PBA and depression

Friday we were supposed to fly to Idaho at 8:30 am, with a layover in SLC. All seemed well-we were checked in, told it was on time, & there was a plane…but no crew!  We ended up not leaving until around 3 pm, so we ended up driving to Idaho from Utah, & missing our tour of BYU-I. (bummer), but I wrote this post as we waited;

Awhile ago, I watched an hour long presentation on Neurocarelive.com about PBA.  If u forward about 19 minutes in, & watch until about 25 minutes in, it discusses the differences between PBA & depression.  Since PBA (PseudoBulbar Affect  Disorder) is an inability to control your emotions, & often is classified with uncontrollable laughter or crying, it is commonly mistaken for depression. Though it is possible to have both, PBA is a neurological disorder, & is not “sad on the inside,” like depression.  In this blog entry, I will share how I have dealt with both of them. On my recommended sites, I recently added a blog for those suffering w/depression, & I also have shared some websites that offer PBA resources.

One of the most effective ways that I have found to deal with PBA is distraction. At first, I thought this required me to leave the room, & if I can, that is great, but it can also just mean a change of position, a change of eye position, or as simple as scratching something, or thinking of something else. Focusing on my breath, & taking smoother, bigger breaths has also helped me.

I was once asked about the medicine I take for PBA (Nuedexta), but in the above mentioned video, it explains that before medicine was made specifically for PBA, anti-depressants were used.  Here are the Three Main Treatments for PBA (according to Neurocarelive.com)

1)     Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) – Examples:  Amitriptyline (Elavil), Nortriptyline (Pamelor)

2)     Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) – Examples:  Citalopram (Celexa®), Fluoxetine (Prozac®), Fluvoxamine (Luvox®)

3)     Dextromethorphan/quinidine (DM/Q, Nuedexta®)

A great tool for depression was suggested to me years ago, & though I have  shared this before, I want to share it again: When I was struggling during the 1st year after my stroke, my husband (who is a pshyco-therapist) encouraged that I start writing down all I am grateful for.

At 1st, I thought he was crazy–I couldn’t talk, or even move, & wasn’t even happy to be alive (even though I had requested to live, certain that I’d “get better” fast).  So, what was I supposed to write???  It took me 3 years before I tried making a gratitude list, & I started because my family got lice–but I did not get lice, because we never shared chairs…so, it dawned on me that I was grateful for something–as minuscule as it was!  Ha!  Ha!  It took me a LONG time before I could say/write that I was grateful to be alive, but now, anytime something bothers me, I look for the good (ie. before I could move, I couldn’t get myself a snack, so I wrote about how it was  a great forced “diet”! Ha!  Ha!  I suggest writing the list though–I tried first to just think about them & pray about them, but writing them down firms them up in your mind, & allows the spirit to talk to u & remind u of other things.

Anyway, I still have days I struggle–many of my posts come after those days: the sprit speaks to me as I type, so all the inspiring stuff on my website oftentimes is the Lord strengthening me, too!

Do you still experience double vision and how have the doctors treated it? Is there a treatment that was especially effective?

I do still experience  double vision, but it is  a lot better, & I can read smaller font–in fact, I use a mini iPad now!  (Sometimes I need a magnifying glass, though..but I am getting old!) J


The doctors did nothing.  They wanted to use an eye patch (like a pirate), but couldn’t promise anythhing,  & said that whatever it did, would only be temporary.  Call me  vain, but since I already had a trache, catheter, feeding tube, “boots”, & arm braces, I was  not too keen on adding another thing, unless I was  gauranteed permanent change!

My mouth was wired shut and I can’t get my words out and I just want to throw things at people when they don’t understand what I am saying. How on Earth did you get through this???

Hahahahaha!  (Not a mean laugh, that just tickles my funny bone!)   It was so hard adjusting, for about the 1st year!  It’s a quick, painful lesson in extreme patience!  I thought I was patient pre-stroke…but, it must be a different kind of patience!

However, I still have days like that, & on those days, Mark tells me that I’m like a toddler, throwing a temper tantrum–& he’s EXACTLY right!  Kinda gives u a new perspective on toddlers…

My Jessie was one tough toddler, & threw temper tantrums like U wouldn’t  believe…now I wonder if those were just times where she was too smart for her own good, & just did not have the words!  Because it can be beyond frustrating!

The key is to look at things as they are: when u have an eternal perspective, this frustrating time is just a blink of the eye!  & try to find the good in the bad—a little frustration is worth a fixed jaw.  Let things go, so if people don’t understand u, it’s ok (I’m an OCD personality, so at times I struggle w/following my own advice here!)

How’s my memory?

My son left on his mission this week (https://www.mormon.org/me/643G/Zach — the “about me section is old, but the rest has been updated), & if we are Facebook or Instagram friends, u may have seen a post & a scrapbook page I made about it!  I am often asked about my memory now-a-days.  It is 100% in tact, but when I had my stroke, while I did not loose my memories, it is like the “bridge to memory land” was burned…so many of my memories are triggered.  Luckily I’m an avid journal writer & scrapbooker.  I never dreamed that I’d profit by doing these things, but I have!

I am in the process of re-reading my old journals, & it has been an interesting process. I began writing just because I was told to, & became more frequent a writer because I wished that my anscestors had kept journals, so I had a connection to them, but since they hadn’t, I decided to keep mine for my future posterity… I thought that was it. But as I re-read things, I can see the Lord’s hand in my life 20 some years ago, preparing me for people & events in my life today!  & as I read, I feel that my stroke was no accident!

Scrapbooking provides me with the pictures that accompany the stories I write about.  (& if u like to look at my scrapbook pages, I added some new pictures of traditional pages I have recently made for Zach & Jessie).  Pre-stroke, I slowed down on making pages that might involve more than 1 kid…I wasn’t quite sure how to do it until scanners became so big in the scrapbooking world, & now that “the stars have aligned”, I have worked on finishing Zach’s baby book, & then I did Sophia’s baby book–I had never scrap booked my baby book for Sophia, the one kid who scrapbooks & would appreciate a scrapbook.  (Soph has seen her book & seen Zach & Jessie’s nearly finished baby scrapbooks, & though she has never said a word, it has always bothered me that her scrapbook wasn’t made!)  Now it’s Jessie’s turn…

After my stroke, I tried traditional scrapbooking on several occasions, but often felt discouraged or frustrated unless I “dumbed it down.”  It’s just so hard to explain the picture in my mind!  So I was thrilled to discover digital scrapbooking, cuz I could do my hobby without any help or need to explain the “picture” in my mind, & it was only up to my own abilities to see “my picture” come to pass!  However, I still had all those pages I had organized to do.  My mom gave me a glimmer of hope: she began scanning all of my scrapbook supplies & preparing them for me to use on digital pages–a huge job (which I appreciated SO much, cuz I’d been trying to do it myself, but with my double vision, it took me hours to do what should take me minutes, & I couldn’t see me scrapbooking traditionally very much in the future, so I might as well use what I had bought!)  That took care of everything after the year 2004 (when I had my stroke), but I still wanted to somehow traditionally scrapbook at least Sophia’s baby book.  I decided to give Angie a shot, anticipating to really “dumb it down”, since she doesn’t scrapbook.  But, boy, was I in for a surprise!

I don’t know if Angie just thinks like me, so she “gets” the picture in my head, or if it’s cuz I don’t allow myself to fully form a picture in my mind, so I’m not disappointed (I have been working on my OCD & anxiety, & it helps if I don’t let my OCD take charge) or if it’s both: But I will give Angie a basic idea, then just let her do her thing, & tell her to “make it  awesome”, & she does exactly what I’d do! ( For example, when Sophia was a baby, I came up with an  idea for a Cracker Jack scrapbook page, so pre-stroke I scanned all the stuff from a Cracker Jack box, & kept the wrapper–yes, I held onto that trash for 12 years!  The idea was a fuzzy picture now & I wasn’t sure how the page would work, but I did my best to tell Angie my jumbled thoughts, & then she said she’d find a way to make it happen!  The page she made is exactly how I would’ve made the fuzzy picture clear in my mind!)  Additionally, since I had journaled about the things I was scrapbooking, I could scan it, & still include my handwriting on the pages!

In  the past it wasn’t necessarily the people who helped me that made it harder, I just have evolved in 2 major ways:  1.  I’m a control freak, & I’ve needed to learn how to let go, realizing there are more ways than 1 way to do things, & the other ways may even be better than my way.  2.  My stroke affected my ability to process & use words well to express myself.  It didn’t take away my ability to communicate, just “slowed it down”. (For example, when I think I’ve written a post, I wait about 24 hours, so it can “stew”/process.  Usually I think of corrections &/or additions.  Often, I recall more “colorful” words, fill in the “blanks,” & re-arrange things to make more sense).  However, I don’t have time to process when someone is helping me that instant!   I’ve given in to that, which has been easier to do, since my helper just happens to have the talents & abilities that have helped me to evolve!

What program do you like for digital scrapbooking?

Adobe Photoshop Elements (PSE)

The last few months, I have focused on traditional scrapbooking, so be sure to check out the link on the right!

Recently, I did a “tradigital page”  (that is a page that includes digital & traditional aspects).  In the below picture of the page, most of it was done digitally: the word “baby” was pink, & said “our little baby”.  The crawling baby had pink PJs & a bow.  The words “big brother”, used to say “I’m a big brother.”  The pictures were dealt with traditionally, however, & put into flip pocket page protectors.

2016-04-29 10.05.05

(Note: the fudge wrapper was Zach’s “nursing pad”)