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Depression Self Help Ideas

December 27th, 2008

I enjoy the study of feng shui and came across this helpful post. It lists five ways of dealing with depression without meds.

Dealing With Depression

A pile of puppies

November 16th, 2008

As a child, I was allowed to breed my cocker spaniel, Skipper, and sell the puppies. One of the many little businesses I had growing up. Raising cockers was a family tradition – my mom and her siblings did it on the farm when they were growing up, too. (I wouldn’t do it now, preferring rescues to purebreds, thank you. Please adopt.)

But Skipper had this adorable litter of puppies, and I was crazy about them. I had to go to the dentist and maybe I was having a cavity filled. Don’t remember, just know that I was freaked out and getting a shot. My mom said, “Think of the puppies,” and I did. A pile of puppies wriggling around.

To this day, when I need a meditational focus to take my mind off of a root canal, or an MRI, or anything that requires me not to cuss or move, I “think of the puppies.”

I saw this picture and it’s pretty darned close to the picture in my mind that I’ve carried since I was six years old. I always think of the puppies:

by Prakar at Flickr

by Prakhar at Flickr

Associated Press – even their grammar is wrong

August 31st, 2008

Or in internet-speak, grammer.

Since I got online, back in the 90s, I’ve become aware of glaring problems regarding the state of American grammar. I had no idea, and I think it’s atrocious.

In an Associated Press story, the reporter confused it’s and its. There is no excuse for that, not from a person who makes a living as a writer.

All three were to address the convention on Monday, it’s opening day.

It’s is a contraction for it is. Possessive its has no apostrophe. I can handle this kind of thing in emails and instant messages, but not from an Associated Press reporter. Unacceptable. In my world (in which I no longer work), you would have been fired on the spot for that.


That’s the URL, but I’ve taken screenshots in case it disappears. I’ve seen things like this before, but from small weekly papers often run by a family. They usually don’t have the budget to hire someone who graduated from journalism school, so I can live with it.

But the Associated Press? This is the state of American journalism today. It’s in the crapper, and that is the correct use of an apostrophe.

CBS News – and my personal rock star Dan Rather – lost all credibility with Rathergate. They’ve tried to rehabilitate by sending Rather to media Siberia and hiring Katie Couric. She’s cute, but she’s no Cronkite. CBS is a joke.

New York Times – they’re on deathwatch, along with the LA Times.

And the list goes on.

Associated Press has done some ridiculous things lately, involving staged photos in Palestinian territory. As far as I know, they’ve never owned up to it. In fact, no media outlet has owned up to its disasters since Janet Cooke lost her Pulitzer after writing a fake story for the Washington Post. Back in those days, the media cared. Editors were mortified.

Now it’s just business as usual and you simply cannot believe what you read in the paper or see on the news. Take it all with a grain of salt and know by the end of the day, the story may have completely changed. And you probably won’t see a correction. Apparently pretending nothing happened is modus operandi.

I’m bothered by the number of Americans who can’t grasp the basics of its/it’s, their/they’re/there, your/you’re and so on. But in journalism? I still admit to a former career in journalism, but I am chagrined to do so.

What happened to the field since I left it? Yes, it has always had a distinctly liberal bias because those that enter journalism are predominantly liberals. But journalists cared when there were scandals. There is no pride anymore. Of course there are no jobs, either, but that’s the media’s own fault.

The state of American journalism is an embarrassment.

The importance of candidness in electroconvulsive therapy

August 21st, 2008

One of the most frequent questions I’m asked by reporters is “Why did you start ect.org?” The answer is that I started it over a decade ago to simply share information about electroconvulsive therapy.

I am not opposed to anyone having ECT as long as it’s an informed (emphasis) choice. Unfortunately, the majority of patients are given a one-minute sales pitch that overplays the effectiveness and mostly ignores any side effects.

My strongest belief is that if doctors were candid about it all, and took the time needed to answer questions truthfully, outcomes would be better. Even when the results were bad.

In an interview with the New York Times, Dr. Dan Shapiro, who has survived battles with deadly cancer, says the very same thing:

NYT: You quizzed your radiation oncologist about treatment side effects. If all patients did this, wouldn’t some refuse treatment?

Dr. Shapiro: About 85 percent of patients are information-seeking and want to know the limitations as well as the strengths of their treatment. Unfortunately, a lot of physicians overestimate the treatment benefits and underplay the side effects. In the short term more people accept treatment, then become surprised, dismayed and often panicked when predictable side effects occur. If patients know about side effects in advance and are taught how to anticipate and cope with them, they would do a lot better.

This so clearly defines how I feel that I believe I’m going to add it to ect.org in a prominent way.

Interview with Dr. Dan Shapiro

August 21st, 2008

Dan Shapiro has a website at http://www.danshapiro.org

Here is a great interview with the New York Times from 2001:

May 15, 2001
A CONVERSATION WITH: Dan Shapiro; A Doctor’s Story of Hope, Humor and Deadly Cancer

In May 1987, Dan Shapiro, then a 20-year-old junior at Vassar College, discovered he had Hodgkin’s disease. After seven months of treatment with four chemotherapy drugs and radiation, he seemed healthy again.

In 1988, in his first year of graduate school in clinical psychology, he counseled a young girl named Jodi who was not doing well after a bone marrow transplant for the same cancer and who soon died. Six months later, he learned that his own cancer had returned and that his only hope was a bone marrow transplant. His survival chances were 40 percent. Sixteen months after the transplant, in July 1991, he had a second relapse, and few options remained. Read the rest of this entry »

Why me? Why not you?

August 21st, 2008

By chance (or was it fate?) I came across an article that appeared in Salon a few years ago. It’s called “Why Me” by Dan Shapiro, associate professor in the college of medicine at the University of Arizona.

He has an interesting perspective on medicine and mental health, as he has survived bouts with Hodgkin’s Disease. It’s quite a story, and I guess I’m going to have to make an Amazon order and read his books.

Here is his article from Salon called “Why Me?” It reminds me of a quote from The Sopranos, where Tony Soprano asks his mother’s Russian nurse why she stays so optimistic when she only has one leg.

She replies: “That’s the trouble with you Americans. You expect nothing bad ever to happen, when the rest of the world expects only bad to happen. And they are not disappointed. You have everything, and still you complain. … You’ve got too much time to think about yourselves.”

Why me?
Why not you? Misery makes the world go round, and nobody gets a free pass.

By Dan Shapiro

Aug. 06, 2002 | I can’t talk about this at work, but I’m tired. Tired of patients with illnesses moaning that this shouldn’t have happened to them. Tired of their asking the fates to explain why they’ve been singled out for solitary anguish. Tired of the relentless vocal vacuums that can suck the life out of a medical team faster than HMO reimbursement forms and billing sheets. Read the rest of this entry »

Kim Komando: Using Blogs as Therapy

June 26th, 2008

Radio tech guru Kim Komando discusses blogging as a sort of therapy:

click arrow to listen

I have kept journals since I was a kid. I still have them – an entire box of fabric-covered journals, some scrawled in spiral notebooks, and some are entirely in Russian. (When I was worried people might read them.) They’ve always been a place I can pour out my guts, and have a moment of feeling better.

The personal blog section on this site is exactly that – my way of getting things off my chest. I would highly encourage it as one of the tools towards working on your depression. Like the Digital Goddess Kim says, you can do it for free at blogger.com, and you can be as anonymous as you want. (Cautions below!)

If you haven’t listened to Kim’s show, do it. Even if you think you know everything there is to know about computers and Internet, you’ll find out you don’t and you’ll learn great things. What’s more, she’s just a pleasure to listen to. She’s got something special, and you can’t help but smile when you hear her voice – she’s just that pleasant and refreshing. Her radio show is on every Saturday, and if your local stations don’t carry her, find her on streaming Internet. I promise you won’t be sorry! Read the rest of this entry »

Media makes its own rules

June 25th, 2008

The media typically withholds names of rape victims to protect the privacy of that person. Except when it serves a higher purpose, like ratings or ad revenues.

Last week the New York Times published the name of a CIA specialist, against his wishes and the wishes of the CIA. Now how did the NYT feel about Valerie Plame’s name being made public? Oh yeah, they raised hell.

Apparently it’s different when the NYT wants to do it. They published this man’s real name, now leaving him open to any nut who is politically opposed to the CIA, thinks the CIA tortures people and wants to avenge the terrorist dude with the grossly hairy back, or just anyone who wants to send hate mail or harass his kids.

Their reasoning? It added credibility to the story.

Does that mean every story that relies on anonymity has no credibility? Woodward and Bernstein might disagree. Read the rest of this entry »

Scandal grows regarding hospital whores selling celeb med records

June 9th, 2008

It took Farrah Fawcett’s battle with cancer being splattered all over the media to find out that hospital employees in Los Angeles have been selling celeb medical records. It gets worse. It seems that a number of hospitals have “medical professionals” working both sides: working their day jobs as “medical professionals,” and by night, being on tabloid payrolls.

In my world, that’s called being a snitch and it’ll get you a lot more than a day in jail plus a fine. Let’s just say these people ought to be glad I’m not Farrah’s best friend. I’m talking a blanket party, and if you don’t know what that is, it’s because you’re not from the Midwest. Read the rest of this entry »

Perhaps crazy people shouldn’t be allowed to have knives?

June 9th, 2008

Surely it’s been noticed that mass knife stabbings are happening more frequently in Japan.

I’m not making light of it; it’s a horrible thing. Gun laws in Japan are some of the strictest, so I guess this kind of shows that if you want to go on a killing frenzy, you don’t necessarily need a gun.

Japan boasts a low crime rate compared to other industrialized nations and Tokyo, with a population of 12.7 million, is considered relatively safe. But stabbings, once rare in the country, have become more frequent in recent years.

In March, one person was stabbed to death and at least seven others were hurt by a man who went on a slashing spree with two knives outside a shopping mall in eastern Japan. In January, a 16-year-old boy attacked five people in a shopping area, injuring two of them.

A spate of knife attacks also have occurred in schools, the worst on June 8, 2001 when a man with a history of mental illness burst into elementary school near Osaka killing eight children. He was executed in 2004.

From Yahoo News today.

I remember not that many years ago, as I debated gun control issues with a libertarian I knew. We probably had more similar views than we realized, but chose to take opposite sides for unknown reasons.

My biggest argument – against guns, although I’ve never been anti-gun actually – was that if there were no guns, you wouldn’t have a Columbine-type thing again. He argued that sure you could…the guys could have used knives. Perhaps fewer would have died, but maybe not. Then he argued that more people died at the hands of autos than guns.

And I replied when was the last time a student drove a car down the hall of a school, mass murdering students? It was so ridiculous. And at the time, the idea of mass murder with a knife was ridiculous, too.

Now I’m having to rethink that.