Monday, October 24, 2011

OCD and Attention Dilemmas (ADD)

It is well known that many people with OCD have related disorders. For me, one of them has been Attention Deficit Disorder, which has annoyed me since childhood. There are several types of ADD, and they manifest themselves in different ways.

When I was in school, here were several boys who were being extremely disruptive in class. One of them was eventually removed because he would not remain in his seat. I’m betting those boys had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD- the over-active version. With me, it was totally different. I clearly remember being in algebra class and being unable to concentrate. This went on for the entire semester. It got to the point that I was completely lost. As the teacher was explaining formulas and equations, my mind just drifted off to another land. Perhaps, as my sister-in-law Cathy says, I should have been taught in a way that I could understand, because I just could not get it, and fell so far behind that I failed the class. That was just one of my problems focusing as a child. I didn’t realize it until much later, but that was also caused by Attention Deficit Disorder, and a specific type that is mostly found in girls, called limbic ADD.

The symptoms of Limbic ADD can continue right into adulthood, and they are- inability to pay attention (especially to things found distasteful or boring,) mild depression, low energy, procrastination, poor sleep. For those of you who think you may have it, I found this information about Limbic ADD at
 http://www.adhd-health.com/philosophy/adhd-6types-type3-5.php

“Limbic ADD

The Limbic System:  Includes the thalamus and hypothalamus, regulates emotions, emotional memories, influences the hormone system, has a relay and gating function for sensory information, control of motivation and drives.

Natural Treatment:

• Diet. ADD people have a different metabolism to average people and so do depressed people.

• Omega-3 fish oil.

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and/or biofeedback training.

• Aerobic exercise daily for 30-45 minutes, preferably outside.

• Supplement formulations specially formulated for the ADD metabolism and depression:

Limbic ADD is another form of attention deficit, but with the added complication of the brain locked into a negative thought pattern. The other forms of real or true ADHD the inattentive and classic types are resilient and can take knocks, bouncing back. However this type tends to give up easily. Therapy to reset the brain or calm the limbic system, such as some forms of meditation might work well. Stimulant medication is likely to make the condition worse in this ADD type."

The following article is helpful for all types of ADD and I got it from AOL. It was written by Beth W. Orenstein…

Manage Stress to Stop Procrastinating

When you’re overwhelmed, you’ll find yourself procrastinating more, says Jennifer Koretsky Korey, a senior certified ADHD coach and author of Odd One Out: The Maverick's Guide to Adult ADD. You can manage stress by slowing down and taking excellent care of yourself. “I recommend that clients take half an hour a day — every day — to relax and recharge,” Korey says. Also, prioritize good sleep habits, good nutrition, and exercise. Even small changes in these areas will make a big difference

Plan Your Road to Success

In order to finish something, you first need to know where to start, Korey says. "If you try to jump into a project without planning, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and shut down.” This is sound advice for anyone approaching a task, but it is particularly helpful if you have ADHD. Korey recommends taking 5 to 15 minutes to step back from the project and plan the steps that you need to take to complete it. “Then when you begin,” she says, “the hard work has been done, and you’re really just following a system.”

Break Tasks Into Small Parts

To best manage your ADHD symptoms, not only do you need to plan, but you also need to break down your plan into achievable steps. “I call them ‘doable tasks,’” says Alice Price, a professional organizer and time-management specialist based in West Islip, N.Y., and a member of the National Association of Professional Organizers. Small successes build on each other. Recounts David Rosenberg, MD, professor and chief of child psychiatry and psychology at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit: “My piano teacher used to tell me, rather than memorize the whole piece of music, to learn it in small sections. That’s great advice for learning to play the piano and critical for children with ADHD and people with adult ADHD.”

Create — and Stick to — a Schedule

You need to set a timeline for accomplishing each and every one of the smaller items on your to-do list. If you leave goals open-ended, you won’t be as motivated to get started. Just putting a date and time for completion next to each step will help you stay on track, says Dr. Rosenberg.

Find Motivation to Stop Procrastinating

When given a task, think about how completing it will improve your life. “Get in touch with why the task is actually worth doing and how it can help you,” Korey says. “You’ll definitely procrastinate if you’re just doing the task to please someone else, and you’ll add to your stress as a result.” For instance, if your mother-in-law comments on your messy house, but the clutter doesn’t bother you, you will resist the urge to clean before she comes over. So focus instead on how having a clean house will make achieving your own goals easier.

Delegate, Don't Procrastinate

Whenever possible, delegate any tasks you find boring. “There’s no shame in paying someone else for their skills,” says Korey. “This might mean hiring a house cleaner, a handyman, or even a personal assistant.” If money is an issue, cut out other luxuries so that you can afford the help you need to handle ADHD and stop procrastinating. “Ask yourself what costs more: the stress of procrastinating on this task or the cost of hiring someone else to do it?” Korey suggests.

Reward Yourself

Treat yourself to something fun when you complete half or even a third of an assigned task, and then again when it’s done. The reward can be just a break to watch a TV show, going out to lunch or dinner, or taking a soothing spa bath (great for relaxing when ADHD symptoms have you stressed). Rosenberg says the biggest reward should be contingent upon getting started, which is often the most difficult part for many with adult ADHD. On the flip side, resist punishing yourself for not completing a job. “Punishments rarely work for procrastination and can make things worse,” he cautions.

Do the Dreaded Deed First

Whatever it is, getting the task you dislike out of the way gives your self-esteem a boost, and that in turn stops procrastination. “You feel good because you did it, and it changes your attitude from a negative to a positive,” Price says. Here’s an example: If you work in sales and dislike the part of your job that requires making cold calls, do them first thing in the morning. “Then you have the rest of the day free from having to worry about them,” Price says.

Manage ADHD Symptoms With Set Routines

If you have adult ADHD, establish a routine that includes all tasks that must be accomplished each day, says Rosenberg. That way, doing them becomes almost automatic, because you don’t have time to sit around and think, “I won’t do this now; I’ll do it later.” Set up a routine for getting yourself and your family out the door in the morning. Have one for your workday and others for your evenings and weekends. And be sure to include the tasks you most often put off.”

Also, this may help your ADD- from the WEB MD, web site- http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate

Eat Breakfast to Fuel Your Brain

Tempted to skip breakfast? Studies have found that eating breakfast may improve short-term memory and attention. Students who eat breakfast tend to perform significantly better than those who don’t. Foods at the top of researchers' brain fuel list include high-fiber whole grains, dairy, and fruits. Just don't overeat; researchers also found high-calorie breakfasts appear to hinder concentration.

Also, add fish, nuts, chocolate, avocados, whole grains (even popcorn,) and blueberries to a healthy diet.’

If you have a big day coming up, eat a breakfast of salmon (on a whole grain bagel if you prefer) and drink a glass of 100% pure fruit juice and a cup of coffee

Other habits to pick up that will increase you attention span every day are getting enough sleep, drinking water to combat dehydration, exercising any time you get the opportunity and meditation.’

I hope everyone who is suffering with any mental disorder will be comforted in knowing there is help out there, and it doesn’t always involve medication. You are NOT alone!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

OCD and Brain Fog


I think that Brain Fog is something people should know more about. Brain Fog is just that – you feel unfocused, a bit dazed and you can’t concentrate the way you need to, at work or at school. I have experienced this and believe that there are many others who have also, without realizing the causes. An overworked brain, such as one experiencing OCD or other related disorders, can get foggy very quickly. In researching this, it is not only OCD, there can be many causes of living in a surrealistic state that you may find interesting.

For a correct definition of brain fog, I refer to an interesting article…

BRAIN FOG

by Lawrence Wilson, MD

© January 2011, The Center For Development

“The brain is the crowning organ of the human being. Therefore, dysfunctions involving it are always important. Brain fog is one of the most important symptoms today, even though I have not seen it listed as a diagnosis or recognized health condition in most medical or psychological texts.

A clinical definition of brain fog. Brain fog may be described as feelings of mental confusion or lack of mental clarity. It is called brain fog because it can feel like a cloud that reduces your ability to think clearly. It can cause a person to become forgetful, detached and often discouraged and depressed. It usually is present most of the time, meaning it does not come and go, although it may become better or worse depending on what a person eats, or one’s state of rest and hydration.

Brain fog is not recognized as a clinical diagnosis because it is not easy to test for it. It is quite subjective, in other words. The person just knows that they do not function well, and the mind often seems foggy or cloudy. This is not the same as dementia, mental retardation, anxiety, depression or other common mental symptoms. I hope that medical doctors will soon expand their diagnostic ability to assess brain fog, but for now it is a subjective condition, though it is very real.

Brain fog is quite common. It affects thousands of people, including children as well as adults. It contributes to school and work problems, low self-esteem, accidents, unhappy relationships and often is a factor in crime and delinquency because it can cause intense frustration and inability to function well in society.

The onset of brain fog. Some people have had brain fog for most of their lives, and may even think their state of mind is normal. In some other cases, it comes on slowly with age or time. In still other instances, it may develop almost overnight, perhaps after a mild flu or other illness, or perhaps after a toxic exposure.”

For the complete article-  http://www.drlwilson.com/articles/brain_fog.htm

I found some other information which may be useful to some individuals in figuring out exactly what may be causing their misty state of mind…

“Brain fog affects millions and contributes to unhappiness, poor productivity, failing school grades, crime, job loss, accidents, relationship and a range of social problems.

• Anyone experiencing brain fog can begin by improving diet and lifestyle. Reduce, or preferably, eliminate junk food, heavily sugared foods, and highly processed foods. Reduce, or preferably, eliminate wheat, dairy, and other commonly consumed foods that may be causing sensitivities or allergic reactions. Rather than soda pop, coffee, or juice drink at least 6 glasses of pure water every day (preferably room temperature water as it is easier for the body to process).

• Be sure to get enough sleep, take time to relax, and make a point to breathe deeply throughout the day. Detoxification methods like cleanses, colonic irrigation, and saunas can be very helpful - for many, radically life changing.

• In some cases, testing for allergies, illnesses, and brain diseases may be necessary. Brain fog caused by diet, lifestyle, toxicity, medication, spinal misalignments, and blood sugar imbalances does not show up in conventional medical tests.

• Visit a chiropractor or osteopath to rule out structural causes.

• Reduce levels of brain stress. Many people find meditation extremely helpful to feel calmer, more focussed, and have a stronger sense of well being.”

For the full article-

http://www.brainharmonycenter.com/brain-fog.html

I hope this helps, and if you do have Brain Fog, I hope the fog lifts and the skies are sunny and clear for all!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

OCD and Emotional Protection

Many people are very sensitive to the comments and opionions of others. Even a casual remark can wound and penetrate a fragile psyche, especially that of a vulnerable child. Many people with OCD can fall victim to the ctiticism of others. Some react by arguing or fighting, others by withdrawing into themselves.

What we may not realize is that many times, people who criticize or point out the flaws of others are doing so because of their own self insecurities and lack of self confidence. By exposing other people’s weaknesses, they hide their own.

Having said that, we are often our own victims. I think that in this world of technology and global instant communication, it is possible give out too much information about ourselves, which make people easy targets. Does everyone really have to know when you have your period, or that you were hung over and didn’t make it to work on time? Be aware of spontaneous Facebook postings which will bite you in the end. That goes for emotional textings as well. Does your entire addres book have to get a fowarded message from your ex boyfriend about how you hate him because he used you and dumped you? Once you write it, it is there forever to haunt you.

Here is a very good quote from Don Miguel Ruiz…

“Don’t Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

Don Miguel Ruiz

I found this on a site – Seven Simple Steps to Inner Peace…

“If we depend on the opinions and praise of other people, we can never have inner peace. Criticism and flattery are two sides of the same coin. They are both the judgements of others. However, we should not allow ourselves to be affected by either. When we do, we feed the ego. We should learn to have confidence in ourselves. This does not mean we will love ourselves in an egotistical way, it means we value our real self and have belief in the good qualities that are part of everyone.” For the full artcle on Inner Peace… http://www.srichinmoybio.co.uk/blog/inner-peace/seven-simple-steps-to-inner-peace/

Here’s to protection from useless and unwanted criticism and an abundance of inner peace!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

OCD and the Loss of a Pet

It's a well known fact that many people with OCD suffer with bouts of depression. What I recently realized is that severe depression can be set off by the loss of a pet.


My beloved cat Remy, who was my constant companion for the past 18 years, is gone. I am lost and desperately lonely without her. Nothing is the same anymore without her by my side, following me everywhere (even doing the laundry with me) sleeping with me, and even sitting on my lap while I wrote this blog so many times before.

I have been crying for the past two weeks and I feel extremely depressed. Having OCD, I know this feeling well and I dread it. I know I must pull myself out of it or the consequences will not be good for me, or for anyone around me. If anyone reading this is depressed, my first advice would to do whatever you can to NOT give in to it. Even though I really would rather stay in bed, I have been forcing myself to get up and keep moving. I have been taking inositol, which also helps OCD as well as calcuim and chromium to balance my blood sugar, since my appetite has been destroyed.

People have been very nice to me- the outpouring of sympathy from family and friends is really appreciated. I still have a void inside, which I'm hoping doesn't turn into s sink-hole. And my OCD is acting up, but I still have it under control. And for those who say "It's just a cat," my response is unprintable.

I am paying extra attention to my remaining cat "Squeaky Mouse" who has been Remy's companion for the past 9 years. She is a sweet cat and comforting presence. She is feeling this too and I don't know what to do about her feelings at this point.

I went online to see what else could lift me out of this mess. I don't want to hear any Rainbow Bridge BS or things like that, personally they do not help me quell my anger and frustration about a situation I can do nothing about. It sucks that pets don't live as long as people - can't someone do something? There are advances in science all the time!

The thing that helped me the most so far is this article  from http://cats.about.com/cs/copingwithloss/a/dealingwithloss.htm

It is about Cats, but I think it would apply to any one suffering the loss of a pet...


Surviving the Loss of Your Cat


How to Deal With the Loss of a Beloved Cat and Move Forward Again

By Franny Syufy, About.com Guide

"It hurts. You feel real physical pain-- a black hole in the center of you that once was filled with love and laughter and joy. Now it is a void, only filled with emptiness. You sob for days, and just when you think you've shed your last tear, you chance upon a memento: a worn-out sock in the corner of the room, a dish you had customized with your beloved's name, and the tears flood again. Finally, one day, you accept your emptiness and your eyes become as dry and barren as your heart. "I'll never, NEVER replace him (her)", you state vehemently, when friends timidly approach the subject.

Frequent visitors to this site will know immediately that I am not talking about the loss of a spouse, or even a child, although the emotions are just as real. I'm talking about the loss of your cat, who perhaps was the only creature on Earth who loved you unconditionally. "What's the big deal? It was only a cat. Get over it." Most friends will not be crass enough to voice this opinion, but you can still sense the unspoken words in some.

Here are some Dos and Don'ts for helping to ease the pain of the loss of a cat:

•Do: Allow yourself to cry. Holding back the tears will only stuff all that emotion inside, where it will fester until it surfaces again at unforeseen times.

•Don't: Try to tough it out alone. If you have children, don't feel that you have to be "strong" for them. Sit with your child and say, "I'm sad because Tuffy died, aren't you?" and let the conversation go where it will. You'll not only help yourself, but also you will help your child develop coping skills

•Do: If you are of a creative bent, create a memorial album for your departed cat, or make a 3-dimensional shadow box with memorabilia of your cat. You can also create an online memorial on this site with up to two photos, using a form. (See the top link underneath this article.)

•Do: Talk to an empathetic friend, preferably one who loves cats as much as you. If you don't have any close friends or family members that you feel would understand, visit the About Cats Forum. We have a special folder for Support and Encouragement, and everyone, old or new members alike, draw an enormous amount of comfort from this supportive community.

•Don't: Write off the thought of ever sharing your life with another cat. We'll talk more about that on the next page.

•Do: Focus on things that make you happy. Sometimes we forget to fully appreciate the beauty around us, until we are forced to think about what we've lost.

Take time to share an intimate minute with someone you love. If you have other cats or dogs, spend additional time with them. They may be suffering the same kind of lost feelings you have, and will appreciate knowing that you are not also going to leave.

Take the time to smell the flowers, glory at a magnificent sunset, listen to some good music, or pick up a book of poetry. Have lunch with a good friend; see a "feel-good" movie, or rent a video or DVD and enjoy a film at home. As much as you may hate to face it, life does have a way of going on, and time really does heal these wounds."

I hope no one else is going through this, but if you are, I'm  very sorry and know exactly how you feel.



Thursday, April 7, 2011

OCD and STOP Negative Thoughts NOW!

I am often a victim of the inner voice that shouts "YOU CAN'T!" This negative inner voice is present in many people, not just those who suffer with OCD or similar disorders. Somehow, no matter how many times we hear positive things, the inner negative ones stick harder, zapping our confidence and enthusiasm.

Looking around the web, I came across this great site, How to Stop the Negative Inner Voice in our Heads by Catherine Pratt, which I found very helpful, not only for stopping negative thoughts, but it can be applied to OCD intrusive thoughts as well. There is the inspiring story of a famous person who just didn't take NO for an answer...

Here is the article:

Silencing the Negative Inner Voice


by Catherine Pratt

www.Life-With-Confidence.com

"Usually somewhere along the way in our journey of life, we have come across someone who tells us that we’re not good at doing something. It could be writing, or singing, or dancing, or speaking. Anything. And, we believe them. The tragedy can come from not following our dreams because we always hear that one negative voice telling us that we’re no good. It doesn’t even matter how many other people we come across who will tell us yes we are good at doing something, we always remember that one negative voice. It’s time to move past the negative voice. Here’s how:

1. Do it anyway — do you love singing? Then sing. How about writing? If you love it, do it. That’s the only reason. It brings you joy, do it. Life is too short to not do the things we love because some misguided person told us not to do it.

If we all listened to these negative people then some of the greatest life stories would never happened. Take this for example:

"Many years ago a young man mustered enough courage to ask a young woman to dance. After he danced with her for a few minutes, the woman told him he was a lousy dancer. She complained that he danced like a truck driver.

To be sure, this bad experience would be enough for most people to quit dancing for good. Watching television or sitting around being bored would be more appealing than dancing again. Yet this man developed a passion for dancing and continued to dance for many decades.

In fact this man became known as one of the great dancers of modern times. By the early nineties, when he died, he had 500 dance schools named after him. At one time, he had been on television for eleven years straight, showing people from all walks of life - including truck drivers - how to dance."

(excerpt from The Joy of Not Working by Ernie Zelinski)

Who was this man? None other than Arthur Murray. Luckily he didn't let that one woman's comment stop him from doing what he loved.

Or did you know that George Lucas spent four years shipping the script for Star Wars around to the various studios and racking up numerous rejections in the process? If he'd let his negative inner voice get to him he would never have ended up having the highest grossing film of all time.

2. Brainstorm and Break Apart — Think of all the steps you will need to do to accomplish the one thing you really want to do above all else. Break the ultimate end goal into smaller tasks and then just start plugging away at them. It’s far easier to take one small step and to keep going than getting frustrated because you haven’t managed to fulfill the ultimate goal yet.

3. Take small steps — so you want to write the next great American novel but your English teacher told you that a three-year old could write better than you. Or maybe they told you not to waste your time doing something that you’ll never be able to make any money at. To get past this, take small steps. Instead of getting frustrated because you can’t write your novel, write a short story instead. Write articles. Write, write, and write some more. Each time you write you will be gaining confidence in your ability. You’ll soon be able to see that you are able to write because you have actual examples. Each step you take will also bring you into contact with new opportunities and new ideas and one step closer to your ultimate dream. Just keep doing whatever it is that you love doing. You will also find that you are happiest when you are doing whatever it is that you love doing. This will also encourage to keep going.

4. Remember the big picture — whenever you get bogged down by the day to day issues, think back to the big picture. What is it that you want to accomplish in the end? What is it that you really, really want to do? Think how great it will feel when it actually happens. Focus on that. Ignore the little things. They’ll soon be in the past.

5. Reflect — Think back on how far you’ve already come. You’ve taken great strides already. Think how great it felt when you were able to accomplish some of those small steps.

6. Focus on something else —whenever you hear that voice, tell it to “shut up” or think of putting up a Do Not Disturb sign for your inner critic and then think of something positive in your life. Think about a loved one, your dog, a funny joke, anything to get yourself back in a positive mind set. Also, instead of that inner critic create for yourself an Inner Supporter.

7. Go for a walk — sometimes just getting up and doing something physical gives us enough endorphins to actually feel better about ourselves. When we feel better about ourselves, it’s easier to accomplish our goals.

8. Listen to your heart — whatever it is that you really want to do with your life, it’s not going to go away. It will always be there. It will also kill you to see someone else doing that thing you really wanted to do with your life. The tragedy is when it turns into a regret that you never took the chance to even try.

9. Greatest Critic Becomes Greatest Supporter — remember when you finally do succeed that most negative person who said you could never do it, will probably be the loudest person to say, “I knew they could it”. It’s human nature. And if you have no idea where your 4th grade English teacher is now, just think what great revenge it is when you know they’re going to read your novel and just say, “Wow”. Maybe you could even send them a copy.

10. Have Faith — it’s your life not someone else’s. So, LIVE IT! You can never make someone else happy by living the way they want you to live. You’ll only end up making yourself miserable and that person will never be satisfied. You have to listen to your heart and do what is best for you".

I hope that this makes you realize that the only one you really have to listen to is YOU!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

OCD and Tuning Your Inner Radio Signal

The mind is really no different than a radio. On the web site, “Big Site of Amazing Facts,” This is this description of how a radio works…

”At the radio studio, the sound waves of a program go into a microphone that has electrical current running through it. These sound waves create vibrations in the current as they travel through wires to a control room.

There, technicians control their volume and send them out through a transmitter. An antenna on the transmitter sends these electrical waves out through the air as radio waves. Radio waves travel through space in all directions, just as waves of water spread out when a pebble is dropped into it.

Each radio station is assigned a particular channel, or electrical path, by the Federal Communications Commission. This channel, called the station’s frequency, must be followed exactly.

You cannot see, hear, or feel radio waves in the air, but the radio in your home, which has an antenna either on the inside or outside, picks up these waves from many stations at the same time. By turning the tuning dial, you can select the station you want to listen to.

What happens is that the current in your radio tunes in to the same frequency as the radio waves sent out by the station you have chosen. An amplifier in your radio strengthens these radio waves, and the speaker changes them back into the original sound waves that went into the microphone in the studio."

The same laws of the universe that apply to radio waves apply to all thoughts. The mind, both conscious and subconscious, is just like radio - it picks up the vibrations from our thoughts and translates them into emotions, which will then dictate our life experiences. Once we feel an emotion from a thought, it affects us in much the same way we feel when we hear happy or sad music. The only difference is that many of us know how to tune a radio to the station we want, but don’t realize that we can also tune what is in our subconscious and conscious minds, which will create better moods and life experiences.

Why walk around with a sad song playing, or even the blank static that we hear on the radio when nothing is on? Be mindful of what “station” your mind is tuned to, and if you don’t like it, change it. Read inspirational writings, watch uplifting movies, put nurturing quotes where you can see them. And most importantly, seed your mind with what you want right before falling asleep- that is the most important time for subconscious tuning. Often, what we hear, read, or see as we fall asleep, ends up in our dreams, which affects us upon awakening and can make or break the entire day.

I hope that this helps, and that everyone is tuned into exactly the station that will make their own inner beautiful music!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

OCD and 15 Famous People With Personality Disorders

Some people seem to happily sail through life, accumulating wealth and fame effortlessly. As that may be true in many cases, I think the majority of famous people, or people who have made significant contributions to humanity, have had to struggle like many of us who are dealing with various disorders of the mind.

If anyone reading this has felt the horrors of depression, you know it is really difficult to accomplish anything, let along something of great importance and significance. All to often, people with mental disorders are ridiculed as insane, or not taken seriously, which is a shame that they have to live with this stigma.

One of my blog readers, Anna Miller, works for The company which published this article,"15 Famous People With Personality Disorders."
Here is the article...

15 Famous People With Personality Disorders

"At the risk of sounding like the awful US Weekly segment devoted to showing how stars are just like us because they also buy gasoline and eat food (who knew?), famous people are, well, people. They're no better or worse than anyone else, and no less susceptible to things like personality disorders or emotional or mental instability. Unfortunately, problems like that tend to be pretty heavily stigmatized in Hollywood, which drives those who suffer from them to ignore or hide their problems, which only makes them worse. If there's anything to be gleaned from the collective stories of these famous people who've suffered from personality disorders -- some of whom are famous because of those disorders -- it's that it's never too late to get help, and it's always OK to be honest with people about what you're going through.

1.Carrie Fisher: Carrie Fisher has made no secret of her struggles with substance abuse and bipolar disorder. Stephen Fry (who appears later on this list) also suffers from the disease, also known as manic depression, and Fisher appeared on a TV special he did about the disease and its various stigmas and myths. As Fisher said a few years ago, "It is really important to see a doctor, particularly a psychiatrist who specializes in mental illness."

2.Herschel Walker: In his autobiography, former running back Herschel Walker revealed that he suffered from dissociative identity disorder, or what used to be called multiple personality disorder. As a result of the warring personalities, Walker says he doesn't remember the moment or even the season that he won the Heisman Trophy. "I feel the greatest achievement of my life will be to tell the world my truth," he wrote.

3.Howard Hughes: In his prime, Howard Hughes was known for being a pioneer in business, aviation, and filmmaking -- three skill sets that merged when he designed a new cantilevered bra for Jane Russell -- but now he's sadly remembered as a recluse driven to crippling depths by obsessive-compulsive disorder. Yet even his fixation on Russell's physique was a sign of his mind's inability to let things alone. In December 1947, he spent four months in his private screening room, holed up like an animal. He spent most of the end of his life hiding from public view and addicted to various medications.

4.Paula Deen: Paula Deen is known to TV viewers as a cook unafraid to use staggering amounts of butter on everything, but she's also struggled with anxiety disorders. A bout of depression in her early 20s led to an onset of agoraphobia, and she became basically housebound for close to 20 years. She spent most of her time cooking for her family because it allowed her to pursue a skill without having to set foot outside her home. She didn't even know much about her agoraphobia until learning about the disorder on an episode of The Phil Donahue Show, which encouraged her to re-examine things. Her approach worked for her, but most people are better off talking with a professional.

5.Elton John: A persistent but dangerous myth about bulimia nervosa is that it only affects women, or teenage girls. In truth, it can affect people of both genders and all ages. In a 2002 interview with Larry King, Elton John revealed not only that he'd been aware of Princess Diana's struggles with the problem but that he had battled it, too. He eventually found treatment in a Chicago clinic.

6.Brooke Shields: In 2005, Brooke Shields went public with her battles against postpartum depression, which had wrecked her after the birth of her first child in 2003. The depression manifests itself in fatigue, diminished sexual urges, erratic eating patterns, and an inability to stay emotionally balanced. It's a common problem for many women (and occasionally a few men), and Shields' problems were likely complicated by personal stresses including a previous miscarriage and the death of her father shortly before the birth. As many people remember, she was subsequently blasted by Tom Cruise for seeking psychiatric help to overcome the problem.

7.John Nash: John Nash's lifelong struggle with paranoid schizophrenia was ably documented in the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind. Although the man was a mathematical genius who was wooed by the Ivy League and who eventually won a Nobel Prize, he began to believe that a shadowy group of men was chasing him with the intention of starting a new government. Some medications worked better than others, and through sheer perseverance, Nash eventually began to climb out of the mental hole he'd dug.

8.Michael Phelps: Amid the insane number of world records and Olympic gold medals, Michael Phelps is just another guy who's had to deal with a problem that's confronted many other people: attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. After an inability to concentrate led to the diagnosis when Phelps was in middle school, he worked with his parents and teachers to impose a better structure on his life and learning habits. Coupled with the right medication and dedication, he was able to overcome the issue.

9.Stephen Fry: Stephen Fry's been making fantastic comedy since the early 1980s, but it wasn't until years later that he discussed his struggles with bipolar disorder. His documentary, Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive, examined his ups and downs while also interviewing other celebrities who've dealt with the issue. Fry even attempted suicide at one point, but he's been able to push through and take a dryly positive on the affair: "I rely on it to give my life a sense of adventure, and I think most of the good about me has developed as a result of my mood swings."

10.Richard Dreyfuss: Richard Dreyfuss was one of the many who appeared on Fry's documentary, and he spoke about his own battles with bipolar disorder. Before being diagnosed, Dreyfuss would often lose control of his emotions, but work and medication have turned him around. "I reclaimed a career," he says of his ability to not only live with the disease but thrive.

11.Billy Joel: Billy Joel's latter-day battles with alcohol were popular tabloid fodder, but the man had some serious issues with depression when he was younger. Career setbacks in the early 1970s led to an onset so severe that he tried to kill himself by drinking furniture polish. The only thing that saved him was being taken to the hospital by his drummer. He was eventually able to bounce back and resume his musical career.

12.Drew Carey: For all his outward good humor, Drew Carey's dealt with some serious problems in his day. His 1997 autobiography revealed that he was once molested and that he later suffered bouts of depression and even attempted suicide (twice) by swallowing copious amounts of sleeping pills. It was his time in the military in his 20s that helped him discover purpose and direction and helped shape the personality he'd eventually use in his stand-up comedy.

13.Brian Wilson: Beach Boy Brian Wilson's mental health issues aren't news -- there have been songs about them -- but they serve as a reminder to everyone else that the earlier you seek diagnosis and help, the better. His creative worries and despondency deepened when the release of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band forced him to abandon his band's own Smile, and he spent years locked away in his home. He was later diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type, as well as hints of other ailments. Thankfully, he's made improvements, even releasing Smile after decades of getting it just right.

14.Jim Carrey: Extreme moods are no strangers to comedians, and Jim Carrey's no exception. In 2004, he revealed that he's had problems with depression, and took medication for a while before trying a regimen that mixed dietary restrictions with spiritual focus.

15.Mike Wallace: Legendary journalist Mike Wallace was frank about his depression in a recent interview, saying, "There's nothing, repeat, nothing to be ashamed of when you're going through a depression. If you get help, the chances of your licking it are really good. But, you have to get yourself onto a safe path." Wallace sank into depression in the mid-1980s, spurred by a libel lawsuit filed by Gen. Westmoreland about a piece Wallace had done on Vietnam two years earlier. His keys to survival were the same ones for everyone: treatment and support."

I hope that people with disorders such as these will realize they are certainly NOT alone! We need more people like Anna Miller to foster awareness and send the message that fantastic things can be accomplished despite mental hindrances. Thanks Anna, and I look forward to more articles from you!









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