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A woman has said that she was prescribed orgasms to help her overcome her depression.
The woman, given the name Penny Sullivan, says she was told to have ‘as much sex as she could handle’ in a bid to help with her low moods, anxiety and depression.
She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after going to see doctors in Australia who told her to stop drinking and do more exercise.
She told whimn.com.au that she already had a high sex drive, but said that she was bolstered by the doctor’s advice.
She said that her moods started to stabilise after having more frequent sex with her husband.
Experts say that semen contains anti-depressant compounds while orgasms release hormones that can improve a person’s mood.
She told the website: ‘We don’t always have to have intercourse either, simply touching, cuddling or just fooling around and being connected can be just as great to get those feel goods.’
Sexologist Isiah McKimmie said: ‘Sex elevates our mood through the release of hormones and endorphins it causes in our brain.
‘It increases oxytocin (a love and bonding hormone,) serotonin (a happiness hormone) and dopamine levels. These help us experience feelings of love, connection and happiness.
‘Additionally, semen contains mild anti-depressant compounds. Women who have unprotected sex with their partners have been shown to have elevated moods compared to women who always or mostly use condoms.’
What is bipolar disorder?
It is a mental health condition and mood disorder, also called manic depression and bipolar affective disorder.
There are several types.
Bipolar 1 is where you have episodes of mania – with psychosis such as delusions, hearing voices, and/or hallucinations.
It is very common to also have episodes of depression too, but not everyone with bipolar 1 has them.
I have bipolar 1 and have experienced several manic interludes, which each lasted about a week. For me the mania part has always been ‘just’ delusions – believing I could breathe underwater, do magic or feeling all twinkly, and like I was living in a Disney film.
The depression part is also a bitch as, for me, it usually lasts over several months at a time and has led to uncontrollable crying, staying in bed for months and suicide attempts.
It’s not all ups and downs though – you probably have periods of ‘normal’ mood in between.
For me it’s been like a giant game of Snakes And Ladders – most of the squares are actually plain, and you can even forget you’re playing, then you’ll land on a snake, slide down and the next thing you know you’re on a Tube platform weighing up the pros and cons of stepping forward.
Or you’ll land on a ladder and the ascent starts, exhilarating at first but the fast track to madness if you don’t catch it in time.
Bipolar 2 is more defined by episodes of severe depression.
Think of the worst you’ve ever felt, times it by 10 and remove the logical reasons you had for feeling like that.
Or think of that one person you really hate, that total bitch who’s hateful, ugly and cruel, the one you suspect everyone would be glad to see the back of, only that’s you.
People with bipolar 2 also often experience episodes of hypomania, which is a raised or irritable mood but without the extremes (the delusions etc) of mania.
This is how the penny dropped for Stacey – Sufferers describe being hypomanic, feeling invincible, unstoppable, and creative. You don’t need sleep and consequences don’t exist or, if they do, they are only for mere mortals and not for you.
Because of this state of fearlessness it’s common to do things like spend all your money on random things, have sex with strangers or go travelling on a whim. You are living on your impulses.
Although elements of this may sound fun, or freeing, you can end up putting yourself in dangerous situations. For instance, I once slept on the street for a night without telling anyone where I was going, to see what it was like (spoiler: cold).
Cyclothymia is when you experience high and low moods, but they aren’t as extreme as if you are bipolar 2.
It’s hardly a bundle of laughs though, as you still suffer episodes of depression and hypomania.
Some people assume that being bipolar means you are always really up or down. Nope.
As I’ve said, this really isn’t true as you can be ‘normal’ for much of the time.
Or you can have mixed state bipolar, where you have elements of mania and depression during one episode.
This is closer to the Hot N Cold, up and down perception of bipolar, where, as the name suggests you veer from highs to low, with more than four mood swings a year.
Am I going mad?
The fact you’re asking me this question means I doubt it, but I’m not a doctor and, if you have any worries about your mental health or a friend or family members it can’t hurt to have a chat.
When I’ve gone mad (ie during a manic interlude) asking anyone if I was going mad is the last thing I’d do.
I’m too busy living in another dimension where I can raise the dead or speak to people telepathically.
Hypomania’s a tough one, though, as it can feel really good – maybe the best you’ve ever felt – so why would you need to see a doctor?
Seeing if you can complete one task at a time (without interrupting yourself to do 10 others) and keeping a diary can be helpful though – partly to keep track of you mood and what you’re doing but also because, for me at least, my writing gets frantic and goes from almost illegible to totally illegible.
Is there a bipolar test? Am I bipolar?
This isn’t something you can decide from reading one article. Please see your GP if you’re concerned or can relate to the above symptoms.
What causes bipolar? No one really knows. Theories include stress, genetics, childhood trauma, low self-esteem and/or faulty brain chemistry.
What is postpartum psychosis?
This is a mental illness, separate from bipolar, but similar.
It’s also known as puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis.
After giving birth a mum may suffer from mania, severe depression, rapid changes between moods, and delusions.
It’s what the character Stacey experienced in EastEnders, on top of being bipolar, after Arthur was born.
Women who are bipolar have a higher chance than most (one in four) of experiencing postpartum psychosis following the birth of a child but, obviously, three in four don’t.
Mums with schizophrenia, or relatives with a history of mental illness, are also more at risk, but, although rare, it can happen to anyone (1 in 1,000).
How is bipolar treated?
Therapy, mood stabilisers and self-care.
It can’t be cured but it can be managed and, over time, I believe you get better at managing it.
The most helpful thing a doctor said to me was to liken it to his heart condition – pills won’t cure it but they give you a better shot.
The big names in pills are depakote (valproic acid) and lithium.
I’m on the former because I decided I wasn’t cool enough to ingest a Nirvana song.
Mood stabilisers and keeping a mood diary have worked for me, but everyone’s different.
I’ve also got better at knowing when I’m heading up or down and taking action before things go too far.
Does being bipolar mean my life is over?
Here is a list of just some people who are bipolar – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Alastair Campbell, Patricia Cornwell, Jim Carrey, Britney Spears, DMX, Stephen Fry, Demi Lovato, Carrie Fisher.
I also know people in all kinds of steady professions including medicine, teaching and journalism who are bipolar.
Like any long-term health condition, it will take a while to adjust, it may lead you to question who you are and present challenges if others struggle to understand.
But your life isn’t over and you can and will still thrive.
More than 70 million displaced worldwide, says UNHCR
The number of people fleeing war, persecution and conflict exceeded 70 million globally last year – the highest number in the UN refugee agency’s almost 70 years.
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The almost 70.8 million people forcibly displaced is up 2.3 million on the previous year, according to the agency’s annual Global Trends report.
This is also double the level recorded 20 years ago.
The number averaged out to 37,000 new displacements every day.
“What we are seeing in these figures is further confirmation of a longer-term rising trend in the number of people needing safety from war, conflict and persecution,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.
“While language around refugees and migrants is often divisive, we are also witnessing an outpouring of generosity and solidarity, especially by communities who are themselves hosting large numbers of refugees.
The actual figure is likely to be higher as the Venezuela crisis is only partly reflected, the report states.
Around four million Venezuelans have fled their country, according to some figures from countries taking them in, making it one of the world’s biggest recent displacement crises.
The report identifies three main groups.
Firstly, there are refugees, or people forced to leave their country because of conflict, war or persecution. In 2018, the number of refugees reached 25.9 million worldwide, 500,000 more than in 2017. Included in this total are 5.5 million Palestine refugees.
The second group is 3.5 million asylum seekers. These are people outside their country of birth who are under international protection, but are yet to be granted refugee status.
Thirdly, there are internally displaced persons, or IDPs. These people are displaced within their country and amount to 41.3 million globally.
More than two thirds of all refugees worldwide came from Syria, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Myanmar and Somalia.
Syria had a considerably higher number than any other country with 6.7 million, followed by Afghanistan with 2.7 million.
Only 92,400 refugees were resettled in 2018, fewer than 7% of those awaiting resettlement.
The global population of forcibly displaced people has grown substantially from 43.3 million in 2009. Most of this increase was between 2012 and 2015 as a result of the Syrian conflict.
However, other conflicts have cropped up and continued across the globe, for example, in Iraq and Yemen in the Middle East, as well as parts of sub-Saharan Africa such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan.
The massive flow of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh at the end of 2017 after they were driven out of Myanmar’s Rakhine state during military crackdowns was another major crisis.
At more than 1.5 million, Ethiopians were the largest newly displaced population in 2018, 98% of them internally, more than doubling the previous number.
These were mainly attributed to inter-communal violence throughout 2018, with communities living along disputed boundaries most affected.
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