Tag Archives: SSRI

Feeling Gut

When we hear the word bacteria many of us instinctively think yuck, dirty, bad.

But actually, the 1.5 – 2 kilos – about three to five pounds – of microbiota (bacteria and other microorganisms) living in our gut and all over us, are good and vital for us.

Our gut’s “inhabitants” are responsible for supporting the digestion of what we eat,  for helping with the production of some vitamins, for warding off  dangerous, intrusive microorganisms (the “bad” bacteria) that can cause serious illness, and they are connected to obesity and skin conditions, just to name a few of their functions.

A newborn’s digestive system, which is sterile before birth, is quickly colonized by microorganisms from the mother (vaginal, faecal, skin, breast, etc.), the environment, the air etc. From the third day, the composition of baby’s intestinal microbiota is dependent on its food.

And here is the hottest stuff about our gut bugs, the gut-brain connection:

++ There is increasing evidence that intestinal bacteria play a major role in brain chemistry and mental health, in influencing our mood and our feelings, and they have even found to be connected to hyperactivity and autism;

++ The intake of probiotic foods or supplements has shown to improve mood and may even be effective in treating anxiety and depression;

++ FMT – fecal microbiota transplantation (yes, the transplantation of poop!), which is currently used to treat life threatening infections, may also prove to be an effective treatment for emotional and mental disorders.


The way to a happy heart is through your gut.






What A Year

I have just completed one year of psychotherapy* with an amazing clinical social worker, accompanied by psychiatric/psychological follow-up. Today, at 54, I am as mentally and emotionally strong as maybe never before in my life.

Until less than a year ago my life was a mess. And that of my son even more. Our home was a mess, and I am not even going to begin detailing.

After another psychiatric hospitalization of several months, my 26-year-old son (who is struggling with psychotic OCD) has been living in supervised housing for the past 6 months and he is learning to live an independent and socially healthy life.

I have moved to a new apartment with my cat and have begun studying psychology and working with children with special needs.

The love of my life (who is also coping with emotional-mental complexity) has evolved into my best friend.

Things are far from perfect, but they are steadily improving.

AND, most days are sunny and warm in this country.


* State-funded, I didn’t pay a penny.

Focused or Diffuse?

Dear Friends,

If you wondered what happened to me…  well, no need to worry, I am still suffering from personhood.

This dynamite choice of  words is from the book The Fault in our Stars by John Green, which Time called “damn near genius”. Augustus tells Hazel (two young people struggling with cancer who fall in love) that his last girlfriend is no longer among the living: “Caroline is no longer suffering from personhood.”

I am not suffering THAT much and I am definitely happy to be alive, but my life has been quite rough lately.

Mental and emotional health issues have leashed out again in my very close environment, hurting people I love and myself in various ways.

After months in which my son’s increasingly severe psychotic OCD became unbearable, he is now finally hospitalized. We had to force him into hospitalization but now he is relieved to be there. Let’s hope he’ll get the right treatment and eventually be able to begin living his life and making use of his brilliant brain.

Further, my best friend, who is coping with bipolar disorder, is going through a major depressive phase. To see a person suffer so much, especially if he/she is someone you are very close to, really hurts.

Then, I am moving flats again (one of the main reasons I decided to leave the place I was living in with my son and to move to another flat without him, was to force him out and into the hospital. His psychiatrist helped us. I say “us” because in the end this step will help both my son and me to begin anew.) And I am struggling to make a living. Fortunately, I myself am receiving (state-funded) psychological support, which helps me function and remain sane in these crazy times.


And now I would like to share my latest learning activity and the link to the coolest (free!!) online courses with you:

Coursera – the best MOOCs ever.  Academic level courses – fun, challenging, and rewarding.

The latest course I took: Learning how to Learn: Powerful mental tools to help you master tough subjects. https://www.coursera.org/learn/learning-how-to-learn (The title of this post, Focused and diffuse modes of learning, is one of the topics covered in the course.)

Also check out their other courses. I’m sure you’ll find something of interest.