Last Friday, I drove my son down to La Jolla (across the street from UC San Diego!) to see pediatric hypnotherapist and pulmonologist, Dr. Ran D. Anbar, MD, FAAP of Center Point Medicine. My son struggles with migraines (greatly improved with recent medication regime), depression, anxiety, eczema, and frequent school absences due to illnesses.
According to Dr. Anbar’s brochure:
Children who use hypnosis:
Become empowered to help themselves when they feel poorly, and are proud of themselves for being able to do so.
Feel better about themselves and their medical condition because they can help take control of how they feel.
Become aware of their inner strength that allows them to cope more effectively with all aspects of their lives.
My mother used hypnotherapy to help her battle non-Hodgkins lymphoma (along with chemotherapy and monoclonal antibody therapy). Hypnotherapy enabled her to feel more in control, and lessened her pain and anxiety. My father quit smoking using hypnotherapy. I’ve used self-hypnosis (all hypnosis is self-hypnosis) to perform well on exams (I studied, too).
Hoping that self-hypnosis will give my son a tool, an effective coping mechanism, not just for somatic illnesses that respond well to hypnosis, but for life. Somatic illnesses are not “just” in the mind. The mind and the body are connected.
Prayer, meditation and self-hypnosis all help body, mind, and soul.
Many of us living with mental illness have other chronic illnesses. Often we are not treated for our “physical” illnesses, as many doctors dismiss them as psychosomatic. “Mental” illnesses ARE “physical” illnesses, and “physical” illnesses affect our “mental” illnesses. We are not just our brains, just our bodies, just our minds, just our feelings, or just our souls. The more we learn, the more we understand interconnectedness and comorbidities.
The ALPIM Spectrum
In the Spring 2015 issue of the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, researchers proposed The ALPIM Spectrum:
P = Pain (fibromyalgia, migraine and chronic daily headache, irritable bowel syndrome, prostatitis/cystitis);
I = Immune disorders (hypothyroidism, asthma, nasal allergies, chronic fatigue syndrome); and
M = Mood disorders (major depression, Bipolar II and Bipolar III disorder, tachyphylaxis. Two thirds of patients in the study with mood disorder had diagnosable bipolar disorder and most of those patients had lost response to antidepressants).
We conclude that patients with ALPIM syndrome possess a probable genetic propensity that underlies a biological diathesis for the development of the spectrum of disorders. Viewing patients as sharing a psychological propensity toward somatizing behavior essentially denies patients access to care for the diagnosable medical conditions with which they present.
Frustrating to parent an adolescent who feels sick chronically. Difficult to know if he feels sick because he is sick with a contagious disease, or if he has a migraine, or if he is anxious. Honestly, right now, I’m feeling sick to my stomach. Sick with dread. Dreading a summer trying to get my kid out of his bed, out of his bedroom, out of the house, and to summer school.
I haven’t written in a while, nor have I read or commented on others’ posts. I used to write brief reviews after reading a book. Recently, I’ve simply left stars on Amazon and Good Reads.
Why? Because I simply needed to recover. Recovering not from an episode of bipolar disorder – though I do live with that illness and must take care of myself – but from exhaustion, physical illness, and the demands of life.
Sometimes I need silence. Sometimes I must do less. I must NOT do.
Since my mother had her stroke November 2015, I’ve had added responsibilities overseeing my parents’ finances and care. My sister helps me make decisions and offers emotional support, but she lives in another state and has her own life to live.
I parent a high-needs adolescent who gets sick A LOT and has struggled throughout his life with migraines, ADHD, depression, and anxiety.
My husband, son, and I have all been sick.
All this weighs on me.
So, I’ve pulled back.
I’ve been silent.
I’ve binge-watched TV.
I’ve done lots of jigsaw puzzles on my iPad.
Starting Monday, I’m hiring my neighbor, who has been a caregiver to seniors, to help me with my chaotic physical environment. Together, we will organize and clean my house. It’s cluttered and dusty. The floors and refrigerator need cleaning. Hopefully, that will improve both our physical and emotional health.