Bipolar: The role of Sleep in mental health.

I suffer from Bipolar. I was diagnosed in 2006, but probably suffered from it most of my life. But when I grew up Bipolar was not a word that was used or understood. So when I had a manic or depressive stage, I would just hear my family say..”that’s just Lori being Lori”. Had I been treated way back then I’m sure my life would have turned out differently. Then again I’m not really sure I would have wanted it to , because then I wouldn’t have met the wonderful, perfect man that I have now and have for 14 years. (anniversary September 24th).

I urge anyone who might read this and question themselves on this disorder to go see a mental health professional and get evaluated. If you have any questions at all I have a list of resources on my website: www.loris-song.com just click the resource button.

I welcome all of your comments, all I ask is do not solicit anything on this site, don’t be rude, or intimidating or you will be banned!

Bipolar Disorder and Sleep

Everyone has good days and bad days, and it’s natural to experience a range of emotional ups and downs. In bipolar disorder, though, moods exceed this normal range as people have periods of extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression). In the past, bipolar disorder was called manic-depressive disorder as a way of referring to a person’s moving between these two states.

Bipolar disorder is estimated to affect about 4.4% of people over the course of their lives, and this condition has significant effects on a person’s well-being. Previous research has indicated that 82% of people with bipolar disorder described having serious impairment within the past year.

Sleep has a well-established connection with bipolar disorder. During manic periods, people tend to sleep much less than normal, and during depressive periods, they tend to sleep much more. In each state, these sleep changes can amplify the symptoms of the condition.

Studies have increasingly found that sleep problems can be a predictor of bipolar episodes. Improving sleep for people with this condition may help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of mania or depression.

In this comprehensive guide to bipolar disorder and sleep, we’ll review the basics about bipolar disorder including its types, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. The guide investigates the complex connection between bipolar disorder and sleep and identifies ways that people with this condition can improve sleep, and in so doing, improve their mental health as well.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a type of mental health condition known as a mood disorder. Mood disorders include several conditions in which a person has identifiable emotional disturbances. What distinguishes bipolar disorder from other types of mood disorders is that patients experience both extreme highs and lows.

People with bipolar disorder are not always either manic or depressed. There are times when the condition is in remission, during which a person is mostly or completely free of symptoms.

Bipolar disorder is equally common among men and women and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 30. It is rarely diagnosed among young children or the elderly.

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder?

The symptoms of bipolar disorder are different depending on whether a person is in a manic or in a depressed state.

bipolar disorder symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder During Manic Episodes?

During manic periods, people may feel extremely energetic, enthusiastic, and happy. They may have racing thoughts, quickened speech, and high levels of activity. People feel less need for sleep during episodes of mania, and they can be easily distracted. Even though they may feel elation, they can be irritable and impatient with others.

Mania brings an elevated risk of engaging in high-risk behaviors, especially because people experiencing mania usually do not realize that they are in this mental state. This lack of recognition can also lead to conflict with others and problems in social relationships.

The diagnostic definition of mania involves a person having symptoms for one week or longer. According to these criteria, mania includes elevated or irritable mood, increased energy, and three or more of the other types of symptoms described above.

Hypomania

Hypomania is a state that falls short of full-fledged mania. In a hypomanic episode, a person’s symptoms are less severe and often do not last for as long — a minimum of four days as opposed to one week for mania.

Hypomania includes feelings of energy, happiness, and creativity. In fact, many people find a hypomanic period to be enjoyable, productive, and with little impact on overall functioning. That said, they can still be easily distracted and irritable in ways that can create interpersonal conflict.

Manic Psychosis

Manic psychosis is an especially intense episode of mania. It can involve hallucinations, delusions of grandeur, paranoid delusions, and extreme increases in activity levels. Manic psychosis can resemble schizophrenia. This state can devolve to delirious mania in which a person’s speech and actions are highly unpredictable and irrational. Hospitalization is usually required during manic psychosis.

What Are the Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder During Depressed Episodes?

Depressed episodes stand in stark contrast to manic ones. Depression in bipolar disorder has symptoms that are similar to unipolar depression (depression in people who do not experience mania).

These symptoms include reduced energy, worsened mood, sadness, lack of interest in activities that normally bring pleasure, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, appetite changes (including both eating more or eating less), sleep changes (including sleeping too much or too too little), social isolation, difficulty concentrating, excess guilt, indecisiveness, and thoughts of suicide.

Psychosis, in which a person loses touch with reality, including with possible hallucinations or delusions, can occur during a state of depression. This is more common in patients with bipolar disorder than in people with unipolar depression.

depressive episode is formally diagnosed as such when a person has five or more of these symptoms, one of which must be depressed mood or loss of interest, during a two-week period.

Can Someone Have Mania and Depression at the Same Time?

Yes, and this type of episode is referred to as having mixed features. If a person has mania or hypomania along with three or more symptoms of depression, it can be categorized as a mixed episode. For example, a person may feel sad but also highly energized. Mixed episodes can be especially dangerous because the risk of suicide is elevated during these periods.

Most of the time, though, patients do not have mixed episodes. Instead, they may move between periods of mania and depression. The frequency of these episodes varies based on the person and can range from multiple episodes in a year to multiple episodes during a person’s entire life. If a person has four or more episodes within a year, it is called rapid cycling.

What Are the Health Consequences of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder can have significant health consequences. During depressed episodes, patients suffer from major disturbances in mood and quality of life that can reduce functioning in all aspects of life. In manic episodes, risky behaviors can cause severe negative repercussions, and irritability may harm relationships with friends and family.

People with bipolar disorder are at a much higher risk of attempting or committing suicide. Studies estimate that the incidence of suicide is 15 times higher in people with bipolar disorder than in the general public.

Rates of substance abuse are higher in people with bipolar disorder. Other mental health conditions, like anxiety and ADHD, frequently occur alongside bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder are also at a higher risk of cardiovascular problems.

For all of these reasons, bipolar disorder is considered to be one of the top 10 leading causes of disability worldwide.

What Are the Types of Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is classified into different types based on how a patient experiences the symptoms of the condition.

Bipolar I Disorder involves significant manic episodes that usually require hospitalization. Extended depressive episodes are also frequent, and some patients may have mixed episodes.

Bipolar II Disorder involves depression and hypomania but without more severe periods of mania.

Cyclothymic Disorder occurs over an extended period of time — two years or more — and includes various symptoms of depression and hypomania. While a patient with Cyclothymic Disorder has symptoms reflective of bipolar disorder, they do not meet the condition’s formal diagnostic criteria.

There is also a category, known as Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders, that is used to group together the remaining types of bipolar disorder that do not fit the definitions of Bipolar I, Bipolar II, or Cyclothymic Disorder.

The type of bipolar disorder that a person has can affect their treatment as well as their overall prognosis.

How is Bipolar Disorder Diagnosed?

A doctor or psychiatrist diagnoses bipolar disorder based on specific criteria that have to do with the type and severity of symptoms. There is no laboratory test that can diagnose bipolar disorder.

Diagnosis usually involves two steps. The first step involves an evaluation of the patient’s condition and history including a discussion of any symptoms they may have experienced. A patient’s friends and family may be involved in this process, especially for answering questions about possible manic episodes.

If this first step indicates that a patient likely has bipolar disorder, then the second step is to make sure that the symptoms are not being caused by any other condition. This can include a review of a patient’s prescription medications as well as blood tests, urinalysis, and checking thyroid function.

How is Bipolar Disorder Different From Depression?

Both bipolar disorder and depression are mood disorders. People with bipolar disorder experience symptoms of depression, but they also have episodes of mania or hypomania. People with unipolar depression do not have manic episodes.

Part of the diagnostic process is intended to determine if a patient has had symptoms of mania so that bipolar disorder can be differentiated from unipolar depression.

What Are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?

There is no known cause of bipolar disorder. Many researchers believe it is related to brain chemistry, but there is no established scientific finding that identifies the exact elements of brain function that give rise to bipolar disorder.

There are some indications that genetics play a role in bipolar disorder, but the disease is not considered to be determined strictly by genes. A family history, such as having a parent or sibling with the condition, increases a person’s risk, but most people with a family history never develop bipolar disorder.

Similarly, there is no exact cause for what triggers manic or depressive episodes in people who have already been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Studies indicate that the risk of mania in people with bipolar disorder is heightened after childbirth (in women), when a person has insomnia, or when a person is using certain types of recreational or prescription drugs.

What are the Treatments for Bipolar Disorder?

Treatment for bipolar disorder usually includes medications to manage symptoms and often involves psychotherapy. Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or shock therapy, can be used when other treatments do not help. The exact therapy provided depends in large part on the type and severity of a patient’s symptoms.

If a person is in a more extreme state, including psychosis associated with mania or depression, they may be hospitalized in order to reduce the risk of harming themselves or others.

Most patients with bipolar disorder take medications as part of their treatment. The most common classes of drugs that are used include mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and antipsychotics. Doctors work to tailor pharmacotherapy to fit a patient’s state and symptoms. It is important for patients to take medications as prescribed and not to stop taking them without consulting with a doctor as this can cause a rebound in symptoms.

For patients with extreme depression that does not get better with medications, or if a patient cannot tolerate the side effects of medications, ECT can be an effective treatment. During ECT, a patient receives anesthesia and then has an electric current applied to the brain. ECT often brings rapid relief to potentially life-threatening depression. While most often used for episodes of depression, it may also be useful in treating mania.

Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy, can be another useful component of treatment for bipolar disorder. It is often employed as a type of maintenance therapy once a patient’s more significant symptoms have been reduced or resolved. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) works to confront negative thinking and often helps patients with bipolar disorder. Other types of talk therapy include Interpersonal and Social Rhythm Therapy (IPSRT), which works to regulate daily routines, psychoeducation, which helps patients understand, monitor, and manage their mental health, and family or group counseling.

What is the Relationship Between Bipolar Disorder and Sleep?

woman stressed

Bipolar disorder and sleep have a multifaceted relationship. Changes to sleep patterns are extremely common for people with bipolar disorder and can include both insomnia and hypersomnia. In addition, mounting evidence points to sleep disturbances as being a contributing factor that can worsen symptoms of bipolar disorder or cause it to recur after a period of remission.

The following sections explain in further detail the way that bipolar disorder impacts sleep and how sleep problems influence the condition’s development.

How Does Bipolar Disorder Impact Sleep?

Disturbed or altered sleep is common in patients with bipolar disorder. Changes to sleep patterns can occur during both manic and depressed episodes.

During manic episodes, people with bipolar disorder feel a dramatic reduction in the need to sleep. With enhanced energy and mood, somewhere between 69% and 99% of patients in manic episodes indicate that they feel a decreased need for sleep.

When depressed, patients with bipolar disorder frequently sleep too much (hypersomnia). This can relate to a lack of energy and decreased interest in normally enjoyable activities, both of which are common depression symptoms. Hypersomnia is estimated to affect 38% to 78% of bipolar patients. Insomnia can also happen during episodes of depression, and in general, sleep can become disordered and inconsistent.

Even during periods of remission, when a person is not in a manic or depressed condition, sleep disturbances are common. One study found that 70% of people with bipolar disorder still have significant sleep disturbances during this period.

Sleeping problems are not just limited to too much or too little sleep. People with bipolar disorder frequently have low-quality sleep, inconsistency in their sleep from one night to the next, and problems getting to sleep. The nature of a person’s sleeping difficulties can shift significantly with time, the patient’s mood, and their response to medications.

possible underlying cause for sleep disruptions in people with bipolar disorder is a disordered circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm is part of the body’s natural system for managing and balancing wakefulness and sleep. In most people, that rhythm is closely aligned with external cues, most specifically the day-night cycle in their local area. However, when the circadian rhythm gets thrown off, it can create a range of sleep disorders. Studies have found circadian rhythm irregularities in people with bipolar disorder, and these may be contributing to the diversity of sleeping problems that these patients can experience.

Another cause of sleep disruption is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which a person’s breathing stops temporarily at different points through the night. One study has found that nearly 25% of people with bipolar disorder have OSA, which can cause marked reductions in sleep quantity and quality. OSA has been linked to a host of other health problems as well, including depression and cardiovascular problems.

How Does Sleep Impact Bipolar Disorder?

Quality sleep is known to play a role in regulating mood, and that effect appears to be heightened in mood disorders. In multiple ways, poor sleep can lead to a worsening of bipolar disorder.

Numerous studies have found that sleeping problems, especially insomnia, play a role in bipolar disorder. This research has demonstrated that lack of sleep can exacerbate symptoms of both mania and depression. The impact has been found in studies examining patient reports over periods of seven days, eight weeks, and 12 months, indicating that sleep affects mood from the short through the long-term.

For patients who are in remission, sleep deprivation is associated with recurrence of symptoms. Research has found that sleep disturbances were the most frequent predictor of manic episodes and the sixth most common predictor of depressed episodes. Studies in which patients have been deprived of sleep have shown that this can induce mania or hypomania. Lack of sleep caused by sleep apnea may be a contributor to the recurrence of manic symptoms as well.

If poor sleep worsens bipolar disorder, the logical follow-up is to ask whether improving sleep can help reduce the symptoms. Early evidence indicates that a focus on sleep may have this potential. For example, one study that used a talk therapy intervention tailored for treating insomnia found that on average patients receiving this therapy got better sleep and were at a lower risk of relapse. Because of the way that sleep bolsters the ability to manage mood, a focus on sleep may serve as part of a valuable preventive mental health approach.

Have a GREAT DAY! Lori

Our supposed “WAR ON TERRORISM”…..really a WAR ON US!!

 

 

 

 

I just watched American Sniper and OMG, there are such blatant issues that ANYONE SHOULD SEE.
1. First- WHY DO WE ALWAYS GET INVOLVED with other countries problems and think we have to send OUR BOYS/MEN IN to get killed in wars we even aren’t involved in the first place.
2. We send our people in to fight wars, they come back disabled, and PTSD and they act in ways never before seen to them or their families. We destroy people,, kids, and lives of families all FOR NOTHING!!!
I’m sorry I was in the Middle East and unless you’re a child that WAS JUST BORN that day, you’re not innocent. These children are being trained as soon as their able to walk and their trained to kill AMERICANS!!! There are no innocent bystanders. This movie will show you just that. There are mothers who give their children bombs to go and become a suicide bomber and their goal is to kill Americans!
3. WHY THE HELL don’t we just BOMB the fricking areas that these so called insurgents were congregated in. Instead we send in our troops in to walk around in these towns where there are snipers kids with RPG’s, and IED’s to blow up our Hummers that have disabled so many vets if not killed them., so our troops get killed and disabled one at a time, when we could have just put in an airstrike and bombed the entire town.
It would save our guys/gals lives.
4. People bitch about money that it costs to go to war, well people it also cost money for health care and mental health care for our soldiers when they return from these wars and usually the treatment is for life, not just for a set amount of time. And what’s worse are some Vets are being turned away for treatment due to funding. How DARE WE TREAT the people who are willing to die for us like that!!!
5. We know exact locations of these clusters of terrorist/insurgents why don’t we just BOMB these areas or screw it bomb the whole fricking country to save our people. If you can’t do this then either STAY OUT OF other countries wars and take care of our own. We were not involved personally in Viet Nam, Korea or the Middle East, our country was not threatened, yet our presidents seem to think that we need to be the ultimate “SAVIORS” for others.
6. We are not a land of freedom but rather a CONTROLLED DEMOCRACY. This country’s leaders don’t listen to the people or take care of their own. There are WAY TOO MANY HUMAN rights issues that are preventing us from just going in and ending a war within a few months by bombing places and taking out those that threaten us. Or better yet why don’t our government just keep their noses out of other countries businesses.

Sure we just got “same sex marriages approved” WHAT WAS THIS MORE IMPORTANT THAN KEEPING OUR SOLDIERS SAFE. A lot of money was put into this issue and I wonder where the hell the priorities in this government are.
We have hundreds of soldiers dying monthly and we put our priority into this. I’m sorry this sounds so caustic and overbearing on behalf of some peoples ideals but it’s my opinion and I’m allowed to express it……Wait Mr. President and others in government “AM I ALLOWED to EXPRESS THIS???? God knows I was supposedly NOT allowed to come back to the USA and tell my story of what happened to me and others in Iran, since they made me sign a non-disclosure agreement. So I was just checking? Oh HELL I’m SAYING IT ANYWAY!!
If anyone is interested in what happened to me in Iran they can go tohttp://www.loris-song.com ALL PROFITS go to CHARITY! So this is not a promotional post, but it is a READ THIS AND SHARE THE INFORMATION POST! TYVM for listening and hopefully commenting.

 

9-11-2014 A time for US to reflect and for US to be GREATFUL, PROUD, and THANKFUL to live in “OUR COUNTRY!!!”.

9/11-  A TIME TO REMEMBER, LEARN, and say THANK YOU!

On this 9/11, I am writing to compare how I felt then with now, and what has changed or changed me from that experience.

Now I want you all to write down how you felt back in 2001 compared to now, and what or if you do anything differently due to that event.  This within itself will show you how you’ve either changed or took it in stride. (9/11).

I feel this is cathartic for me and maybe it can be something like that for you.  I know most of America experienced a horror that they thought would never be seen in their life.

9-11-2001:  THEN

I was living in Iran at this time and had been since 1998. Prior to 9/11 I had been teaching English to Persian (Iranian) girls and women.  These girls became my best friends and could ask me questions after class that they wouldn’t dare ask their parents or anyone else.  These were simple questions like when do girls & boys start dating, and etal.  I kept their secret and we shared each others cultural differences and what we thought about them.

On 9/11/2001 I was being told by Mohammad that we needed to get out of IRAN in case America wanted to retaliate against the Middle East.  I asked why they would, he didn’t answer fully, just gave me some silly remark about Osama Bin Laden was going to increase the price of tobacco to get even with the US.  That sounded ridiculous but I was ecstatic as hell to be on our way home  i.e. USA!!!  When I arrived in Iran I was told I would need my husbands written permission to leave the country of Iran.  That was never going to happen.  Mohammad was your proverbial Muslim, wife is nothing but a slave, and he can do whatever he wants and get away with it.  E.G. beat her in the street, sell her to his friends for sex or drugs amongst other things.

I was also aware that something was going to happen today (9/11/2001) because I had heard rumors and gossip while Mohammad was speaking with all his friends in these nightly meetings.  I knew SOMETHING BAD was going to happen, I didn’t know where or what, but something.  I tried to call home on the 9th, 10th and 11th and was told that NO INTERNATIONAL CALLS WERE BEING ALLOWED THROUGH AT THAT TIME.  This recording every single day I tried to call the states.

9-12-2001:

We packed and went to the bus terminal to take a bus to Istanbul and then catch a plane from there home.  I still had NO IDEA of what really happened.  Five to ten minutes after showing our passports and paying for our tickets, these two troop type carrier trucks pulled up and blindfolded and handcuffed me and took me into one of the trucks, and Mohammad supposedly went into another.  (when you read my book you will see why he didn’t).

The events that took place for the next six weeks was total brutality of rape, starvation, beatings,  and many mind games.  I won’t use too many descriptions so that I don’t give the book away.  But I can say this these are actual event, not exaggerated and totally true.

  • GOD spoke to me in that camp and told me I was going home!
  • I didn’t really do any thinking or praying in the camp because when your faced with the thought of death every minute of everyday then your mind is always in high gear and all you can do is try to survive the moment that your in right then.
  • Upon arriving back in the USA on 11-14-2001, I kissed the ground after getting out of the terminal.  I at that time weighed in at around 70 pounds, most of my teeth were knocked out.  I had been beaten, raped and starved.  BUT I WAS SO EXCITED to be in my home country again, where I KNEW the rules and culture and didn’t need my husbands written permission to leave the country!
  • I appreciate the USA more than anyone I think because I lived in a country full of false type prophets who beat, robbed and tortured people yet claimed to be doing all of it in the name of GOD/ ALLAH;   and these people were RUNNING THE COUNTRY!
  • I have read the Qur’an and NO WHERE in it does it say to treat your wives and women the way they do.  It does not say to murder or torture those of a different religion or country.  The Qur’an dictates peace and to only kill in Allah’s name when absolutely necessary.  It denotes peace of all mankind, and the Muslims interpret it the way they WANT TO so that they can have a justified means to take out their anger, violence and murderous tendencies on others.
  • A lot of religions will interpret their Holy Book to the means necessary for which they desire to achieve.  The Muslims are not the only ones.    I still have many questions about those six weeks in that camp.  I was never interrogated, just raped, beaten and starved with so many others.

WE HAVE TO REALIZE HOW THANKFUL WE SHOULD BE ON A DAILY BASIS, to live in this beautiful country, although not flawless, we have our freedom, our ability to say no to men, we have life in our country that most countries around the world will not ever achieve or experience in their lifetime.

This country brings a lot of hope and promise to people!  Sure the Democrats and Republicans will never agree, but at least we are not  forced to abide by some type of dictatorship.  We will always have our freedoms that are spelled out in the constitution.

I hope that if you read my book you will see the atrocious acts that were carried out in Iran and WOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED to happen in the USA.   The profits from the book go to Amnesty Intl. and HSUS, and HFH neurology division, and the Brighton Rehab hospital.

I think once you experience a country like Iran and then return to the USA …if your lucky, you will develop a whole new desire to be thankful and grateful everyday of your life here, because you will never have to experience:

  • People getting executed due to not being a Muslim in a Muslim dictated country such as Iran, Iraq, etal.
  • An honor killing of a daughter who gets drowned in her father’s swimming pool for not being a virgin on her wedding night.  (Happened to my student, Layla).
  • Women and young girls being beaten or having machine guns held to their heads because they have too much HAIR showing out of their head coverings.
  • Women and young girls being beaten out on the street and everyone just watches and agrees that they are getting what they deserve for their disobedience.
  • You will never be beat for asking a question about American girls and boys.
  • You will never see women getting hung in a town square in front of everyone even children, and then what they think is compassionate is to ALLOW the mother to go spend five minutes with her daughter at the noose before she is hung by a construction crane.

I am almost glad to a degree that I did witness these things because you really never know until you see it first hand that it truly is REAL!   We are entitled Americans and none of us will ever change until something like what happened to me happens to them; And GOD I PRAY IT NEVER DOES!!!   Then they will understand the who’s, whys, and what’s.

The reason I wrote this was to compare how I felt then with now,  and to somehow get out of this apathetic depression I’m in.

9-11-2014

I still to this day sleep a lot of the time sitting up, because for six weeks I was handcuffed to Faresh ( a girl from Bahrain). And we couldn’t lie down or we’d be kicked or hit in the head, so we had to “REST” and supposedly “SLEEP” sitting with our backs to each other.  We had a lot of chain between the cuffs so we had room to just sit back to back to support each other.  So now I sleep sitting up, go figure.  Not only that I’m in the middle of getting more dental implants to replace all the teeth that were knocked out in the camp.  And I’m going through the worst pain in my back and hip due to needing spinal fusion in several different places but the doctor refusing to do it, due to my history of blood clots in my lungs on two occasions.

I WILL GET THRU my downfalls, and I will always be thankful for my GOD and country, and I know that most of my friends on FB, are very enlightened, intelligent individuals who will understand my way of TRYING TO WRITE this as a tribute while allowing others to see into my emotions and another country. 🙂 :).

Please write a list today of the top five things you love about this country, and share them in the comments section if you would.  Then for each one THANK GOD for allowing you the privilege of living in this country, where your rights and individual beliefs are not only allowed, but to be looked upon without prejudice or bias.

I would GREATLY APPRECIATE YOUR FEEDBACK.  I don’t think this day ever gets totally “OK” or “BETTER” for us, it just gets to be tolerable and a time to think back.  Don’t ever let this be a time to FORGET!

Those 2750 victims should not have died in vain.

Their families and loved ones should not suffer in vain.  We need to remember them and the tragedies they suffered that day.

I don’t allow myself to forget, I use my experience to help others.  I am speaking once a month at Brighton Rehab hospital about my book and experience.  I was so speechless the first time I spoke and got not only a standing ovation but a line of about 50 people waiting to hug me.  These guys with tattoos all over their necks and arms would come up to me with tears in their eyes and tell me that if I could get thru that then they could survive getting clean.  That was one of the most emotional times of my life to know that what I’m doing is truly ACCOMPLISHING SOMETHING FOR OTHERS!

Please visit my website and be sure to buy my book on Amazon,  All profits from my book go to Amnesty International, HSUS, Henry Ford Hospital, Brighton Rehab hospital.

http://www.loris-song.com

http://www.amazon.com/dp/1432738291/?tag=viewbookat0e-20

Thank you for reading this and leaving your comments.  God Bless, Lori

New Blog Tour- Get to know a character in progress….or….?

 

NEW BLOG TOUR  2014

GET TO KNOW MY MAIN CHARACTER

 

I’d like to thank  Micki Peluso, author of  “And the Whippoorwill Sang” https://www.facebook.com/AndTheWhippoorwillSang?ref=hl  , asked me to participate in this blog tour. To read her post, click on http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/ 

I’ve been asked to respond to the following questions about My Main Character in a work in progress. Although my character and book have reached their goal and completed the book. My overall goal is to continue to motivate, inspire and educate people on many things as exhibited below. My story has won two awards and the Discovery Channel did a mini documentary on it.

 

  1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person.

My character is me and this is a non-fiction book, this is my true story.

  1. When and where are the stories set?

They are set in America and Iran from my adoption at 6 months to my current status in 2009.

  1. What should we know about him/her?

I went thru physical abuse, childhood sexual abuse, substance abuse and was finally put into a POW type camp in IRAN the day after 911. I was raped, beaten and starved x6wks, while handcuffed to another girl, Faresh from Bahrain. We eventually escape and this is a VERY GRAPHIC BOOK!

  1. What is the main conflict? What messes up his/her life?

I marry an Iranian who turns out to be a terrorist, and once in his country I can’t leave without his written permission. I eventually find out he’s a state sponsored terrorist who kills Iranian war vets so the govt. doesn’t have to deal with their injuries or payments.

  1. What is the personal goal of the character?

To enlighten the public to the ways of Middle Eastern culture (that was the goal of the book). The goal of myself in the book is to first escape the camp and make it back to America, and then come home to deal with PTSD as well as my other ailments. I screw up bad at first trying to drowned and drug my way out of my memories, then I meet a man who turned my life around 180 degrees. I finally enter rehab in 2008 and went on to write this book, and speak about my experience once a month at a rehab hospital, where it inspires other patients to escape the hell that substances create for you.

  1. When can we expect the book collection to be published?

It was published in July 2009.

The links for my book are below.

 

http://www.loris-song.com/ (WEBSITE) https://lorissong.com/ (BLOG) https://twitter.com/Loris_Song (TWITTER) https://www.facebook.com/lforoozandeh#!/lforoozandeh (FB) http://www.amazon.com/Lori-Foroozandeh/e/B002NSC2DU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1 (My book on AMAZON)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se-NTRWCJIU  (DISCOVERY CHANNEL/ go to 28 minute mark)

 

Below is the author and his bio that I’ve asked to participate in this blog tour.

 

Bio for Jim Secor

 

Jim Secor thought he would advance his theatre career by giving up 11 years of live theatre production and writing by going off to get a PhD. Little did he know! Like nowhere else, it’s out of sight out of mind. He worked with the Lifers at KS State Penn and did summer vaudeville and somehow he got the doctorate, with no little fight and stress, and wrote a ground-breaking, though not academically enchanting, and dissertation on women and morals in theatre. Then he studied, post PhD, at the National Puppet Theatre of Japan while writing Tanka and managing an honorable mention in a national competition. Illness forced a return to the States where he worked in disability until he was forced out, blacklisted–some people just don’t know when to stop, I swear. Seven years in China followed–not teaching ESL–with multiple productions, including an all-female Lysistrata that, by Jimsecor’s standards, was the worst thing he’s ever done, TV commercials, a documentary and the publication of poems in a major journal. He was commissioned for a film and a play; the play was not liked, the film was deemed unable to pass the censors, so they never saw the light of day. Via Liverpool, he returned to the US and publication in The Speed of Dark and his own book, Det. Lupée: The Impossible Cases. He can be found on Linkedin and at http://labelleotero.wordpress.com along with Minna Vander Pfaltz, while his essays are sprinkled all over the internet. Jimsecor’s email is hellecchino@eclipso.com. Lord, lord, lord–what does Helleccino mean?

 

 

 

Bipolar Test

Information on bipolar, the different types/stages of it, and generalized symptoms to help you recognize if you might have bipolar.  This in no way should be a self diagnosis, it is only intended to help people identify symptoms of the mood disorder so that they can seek further help to determine if they have it or not.

This of course is personal to me because I HAVE BIPOLAR.

Test Here weather you have bipolar Disorder or not

Signs and symptoms of bipolar disorder
In the Psychology Today, Bipolar disorder is the disorder which effects most of the people and they don’t even know that they had it.
Bipolar disorder can look very different in different people. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others alternate equally between the two types of episodes. Some have frequent mood disruptions, while others experience only a few over a lifetime.
There are four types of mood episodes in bipolar disorder: mania, hypomania, depression, and mixed episodes. Each type of bipolar disorder mood episode has a unique set of symptoms.
1. Mania
2. Hypomania
3. Depression
4. Mixed Episodes
1. Signs and symptoms of mania
In the manic phase of bipolar disorder, feelings of heightened energy, creativity, and euphoria are common. People experiencing a manic episode often talk a mile a minute, sleep very little, and are hyperactive. They may also feel like they’re all-powerful, invincible, or destined for greatness.
But while mania feels good at first, it has a tendency to spiral out of control. People often behave recklessly during a manic episode: gambling away savings, engaging in inappropriate sexual activity, or making foolish business investments, for example. They may also become angry, irritable, and aggressive—picking fights, lashing out
when others don’t go along with their plans, and blaming anyone who criticizes their behavior. Some people even become delusional or start hearing voices.

2. Hypomania symptoms
Hypomania is a less severe form of mania. People in a hypomanic state feel euphoric, energetic, and productive, but they are able to carry on with their day-to-day lives and they never lose touch with reality. To others, it may seem as if people with hypomania are merely in an unusually good mood. However, hypomania can result in bad decisions that harm relationships, careers, and reputations. In addition, hypomania often escalates to full-blown mania or is followed by a major depressive episode.
Common signs and symptoms of mania include:
  • Feeling unusually “high” and optimistic OR extremely irritable
  • Unrealistic, grandiose beliefs about one’s abilities or powers
  • Sleeping very little, but feeling extremely energetic
  • Talking so rapidly that others can’t keep up
  • Racing thoughts; jumping quickly from one idea to the next
  • Highly distractible, unable to concentrate
  • Impaired judgment and impulsiveness
  • Acting recklessly without thinking about the consequences
  • Delusions and hallucinations (in severe cases)
3. Signs and symptoms of bipolar depression
In the past, bipolar depression was lumped in with regular depression. But a growing body of research suggests that there are significant differences between the two, especially when it comes to recommended treatments. Most people with bipolar depression are not helped by antidepressants. In fact, there is a risk that antidepressants can make bipolar disorder worse—triggering mania or hypomania, causing rapid cycling between mood states, or interfering with other mood stabilizing drugs.
Despite many similarities, certain symptoms are more common in bipolar depression than in regular depression. For example, bipolar depression is more likely to involve irritability, guilt, unpredictable mood swings, and feelings of restlessness. People with bipolar depression also tend to move and speak slowly, sleep a lot, and gain weight. In
addition, they are more likely to develop psychotic depression—a condition in which they’ve lost contact with reality—and to experience major disability in work and social functioning.

Common symptoms of bipolar depression include:
  • Feeling hopeless, sad, or empty.
  • Irritability
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Physical and mental sluggishness
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Sleep problems
  • Concentration and memory problems
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
4. Signs and symptoms of a mixed episode
A mixed episode of bipolar disorder features symptoms of both mania or hypomania and depression. Common signs of a mixed episode include depression combined with agitation, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, distractibility, and racing thoughts. This combination of high energy and low mood makes for a particularly high risk of suicide.
The different faces of bipolar disorder
1. Bipolar I Disorder (mania or a mixed episode) – The classic manic-depressive form of the illness, characterized by at least one manic episode or mixed episode. Usually—but not always—Bipolar I Disorder also involves at least one episode of depression.
2. Bipolar II Disorder (hypomania and depression) – In Bipolar II disorder, the person doesn’t experience full-blown manic episodes. Instead, the illness involves episodes of hypomania and severe depression.
3. Cyclothymia (hypomania and mild depression) – Cyclothymia is a milder form of bipolar disorder. It consists of cyclical mood swings. However, the symptoms are less severe than full-blown mania or depression.
These are helpful links:

Sharing my day, life and issues, now it’s YOUR TURN!!

This is to encourage those that think their life is meaningless or boring to share a day or a week with me and maybe by sharing we can all laugh and maybe help each other cope.

Hi all,

I just want to share with you how my life goes dealing with the “issues” that I suffer from.  You all should know by now that I have “BIPOLAR”, “DRUG ABUSE”, “PTSD”, “DEPRESSION”, and if I’ve missed one let me know.

On a daily basis I have to deal with the past.  No matter how much therapy I’ve endured I still suffer with nightmares on Iran, and constant dreams of Mohammad.  Almost EVERY night I wake up at some point sitting up with my hands balancing me (which I’m sure is causing my carpal tunnel).  The reason for this is, in the POW camp I was handcuffed to a girl named Faresh and the only way we could “rest” was when we sat back to back.  If I got ANY SLEEP in that camp it was sitting up like that.  We were not allowed to lay down, and generally if they saw us with our eyes closed they would nudge us with their gun butts.   So despite the time period that has elapsed since that incident, I STILL SUFFER FROM THIS.

I still get nightmares about my brother sexually abusing me at age 11.  Once in a great while I will get a good dream where he has died, and if I’m LUCKY I will get a double feature five star dream where he and Mohammad are BOTH killed! 🙂

Now the bipolar that is a tricky issue to deal with.  I’ve been on pills now since 2007 which have helped ALOT!  But the anti-depressants that I take with them usually reach a toleration level in 2-3 years so I have to try another one.  But I don’t suffer from the constant mania that would appear twice or more a week causing me to take my hubby’s credit cards and go buy something, buy what you ask, it didn’t matter as long as I bought something, and that’s the truth.  I still have moodiness that is hard to control, one day I will be best friends with someone and the next day they won’t talk to me due to the conversation we had the night before.  My poor hubby goes through most of my ups and downs.  Whenever I tell him I love him and that he’s the best man I’ve ever had the chance in knowing, he will say, “RIGHT NOW I AM, but tomorrow I could be the OGRE of your nightmares”, and he’s kind of right.  He knows by now not to take me seriously when I’m upset so he just “rides” the storm.  But for the most part the bipolar is under control.

The one thing that upset me is how they portray the bipolar individuals in tv shows or movies.  These people always seem to be OFF THE CHARTS mentally ill.  That is not bipolar.  Bipolar really isn’t a mental condition it’s a MOOD DISORDER.  But the way these shows depict us people get scared and get all kinds of false ideas when they meet someone who is bipolar.  Another thing that needs to be addressed is when a bipolar person gets upset, mad or happy, our loved ones and those close to us ALWAYS attribute it to the BIPOLAR.  It’s like we can’t have these emotions just NORMALLY, it always has to be the bipolar, thus we are not taken seriously.  They assume these emotions will change tomorrow or in some cases like mine in the next ten minutes; (I have rapid cycling bipolar).  We can’t just be mad at someone because they did something we didn’t like, noooo it was because we were just moody and tomorrow we will be fine with what they upset us about.   Or if we get very happy (warning: don’t smile too broadly or laugh too loudly) they will think were manic and start looking at us strange like will she fly the cuckoos nest sometime soon, or will she break down crying.  This just ISN’T RIGHT!

What I don’t like is how apathetic these bipolar meds can make you.  They can make you so apathetic that you don’t have emotions.  I feel bad for the person who is getting their medication adjusted because the doctor feels that if your sedated it’s better than being manic and you could wind up on a drug like Seroquel and sleep all day.  Most of these drugs make you gain weight and then they wonder why Brittney Spears is having trouble keeping her stick thin figure.  She’s lucky she has any energy at all.  Some people who take these drugs take a stimulant or are so hooked on caffeine to counteract the tiredness that causes problems in their behavior too.  I liked my manic episodes at times, they made me feel alive and passionate about things.  Sure I did take them too far and not all my behavior was appropriate but I still enjoyed them.  One time I was getting my hair done at home and had all these tin foils in my hair waiting for my color to take, I told my friend who was doing it to get in the car we had to go to the store and get lottery tickets and cigarettes.  She couldn’t believe it, my hubby told her to please go with me and drive so I wouldn’t get in trouble.  (he knew when I was like that to just deal with it the most tactful way possible).  The people at the store knew me so it didn’t shock them (at least they didn’t show it facially).  My poor hairdresser didn’t come over and do my hair again for a long time.  Until she understood what it was I suffered from.

Well in a short synopsis, I drive an hour and a half every Tuesday to therapy at Henry Ford Hospital, for my PTSD of Iran, childhood sexual abuse, and my life in a nutshell.  I also now have a benign brain tumor that is now 10% into my brain and growing.  I also suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, I’ve had my hip replaced already, and am on a blood thinner due to suffering from 4 lung embolisms after I snorted some Soma and Ritalin *(back in 2007).  But on the bright side I went thru rehab in 2008 and now speak at the rehab hospital once a month on my book, my experiences and my recovery.  This talk motivates, inspires and gives hope to those that think their lives are in dire straits.  (well they tell me it does this and the patients share with me how much these talks help them) I love talking with them and the first time I did, I kept thinking I was narcissistic for standing up in front of a group of people to tell them about my life.  But when they started lining up to hug me and tell me how much hope it gave them as well as inspiration to quit, and some even had tears in their eyes, well that made me the happiest that I’d been in a LONNNGGGG time!  My book is sold in their gift shop and profits go to the rehab hospital.  But that is ALL I have going in my life right now.  I sit home, live on the computer, talk to my cats all day, and exercise everyday (MAYBE) for 30 minutes.  Then I wait for the SIMPSONS to come on, and then I know it’s evening.  I get up every night at 330am and eat ice cream and watch “BEWITCHED”, “I DREAM OF JEANNIE” and if I really stay up long , “THE JACK BENNY SHOW”  I’m on permanent disability so I have NOTHING TO DO.

So if there is anyone out there that has suggestions for me on doing something, not gardening or crocheting, but something they know of for sure that I could help someone with either from my home pc or other, PLEASE let me know.

NOW I WANT TO HEAR YOUR LIFE STORY, or at least a day in the life of SOMEONE WITH ISSUES! 🙂

The reason I wrote this was because I was sick of playing Candy Crush Saga, and other FB games and wanted to do something that MIGHT be productive for other people too.  They say if you talk about things its the first step in helping your mind deal with them.  So I’m dealing with a boring existence that therapy has numbed by severe PTSD to a minimum level, but due to the disability I’m going NUTS AT HOME with NOTHING TO DO!

PLEASE SHARE YOUR STORIES!

*** For those of you who haven’t read my book or know me, the links below should help you out in that aspect.  I also have had a mini-documentary done on the Discover Channel and am looking for more opportunities like that.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se-NTRWCJIU (Discovery Channel documentary-THIRD STORY in a series of three)
My current promotion to raise money for the charities I support.

Field of Flowers Award

I received the Field Of Flowers Award, from a great blogger,  Raani York, http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/

Thank you so much, Raani!! It really made my day to be awarded this from someone such as yourself whom I admire greatly.  I love the flowers and PURPLE is my favorite color.

The rules for this bright and beautiful award are:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Place the award on your blog
  3. Nominate 7 other bloggers and write a little something why you are giving these bloggers a ‘field of flowers’
  4. Let your nominees know that you have nominated them

I am nominating and sending flowers to:

1. Rosemary “MAMIE” Adkins.  http://extraordinaryireland.blogspot.com/  She is a continued FRIEND who has been by my side always.  What a gem!

2.  Micki Peluso http://www.mallie1025.blogspot.com/  has been through so much in life yet she remains positive.  What a role model for ALL.

3.  Delinda McCaan.  http://delindalmccann.weebly.com/blog.html  She has had so many health problems and has maintained a positive attitude in life that we ALL can learn from her upbeat and steadfast life.

4.  Tammie Clark Gibbs.  http://www.tammieclarkegibbs.com/  WHAT A REMARKABLE WOMAN!!! She has soooo much on her plate yet she goes OUT OF HER WAY to help everyone around her, or anyone who asks.  Sometimes I don’t think she takes care of herself because she’s too busy taking care of everyone else.

5.  Debra Kamza.  http://ampbreia.wordpress.com/  Debra can relate to what I went through in Iran, she also had an explosive relationship with her Iranian husband and lost her son to him.  You should read her book, I couldn’t put it down, “Lost in Foreign Passions”.

6.  Raani York.  http://raaniyork.wordpress.com/  I know she nominated me, but I wouldn’t feel right not nominating her because she fits all the qualifications and is a WONDERFUL WOMAN and writer.

7.  Linneann.   http://linneann.wordpress.com/  This special lady can put emotions on paper that we can’t even find the words for and she describes situations too perfectly.

I hope from the bottom of my heart that I brought some happiness and pride into the blogging life of my fellow writers! You all are so amazing!! I think I couldn’t have made a better choice!

If I didn’t mention you today it definitely in no way says you are not a great blogger, but I could only pick 7, if I could pick 20 you all would be in there!

Share this:

BLOG HOP TOUR

The author Joyce Elferdink aka  Joyce (J. F.)  http://harmlessjoyce.wordpress.com/  invited me to participate in this blog hop tour and answer these four questions about my writing process.”

ALL ABOUT MY WRITING PROCEDURE

1)     What am I working on?

I’m not really working on anything, everyone tells me that I should write a book about my recovery, my bouts of PTSD, my living with bipolar and how I’m doing since rehab.  I guess that would fill a book, I’m just not sure anyone would be interested.  But then again, I thought more people would be interested in this one than there is

2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I think it’s more shocking than most.  It not only deals with one tragedy, but a lifetime of tragedies.  I don’t know if it was my undiagnosed bipolar that made me keep entering into explosive situations, or these situations were meant to teach me and others later in life.  The most important thing, though, is that it TAUGHT ME how to deal with very stressful lifetime events, and hopefully share it enough with others that they will see the messages, too.    I’m speaking at a drug rehab hospital in Brighton, Michigan once a month and sharing my story.  I can’t believe how many people have approached me and told me that this story has changed their life and given them hope.  I will say that even though the profits on this book  are nil to none, those comments make it ALL WORTHWHILE!!!

3)     Why do I write what I do?

I only wrote from personal experience.  I didn’t even want to write a book when I got back but everyone kept pressuring me to get my story “OUT THERE”.  So I sat down one day and started recalling everything that happened in my life.  And wah lah, here is my book.

4)     How does your writing process work?

I just sat down and started recalling, I didn’t dwell on anything, I just wrote, and  when I was done I didn’t think about it, I just came back to the computer the next day and started writing from where I left off.  I didn’t then and still never have  gone back and read the entire book.  I would take sections of it and go dissect it with m therapist but never re-hashed the whole book.  I had a literary agent, Tina Foster, and my fiancé proof read it for errors and how it sounded, did it carry a good idea or did it sound choppy. That is it, sorry I don’t have some in depth process to share with you but mine was plain and simple.

I’ve been criticized on the “repeats” in the book, and some of the grammar but 95% of the reviews have been five stars.  So I’m satisfied.  What that’s saying is  you can’t please all the people all of the time, but you can please some people some of the time 🙂

Thank you so much Joyce for allowing me to share on your blog some information on my book and how it got to be what it is.  You’re a gracious, kind woman who is an amazing writer.  Salut!!


 I am inviting Tammie Clark Gibbs to join us on our blog hop tour.  She is an accomplished author of many romance novels.  She also manages real estate, and organizes many internet events involving books.  She is a very, very, VERY nice lady who has the patience of a SAINT 🙂

These are her links and information, thank you Tammie.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tammie-Clarke-Gibbs/131595096897070?ref=hl
Twitter: @tammiegibbs

Featured Author series was FABULOUS!!

(Me and my MAIN MAN)

Hello everyone, authors/readers:

I just wanted to THANK all of the AUTHORS that participated in my series of featuring authors.  ALL the authors were outstanding and had so much to share not just with readers but other authors as well…( we all like to know our competition) 🙂

It’s come to a close for now but I leave the door open to any other authors that would like to be featured on my blog, I’m sure I can fit you in somewhere 🙂

Again THANK YOU AUTHORS you did a FANTASTIC JOB!!!!

Lori

Featured Author: Peter John

Featured Author:

Peter John

Peter John

  1. Please introduce yourself. Tell us a little about the person behind the pen.

I was born blue (I am not a smurf) back in 1973. My Mother had a hysterectomy straight after giving birth to me, which I has always felt a little insecure about. It was as if she had taken one look at me and decided, there and then, that she wasn’t going to have another one of me. Coupled with the fact that I have been told that I was an accident, I am left wondering if I am even supposed to be here on this Earth. When she got back to the ward, a nurse had sat her down and explained that I had stopped breathing and had turned a funny blue colour, while she was in the operating theatre; it was only by chance that another patent had seen me laying there and had alerted the hospital staff of my condition. I had survived my first day alive by the skin of teeth that I had yet to grow and each following day seemed easy by comparison.

It wasn’t until I had reached the ripe old age of fourteen that I discovered the desire to write and I have been indulging that desire ever since.

***

2.   What made you decide to write (the genre of your book), were there any influencing factors, or were any of the stories based on true events.   

I decided to write a paranormal comedy because of all the years that I have spent listening to my mother talk about the many spiritual readings that she has attended in her life. While the main plot of my book is not based on true events, several incidents within it most definitely are.

***

3.   How do you promote your book, and do you find that difficult or just par for the course.

I find that book promotion is harder and more time consuming that the actual writing itself. My view on promotion techniques fall down to a simple concept: People will hear the sound of one voice but the sound of many voices will make people listen. Independent doesn’t mean that you have to face this world alone.

***

4.   Do you remember your first review and how it made you feel?  (If it was a bad one, also tell about your good one too).

My first review was a wonderful one that suddenly appeared halfway through my first ever free promotion. The timing couldn’t have been better and, if I ever get the chance, I would like to thank that individual from the bottom of my heart. I was inexperienced and unsure of myself, that first review gave me a sense of hope that I have yet to lose.

***

5.   Tell us about your book and if it’s a series and how the public is reacting to this book.

Dead Medium Cover Art

Dead Medium is a humorous look at life after death. It revolves around May Elizabeth Trump, a grouchy old woman with little time for other people. May dies and becomes the rarest of ghosts, a dead medium: a ghost who can communicate with the living. It’s filled with larger than life characters, humorous one liners and an ever encroaching darkness.

***

6.     Can you share any and all links that are important to you as a person and the book?  (You can relate more to a book if you know more about the author).   

 The Trump Diary Blog   http://thetrumpdiary.wordpress.com is my Blog-site and it is also the home of my serialised prequel to Dead Medium. The Trump Diary is a documentation of May Trump’s final months prior to her untimely death.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwaZ4B3Htm8 I am rather impressed by this video by Puddingtane Productions.

The Rekindled Affair Kindle Cover Scaled c    This is my perma-free Dead Medium Spin-Off Short Story http://www.amazon.com/Rekindled-Affair-Peter-John-ebook/dp/B00FOF8W8I

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-John/e/B00B0MNUVI

http://deadmediumpeterjohn.webs.com

https://www.facebook.com/DeadMediumbyPeterJohn

Wrapped Up In Brown Paper Cover RK    https://www.facebook.com/WrappedUpInBrownPaper

https://twitter.com/AttemptedAuthor

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6899829.Peter_John

***

7.    I’ll wrap it up with this question since “7” is a lucky numberJ.   Can you share an excerpt from your book, and I’d like to thank you so much for taking time to share your book with me. Please share as much as you’d like.

This is one of my favorite scenes where The Thursday Night Club first meet the late May Trump.

***

May watched as the four old ladies shuffled out of their coats and sat around the coffee table on. Chloe returned a few moments later with five glasses. She had left the box in the kitchen; it was obviously cake. She placed a glass in front of each of her guests and then collected their coats, which were being held up expectantly. She took them to the wall hooks in the hallway. The coats were thick and heavy, she seemed to struggle a little with the burden. When she returned she took the only vacant seat, which was opposite Barbara.

“Oh do you need a corkscrew?” Chloe said as she started to rise back out of her seat.

“No dear, it’s not a posh plonk.” Victoria said as she unscrewed the wine bottle.

“So we should start with introductions I guess,” Barbara said as Victoria filled the waiting glasses.

“Of course,” Chloe agreed. “My name is Chloe Saunders and I’m so very glad you all were able to come tonight.”

“Yes I remember you from Gracie’s don’t I?” Deborah said. “I’m Deborah but you can call me Debs if you like.” Margaret reached out for her glass.

“My name’s Margaret,” she greeted as she sipped her wine.

“And Victoria you met earlier today as well,” Barbara pointed out. “Now what seems to be the problem?” Chloe took a deep breath; they had gone over this initial statement many times.

“My mum has recently passed away,” Chloe announced.

“God bless her soul,” Deborah interrupted her with the best of intentions.

“Yes bless her soul,” Victoria agreed, raising her glass. They gave a toast to Penny and then Chloe continued.

“It has been a hard time for me, which has been made even more disturbing by some strange events that have recently been occurring in this very house.” Each of the group leaned forward in their seats.

“Ever since my mother died, I’ve been hearing strange sounds and even voices in the night. Things that I have never previously experienced. To tell you the truth, I’m beginning to feel quite uneasy living here.” May and Penny listened intently, the speech had been a joint effort.

“I need to know if the spirit of my dear departed mother still resides here. I‘m at the end of my tether, I‘m worried I might be losing my mind.” Margaret reached over and patted Chloe lightly on the hand.

“You’re not going mad dear,” she soothed. “During time of stress, your judgement can become clouded. If we can’t find any evidence of your mother’s spirit here, don’t worry yourself. You’re probably just reacting normally; this is a particularly traumatic time in your life.” The rest of the group nodded in agreement.

“That’s only if we don’t discover anything supernatural here tonight” Barbara confidently added.

“Drink some wine, settle your nerves,” Victoria suggested. “It’s alright; I’ve got another bottle in my bag.” Chloe picked up her glass and took a token sip.

“I think we should start by lighting some candles,” Barbara suggested.

“Always with the candles, I don’t see how they help?” Victoria groaned. Barbara pulled four small, red tea-light candles from her bag.

“They work I tell you!” Barbara said as she placed the candles on the table. She put coasters underneath them to protect the wooden surface.

“How do you know?” Victoria asked, “Have you ever tried without them?”

“We have never had a reaction from the spirit world without them,” Margaret pointed out. Victoria looked over at her.

“We have never been without them to know!” Victoria said. Deborah put her hand in the air.

“I quite like them; I think they’re rather pretty,” she announced.

“They calm the spirits and make them more amiable and approachable.” Barbara explained as she begun to light the candles. May watched the candles burn and felt no calming effects; she was more worried about them becoming a fire hazard. Penny seemed to like them, however, so maybe Barbara did have something there.

“We should all hold hands around the table now,” Barbara said, reaching out to Deborah and Victoria who were sitting either side of her on the sofa. Victoria swapped her wine glass to her free hand. Margaret, who was in one of the arm chairs, could just reach Deborah’s other hand. Victoria quickly downed the last of her wine before putting the empty glass down and taking Chloe’s hand across the table; she had to move one of the candles for fear of burning herself. Chloe reached out with her other hand and held Margaret’s free hand at an uncomfortable stretch. They looked a little awkward and unevenly stretched.

“It’s usually more comfortable with a round table,” Barbara pointed out, even though she had the position of greatest comfort. May walked around the group and tried to work out who was going to fall out of their seat first. Her money was on Chloe; she seemed to be making the most effort to be within reach.

“Right then, if you would all now try to relax,” Barbara instructed.

“Not likely!” Victoria pointed out.

“Well try your best, it helps.”

“What as much as the candles?”

“Please Vicky we are trying to help young Chloe put her demons to rest. Can you please concentrate,” Barbara closed her eyes. She started to hum softly and sway a little, or as much as the conditions would allow.

“Come hither to us restless spirits. Tell us your woes and let us help guide you on the path to peace and contentment.” Margaret leaned towards Chloe slightly, which in turn threatened to lift Deborah from her seat.

“She wrote those chants herself,” Margaret whispered. “They’re rather good don’t you think?” Chloe smiled back at her, either way the words were pointless. The ghosts were already present and waiting.

May still wasn’t sure about the initial greeting that they had finally agreed upon. She was worried that it was a corny, stereotypical way to instigate communication. She Stood by the doorway and cupped her hands over her mouth, in an attempt to create a muffled echoic voice.

“Woo!” she called out self consciously. The group reacted with surprise and Chloe tried to mimic them.

“What was that?” Margaret yelled in shock.

“Keep concentrating everyone; I think we’ve got something here,” Barbara said.

“Woo…woo! Who disturbs the cosmic forces and summons me to this place?” May said as she began to get into the swing of it. Margaret‘s shock seemed to give way to nervous confusion.

“It is I, Madam Smith of the Inner Circle of Sacred Seers, who summons you here today,” Barbara replied. Her voice sounded confident but her facial expression suggested that this was probably her first real spectral encounter.

“For what reason do you summon me into your presence?” May was beginning to ad-lib a little. Margaret kept trying to grab Barbara’s attention. Deborah was a white as a sheet and Victoria was trying to reach for the wine bottle, while still not releasing Chloe’s hand.

“Barbara!” Margaret called but appeared to be ignored. She tugged at Deborah’s arm to get her attention but Deborah was as stiff as a pole.

“We summon you here today to help Young Chloe Saunders ease her suffering after the passing of her mother. Are we speaking to Penny Saunders?” Barbara called out.

“No I am not she,” May replied through her cupped hands. “She’s standing over by the window.” Margaret clearly wasn’t having any more of this charade as she released her grip from Deborah’s and Chloe’s hands and stood up from her chair. Victoria took the opportunity to release Chloe’s other hand and make a grab for the wine bottle.

***Peter John is a colleague of mine and I strongly recommend you perusing his books 🙂 

Thank you Peter for accepting my interview request.