Curly Hair Product Shopping in Germany

I was recently asked about tips for curly hair shopping in Germany and while I am no expert and it took me sometime to get used to it, here I share what I have learned so far. I figured I will compile a little list of the places I have shopped at, as it really is little because when I find something that consistently works for me I simply keep doing it.

In store shopping

Afro Shops/Asia Shops: So far the best places I have found for buying curly hair products are the “afro Shops”or “Asia Stores”, which basically sell a variety of import products and fresh produce. I have shopped so far in 2 stores one in Hamburg near Altona Station which functions as a Hair salon too and it is like curly hair heaven they have the well know heavy hitters such as kinky Curly, As I am and Jane Carter Solution and many more brands to choose from. I do not live in Hamburg but when I have to travel north this is a Mandatory stop. Unfortunately the smaller the city the less chance of these type of stores & the higher the prices.

Basic Hair Shop: Another store I liked is called ¬†“Basic Hair Shop” located in Post Galerie in Karslruhe. Karlsruhe is a smaller city with a lot of start ups and a lively and millenial oriented city, basically a university town where you can find a lot of things to do and see but curly hair products not so much, in this store I was able to find great hair salon brands such as living proof, Morocan oil, Rene Furterer, and the customer service was great.

Dm: Is a drugstore chain that you can find anywhere in Germany and recently they have started stocking up on curly hair brands such as Maui Moisture and in their online store has a few products of the Cantu range available if you like that brand. In general I have tried quite a few products from Dm and have found many of them to be great. Ahh and they also carry Maui Moisture and OGX a very wide selection (the coconut water line is one of my faves).

If you prefer online shopping or live in a smaller town with limited options & want more variety keep reading!

Online shopping:

This gets a bit more interesting because it is my main source of product shopping.

Feel Unique: I found this store randomly while looking for skincare products, they have regular sales and actions and offer free shipping in Germany for purchases over 40 Euros, the most famous curly hair brand they carry is Shea Moisture, but I have also found other great brands such as Yes to, Bumble and Bumble, A’kin, Balance me and to my surprise Aussie! I absolutely love Aussie, it is affordable and performs very well on my hair and it is cheaper than in Dm ūüėÖ.

Naturalistic Products: If you follow me on Instagram you will see that I order a lot from the UK, because a few product lines that I really like, like the Blueberry bliss curls are rather hard to find in Germany. I have yet to find it in a local store or online that carries them. The selection is impressive and if you do not live in a big city like Hamburg in it super convenient not to mention great Customer Service! They also ship to other countries in Europe as well.

Anita Grant: Is a British brand with handmade, cruelty free, organic, small batch products that I simply adore shopping from you can find my favorite products such as the Creamy Cafe latte , aloe vera shampoo, the curl conditioning cowash and the deep conditioning cubes Here.

Disclaimer: I will link the online stores I mentioned for your convenience, but FYI this is not a sponsored post. I just listed a few stores that offered reliable service and an efficient delivery system. The feel unique link does include a referral code with a discount for your 1st purchase in case you would like to use it, the other links are just regular links to the stores or affiliate links at no cost to you. I will keep updating this post as best as I can if you find it useful.

Direct links to stores & product lines

Anita Grant¬†They offer free shipping worldwide with purchases over 45 pounds and an excellent customer service, if you haven’t tried this brand yet it’s a must try!

Feel Unique Online Store German site They offer free shipping on orders over 40‚ā¨ and shipping and it is quite fast and reliable.

Naturalistic Products Online Store in UK They offer shipping to Germany and all over Europe which varies according to the weight of the package and include samples of products.

Dm Online Store Germany

They options for DM are quite varied, they deliver for a cost if ‚ā¨4.95 countrywide

If you are lucky enough to live in cities like Hamburg or Karlsruhe you can request for pick up in a store even if it is an online only product like the curl lines they hold. Most stores allow this service with a few exceptions which are listed on their websites.

Where are you from?

Do you find it easy to find curly haircare products where you live?

Do you have any favorite online stores you like to shop in? Let me know in the comments.

Happy Saturday WordPress!

Today I decided to wake up “early” (for a Saturday) and just post a simple blog entry.

I always want to have everything perfect so I write drafts of product reviews, science based opinions that are more like educational posts based on facts rather than opinions but nowadays it seems like everyone thinks opinions and facts are the same, so I will call them “opinion pieces” that never make the cut; mostly because I don’t want to offend anybody or cause distress.

What do you think about the above statement?

I have 3 more questions for you today in this rainy Saturday Morning.

First question: Is it the same an opinion “I think this or that” without knowledge on the subject versus a “fact based opinion” i.e. Academic papers, peer reviewed scientific articles?

Second question: How many Drafts do you have pending to publish on your WordPress editor?

Third question: Are marketing claims more important than scientific evidence?

Disclaimer: I won’t judge you, neither attack you for thinking differently. I just wanted to start publishing my drafts and this was one of them and decided to start today. I edited the draft more or less following an idea I got from another blog, but the core content remained the same.

Kindly.

L. Maria aka HairLabMD

No Heat Challenge Lite: 2017 Update

Lite: “A simpler version, or subset, of something (especially software), in which complexity is forgone for the sake of easier application (or modified application); for example: Nintendo DS lite” Wikipedia.

I have a “problem” I am a flat iron & heat tools junkie and that is unlikely to change, unless I make an effort, but change is difficult; ¬†so I propose a Lite Heat Free Challenge for the impatient Curly Girl. Care to join me? Then, read on!

The longest I had managed to be relatively heat free, before doing this challenge was 5 months now I can say I have been almost heat free for almost an entire year.

If you are struggling to give up heat cold turkey maybe the #noheatlitechallenge is for you

This is how I did it and maybe it can help as a guideline to create your own challenge.

No Heat Lite Club: The idea is to have a small community of curlies who still use heat because we are still in the heat transition phase or because we like it, while still allowing for some freedom once the need for heat becomes too much.

Rules of the Lite Club

First rule of Lite Club: rules are relative, more than rules we have guidelines.

Second Rule: The flat iron is forbidden, this one is the only guideline that must always be followed.

Third Rule: If you get bored, feel tempted or need help finding styling ideas always ask for help, the club will always be there for you.

Rule four: Have fun, try new things & share what works for you.

The Guidelines

  1. No flat iron during the entirety of the challenge. using it even once resets the “heat free calendar”
  2. Avoid the blow dryer except for diffusing.
  3. Diffusing allowances: Ideally always dry hair on cool, but low heat is allowed no more than once a week. Medium heat should not happen, but if it must then only once¬†per month or it means reset of the “heat free calendar”.
  4. Start the “Heat Free Calendar” with a Complete Wash day Including all your important steps like pre poo, shampoo, deep conditioning and your preferred heat free styling method, mine is the wash and go.
  5. If your own a hooded dryer then try it out on the lowest possible setting, no more than once a week, if you don’t own one like me maybe we can find a good one together.
  6. Hot Rollers are allowed but only once a month and the drying and stretching should be done heat free. Blow drying + hot rollers also resets the calendar so choose this option wisely.
  7. Flexirods, perm rods, magnetic & foam rollers are your friends.
  8. Always protect your hair at night.
  9. Do a Wash Day only when you have time, for example on your days off ideally when you don¬īt need to leave the house. If you don’t have time try and refresh only or “put it in a bun” or “wrap it up”.
  10. Have Fun and try your best. We promise we wont judge!

Here are some style inspos for the Heat Free Challenge Lite:

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Style with Hot Rollers 

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Wash & Go

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Curly updo with bangs

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Half up curly do 

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Twist out

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Flexi Rods

 

My last flat iron: Sept 26 2016

Challenge Start date: Nov 27 2016

Challenge Duration: 6 months.

 

 

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4/16  vs. 27/11/16  wash & go

Let’s see if this Heat tools Junkie can survive six month without the Flat iron, join me and we can motivate and teach each other new tricks to stray true to the Curly life!…I can tell you now that I did survive 6 months & beyond without flat ironing my hair and I think my curks have improved quite a lot since the beginning of the curl journey, with it’s most dramatic transformation happening after I gave up direct heat.

Today is September 1st 2017 and I have not used a flat iron since September 2016, the 1st few months of the challenge were difficult because old habits die hard, but I found a very supportive group of curl friends to do it with. I followed the “flexible rules” for the 6 months of the challenge, in July I reintroduced medium heat because I needed to dry my hair faster and because I started playing with my texture to create big hair routines and it does not seem to be a problem for my curls, I will post in the future how I dry my hair using a diffuser but in the meantime you can follow my progress on instagram here on The Hair Lab and feel free to use the hashtag #noheatlitechallenge so I can follow your curly hair journey too!

PS. This is the picture of my last wash day! Would you like a full updated wash day routine & to know which products I used? Let me know in the comments ūüôā

 

Should I fear Parabens?

The quick answer: no

For the long answer: I quote the American Cancer Society and the summary is no too.

“Parabens are chemicals used as preservatives and as food additives. They can be found in many types of make-up (like lipstick, mascara, concealer, and foundation) and skin care products (like lotion, shaving products, and sunscreen). Parabens can be absorbed through the skin.

Intake of parabens is a possible concern because studies have shown that parabens have weak estrogen-like properties. Estrogen is a female hormone known to cause breast cells (both normal and cancerous) to grow and divide…

In 2004, a small study found traces of parabens in some samples of breast cancer tumors…there are some points about the study findings:

They looked only for the presence of parabens in breast cancer samples, it did not show that parabens caused or contributed to breast cancer development in these cases ‚Äď it only showed that they were there. What this meant is not yet clear.

…parabens have weak estrogen-like properties, the estrogens that are made in the body are many times stronger…natural estrogens (or hormone replacement) are much more likely to play a role in breast cancer development.

This study did not contain any information to help find the source of the parabens found in the breast tissue ‚Äď it’s not clear if they might have come from antiperspirants or from some other source.

Most people are exposed to parabens…studies have found some form of parabens in the urine in up to 99% of people in the US…so far, studies have not shown any direct link between parabens and any health problems, including breast cancer…many other compounds in the environment that mimic naturally produced estrogen”

A few Myths & Facts about Parabens

Myth: Parabens cause cancer.

Fact: Parabens have been extensively studied to address this claim and have been deemed safe.

Myth: Parabens are harmful to skin & hair.

Fact: Some people are allergic to parabens & fragances in cosmetics therefore those who are sensitive will have a negative reaction and should avoid them. It is important to visit your doctor if you have any skin concerns, a physician is the most qualified person to help you with your skin concerns.

Myth: Parabens are bad for the environment or “nasty” beauty.

Fact: In a study published in 2015 parabens were found in Marine life, but there seemed to be no negative effects on the study subjects. The significance of this finding is yet to be determined, and probably more studies will be conducted in the future. As of today no environmental damage can be attributed to parabens, partly because what is known about this compound is that it degrades quite fast so it does not seem to accumulate.

What is the use of parabens, anyways?

Parabens are preservatives and preservatives are important to keep our personal care products free of contamination by bacterias or other harmful agents and extend their shelf life, they are not active ingredients but more of an agent necessary to maintain the integrity of a product from it’s manufacturing process until the moment it reaches the consumer and while it is being used by said consumer, basically all of us.

Preservatives are not a bad thing, fear mongering is.

Let me know if you have any questions and if you would like to see more posts like this one in the comments section or find me on IG: The Hair Lab

Summer Holiday Haircare tips

  1. Always wear a sunscreen for your hair & skin.
  2. Always saturate the hair before swimming.
  3. Head scarfs & Hats are a must, they protect the hair from the aggression of the environment and look super cute.
  4. Do not be afraid of silicones, they do help protect your hair just make sure to remove them well after the holiday is over.
  5. Co-wash if you intend to use the pool or swim at the beach for several days in a row.
  6. Keep at hand a spray bottle with either water only or water mixed with your fave conditioner.
  7. Take a travel kit with a few curl essentials either repack in small travel bottles your holy grails or buy one with a full set of products. I will try to review my favorite travel kit on a future blog post.

There are many ways to saturate the hair before swimming

1. Water only: this is particularly useful when using public pools where conditioner might not be allowed and/or as a courtesy to fellow swimmers.
2. Apply deep conditioner before swimming or any kind of conditioner for that matter just let it get absorbed into the hair and coat it very well. I like Aussie hair 3 minute reconstructor because it’s a good one for on the go.
3. Seal with oil before swimming so that way you reduce the amount of external agents that can enter the hair shaft, you can saturate with water 1st and then seal or just seal with oil if you like (I don’t do this as I use products with silicones that have a similar function but I think it is not a bad idea)

After Sun Hair Care

Apply a good conditioner right after swimming even if you don’t wash or co-wash your hair right after your swim, this step will prevent your hair from drying out more until the time that you do so and at the beach it would give you a very nice “summery look” and maintaining hydration while you enjoy the sunny days by the pool or at the beach.

Once back home

Clarify with a deep cleansing shampoo. I like kinky curly come clean and if this step is not enough you can also use clay masks such as bentonite clay to remove any traces of product and keep your scalp clean and free from build up.
Deep condition as soon as you get back home, and more frequently, 2 times a week would be ideal; your curls will thank you for that.
Consider doing a protein treatment if your curls are still feeling off balance after deeply cleansing & frequent deep conditioning.

It seems like a lot to do but you can pick & choose how to protect your hair, this is just a collection of things I have found useful and I hope they can help you too.

Big big big hair Curly Hair Routine

About the wash

Prepoo/Detangle with a conditioner with good slip, I used L’oreal Botanicals Fresh Care Camelina.
Massage scalp with a shampoo brush.
Alfa Parf Volumizing shampoo, focusing on the roots and avoiding piling up the hair on top of the head.
Alfa Parf Volumizing conditioner for about 3 minutes
Then applied more conditioner while still in the shower, using the squish to condish method, in which you take soaking wet hair and scrunch in conditioner without rinsing it out so it works like a leave in conditioner, you should hear a squish-squish squishy sound. The idea behind this is that the water provides the hydration pulling the conditioner along with it into the hair fibres.

Styling wet in the shower

Without removing the excess water I applied all my styling products with my head flipped upside down.
First use a primer like condition & sculpt from Jane Carter Solution, which helps to set your curls but without weighing them down; something very important when going for really big hair.
Then I applied a small amount of Jane Carter solution curl defining cream specially in the lower layers and scrunched very well with my hands.
This seems a bit complicated but honestly it was quite fast, the whole process took no longer than 15 minutes.

Drying

I carefully scrunched some more with a soft tshirt, this removes excess product and water, you can also use a microfiber towel; just make sure it is a soft fabric as this step can encourage too much frizz, this big hair routine takes advantage of frizz but it also needs some curl definition to work, at least for me.

I set my curls using a hair dryer with a Remington diffuser attachment but any conventional one should work to be honest.

Start with low heat alternating with cool shot, then you can either use a devafuser attachment to lift the roots using cool mode or skip this step and continue using your conventional attachment at medium heat alternating with cool, dry until about 60% dry without any attachment only medium heat.

Tips & tricks

At about 60% dry I like to spray a volumizing mist like Shea Moisture yucca & baobab Volumizing Moisture Mist for fine thin hair focusing on the roots, I find that if I use a Volumizing mist, I can really give that extra hold to my hair strands so they go up and stay up.

I continue drying the roots using my deva fuser attachment low speed/low heat until 90% dry and then finish off by removing all diffusers and drying at medium heat/low speed and a final with a cool blast all over.

About the Volume

Once the hair is 100% dry you can use a hair pik to increase the volume of the top layer, you can encourage frizz if you do it vigorously (this is how I do it) or preserve the curls if you go more delicately, just make sure it is 100% dry or you wont be able to control the desired texture.

I also use my fingers to fluff some more. I used a pea size amount of nourish & shine to not frizz to much while fluffing, but any lightweight oil or butter is fine.

My hair type

I have high density, fine-medium thickness, low porosity hair and it is quite frizz prone so this routine also allows to take advantage of the frizz for a lot of volume while still retaining some curl definition.

The haircut

FYI: I have a layered cut with short layers on top to be able to create a voluminous final result and long layers in the back.

….And that’s it big hair for short-medium length hair in less than an hour!
If you have any questions or comments please let me know, I’d like to hear from you. I preferred to take a video so you could see the texture but for more pictures & routines feel free to visit my IG: The Hair Lab PS. I did not manage to take many pictures that day so I included a texture snapchat vid…and the only selfie I could find. I will write another post using the same routine with different products where I did take a proper selfie ūüôā let me know what you think of this routine!

Untitled too 

Flawed? Ugly? Weird? Eww yuk? Who told you that?

Society, your boss, a friend, an adversary a colleague or yourself looking at the mirror and hating what you see?
What you think becomes what you feel.
Think right feel right. Think right and you can cope, adapt and adjust regardless of the external forces against, or in your favor. Think wrong and you may become ill and you will suffer. This is not hopeful woo, this is science, neuroscience and in the same way as it took years of “hard work” for your brain to wire itself in a way that it will work against you (depression, low self esteem, personality disorders,etc) it will take hard work and professional help from a doctor, a therapist, a nutritionist, or a fitness instructor to help you improve your life and come to terms with how you look and more importantly, who you are.

Change can begin from the inside out, or from the outside in. I obviously like fitness, facial architecture & aesthetics, and now I like hair appearance and I firmly believe that if you want to improve yourself you are free to pursue it, but be mindful of the thought behind the emotion.

There is nothing wrong with using modern medicine to be better, it is not weak to get medical treatment for acne, it is not vain to get “work done”, it not arrogant to be fit and eat well; but the thought behind it, is what defines whether it is good or bad thing for you X or Y physical change.

Genetics & culture do play a role, in the perception of beauty, that is undeniable we might wish it would not be so but it is.  Do not aspire to be beautiful, you already are, aspire to be healthy.

How you look does not define you, but the world we live in judges our “look” and that is also a fact. I can’t disclose patient info but I can tell you that the medical profesion is not devoid of sociocultural biases on apperance. A female, beautiful doctor is still expected to be less competent than her fellow men, but so what? It only means she has to work harder to get respect that is all.

The only way to be happy is to be healthy.

InstaCompare? No thanks. Friendship please.

iDisclamer: The only science involved in this post came from the developers of apple that created this iPad and of the creators of the internet, the rest is just my opinion not as an MD or a scientist but as a “Curly Girl”, reader discretion advised.

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Weird disclaimer is it not? Still, I am trying to make a point and I will get there.

I officially joined the Natural Hair Community in March 2016, with my 1st Curly Community fan page post, and my 1st hair instagram account, later on in april the Hair Lab was born.

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I never saw another curly girl IG, or blog or web page until last year after I had cut off all my chemically straightened hair. Why? My 1st contact did not cause a good impression and I left. In 2013 or so I googled about curly hair and the first impression was mostly of a competitive, divided, toxic & overall negative environment, my sources where limited to the USA; but that was my turning point of thinking OK I know medicine, I have the books the journals let’s do this on my own terms, I do not need that negativity in my life. You know what? it was great; it gave me time to understand the anger and decide that to each their own and that there are so many different subsets of Natural Hair Communities not only one.

I never googled about hair outside of google scholar since then until 2016. I did my transition alone and yes I made many mistakes and no I do not know how to braid my hair, yet.

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Finger curling pre hair blog vs post hair blog lol 

Find your Element

I clearly did not belong in the community of the 1st encounter I had, I now understand where they come from though and I empathize with some, but it was not my element as Sir Ken Robinson puts it, now I Have found my hair element the part of the community that helps me grow.

I belong here in what I call the “curly community”, the name is irrelevant but I avoid using certain terms to avoid controversy. I may or may not write about it in the future; but for now about my lovely curly community.

Our community is inspirational, professional in our own individual way it includes hairdressers, students, doctors, restaurateurs, journalists, photographers, models, engineers, moms you name the profession and we can find it, off course bloggers and vlogers too. In this group “our clique” we are responsible in the way we share our journey, we promote self-love and growth instead of comparison charts and above all we strive to be positive, humble and real.

We always cheer for each other no matter if it is something big or small, we genuinely wish the others success, we do not compete we grow together.

Today I can say This hair journey has given me more than hydrated locks, it has given me women and friends I admire from afar and who are great role models for the younger girls out there looking for powerful, positive female role models.

We do not compare each other, we support each other and learn together, we are friends.

Thank you for your friendship my (curl) friends.

I wish you a 2017 filled with critical thinking & good outcomes

The external circumstances might have been good or bad for you in 2016, but what really matters is how you feel & think about it and what you do with those feelings & thoughts.
Harder to accept & deal with are the outcomes of our personal choices, there are no 100% wrong decisions in this world of infinite #possibilities; only learning experiences. Finally, whether we feel we made a right or wrong choice, we can & should always take action; either to correct the perceived mistake or continue moving forward in the right direction.
Those who have had similar personal circumstances might be able to feel more empathy towards your particular case, so be mindful who you include in your personal support circle.

Do not be too harsh on yourself or others for not understanding X or Y circumstance, yet always keep an open mind to discuss important issues, be respectful and kind but do not stay silent when having factual evidence in contrast to ignorant “play & repeat” opinions. Evidence based statements should be more valuable than ignorantly powerful opinions.
In this post factual era do stick to the facts, but do not insist when the battle is lost, we do live in a post factual era after all and self preservation is key.
High emotional intelligence is a rare trait, if you have it use it positively & wisely; inform yourself to the utmost detail before making a statement on a delicate matter because others will undoubtedly be influenced by you.
Do not fall under the false illusion of transferring your emotions to others and blame the circumstances or others for your current situation of perceived failure. Give yourself credit when you do a good job. Be fair to yourself and others.
No matter what you do or what your limitations & capabilities are, always think critically
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.‚ÄĚ Jedi Master Yoda. The Empire Strikes Back.

Carrie Fisher

I have no words, but I will still make the effort to write something about this remarkable woman and creative mind.
Who is Carrie Fisher? I did not know her personally, but if you follow me on IG you know I do 2 things asides hair, I science and I Star Wars, from my science (neuroscience) point of view she is the prime example of SURVIVAL. Carrie Fisher played princess Leia and General Organa in the Star Wars franchise, but she was much more grand than that.

3 words defined Carrie for me: RESILIENCE, COURAGE & HOPE.

She had a disease called bipolar disorder, which justified her behaviors in her early carreer & she struggled & talked openly about it as an advocate for Mental health and kept working.
People complained about her looks bla bla bla but taking certain medications may affect the way people look & her looks were beside the point anyways.

She made a career later on, after the original trilogy not based on looks but on hard work, harder than most, and she proved that she could be successful despite and because of her disadvantages (gender, mental health,etc) She was great until the last day. I highly recommend watching her interview with Steven Fry (he also has bipolar disorder and made a film about it, I disagree with leaving illness untreated but it was a good film) and also watch the red carpet interviews of the london premiere of The Force Awakens she was THE BEST! She will be missed but never forgotten by so many of us for so many reasons. I will remember her for her Courage to be herself and be a positive role model to anyone with Mood Disorders, the correct term, that you can you should try to live.

A note on Mental Health

The only people qualified to treat Mood Disorders are Doctors.

Not all my patients, had mood disorders but as a Doctor with a Neuroscience background I can treat mood disorders & anxiety on a basic level. I am not a psychiatrist or a psychologist, but I collaborated with them my scope of treatment of Mood Disorders is limited to mild to moderate cases of depression, but what all Mood disorders have in common is the sense of guilt and illness shaming.
I know the biology of depression,due to my background as a scientific communicator and physician; it is an illness where you can see in the brain a down regulation of serotonin receptors and many more things just like you can see blood when you cut your finger but the skin can be seen with the Naked eye and the brain can not.

I worked with a team that assessed the safety profile of an antidepressant drug some time ago and as it was obvious that I needed to know everything brain, to be able to communicate more effectively that was what got me hooked on neuroscience and guided my future academic interests.
My point is that having depression or Bipolar disorder nowadays and talking about it  is like saying you have the bubonic pest, but Carrie used her personal experience, influence and courage to talk about it for everyone who could be afraid to loose their family, livelihood or job for suffering from it. I once read on an interview that she hoped she could have romantic relationships, I will need to fact check this but it does sound like her alright and it made me feel a bit sad for her and reflect upon the need to do more to educate society about Mood Disorders in General.

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“Depression bipolar or not is a biological illness, it is an illness of an organ that happens to control the rest of the body” I said that.

Most people decide to call mental illness crazy or laziness. Family and friends sometimes are the most unhelpful, because of their poor¬†attempts to “help” (out of ignorance) they either treat them (the patients) like less or blame them for their illness… and at work? don’t get me started about work place abuse and stigma.

About Mood Disorders in the clinical practice: My experience as a Physician

In¬†my country, as a physician you don’t have to disclose in paper always any¬†diagnosis; but what many employers do (unlawfully) is that they ask their workers to tell them, so I always made sure to educate all my patients to disclose symptoms instead of a diagnosis such as changes in bodily function instead of saying they have depression or anxiety. I usually¬†referred my patients after the initial diagnosis and follow up because I ¬†worked as a visiting physician only for a few months 2-3 and I could not¬†do the long term follow up required for managing the brain biochemical imbalances that psychiatrists could, but I also know that more often than not those referrals were not followed up, by my patients because “if you visit a psichiatist you must be crazy right?” another stigma. One patient once told me that Neuroscience sounded better than psychiatry so he would not go see a crazy doctor and he might have been on to something there. The stigma in the society is a problem.
One Mentor gave me that advice (to protect mental health issues diagnosis from employers) when I was a med student, I enquired if it would not be deliberately lying about a diagnosis and she said “it is not lying, if it is the truth” and more often than not depression comes with visible physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal disorders. I only understood why the secrecy was important until years later while sitting in my office with a mother crying because she was afraid that if she took the meds her boss would find out and fire her.

A powerful Carrie Fisher Quote

“One of the things that baffles me (and there are quite a few) is how there can be so much lingering stigma with regards to mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder. In my opinion, living with manic depression takes a tremendous amount of balls. Not unlike a tour of Afghanistan (though the bombs and bullets, in this case, come from the inside). At times, being bipolar can be an all-consuming challenge, requiring a lot of stamina and even more courage, so if you’re living with this illness and functioning at all, it’s something to be proud of, not ashamed of.
They should issue medals along with the steady stream of medication.‚ÄĚ
Carrie Fisher

If you need help understanding mental health awareness, do not hesitate to contact me on my IG:Dr_vasquez_MD

May the Force be with you.

Rest in Peace Carrie Fisherimage