Incredibly busy

I do the bulk of my blogging at work and since I’m incredibly busy, I’m falling behind on posting about many issues. I’m also not keeping up on reading other blogs in the interim. A few blogs I recommend keeping up on:

  • Furious Seasons and CLPsych: both are writing about the whole Paxil/Seroxat deal that’s developing
  • CorePsych: Some great podcasts and updates on ADD.
  • Graham’s Blog: Keeping up on withdrawal effects from medications, especially Effexor.

I’ve also been busy at night so if I don’t reply right away to an e-mail, I’m ignoring it. I don’t have access to personal e-mail at work (I think I’ve said this before) and as a result, can’t respond until late at night (depending on how busy my night is).

My busy season runs on the accounting season schedule: January through May. Not too many multiple updates (except perhaps on some weekends) until after that.

~M

P.S. But I’ve got some awesome pictures on the Abilify phone booth that I have to share this week. And ooh, boy, do I have some things to rip on Joel Osteen about, i.e. "Choosing To Be Happy."

Mind Over Matter

Liz Spikol linked to this and I had to comment on my blog about it.

An essay piece by D. Paul Reilly in the Nassau Guardian (Bahamas paper) focuses on evangelist John Hagee’s sermon, “How To Get Rid of Depression.”

“And then Pastor John Hagee said one of the most important phrases I’ve ever heard, which actually catapulted me into recovery from my ‘Self-induced’ depression. John Hagee said ‘You can get rid of your depression the moment you decide to.’ Wow! What a moment of truth that was!”

Indeed.

“Now, lest I get some Medical Doctors, some Psychiatrists e-mailing me about my comments here today, let me add that there are indeed some people who may have inborn chemical deficiencies in the brain which can cause depression. These types of individuals do perhaps need medication to replace the chemicals which they are lacking. However, in the majority of cases, it really is a matter of ‘Mind over matter.’ Whether we realize it at the time, because of some traumatic event in our life, we became very angry. We then turned that anger inward, which manifested itself in the outer world as depression.”

I do agree with his point that much of depression in many people is psychological and not some “chemical imbalance.” CLPsych argues frequently against the theory. But that doesn’t mean it’s not clinical, lifelong, or ongoing. (That was probably redundant.) The prescription for the cure:

“As Pastor John Hagee so correctly said, "We can get rid of depression the moment we decide to." Of course, God will assist us tremendously with the process, once we have made the conscious decision to be happy once again. Professional Counseling [sic] can also be beneficial when we are experiencing depression.”

This may be the case for some people, but for others, it’s impossible to just wake up one day and say, “Gee, today I’m not going to be depressed!” Unless you’re a celebrity Beyonce or Angelina Jolie.

People need to wage war against clinical depression. There are some days when they’ll win the battle; other days, they’ll have a string of defeats. But short-lived victories don’t mean depression is gone. I like to say it’s “in remission” — still there but not currently active. For some people, the heavy black cloud just never goes away.

I believe in God performing miracles. God can change anything whenever He wants to. He can choose to lift the veil of depression on one person while allowing someone else to suffer. I can’t explain why He chooses one person over someone else. All I know is that He’s capable of doing that. But for a person to essentially “snap out” of it, I don’t buy. Meds can help a person, but divine intervention and/or counseling help a whole lot more.

Hypomanic Watch

Brainstorm Your Way Out of a Bad Mood

Feeling down? Think fast – literally. A recent study from Princeton and Harvard found that when people were made to brainstorm rapidly, they felt happier, more energized, and more creative. "It’s like taking your mind for a run," saus Emily Pronin, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Princeton. Test it yourself: Quickly come up with 20 ways to improve your health, or speed-read the newspaper and watch your mood soar. – Shape, February 2007

Sounds like a plan for hypomanics.

Blog worth checking out

Holly Finch’s blog “Am I Still Me?” is worth taking a look at. She was a survivor in the London bombing that occurred on July 7, 2005 and as a result, blogs about her daily life while suffering from PTSD.

She recently blogged about coming off citalopram (U.S. trademark name: Celexa) and is experiencing some awful withdrawal effects. This makes me glad that I skipped Celexa in the hospital before I met my doctor. He recommended Effexor instead.

Not that it makes a difference really. I just had the privilege of not having two withdrawal symptoms in succession.

Loose Screws Mental Health News

As much as I hate to admit it, the Scientologists have a point.

A group linked to Scientology staged a protest near a school after a student on psychiatric drugs stabbed a classmate to death. The point of the protest was to highlight “the dangers of antidepressants.”

“Several Scientologists held signs that mentioned by name John Odgren, the teen accused in the fatal stabbing. Signs included slogans such as “What psychiatric drugs was John Odgren prescribed?” and “Stop combining drugs to make walking time bombs.”

Odgren, 16, has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, a mild form of autism, and according to his attorney was taking several prescription medications at the time of the stabbing. Odgren lived in Princeton but attended a special education program at L-S.”

I didn’t know that psychiatric drugs made people homicidal. I guess if they can make people suicidal then homicidal isn’t that far off.

“’There’s a lot of concern around the country when kids are becoming violent on psychiatric drugs,’ said Kevin Hall, the Scientology group’s New England director.”

Concern from who? This is probably something I should look into. See my favorite quote below:

“This is not a serious request by a serious group,” said School Committee Chairman Mark Collins on the demand that Odgren’s medical records be made public.”

Ouch. Scientology dismissed in one sentence.

UPDATE: Psychiatry drugs supposedly have no violent effect on children. But there are two sides to the debate.

Version 1 —

“Though the Food and Drug Administration currently includes a warning, called a ‘black box warning,’ on SSRIs stating studies have shown increased risk of suicide, particularly among teens and children, [John Fromson, chair of the psychiatry department at MetroWest Medical Center] said there are no studies which show the drugs cause violence toward others.

‘Violence is a social issue here,’ he said. ‘Illicit street drugs can do that…but to make a connection between medication that’s prescribed for legitimate reasons and at appropriate doses and violence – the scientific evidence just isn’t there.'” [emphasis mine]

Version 2 —

“Advocates like Lisa Van Syckel, however, insist the drugs can lead to violence, because they’ve seen it firsthand.

Van Syckel’s anti-depressant ordeal began seven years ago, when her then- 15-year-old daughter Michelle was prescribed the SSRI Paxil for depression and anorexia.

Over the next year, Van Syckel said, she attacked her brother, she viciously attacked three police officers, she went after another student with a baseball bat and she cut the word ‘die’ into her abdomen.

After nearly a year on the medication, doctors changed Michelle’s diagnosis to Lyme disease, and gradually weaned the teen off the drugs, and Van Syckel said Michelle has been herself ever since.”

Perhaps the scientific evidence isn’t there because clinical studies don’t track adolescents long enough to determine whether a propensity toward violence to others significantly increases.


A Mexican man who tried to commit suicide became a victim of police homicide. (Weird.) He threw himself on the train tracks in the Mexico City subway and was eventually rescued by station employees. After two policemen took him into custody, they allegedly beat him to death inside their patrol car. It’s so sad that this man had a second chance at life and two stupid policemen took it away.


I didn’t know this was possible:

“A 23-year-old man who sold a lethal cocktail of drugs as “suicide pills” on the Internet was sentenced by a court in Germany on Wednesday to three years and nine months in prison. The man pleaded guilty to 16 counts of the illegal sale of pharmaceuticals, a spokesman for the court in Wuppertal said.”

Wow. Who does a Google search for “suicide cocktail” or “lethal drug cocktails”? Isn’t it easier (and cheaper) to do it the old-fashioned ways: crash a car, hanging, jumping off a bridge…? Not advocating suicide, but I don’t understand why people need to pay for suicide. Maybe they’re wussies like me. But that’s what overdosing on pills is for.  The Captain Obvious quote of the day:

“Suicide and assisting suicide are not illegal in Germany.”

Maybe I should move to Germany. (KIDDING. Just kidding. Sort of.)


50 Cent’s producer Disco D (Dave Shayman) killed himself on January 23. Although not much is known about his death, there is speculation that Disco D had bipolar disorder.

“DJ Vlad, a good friend of D, was shocked upon hearing the news.

‘Disco D was a good friend of mine. I lived with him in Brazil for a couple weeks. He was a real artist,’ Vlad revealed. ‘I just talked to him a few days ago, and he told me things were hard. I tried to cheer him up. I didn’t realize how hard it really was. I’m devastated right now.’”

No one really knows how difficult it is for someone struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts unless you’ve been there.


An article from IHT details interesting research that Harvard’s McLean Hospital is conducting to find out more about genetic schizophrenia.

“Consider, said Deborah Levy, the lab’s director: ‘The incidence of schizophrenia is stable at about 1 percent, and schizophrenics have very low reproductive rates. So what is keeping those genes going? One hypothesis is that most of the people carrying the schizophrenia genes are not the patients. Rather, they are some of the well parents and well siblings, most of whom never show signs of the illness.’”

Hmm. Is that why I’m an only child?

“The effects of such genes may show up in a variety of subtle ways, they say – including faulty eye-tracking and asymmetry in facial features so hard to detect that it is best measured by highly specialized 3-D cameras.

At Levy’s lab, people with schizophrenia and their relatives undergo 10 to 12 hours of tests. … The faces are measured in minute detail by Curtis Deutsch, a genetics expert who focuses on facial variations and their links to various diseases. … So, subtle abnormalities in the shape and layout of a face may reflect specific abnormalities in brain structure, he said. Thus far, he said, he has found that some schizophrenics do have certain minor facial anomalies – none of them visible to the naked eye – as do some of their healthy relatives.”

So it’s possible that facial features and movements could provide a clue to schizophrenic genes or perhaps increased risk for schizophrenia. The article’s pretty interesting. Go read the rest of it.

Article Analysis – “Breaking it down: Mental health and the African community”

Liz Spikol linked to this article back in December and as a Black American with West Indian heritage (and by default, African and French), I couldn’t resist commenting.

Author Morenike Fasuyi blasts the United Kingdom’s mental health system as being less than inadequate for Africans. I don’t doubt it.

I do wonder about Fasuyi’s seemingly sheer hatred for anyone of European descent (in America, we’d refer to them as “white” or “Caucasian”). The article seethes with anger.

“The general consensus suggests that African people have to work twice as hard as their european counterparts in every aspect of our social, cultural and economical existence in order to make ends meet.”

This also is the case for Black Americans.

Fasuyi explains how she’s been diagnosed with bipolar disorder but says her disorder is mainly triggered by things related to Africa: “slavery, politics, oppression.” Her turning point was on May 1, 2004 when “it was as if [her] ancestors called” upon her and “removed the scales from her eyes.” She refers to Karl Marx when speaking about “groups” – Africans – who are oppressed and eventually rise up and lead a revolution. In addition, she believes the numbers 7 and 9 relate to the African people and that 2007 could be the year when “division within the African community” would be “homogenized[d]… to effect change.”

As a Black American, I know that African people truly value their ancestors and even practice ancestry worship. This is where I believe she is coming from. To any other nationality, Fasuyi is crazy (no pun intended). It wouldn’t surprise me if her mental health status file read, “bipolar disorder with psychosis.” Not knowing about African ancestry worship can make any doctor of non-African nationality misdiagnose Fasuyi. To be able to accurately help her, she must be accurately understood.

She asked for an African psychiatrist who might have a cultural understanding of where she was coming from. She mentions this was a slow process since “there [were] hardly any.” She also asked for an African social worker but was given “an insensitive male european (sic) social worker who adversely affected my health with his actions, racist remarks and incompetence.”

She takes a nice jab at Big Pharma and pharma reps, too:

“Maintaining you within the system keeps consultants in their jobs and increases the profit of the pharmaceutical industry, which has a turnover of billions.”

Zyprexa; Cymbalta, anyone?

Continue reading “Article Analysis – “Breaking it down: Mental health and the African community””

Little or no updates today

This weekend was busy and today will be busy as well. No real updates today except for a scheduled post. There’s always a possibility if things slow down around here.

Also — I’m a little slow at responding to e-mails as well. I don’t have access to personal e-mail at work so I’ll be answering e-mails tonight. I apologize for the delay.

~ M