Author Archives: SandraJ

Blogger, freelance writer, debater on most subjects, social media aficionado, and perpetual student, currently focused on social media trends, politics, religion, psychology and mental health in America.

Somatic Symptom Disorder

Somatic Symptom Disorder, previously known as Somatization, is a condition which causes one to unconsciously develop physical symptoms due to psychological distress, sometimes related to an existing physical condition.

Typically, the symptoms cannot be explained by another physical or mental condition. In other words, there is no identifiable cause for the symptoms. However, the symptoms are real, not imagined.


Somatic Symptom Disorder is considered a form of mental illness, even though the symptoms are  real.


Somatic Symptom Disorder from


Pain is one of the more common symptoms and naturally should be taken seriously in order to rule out other medical conditions. Always consult with a doctor when any new symptoms arise.

New manifestations of symptoms are sometimes related to fear – fear that one has a new condition or fear that a condition is getting worse.

As you might assume, this can be a debilitating condition that keeps patients isolated due to perceived or actual physical manifestations.


Somatization related to a physical condition

For instance, a person with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may become stressed about having flare-ups in a particular situation, such as work or while out shopping. This added stress can exacerbate the condition and cause stomach pain, which leads to an actual flare-up.


Somatization not related to a physical condition

A person who has fainting spells or extreme pain not related to a physical condition. These are usually caused by health anxiety. Perhaps this person has had a previous health condition and is overly anxious about a recurrence.


Somatization or Hypochondria

Somatic Symptom Disorder is not the same as Hypochondria. A Hypochondriac has extreme anxiety regarding their health, just as those with Somatic Symptom Disorder. The difference is that there is usually no cause for alarm. Hypochondria consists of extreme stress and anxiety over imaginary physical developments, not actual symptoms.

This person may spend unusual amounts of time inspecting their own body; attempting to self-diagnose by doing their own research, calling someone for advice, or visiting their doctor or clinic.




Video from

What is somatic symptom disorder? Somatic symptom disorder, sometimes called somatoform disorder, is defined as having unexplainable physical symptoms, which often lead to cognitive symptoms.







Stop Spanking Children

Hopefully, the latest release about parenting from The American Academy of Pediatrics will finally convince people to stop spanking children.

This is not meant as a chastisement to parents who spank, because in most cases, parents are simply disciplining their children in the same manner that their parents disciplined them.

No one is saying that previous generations of parents who spanked their children were evil; we’re simply stating that now we know better and we should act accordingly.

Research has proven that spanking children is not healthy.

It’s time to change the way we discipline.

Why is the change so difficult?

Too often I see memes on Facebook from adults who grew up with spankings, advocating spankings as a good thing. After all, they turned out all right, or did they?

We seem to be surrounded by a mentality that supposes what happened to them should happen to you, their children, etc.

Likewise, when speaking of helping others, or finding a better way, I often hear a similar excuse for things to remain the same. No one helped me, so why should anyone get help now?

The results of non-violent parenting are worth it.

As a parent with two grown children, I can proudly say that they were not spanked. They turned out great. They’re both hard-working women with generous hearts and I’m proud to call them mine.

What does spanking teach the child?

Does it teach them that it is okay to hit someone who has made you mad, or hurt you, or caused you some kind of discomfort?

I’ve always said that spanking children simply teaches them that violence is an acceptable means to an end. In reality, spanking children is little more than bullying.

Think about it… The bigger person (the parent) forces the smaller person (the child) to do as the parent wishes by overpowering them and causing them physical pain.

child spanking doll


There are many more acceptable, peaceful ways to discipline children.

Redirecting their attention works for smaller children.

Time outs are not good for small children at home. It makes them feel alienated and rejected by the people they love most in the world – their parents.

For older children:

  • Talk about it! Ask how they feel; feel what they feel, and then help them deal with it.
  • Discussion with appropriate understanding. Ask them what they would do if they were the parent of a child who did what they did, said what they said, etc. Then explain what you are going to do and why you chose to handle it this way.
  • Expectations are important and not always obvious to children and teens. Let them know what you expect from them. Talk about love and respect.
  • Additional chores – with consequences if not completed.
  • Additional homework – such as research and a short essay related to the offense, or additional work on a subject they are struggling with such as math or social studies.
  • Be a deal maker. Compromise. Make it a learning experience.

Make time

Remember, dealing with behavioral problems take some time. Quick fixes rarely change the behavior long-term. Make the time to deal with the situation and hopefully save time and frazzled nerves in the future.

Identify Underlying Issues

If none of these work, then perhaps the child / teenager needs counseling to determine the underlying reason that authority and rules are ignored, assuming that they have previously been examined by a pediatrician for any potential conditions that could cause their behavior.


From CNN:

In a new policy statement, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, the pediatricians’ group recommends that adults caring for children use “healthy forms of discipline” — such as positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors, setting limits and setting expectations — and not use spanking, hitting, slapping, threatening, insulting, humiliating or shaming.


From NPR:

“We know that the brain does not grow and develop as well once there has been physical punishment to the point where it can cause learning problems, problems with vocabulary and memory, as well as aggressive behavior,” Shu said.


From We Have Kids:

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child issued a statement in which they called it “legalized violence against children.” Yet, many moms and dads here stubbornly insist it’s a parent’s right to punish their youngster any way they see fit.



discover your purpose

Your Purpose

Your purpose is not about what you do;

it’s about who you are.

Quote from Abraham Hicks


Have you ever wondered what your purpose is in this life? You’re not alone. Practically everyone has struggled with this question, sometimes multiple times throughout life. It’s not an easy question to answer until you realize that it’s not about the “what” it’s about YOU.


You are your purpose.


Once you focus on creating the best you, then everything else falls into place.

It’s not so much about your chosen career or lack thereof, it’s about who you are and how you present yourself to others in your daily life, including at home, at work, with friends, or with strangers,

Your purpose is about who you are.

You can apply the “your purpose” mantra or formula to almost anything you are struggling with in life, or anything you wish to improve upon. Just substitute the word “who” with the word “how,” and in most cases you will have given yourself a new perspective.


  • It’s not about what you’re teaching; it’s about HOW you’re teaching it.
  • It’s not about what you’re selling; it’s about HOW you’re selling it.
  • It’s not about what you say; it’s about HOW you say it. How many times has someone acted offended by something you said, and you’re bewildered with the “What did I say wrong?” question?

Here’s a hint: It’s not what you said; it was the way in which you said your purpose

The tone with which words are spoken can change the flow of a conversation. Your purpose in any situation should be to achieve a worthy goal or a positive outcome for yourself, as well as for those with whom you are interacting.


  • Sincerity matters. (Do you really care?)

  • Passion matters. (How deep are your intentions?)

  • Attitude matters. (Are you feeling positive, confident, and kind?)

  • Devotion matters. (Are you devoted to the highest good for all, including yourself?)

  • Energy matters. (Are you allowing uplifting energy to infiltrate your life, your speech, and your actions? Are you focused on sharing positive energy?)

If any of your answers to the questions above are negative in nature, do not despair. You can change them. Look for things in life that bring you joy and give yourself access to them daily, or several times a day.

Take time to journal as often as possible and be sure to include what you love about yourself. If you are feeling defeated, then think back to childhood. What do you love about the child inside of you? Be the parent to your inner child and see how truly lovable you are, because all of us are lovable. Everyone deserves love.

Part of your purpose is to become a person that shares love, kindness, compassion, and empathy with your brothers and sisters, and we are all brothers and sisters.



When I was a freshman in college, back in the day, the card game Spades was very popular and you could usually find a group of us playing daily. If you are familiar with the game, then you know that a spade trumps the other suits and you win the trick, unless someone else plays a higher spade than you. Your purpose was to win the most tricks.

So think “SPADE” when you need to remember the five attributes listed above to help you approach a situation, uplift your mood, or for problem solving with a positive outlook.


Substitute the word who with the word how, and give yourself a new perspective on your purpose in life. Click To Tweet
mental health awareness

May – Mental Health Awareness Month

May is mental health awareness month in America. It was designated as such in 1949, by the Mental Health America organization. Here are some examples of how different areas in the US are making an impact.



When we talk about health, we can’t just focus on heart health, or liver health, or brain health, and not whole health. You have to see the whole person, and make use of the tools and resources that benefit minds and bodies together. That’s why this year, our May is Mental Health Month theme is Fitness #4Mind4Body


Each year in mid-March Mental Health America releases a toolkit of materials to guide preparation for outreach activities during Mental Health Awareness Month. During the month of May, Mental Health America, its affiliates, and other organizations interested in mental health conduct a number of activities which are based on a different theme each year.”  View past themes here. 




Take a look at Arlington, Virgina, for an inspiring glimpse into a community that’s doing it right.

The Arlington Partnership for Children, Youth and Families Foundation is an outgrowth of the Partnership. A number of present and former APCYF board members determined that a nonprofit, charitable corporation is needed to raise and expend funds for Partnership projects that the county and school budgets cannot accommodate.

Our Vision

Arlington, a community where all young people and families are valued, supported and empowered.

Care for a change – also in Arlington.

Care for a Change, or CFAC, is a community-led initiative to increase and encourage empathy among Arlington youth.




From the National Institute of Mental Health…

Any Mental Illness

  • Any mental illness (AMI) is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder. AMI can vary in impact, ranging from no impairment to mild, moderate, and even severe impairment (e.g., individuals with serious mental illness as defined below).

mental health awareness


Serious Mental Illness

  • Serious mental illness (SMI) is defined as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is particularly concentrated among those who experience disability due to SMI.


The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), defines a serious mental illness as a mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that limits one or more major life activities.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 20-percent or about 1 in 5 children, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder.




See a list of national events at  the American Psychological Association’s website.

APA Commemorates Mental Health Awareness Month With Series of Special Activities

Events will focus on children, older Americans, women of color, the LGBTQ community and people with chronic illnesses

WASHINGTON — The American Psychological Association is honoring Mental Health Awareness Month in May with a range of activities aimed at providing important insights into the status of mental health for minority and vulnerable communities and finding solutions and sharing resources to address critical gaps in comprehensive care and policy.




Clinical Trials

Find a study near you.




Dementia and Anger

Realizing that your loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease can be devastating. Regardless of how much you learn about the progression of such conditions, it can still be shocking and heartbreaking when your loved one exhibits extreme symptoms of dementia and anger.

Knowing what to do and how to handle potential situations can help alleviate the stress of caregivers. This article addresses anger and aggression issues that may arise with those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease.



Sometimes anger can lead to aggressive behavior, which can lead to a potentially dangerous situation not only for your loved one, but also for those caring for them.

Safety – with compassion – is the priority.

While it may sound insulting, the truth is that the best way to deal with a confused person affected by dementia, is by alleviating their fears, much like you would with a small child.

Most of the chaotic emotions Alzheimer’s patients are dealing with stem from their lack of understanding about what is happening to them, their confusion about where they are or who they’re with, and their loss of what they believe to be their every day life, which in reality was lived many years or even decades ago.

Try to remember this.

Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients are living in a time warp that makes no sense to them; they are scared and confused.

It can be shocking when your loved one exhibits extreme symptoms of dementia. Click To Tweet

elderly couple


First, reassure them that you are taking care of whatever issue has them upset. You could also name another person that they trust and say that they are handling the situation.

Affirm that everything is going to be fine.

Second, find something to get them involved with that will divert their attention.

A short walk through the house might work, while talking about furniture, artwork, house chores, etc. Perhaps they can fold some towels, look at some photographs, put a puzzle together, or check on some houseplants to see if they need watering. Maybe it’s time to eat a meal or a snack, or just have a cup of water, tea or juice.

Be creative and be prepared.

While it may sound insulting, the best way to deal with a confused person affected by dementia, is by alleviating their fears, much like you would with a small child. #Alzheimers #Dementia Click To Tweet


Help them feel useful – Give them a task


If folding clothes works for your loved one,
then always have a basket of towels nearby that they can fold.




Reasoning with your parent might not be the best option. Instead, say what you need to in order to make them feel safe or reassured. So, if they are demanding to go home, don’t tell them they already are home. Instead, explain that they can’t leave right at that moment because the weather or traffic is bad.





kindness is never wasted

Benefits of Lithium Orotate

Benefits of Lithium Orotate

This article discusses the benefits of Lithium Orotate, a mineral supplement required by the body, that, when taken properly with supplementation, can have positive effects on specific conditions.

Warning: Lithium Orotate may not be safe to take if you are already on an antidepressant. It could be dangerous, potentially causing Serotonin Syndrome. Discuss all supplementation with your doctor if you are taking prescription medications.

Most notably, Lithium Orotate can help alleviate stress almost immediately in some instances, and can also help maintain a positive mood.

If you’ve ever been frustrated by well meaning individuals who tell you “How” to feel better by simply thinking good thoughts, then this information may be helpful to you.

Frustrating meme:


Obviously, thinking good thoughts is always a good idea and can actually be beneficial to all people some of the time. However, it’s not that easy for some people and it does not work for all people, all of the time.

Sometimes the mind spits out an equally effective thought form that negates any benefit from the original positive thought. Usually the new, negative thought form is simple and sarcastic, yet very effective.


“Good morning world! I am in a good mood today!”

Immediate mental response:

“Yeah, right. I’m healed. Hallelujah.

What idiot came up with that?”


There is hope.

In many cases, doctors will administer antidepressants to help foster a more positive outlook. Again, the SSRIs do not work for everyone. In these cases, alternative choices, such as supplementation, are a viable option, especially in this case.

Remember that lithium orotate is a mineral that is required by the body. The supplementation form is not the same as the prescribed medicine known as Lithium, which is given at high dosages that can have adverse side effects.

Cost of supplementation…

One of the biggest obstacles to self-treating with supplementation is the cost factor. The good news about Lithium Orotate is that it is affordable.

This is the brand I have used in the past:

This item: Weyland: Lithium Orotate – 5mg of Elemental Lithium per Vegetarian Capsule.

This product is manufactured in the USA at an FDA inspected cGMP and 3rd party rated facility. It comes in vegetarian capsules and is gluten free. No soy, no dairy. See label for more details.



Most people begin with 5 mg tablets or capsules. This is a safe dose, taken once a day. If a smaller dose is preferred, you may want to look at Ionic Lithium, which is in liquid form administered with a dropper.


Please Note.

This information is NOT about the prescription drug, Lithium, which is administered at much higher dosages and has different, sometimes adverse effects.



Benefits of Lithium Orotate.

  • Combats depression
  • Helps relieve anxiety
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Has anti-aging effects
  • Helps with OCD behaviors
  • Protects from environmental toxins
  • Supports the eyes
  • Supports the liver
  • Reduces inflammation
  • May help with conditions that cause involuntary muscle movement



Thinking good thoughts can be beneficial to all people some of the time, but not often enough for some. #depression #anxiety #lithium Click To Tweet


For more information:



This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult a qualified medical professional before beginning or altering your medical regimen.