you what happened the night before we left. When we got out of the camp there were two men waiting to help us get back to Shiraz where I went to Ostandary (a place for foreigners in trouble) there is no embassy in Iran so they flew me to Dubai and then home.
When I got home I weighed 70 pounds, my teeth were knocked out, and I had suffered traumatic brain injury. But once I got home I didn’t care anymore started doing drugs again, stripping, and you name it I did it. Then I met John my true knight in shining armor. He sold his John Deere dealership to stay home and take care of me. I got clean in 2008 and have been ever since. I was diagnosed with bipolar in 2005 and am on meds that help tremendously. Is that it? I’m sorry still emotional after 12 years you’d think I would be less emotional but I’m not. I have a few more questions, but we can postpone. Oh OK go ahead we might as well wrap this up.You mentioned when we were talking earlier that you heard the voice of God just before you escaped. What was that like? When I felt the tap on my shoulder I turned around thinking someone was coming to take me away and beat or rape me again, but no one was there, then I heard a low clear voice tell me “Lori your going home” and I just felt warm and content for one moment. But I had no idea we were going home and the next night we were on our way.

So you got back and things didn’t go well at first like you said. Then you decided to write a book about the things that happened. Why? I kept being told that I should write a book about it, that it’s cathartic, it would take my mind off other things, yeah right I thought. So I sat down and started typing and for three months didn’t stop. I never have read my book from cover to cover because I’m scared to, but I let John proof read it for me chapter by chapter then I submitted it to a literary agent who edited the grammar and spelling. Then I self publbished. I really don’t know if it has helped me by writing it, but others tell me it has helped them (which is great). Everytime someone contacts me to speak or do a signing or something else, I have to embrace the whole book again and the nightmares come back and the flashbacks. Luckily my seizures have been few and far between though.

I love the title. How did you come up with it? A movie a long time ago called Brian’s Song it had James Caan I think in it, it was about a football player who got cancer and his struggles with life. I just loved that movie so it was after that.

Is there a message in the book you want to get across to readers? Yes you can overcome anything if you try. Don’t fall into a pattern like I did when I first got back from Iran, just focusing on all the pathetic things that have happened to you, that is the easy way out. Rise above that and be wise and break away from the crowd by turning your tragedy into a lesson learned and help to others when they are down on their luck. Portions of my book sales go to Amnesty International, The humane society, my drug addiction hospital and Henry Ford Hospital which has treated me since 2005. Thank you Justin for allowing me to tell my story, your a good man and on the right path to being a pastor.
When we first started talking you mentioned being interviewed on the Discovery Channel. What was that like? Was there any political or media response to what happened to you? The Discovery Channel (Fit and Health) did a mini documentary on me regarding my story. Even though a few facts were minimized if not wrong, they overall did a good job. I haven’t heard that there were ANY RESPONSES from that interview. Which I think is weird. I’m the third story in a series of three. This was aired on Dec. 27th 2012. The interview was nerve testing for sure.
Thank you so much for the interview. Your story is truly inspiring. What’s your life like now? I’m very happy now with the love of my life. I wish everyone well and never give up in the face of adversity. We have two choices in life to LIVE it or EXIST in it, I choose to LIVE it, and I hope you do too. I also have a blog that list all the links to stories or interviews regarding my book on the right of the page. www.lorissong.com