Jane and Marie are who I want to be

I do my best to try and avoid being whiny on this blog, but I’ll give in to the temptation just this once.

There’s a girl I work with who dislikes me for no apparent reason. This girl – we’ll call her Jane – and I got along well when I initially joined the organization and now, for whatever reason, has become cold and distant. I could get all Isaiah Washington and play the race card, but I won’t go there. (I’m not like that. My husband’s white!)

Despite the fact that I really shouldn’t care what Jane thinks of me, I do. I honest to God do. It’s Saturday morning and I’m obsessing over the fact that Jane doesn’t like me. Jane doesn’t give a crap about me right now and here I am, at home, on the weekend, flipping out about how some chick at work doesn’t like me. I know, I’m crazy.

Read the rest of this entry »

Physical methods to beat stress

I received outpatient treatment for my "depression" in late September and late October/early November. I've gotten a ton of "ways to beat stress" things thrown my way and in digging through my e-mail (yes, I finally got to an e-mail from November – shocker!), I found the following. They're all pretty practical, but I laugh my butt off at the last one. (Apologies to those who still sleep with a stuffed animal.)

Physical methods to beat stress
There are over 101 ways to beat stress. These are just a few

1)      Ten breaths to peace sitting or standing slow deep breaths
2)      Giant yawn
3)      Aerobics
4)      Shoveling snow, mowing the lawn
5)      Walking
6)      Exercise
7)      People watching
8)      Dancing
9)      Cuddling with small children, or spouse
10)  Sewing or knitting, crocheting, embroidering, or any craft
11)  Go to a park
12)  Hot bath (bubble bath)
13)  Small planet on a dark night finds a place to look at the stars
14)  Counting from 99 to 1
15)  Speaking of, singing it  is therapeutic
16)  Journaling
17)   Cup of herbal  tea
18)  Steam bath
19)  Making things
20)  Gardening
21)  On tour of an old public library in your town
22)  Telephone  call a friend or relative
23)  Movie party  call several friends let  another friend organize the rides and popcorn
24)  Writing write your life history in the third person
25)  Write a letter to an old friend
26)  Bird watching   in the woods, park, or near water and watch birds
27)  Beat stress with animals  groom your dog or cat
28)  Wheels get on your bike and go or a ride
29)  Pucker up get yourself some bubble mix and blow some bubbles
30)  The way to their heart  bake some cookies for someone shut in, sick or grieving
31)  Visit a homeless shelter take them old magazines or books
32)  .Just one more, please  go out with a camera and take pictures of places or scenery
33)  Swing go to a park get on the swings
34)  Play  games with  children
35)  Clean someone else’s house
36)  Golf
37)  Tie-dye shirts do them for your whole family
38)  Go for a long drive in the country
39)  Read to a child, spouse, or elderly person
40)   Hug a stuff animal

Enjoy all that fun stuff.

Christian stigma surrounding mental illness

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you already know that my dad suffered from schizophrenia. As a result, in late 1998, my father stopped attending work (and by default, was considered abandoning his job after not calling in sick for three days). His illness was so severe that he wasn’t able to work. However, he heavily became involved in our Independent Fundamental Baptist (IFB) church.

Quick background before I continue: One of the main sticking points from IFB beliefs is salvation by faith. (Romans 10:9-10) Basically, all you do is believe in Jesus Christ as the son of God and that he was crucified, died, and rose again. The emphasis here is on BELIEVING. (There’s a reason I’m saying this other than sounding like I’m proselytizing.) The more I became involved in the church, the more I found it was salvation by works (works-based salvation). The problem? IFBers weren’t practicing what they were preaching.

Back to the story: The church was in the middle of a building program and the pastor – we’ll call him Pastor B – heavily called on his members to help out during their free time. My father was so dedicated – he was severely mentally ill now – that he rode my bike for 10 MILES in the RAIN to help put up sheetrock. Then a Sunday or two later, Pastor B tells me, "You know, your dad should really be working. The Bible says that a man who doesn’t work doesn’t eat. You know what I think? I don’t think he was ever saved to begin with."

Talk about judgment. I was shocked beyond belief to hear my pastor tell me that he thought my father wasn’t a born-again Christian. The Bible also says God doesn’t look on the outside appearance, but looks at the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7) Pastor B took advantage of my father’s dedication, but judged him as “unsaved” because he wasn’t working. IFBers don’t believe in "losing" salvation, which means that you fall out of favor with God and won’t go to heaven unless you do something to correct it. They view losing salvation as works-based, which – as I said before – is contrary to their beliefs.

My uncle, who really means well, encourages me to keep praying, trusting, and believing God as if my depression/bipolar is a result of a lack of faith on my part. (While all those things are well and good, it’s like expecting my Lamictal to just make everything all better.) Funny thing, I go to Christian counseling and my counselor – who reads this blog – Hi, C! – has flat out told me that Christianity is not a cure-all for depression. (Or maybe it was my current pastor. I can’t keep track these days.) I became a Christian, hoping to save myself from depression and suicidal thoughts. I wasn’t “delivered” like some people are, but in the midst of these trials, my faith has given me a reason to keep going. For me, it helps to feel like I’m alive for something bigger than myself. Atheists call religion a crutch. It’s a pretty bad analogy. Crutches serve an important purpose: to allow healing. If my “crutch” paves the path for me to heal in more ways than just my depression, then I’ll be happy to have something to lean on for the rest of my life.

Many Christians who suffer from mental illness face similar situations. I read this article on Today’s Christian Woman from 2004 and it seems like the woman in the article had a ton of support from those around her. It sounds like she didn’t run into very many problems at her church either. I feel confident in saying her case is a rarity. Christians who suffer from any kind of mental illness are "demon-possessed, " "don’t read the Bible enough," "don’t pray enough," "don’t believe enough," "aren’t saved enough," yadda yadda yada. There’s every excuse out there to make those who are mentally ill feel subhuman.

I hate to say this, but those who aren’t religious tend to be more compassionate toward those with mental illness. It’s interesting that the religion that teaches “judge not and you will not be judged” (Matthew 7:1) is one of the most judgmental religions of all.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Chris Benoit

Chris BenoitMany of you have probably heard about WWE wrestler Chris Benoit’s murder-suicide. If this is news to you, here’s the skinny:

CNN Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta said Wednesday that it may never be known whether the deaths were linked to steroids or so-called “roid-rage.”

“The drugs said to be found in the home are a synthetic form of testosterone,” Gupta said. “A lot of people use it to build muscle mass, but there are longstanding known relationships between the steroids and roid rage. It could lead to psychosis and anti-social behavior and depression.”

Investigators found the bodies of Nancy and Daniel Benoit with Bibles placed next to them, authorities have said. “The presence of a Bible by each is also not an act of rage,” said the WWE.

Former professional wrestler Del Wilkes said athletes use steroids to gain strength and size, which are key to success in the wrestling world. But he warned that the drugs sometimes come with “moments of uncontrollable rage.”

“You can feel it coming on but there’s nothing you can do about it,” Wilkes said. “The next thing you know, a minor argument has gone into a full-fledged rage, when you’ve got your hands around somebody’s neck. You’re in a fight and doing things you wouldn’t normally do.”

Wilkes also said the drugs can also cause “tremendous” depression “when guys are coming off steroids after they’ve been on it for a long period of time.”

Interesting. In reading tons of articles on this story, as of two weeks ago, Benoit’s tests for steroid use came in negative. Toxicology tests could take up to two weeks to be conclusive.

I find this murder-suicide to be incredibly bizarre. Not that murder-suicides are rare (unfortunately), but Benoit made this “event” – for lack of a better term – incredibly dramatic. It’s possible that he placed Bibles next to each of the bodies in a show of religion – probably hoping that God would redeem each individual soul in the house. I tried to go on this weird explanation to my husband that Benoit was trying to draw parallels between Jesus’ death over the course of three days and that Benoit did the same thing, but looking back now, I guess it’s a stretch.

Regardless, this situation prompts further investigation as to why Benoit would have done such a thing. Perhaps he did suffer from ‘roid rage. Or maybe there are deeper issues that haven’t surfaced yet. Since the authorities found all the bodies Wednesday, details will probably continue to unravel during the next few weeks.

I hate to bring in the mental health issue up in this discussion, but I can’t imagine Benoit was in a healthy state of mind in the weeks leading up to the murders. What occurred in the house wasn’t a random decision – it was well-planned and well-thought out.

From what I’ve gathered, other WWE wrestlers say that Benoit was very quiet and private about his family life. News reports say that in 2003, his wife Nancy filed for divorce and get a restraining order on him. In the filing, she mentioned she suffered from domestic abuse. Was the violent man on stage really that violent at home as well?

As far as I know, there’s no DSM classification for violent or “anger problem.” The closest thing anyone would get is psychosis, I would think. And even then, most psychotics are harmless. (I’m not talking about the informal term “psycho,” used to refer to someone who committed a heinous crime. OK, maybe he was informally psycho.)

I’m going to assume here that Benoit had serious marital problems with a really bad temper. Nancy was going to file for divorce again and probably threatened to take full custody of their 7-year-old son. Benoit probably thought to himself, No way is she leaving me and taking my son away from me. We’re here together til’ death do us part. He probably didn’t want his son to live with the shame of having a father who killed his mother and/or himself so he murdered him too. Regardless, I’ll never understand how anyone could harm a child.

Benoit’s fans and fellow wrestlers have lost an incredible amount of respect for him now and rightly so. (Not that it matters since he’s dead and doesn’t have to contend with that.) Instead of dying as a WWE legend, his memory will be tarnished because of his crime.

NICS the anti-depressants

In my Google alerts, I came upon a link to The Center for Science Writings at the Stevens Institute of Technology. John Horgan, a professor on the blog, received an e-mail from a former student commenting on the future of anti-depressant therapy:

Introducing “pharmacogenomics,” the latest and greatest addition to the ever-growing collection of pseudoscientific portmanteaus. According to a recent article in the New York Times written by Richard A. Friedman, M.D., there will soon be psychological medication that is custom-tailored to a patient’s DNA and genetic structure to ensure maximum effectiveness.

He makes his case with an example: his patient Laura. Laura was depressed, so Friedman gave her Lexapro, a common selective seratonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) anti-depressant. But Laura was still depressed, so he switched her to Zoloft, another SSRI. Still depressed, Laura switched to Wellbutrin, a non-SSRI anti-depressant. No dice. Dr. Friedman was frustrated; after three months he still couldn’t find an effective treatment for Laura. Then, Laura decided that since Prozac (also an SSRI) had helped her father with depression, she wanted to give it a shot. And voila, it worked!

If only Laura’s genes were able to reveal that Dr. Friedman should have prescribed Prozac, arguably the most well-known anti-depressant in America, from the very beginning, that would have saved a lot of hard, aggravating diagnosis work on everybody’s part.

But wait! There might be salvation on the horizon; according to Friedman it will soon be possible for doctors to analyze a patient’s unique genetic profile and prescribe the appropriate medicine so that time and money would no longer be wasted on the circuitous trial-and-error process of expert diagnoses.

No, what “melted away” Laura’s depression was good, old fashioned SSRI Prozac. But Friedman doesn’t see the contradiction. Instead, he claims that this new process of genetic-based medical treatments, “pharmacogenomics” will revolutionize the medicine, allow doctors to enhance their already astute diagnosing skills, and reduce the pharmaceutical industry to a withering dinosaur.

But what about Laura? What about the Prozac? Could it be that she was genetically predisposed to a specific brand of medicine? Are we all designed to respond to one drug label instead of another? If indeed that’s the case, there is only one logical conclusion to draw: God exists and He’s a Big Pharma shareholder.

Somehow, I’m not so convinced. — Suhas Sreedhar

I'm with Suhas. I skimmed Dr. Friedman's article and the whole process sounds weird. I think Laura probably – haha – psyched herself into thinking that Prozac would work since it worked for her dad.

While genes play a role in generational and familial health, I'm not completely convinced that psych meds would affect a father in the same way as it would affect his son or daughter across the board. Even if it really did work for Laura, I am skeptical that the method could be applied to any psychiatric patient. If a patient doesn't have any family, there we go with trial-and-error. Or we could just search our future FBI DNA mental health database and see if the patient matches up with anyone currently on meds.


Last week, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales called upon the remaining 27 states who don't report mental health files to the  NICS to do so. (That was an awful sentence.)

Speaking during a meeting of the nation's state attorneys general, Gonzales urged [states] to participate in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System, more popularly known as "NICS."

Then the article (linked to above) jumped to protecting the public from sex offenders:.

Gonzales also called for ideas on how to protect the public from convicted sex offenders.

Mental health experts, however, say Gonzales is overreacting. Sex offenders are less likely to repeat the same type of crime than other criminals, only about 13 percent within the first five years, said Dr. James Stark, former president of the Georgia Psychological Association.

"The whole country is in a predator panic. They've gone crazy," said Stark, who treats sexual disorders at the Marietta and Ellijay clinics of Psychological Forensic Associates.

"There are very few sex offenders who are actually dangerous," he said, adding that most of the 13,000 people on Georgia's registry of sex offenders are there for flashing, being a peeping Tom or having consensual sex with an underage girlfriend.

Maybe I'm overreacting. If a sex offender isn't dangerous, why is he or she a sex offender to begin with? Yup, peeping Toms don't ever turn into psychos. On that matter, try watching Alfred Hitchcock's movie, Psycho. (Please don't watch the remake. You'll be better off for it.)

Pledge drive for Dawdy

I’m a fan of Philip Dawdy’s blog, Furious Seasons. There I said it. So if you read the site and like what he’s got to say, donate some money to the umemployed feller. I don’t know if he realizes how many people’s lives he’s changed with his blog.

Once payday comes around, I’ll practice what I’ve preached.

TAC: Totally Avoiding Common sense

Philip Dawdy at Furious Seasons has a post on the TAC’s latest annoying post. If it’s annoying, why am I mentioning it? Because I like to bitch and whine, of course.

On the topic of the Cho incident:

The anti-psychiatry crowd tried to use the Virginia Tech case to paint the frightening image that psychiatric medications caused Seung-Hui Cho to go on a murderous rampage. In an unsigned letter, one group issued a demand for the toxicology report under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, threatening legal action.

Last week, the results of toxicology tests were released. But, the fearmongers won’t be pleased. The state medical examiner’s office found no trace of prescription drugs or toxic substances in Cho’s body.

In this day and age, it is hard to believe that there are still people who deny the existence of severe mental illnesses and point to everything but untreated psychotic symptoms as the cause of harmful behaviors. But, the research shows that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are diseases of the brain. And as most people suspected, it was Cho’s untreated symptoms that caused so much devastation.

I’m really confused here. The TAC is the group that’s known for advocating family members (or something) gaining complete control over a mentally ill person – giving them the opportunity to have that person committed. From what I understand, it sounds like the TAC wants to do that even if the mentally ill person doesn’t have a psychiatric advance directive.

The TAC seems to mock the fact that the "anti-psychiatry" crowd who said Cho was on some heavy meds when he went on his rampage. TAC’s "nah-nanny-boo-boo" comes at the end when they gloat about how Cho’s rampage was the result of an untreated mental illness.

I was never completely convinced Cho was on meds. Perhaps an antidepressant but I didn’t think antipsychotics or drugs that heavy. (Pass the ‘quell!) Nevertheless, I reject the TAC’s argument that if Cho were on meds, the VTech massacre could have been prevented. See my post from yesterday on Christopher Pittman who killed his grandparents and burned their house down while taking 200 mg (an adult dosage) of Zoloft. It’s completely possible that Cho had a mental illness that went untreated. But I think it’s time that people finally just admit that Cho was responsible for his actions with or without meds. If I go out and shoot a cop, I can appeal that the bipolar disorder made me do it, but regardless, I’m the one who did it. I’m responsible for my actions for shooting a cop, bipolar disorder or not. (Philadelphians: Resist the temptation to insert Mumia Abu-Jamal joke here.)

There are still a lot of fuzzy things surrounding Cho’s mental health and his motivation behind the shootings, but I have a feeling there will be many more questions and very few answers.

Not for those under 17

Okay, I found this link from CLPsych and apparently…

Online Dating

Thanks to the following words on my site, I am bad, bad, bad:

  • suicide (22x)
  • pain (6x)
  • gun (4x)
  • murder (2x)
  • crappy (1x)

Probably not a good thing for a born-again Christian to have an NC-17-rated site. 😛

Loose Screws Mental Health News

Let’s start off small and build up, shall we?

A blog I came upon, Providentia, has a post on the suicide rate in Kentucky over a 10-year period. Male schizophrenics have the highest rate of suicide. The leading methods of suicide in the state are firearm use, overdose, and hanging.


Mary WinklerMary Winkler, the preacher’s wife who killed her husband, has been moved from jail to a mental health facility, where she will serve the remainder of her three-year sentence.


East meadow, a poster on the drugs.com message board, asks about Lexapro’s correlation to suicide. Her sister committed suicide while on Lexapro and questions whether the Lexapro might have affected her in that way. As a former Lexapro user, I can empathize with the change in her sister’s behavior.


The Depression Calculator: see how much depression is costing your company and see if treatment is worth your while. I went through it for kicks and basically, I walked away feeling like it cost too much to hire someone with depression, especially if I were running a small business. Blah.


Apparently, bipolar disorder is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Starbucks is settling an $85,000 lawsuit with Christine Drake, a former Starbucks employee who suffers from bipolar disorder. It seems that Drake’s first manager was willing to work with her “psychiatric impairment” and allow her to gain “extra training and support.” Then, get this:

“But, during her third year, new management told her she was “not Starbucks material,” refused to continue the accommodation and ultimately fired her for discriminatory reasons, the agency alleged.”

Starbucks probably put up one helluva fight, but in the end, they’ve tried to put a good face and good spin on the situation:

Starbucks agreed to pay Drake $75,000 and donate another $10,000 to the Disability Rights Legal Center, which provides legal representation for low-income people with disabilities facing discrimination, as part of the settlement.

“The facts of this case illustrate how relatively minor accommodations are often all that disabled people need to be productive members of the work force,” said the EEOC’s San Francisco district office director, Joan Ehrlich. “It is important that all of Starbucks’ managers understand their legal duties regarding disabled employees and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed. This is in everyone’s best interest.”

Ms. Drake, who seems to be more than capable of handling a job well, has probably eeked out several years of a barista’s salary from the Starbucks suit.


I’m amused, but it’s not necessarily a good thing.

RisperdalJohnson & Johnson is gearing up to put Risperdal for children on the market. I’m sure other blogs have beat me to the punch on this, but I just came across this info and found it absolutely retarded. (But what do drug companies care?)

The FDA has approved “expanded use” for Risperdal in teenagers who suffer from schizophrenia and the short-term treatment of bipolar mania in kids ages 10-17. I’m leery enough about antidepressants in kids let alone antipsychotics.

“J&J said the agency has not requested the company perform any additional studies, implying that it need only agree with the FDA on acceptable labeling for the expanded uses in order to gain final approval.”

I wasn’t sure what “expanded use” was so I looked it up. This was the best I could come up with:

“Applications for a new or expanded use, often representing important new treatment options, are formally called “efficacy supplements” to the original new drug application.”

Well, I didn’t know what efficacy supplements were so I looked that up too:

“The legislative history indicates that this provision was directed at certain types of efficacy supplements (i.e., supplemental applications proposing to add a new use of an approved drug to the product labeling).”

So – correct me if I’m wrong – it sounds like the studies performed that led up to this “expanded use” are not as rigorously evaluated by the FDA as the initial studies that allowed the drug to be released on the market in the first place. It just seems like a company and the FDA simply need to agree on “acceptable labeling.” So if we’re following the theory that I’m still correct, the FDA doesn’t follow up on the clinical trials performed on these children, they just agree with J&J on the “acceptable labeling.” Doesn’t that thought make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside about your health?


Christopher PittmanOn the subject of children and psychotropic medications, 12-year-old Christopher Pittman shot and killed his grandparents and then set their house on fire in November 2001 all while on an adult dosage of Zoloft. It looks like the drama is still playing out in June 2007.

According to CourtTV.com, Pittman suffered from hallucinations while on the 200 mg dose and while in jail, displayed symptoms of mania.

“Three years after the killings, Pittman was tried in adult court and convicted of murder. He was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He was then 15 years of age.”

No doubt Pittman should be held responsible for what occurred, especially if he admitted to the killings (which he did). However, the situation raises a few questions. First of all, why was he on 200 mg of Zoloft when he was TWELVE? Why wasn’t he considered mentally ill and placed in a mental health facility? I could go on and on. While Pittman “did the crime and needs to do the time,” why isn’t the doctor who prescribed this not present in any of the reported stories? If this incident was 2001, it can only be worse for antidepressants and other psych meds today.

John Travolta: Psychotropic meds are the source of all evil!

I saw an article somewhere that John Travolta thinks the same way about psychiatry as Tom Cruise. Have your hubby fill you in on that and write about it in one of your celebrity posts. 🙂 ~ Stephany

He did and so I shall.

John TravoltaIt seems that Scientology has a big to-do about hating psychiatric assistance. If you don’t know about Tom Cruise’s opinion, you’ve been living under a rock for way too long. Now, John Travolta has jumped on the bandwagon saying:

I still think that if you analyse most of the school shootings, it is not gun control. It is psychotropic drugs at the bottom of it.

So yeah, I’ve stopped following the Cho thing, but I don’t believe he was on any psychotropic medication. Hence, Travolta’s assessment (or assumption or whatever) is invalid. And really, where would he get such a fallacy? Doesn’t he know that antidepressants are the true source for school shootings?

[kidding]

Mentally ill or mentally defective?

I found this article on about.com about NRA President Wayne LaPierre – appearing on the CBS Morning Show – discussing the issue of those with mental illness owning guns. (In light of Cho, VTech, yadda yada)

Apparently, a bill passed the House of Representatives that pushes states to deliver information on those who have a criminal or mentally ill (see documentation on being hospitalized in a mental hospital, i.e. "behavioral" as they call it these days) background:

This bill requires (and provides funding for) states to send information on criminals and those judged to be mentally ill to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System. Apparently this measure would have prevented Cho from purchasing the guns he used in the Virginia Tech shooting.

On About.com’s bipolar disorder community, a member – Sharon – went off on LaPierre’s reference to those who are "mentally ill":

"That being said, I do have a diagnosis of BP, and from what Mr. LaPierre was saying, I am mentally defective. I flinched every time he said it, and he said it with gusto at least ten times in the course of the interview. He never said mentally ill, only mentally defective, mentally defective, mentally defective. And people wonder why so many of us ‘mentally defective’ people feel we are stigmatized."

About.com looked into it and apparently, despite the overuse of LaPierre’s terminology, it isn’t original:

Indeed, we found that "mentally defective" seems to be one of LaPierre’s favorite phrases. Speaking of the House bill (which was written with much input from the NRA) to Newsweek, he said, "We just don’t think it’s really gun control to try to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mentally defective," and used the phrase other times as well.

We were horrified to find that Mr. LaPierre could actually justify his use of the phrase "mentally defective": it is the language used in existing law. For example, in the Federal Firearms Transaction Record for over-the-counter purchases of guns, one of the questions is: "Have you ever been adjudicated mentally defective (which includes having been adjudicated incompetent to manage your own affairs) or have you ever been committed to a mental institution?" A "yes" answer to this question prohibits the person from purchasing or receiving a firearm. [emphasis mine]

And since the bill passed by the House is designed to help states comply with those existing laws, it does nothing to de-stigmatize the language. However, it is worth pointing out that since the law uses the word "adjudicate," it appears only a person who has been judged mentally ill in a legal setting would, at this time, be barred from buying a gun.

It’s OK. Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (OK, who I admit, I voted for) has laid down the bottom line:

"My bottom line, I’m sorry, is if you’re mentally ill, you should not be able to buy a gun."

I can’t blame her. Her husband was killed in 1993 in a Long Island Railroad by a "deranged gunman." Regardless, the issue is still icky, sticky, and tricky.

Back.

I’ve been away from blogging for a lot of reasons. I’ve been away from a ton of things for a lot of reasons.

First of all, work has gotten incredibly busy. Since January, I’ve been faced with an onslaught of projects that have headed my way. Now that I’ve been there a year, the work simply hasn’t stopped because I’m familiar with performing many of the tasks related to my job. I also had a managing editor who suddenly quit (she e-mailed in sick for 4 days then called to quit on the 4th day) and the next person up went on maternity leave. As a result, there’s been a lot of management shifting and the big boss of the entire department is overseeing my little section. Since most of my blogging is done at work, this has seriously contributed to my lack of posts. My cubicle is also located on a main hallway where the big boss of my department walks by and it looks sort of slacker-ish to have a Typepad Web page up when I’m really supposed to be doing something work-related. I even feel weird doing this on my lunch break.

Second, I’ve been too busy to file through Google Alerts, which is where I get most of my blogging material. My husband will pass off a few things here and there to me, but for the most part, I go digging through the alerts for anything that catches my eye. I have a backlogged inbox as a result and mostly go through it each week and delete the myriad of e-mails from the previous week.

Third, I haven’t had time (also see too lazy) to read other blogs, which inspire much of my material. I do recommend that people check out my faves: Furious Seasons, Clinical Psychiatry & Psychology, Honey’s Journey, Bipolar Blast, and soulful sepulcher. I also like Peter’s Rost’s Question Authority, but much of that stuff is way over my head. (And I have family members who tell me what I write is over their heads. Ha!) There’s certainly more that I haven’t mentioned here, but take a look at my blogroll list and read some of them. They’re extremely good and informative.

Fourth, I’ve been lazy. Not only have I been avoiding my blog, I’ve been avoiding other blogs, I’ve been avoiding e-mails, I’ve been avoiding other people, I’ve essentially closed myself off from interaction with people except for my immediate family members because I’ve been lazy and partially depressed. I have a coworker who’s been giving the cold shoulder out of nowhere and I don’t know what I’ve done wrong. The people-pleaser in me wants to desperately go up to her and correct things. I want her to like me, I want us to have jovial conversations, I simply want to feel socially comfortable in my work environment. But I’ve apologized over and over to her many times for things in the past (even if it wasn’t my fault) and I’ve come to the point where I’m tired of it. A person can only apologize for things so much. I’m working on the people-pleaser aspect of myself and have forced myself through this uncomfortable situation. We’re not mean to each other; we’re simply polite and talk only business. She could be nasty, but she’s not and I’m thankful for that.

Fifth, (really a continuation of four) I’ve been semi-depressed because of the whole situation with my coworker. I’ve been feeling socially inadequate, intellectually inept, and verbally retarded. (Everyone at work has a hard time understanding me when I explain things the first time around and I need to re-explain myself two or three times – lately it’s been three – to get my point across clearly.) The communication breakdown on my end is extremely frustrating because my mind thinks faster than I speak and my words come incorrect or I use words in the wrong sense. (For instance, I called the wing of a building a “partition.” *sigh* I caught myself after saying that twice.) Ugh. I appreciate my ability to write because at least I have the opportunity to re-read what I write and make some sense. Blah.

Sixth, my HP laptop was on the fritz for 2 months and I had to send it back three times. Really annoying.

I’m sure there’s more but there are the many reasons I can think of off the top of my head. I no longer make promises about what I can and can’t do. It’s possible that people may be hearing back from me on an e-mail that was sent in March. Better late than never.

I have so many things to settle and finalize in my life. I have this need for closure and I’ll do what I need to do to get it done. It sucks and I hate to admit failure, but it’s what I’ve got to do.

I’m also looking for a new position. If anyone knows of any assistant editor, editor, copy editor, proofreader, and reporter positions in or around the Philadelphia area (I’m especially interested in the area between Lancaster, PA and Philly), please let me know. I’d like to get back into editing and writing instead of this mostly data entry job. I also am open to freelancing after Labor Day.

I’m 25 – not old, but when technology moves faster than the speed of light, you start to feel archaic. I can bet $10 that a 14-year-old would go “huh?” if you asked what a ZIP drive was. (I saw a ZIP disk the other day and boy, was I stunned. I haven’t seen those things since 2001/2002.) And I remember records – like vinyl. I’m sure 40-year-olds are going to pooh-pooh me and say, “Girl, you don’t know what old is!” But it doesn’t make me feel any better when teenagers these days don’t even know what a Walkman is. (And Walkmans really weren’t invented THAT long ago… or were they?) Oh and yeah, Madonna is sooo 1980s, early ‘90s. It’s all about Justin Timberlake and Young Jeezy. (Yeah, I don’t even know who the latter is, but I’ve seen the name around tons of times.)

But that’s about it for now. Hopefully, I can get my mind back together and start taking care of things, reading blogs, and posting more. (The mental fog clears up every once in a while.)

Best to all.

Absentia

Likely no updates for a while. I’m working on a Young Adult novel and have been putting my energy toward that. (Hypomanic much?) Anyway, the absence will likely continue. I’ll probably be answering e-mails from two months ago and checking blogs occasionally.

Oh yeah, and don’t be surprised if I contradict myself and post a couple of times this week. 😉

Family Abandonment

Blank.

I have nothing to say, I have nothing to write. Perhaps I have blogger’s block. (If you didn’t know that term, now you do.)

Some people pour out many of their personal issues on their blogs. I don’t feel comfortable doing that here. Namely since I have family reading this and I’d prefer to keep the crazy thoughts of my mind right where they belong – in my mind.

So I don’t know when I’ll be updating, when I’ll be prolific, when I’ll have the motivation do anything again.

I’ll stop right here before I start complaining about the crappy aspects of my overall pretty good life.

Daily Wisdom from the TAC

The tragedy is that instead of receiving appropriate treatment from their physicians, they could receive inappropriate treatment at the hands of the criminal justice system; the rough, hopeless treatment of lives lived on the streets; or the finality of treatment at the hands of a mortician. ~ TAC: Dispelling myths

My father, who was severely mentally ill (he makes me look good), completely opposed assisted treatment. Now, I can’t state this as the case for everyone, but from my experience, people who get to the point of severity are likely to think that nothing’s wrong with them – mainly because illusions become reality for them.

Attribution: Furious Seasons

P.S. I love how Dawdy refers to them as "good friends."

UPDATE: The link’s been fixed.

NYT story on suicide and depression

This story is one of the saddest I’ve ever read. Doctors who treat patients like this should be locked away themselves.

YouTube vs. Big Pharma: Round 1

We seem to have a lot of contenders today. Kevin M.D. has a post (linking to PharmaGossip which links to Advertising Age) about the video "exposés" on pharmaceutical companies that have been popping up.

GlaxoSmithKline now has its own one minute, 43-second video on YouTube for Restless Legs Syndrome. Ms. Wetzel said she believes more drug companies and ad agencies will adopt such an approach. "The conversation about health care goes on," she said, "and we're going to have to deal with it."

My job blocks YouTube so I can't see the video, let alone link to the one I'd like to reference, but the other day, I saw (at least) a minute-long TV ad for Celebrex, but oh man, was it awful. See the craptasticness of it at celebrex.com. While I'm all for pharmaceutical companies being upfront and honest about their products, from a marketing standpoint, this commercial is an unbelievable disappointment. (Who agreed to this?) It's one of the most boring commercials I've ever seen and goes on and on for – oh say, a minute – about all the side effects of Celebrex before getting to the positive aspects about the drug. Has the FDA changed the rules on advertising NSAIDS that I'm not aware of? Here's your sampling:

"Lately, there has been some confusion about arthritis pain treatments. It is important to know that there are risks with all pain medicines, including the 3 most common NSAIDs: CELEBREX, naproxen, and ibuprofen. In fact,the FDA requires all these NSAID pain relievers, including CELEBREX, to have the same cardiovascular warning. Understanding the risks and benefits of different NSAIDs is important. All NSAIDs, including CELEBREX, help relieve arthritis pain, but only you and your doctor can decide which one is right for you. An NSAID like CELEBREX might be an option."

* I just timed it: It was 2½ minutes long.

Cognitive functioning

Lately, my cognitive functioning has been absolute CRAP. My thoughts feel slow and dulled. I find myself constantly at a loss for words, especially verbally, which hinders my communication skills. I think this is not only affecting my job performance, but also my social skills on the job. This is probably why I’m making so many mistakes and forgetting things to do despite my endless lists. As a result, I’m worried about applying for a new job and feeling incredibly slow and dull like I do now. I wonder if it is the Lamictal or something else. I didn’t feel this way before I got bumped up to 200 mg, but the problem is quite apparent right now. I’ve become a whiz at solving sudoku puzzles (especially the hard ones!), but now, I’m lucky if I can solve medium. Easy takes me quite a while to finish now. If it is the Lamictal, my husband and I have discussed a trade-off: mixed episodes or the return of cognitive functioning? It’s like choosing between psychotic episodes or obesity. What would your choice be?

I apologize in advance for misspellings or sentences that don’t make sense. In some ways, I miss my pre-200 mg Lamictal self.

Test

Let’s try this again.

Typepad has set up a way to post via e-mail. This is just a test to see if the format comes out the way I want it to. It’d be nice to have a more conspicuous way to post on my blog without having something up on my computer screen that screams “SURFING THE INTERNET!!!” My cubicle faces a major hallway where anyone and everyone in the office can see my computer and what I’m doing. Posting via e-mail would be so helpful.

The reasons I want to post via e-mail:

* More conspicuous
* Less intrusive
* Doesn’t look like I’m not working (which I actually do! Just in between posts) 🙂

But I’m pretty anal about formatting. If this doesn’t come out the way I like, I may just post the old fashioned way. (Time consuming, but the format appears the way I want it to.)

IMPORTANT: Banned words result in deleted comments

I’ve had several spammers over the weekend now (for some reason, they’ve been posting in Italian), so in addition to banning IP addresses, I’m also banning some words. General cuss words have been banned (damn is allowed). "Nude" and "incest" have also been banned so please find a more verbose way to express that. If I get a lot of "naked," that will be banned too. Comments with those words are automatically deleted. (My posts [not comments] can get around it, haha.) Unfortunately, I’ve allowed the word "sex," because it’s pretty frustrating to have a legit comment deleted with that word. Or I may just have you start writing "gender" or "copulation" or that sort of thing. 🙂 "Gay," "lesbo," and "lesbian" are banned as well. Use "homosexual male/female" or "woman who likes women" instead. I know it’s a pain, but this would really help me out. This list is likely to be updated.

I am no longer allowing limited HTML. If you have a URL, just paste the URL without the HTML tags. Limited HTML is temporarily allowed.

I doubt you’ll have to use this process often, but it’s here as a reminder. I’ll place a link to this post in the right-hand corner of the site for easy reference.

I also am no longer accepting trackbacks. We’ll see what happens with that.

Sorry for the inconvenience, folks.

Mac OSx vs. Windows XP – Mac OSx wins Round 1

"I left HP (PC’s) and went over to Mac…I’ve never been happier!!
Customer service and the computers (outside of ipods) are THE BEST I’VE EVER HAD!!! I’D NEVER LEAVE THEM!!!!" ~
Amber Anique

Looks like I took your advice without seeing your comment first, Amber. My husband suggested getting a Macbook (mainly because he’s a techie geek and wanted to mess with an operating system other than Windows and Linux), but I was initially reluctant because I haven’t used a Mac regularly since, oh, 1993 or something. (I remember the days when computers in black text/beige background or green text/black background were the standard.) But after having a bad experience with Dell (LCD went bad twice, one hard drive gave up the ghost, keyboard keys began falling off) and now HP (bad RAM it seems, but HP techies were never able to figure it out despite the laptop being sent back twice), I decided to purchase a Macbook on Saturday. It’s my biggest purchase ever and I initially had buyer’s remorse, but I love it. It’ll take a little getting used to, however. So many things won me over:

  • Tech support at the actual store
  • A plan that allows me to easily backup my entire hard drive to a DVD in the event of failure
  • Macs are reliable; not known for crashing as often as Windows
  • I love the clean interface
  • Weighs in at a portable 6 lbs with the AC adapter

There were a ton of other things that I can’t recall to mind at the moment (I’ll explain why in a following post), but I finally decided to fork over the – ack – $1600 to get the Macbook, MS office, 3-year protection plan, and the yearly Mac thingy (the one with the backup plan). I shaved about $200 off the price because I lied about being a Drexel student (oops). I feel guilty about lying, but my buyer’s remorse would be even greater with an $1800 price tag.

So now I’ll have the opportunity to catch up e-mails, blogging, and news. Albeit, very slowly. And now I have to brave the process of RELOADING all my songs onto iTunes (and repurchasing the ones I didn’t back up in the month duration that my HP crapped out on me before sending it back on two separate occasions. I was able to salvage my new documents before the HP decided to die permanently, but my newly downloaded songs (that I paid for) are gone.

Such is life. Give me five years, Amber, and let’s see if I still agree with your assessment. So far, I’ve barely had a laptop survive past the 3-year warranty expiration. (I’ve had better luck with desktops.)

Spammers

Despite the fact that a top spammer has been nabbed, somehow spammers have figured out a way around the capcha code and I’m getting a spammer comment per day. One a day isn’t a problem. However, if the frequence of spammers increase to an unmanageable point, I will have to require commenters to sign up for Typekey, a free service that allows users to comment on Typepad sites and all other Six Apart-owned sites. It’s not necessary now, but there’s no harm in doing it. For more information about Typekey, click here. Here’s an incentive if you need one:

TypeKey is a completely pseudonymous system meaning that no personally identifying information is required to use it. However, if you wish to tell the world a little bit more about yourself, you can put whatever information you choose to share on your TypeKey profile page. A link to that page is displayed next to every comment your make when you authenticate through TypeKey.