Quote of the Week

"One problem with gazing too frequently into the past is that we may
turn around to find that the future has run out on us." — Michael
Cibenko

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Quote of the Week

"Procrastination is the thief of time." — Edward Young

The Puppini Sisters

An oldies station the other day featured Beyoncé’s song “Crazy In Love” as covered by The Puppini Sisters. I was incredibly confused because I was pretty sure that Beyoncé’s song was original and not a remake of an old song. I did some digging and apparently The Puppini Sisters (who aren’t really sisters) do covers of songs ranging from Wuthering Heights and the Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy to Walk Like An Egyptian and Crazy In Love in a swing format a là The Andrews Sisters. I discovered their most recent single — a cover of Dusty Springfield’s “Spooky” — and now it’s an earworm. I share it with you as I get ready to embark on my vacation. The video is cheesy but I think the song is kinda groovy. Enjoy.

Quote of the Week

"If one asks for success and prepares for failure, he will get the situation he has prepared for." — Florence Scovel Shinn

Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues

Colonial Williamsburg I’m taking a hiatus from this blog through the beginning of September. I might make a post here and there but nothing consistent. The Quotes of the Week are automatic. Be patient with me if I don’t respond to emails right away. And I’ll be on vacation in Colonial Williamsburg the last week of August. It’ll be my first time going there so let me know if you’ve been there and the places I simply MUST visit.

Things have been very crazy lately. My husband was suffering from intense depression and panic attacks last week (stemming from the way his grandfather died), and I’ve been going through a rough patch of depression myself. I am always tired and have no energy despite my morning cup o’ joe. (I’ve also realized that I need to beef up on my iron intake. no pun intended… well, maybe)

On Friday, my OB/GYN informed me that I suffered a ruptured cyst in my ovary in early July and that I need to go on birth control to flush it out of my system and regulate my ovulation. I took one pill yesterday but read the side effects: clots here, clots there, liver disease, high blood pressure, and stroke/heart attack risks everywhere. Considering I’m not suicidal right now, I don’t feel like shortening my life and ruining my health. I’ll suffer through my painful ovulations, thankyouverymuch.

childrenI’ve recently noticed that August has become a typical month for me to get significantly depressed (see sample posts from Augusts 2007 and 2006). Being aware of this now, I plan to keep August 2009 particularly free of all commitments. Therefore, as I was silly enough to volunteer as staff for my church’s Vacation Bible School this week, I will never do it again. Not only that, but I hate having to deal with 10 or more kids for extended periods of time. The morning could not have moved any slower. (And I had to make crafts with the kids and I LOATHE crafts. I’d be the most boring mother on the face of the planet.)

I went to a KT Tunstall concert Friday night at the Borgata in Atlantic City and a Neil Diamond concert at Wachovia Center in Philly on Saturday night. The concerts were great, but man, did those events make things even more stressful. I was on pins and needles all of last week because my husband seemed to always be on the verge of a breakdown and I was having a tough time just trying to sludge through the week. I didn’t even make it to work for 2 days because my husband was so depressed that he stayed home not to mention I ALSO was suffering from depression. I’m losing money from not working, which has me flipping out a bit but I really need this time to myself. I’m not fully functional. If I had a full-time job to hold down, I’d be in the hospital again. Thank God for this freelancing gig that gives me the opportunity to focus on my mental health when I need to.

This post has become a senseless rant as I’m still exhausted and thinking incoherently. Please pray for Michelle (beartwinsmom.wordpress.com) who’s going through a severe depression and rejoice with Gianna (bipolarblast.wordpress.com) who is finally off of Risperdal.

Quote of the Week

“I start to think there really is no cure for depression, that
happiness is an ongoing battle, and I wonder if it isn’t one I’ll have
to fight for as long as I live. I wonder if it’s worth it.” — Elizabeth
Wurtzel

A dream quashed — good or bad?

Some words of wisdom from my husband:

"You’re not good enough to make it onto American Idol and you’re not bad enough to make it onto American Idol."

That’s some kind of consolation… I guess.

Loose Screws Mental Health News: Suicide slide

A National Institute for Mental Health in England report reveals particular progress in cutting suicides among young men.

The three-year average was 8.3 suicides per 100,000 population in 2004-06, down from 8.5 in the previous three years.

The article was brief and unclear which leaves me wondering what England is doing right.

“Sure, Grandpa gets a little cranky and blue sometimes, but he’d never
do anything stupid”, you might think. Wrong.  Elderly people account
for 13% of the US population, but make up nearly 24% of completed
suicides. Older men are the most at risk with a rate of 29 per 100,000
people.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

More than you know, Dr. Chiaramonte. More than you know.

According to the 2007 Small Arms Survey, the United States had about 90 firearms per 100 people – the highest ratio in the world – followed by Yemen, Finland, Switzerland and Iraq.

Over half of all suicides in the United States – 52% – were committed with firearms in 2005, according to the most recent CDC data available.

Gun control: good or bad? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Celebrity Sensitivity: Joe Pantoliano & Blake Fielder-Civil

Actor Joe Pantoliano, best known for his roles in The Goonies and The Sopranos, has recently admitted to struggling with depression. He didn’t tell anyone up until 3 years ago. When a close friend committed suicide, the event prompted him to seek help. He has begun the site No Kidding, Me Too to help fight the stigma of mental illness and encourage others to get help.

Blake Fielder-CivilAlso in depression news, Amy Winehouse’s troubled husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, has been receiving counseling in prison due to worry that Winehouse is still abusing drugs.

“Blake is on the verge of a nervous breakdown,” a prison insider told The Sun. “He has stopped his mopping job, which may sound funny, but it gave him something to do. Instead he mopes around his cell.

Something tells me that Fielder-Civil is not taking drugs — antidepressants, of course — in prison.

Lamictal's generic equivalent, lamotrigine, has now hit the market

So much for Miss Up-on-Pharmaceuticals.

I’ve been paying so much attention to Pristiq that the very medication I take slipped out from right under my nose.

How did I find this out? It hit me where it hurt.

In the pockets, of course.

I went to CVS yesterday night for my Lamictal refill. Since I’ve been under my husband’s plan, we’ve been paying about $40 for the medication. So I nearly doubled over when the pharmacy cashier said $54.

WHAT?

I was in a bit of a foul mood about money anyway so the last thing I wanted to do was argue about the cost of my prescription that had jumped up by $14. (Which, in retrospect, I probably should have done because I could have saved $49 right there.)

I came home and made my husband’s day go from bad to worse. He flipped out and got on the phone with his insurance immediately. He said that the max he should pay on any medication is $50 so why was he paying $54 and why the cost rose so sharply.

“Well, sir, it’s because Lamictal has now gone generic and you’re paying the difference between the cost of the medication and the cost of the generic.”

Bob gets off the phone and goes straight to Google News to find out when Lamictal went generic.

Money & drugsAccording to MarketWatch.com, Teva Pharmaceuticals commenced shipment of lamotrigine tablets on July 22nd
. So instead of either the pharmacist asking me if I wanted a generic version or the insurance company letting us know a generic version would be available (it would have saved them money), we ended up paying $49 more than necessary. It appears that Teva’s generic is AB-rated, which means that it has similar strength, bioequivalence, and efficacy. Overall, it likely shouldn’t be a problem if I go from Lamictal to lamotrigine. At least I hope not. We’ll see.

Mood rating:
5

Golden Gate Bridge Barrier Update

The San Francisco Chronicle’s site has an update on the GGB barrier debate. Unfortunately, most people don’t want any kind of barrier at all. However, of the design options, the net is proving to be the most popular. Likely because it doesn’t affect the aesthetics of the bridge by much and it is still considered a suicide prevention mechanism.

Golden Gate Bridge net barrierI’d initially cited concerns about how jumpers would be pulled out of the net. Rachael Gordon, the Chronicle’s staff writer, got chief engineer Denis Mulligan to provide an answer:

For starters, he said, once someone jumps over the Art Deco span’s 4-foot railing, it could take rescuers several hours to get to the scene to retrieve the person from the net, which essentially would envelop the person and make it difficult but still possible to clamber out.

“It wouldn’t be like a trampoline, that once you jump onto, it would be easy to jump off,” Mulligan said. But, he added, “If you’re very agile, very strong and focused, you may be able to climb out.”

I hope it’s as hard to climb out of as Mulligan cites. Just the wait to be rescued alone might get jumpers to think twice about trying again. But here’s the process in more detail:

During a rescue operation from the net, authorities would shut down a lane of traffic. A specialized vehicle, called a “snooper” truck, would be brought in. Outfitted with a mechanical arm similar to a cherry picker used by utility crews, two specially trained rescue workers would be lowered down to the net in a bucket to pull the person out.

Authorities said they would have to convince pranksters and daredevils that jumping into the net would not be a pleasant experience.

“It would hurt,” Mulligan said of the 20-foot drop into a net made out of marine-grade stainless steel coated in plastic.

This article also uses another bridge — a former suicide hotspot — as an example to show that suicides can be prevented.

In Switzerland, researchers found that just the presence of the net stopped people from even trying to jump off the Munster Terrace, a medieval cathedral located in the old section of Bern, from which two or three people had been leaping to their deaths every year. They also found that the net did not shift suicides to other locations.

And that the implementation of barriers in other places have also proven successful:

Other well-known jump spots, among them the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Empire State Building in New York City, were long ago outfitted with suicide barriers. Like the net attached to the Gothic cathedral in Bern, studies have shown them effective in thwarting impulsive suicide attempts.

I’m not so idealistic to think barriers will keep suicidal people from committing suicide. Rather, I think they’re worth erecting for “thwarting impulsive suicide attempts.” Who knows how many people are still alive as a result?


The general public is welcome to vote for a barrier on the Golden Gate Bridge and provide additional comments (ie, you don’t need to be from California or San Francisco). Visit the Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Deterrent Barrier site to make your opinion known on this issue.

Movie to avoid: The Happening

I do not watch movies often. Mainly because I think I could be doing something more useful during the time I spend watching a movie. I’m not knocking anyone who enjoys watching movies — my husband does — but they’re usually too long for me. Like an hour to an hour and a half too long.

Which is why I love the site Movies in Fifteen Minutes. It’s sort of a parody retelling mixed in with actual events of the movie that takes about 15 minutes to read. I read Cloverfield to my husband (who saw it and hated it) and he said that it was pretty close to the movie. Therefore, I figure her humorous spin on movies, while off-kilter, is slightly accurate and gets the gist across.

The HappeningSo when I saw that Cleolinda Jones, author of the blog, had a write-up of M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, I was excited. It was one of the few movies I’d wanted to see since I love The Sixth Sense and heard a lot of good reviews about The Village. However, before giving her take on the movie, Jones writes:

It’s just as bad as you’ve heard. I went in hoping that people were just being harsh on Shyamalan out of habit… They really… aren’t.

(Spoiler/ending revealed under post continuation)

Read the rest of this entry »

Loose Screws Mental Health News

The mastermind behind Stavzor is Noven Pharmaceuticals (in conjunction with Banner Pharmacaps Inc.). The new “small, easy-to-swallow soft gel capsule” is available in three strengths: 125, 250, and 500 mgs. The pills are are “up to 40% smaller than han Depakote® and Depakote ER® tablets at the 500 mg dosage strength.” From Noven’s PR:

Stavzor is approved for the treatment of manic episodes associated with bipolar disorder, as monotherapy and adjunctive therapy in the treatment of patients with complex partial seizures that occur either in isolation or in association with other types of seizures, and for prophylaxis of migraine headaches.

The drug will hit the market in mid to late August.

The hotline receives an average 250 calls each day from veterans that have fought in Iraq, Vietnam, and Afghanistan.

The issue of soldiers with mental illness has recently come to light with studies showing that 1 in 5 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have shown symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. The issue of the high suicides rate has been a high priority of the VA since mental health director Ira Katz tried to hide the significant number of suicides committed by veterans.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day by calling 800-273-TALK (8255); veterans should press “1” after being connected.

“We have seen a 60 per cent increase in demand for our child anxiety classes in the past six months,” said [Dr. Kimberley O’Brien, of the Quirky Kids Clinic at Woollahra in Sydney].

It sounds more like the article is speaking of children who are exposed to constant physical and emotional abuse. If that’s the case, shouldn’t there rather be an increase in parenting properly classes?

Quote of the Week

"Courage is fear that has said its prayers." — Anonymous

I cannot brain today, I have the dumb

I’m feeling pretty out of it right now… sort of like a zombie. I have no energy to be responding to emails or posting anything of particular substance. I’m lucky to even be posting this entry. I thought I’d leave you with a cute cat picture courtesy of the popular Internet site icanhascheezburger.com.

I cannot brain today

Social Awkwardness revisited

I’m attempting to overcome social awkwardness but it’s something that I’m still dealing with. I’ve renamed it “social anxiety.” I mentioned it to my diagnosis to my doctor — OK, I admit — hoping for medication. You know what he prescribed?

CBT. (sigh) I was hoping for dulled emotions.

When I took Lexapro, my emotions were so dulled that I didn’t care much about anything. It was frustrating but within my fogginess, it was freeing to not worry about what people thought of me. Unfortunately, Lamictal doesn’t have that effect on me. So while my mixed-mood, manic, and depressive episodes are under control, my anxieties about social situations persist. I’m still paralyzed by what occurred at my last job.

I struggle with a variety of things:

  1. If others are speaking in hushed voices, I worry that they’re talking about me.
  2. When I don’t get invited to events, I think they’re purposely excluding me.
  3. If I respond to mass emails at work, I wonder whether they start shooting emails to each other behind my back, talking about how much of a loser I am.
  4. In the midst of a conversation, I wonder if my thoughts are coherent and if they understood what I was trying to say in the midst of my stutter. (I only have mild stuttering around people I don’t know or am not comfortable with. Selective stutterism?)
  5. If I’m in a conversation with acquaintances and mention something that I have heard or know of, I worry that they think I’m a “know-it-all.”
  6. Because I often walk with my head down and a serious look on my face, people probably think I’m weird.
  7. Because I have occasional bursts of talkativeness but seem mostly quiet, my coworkers probably think I’m odd. (I’m only gregarious with people I know or am comfortable with.)
  8. If I say something, I immediately wonder if it was a stupid thing to say.
  9. I’m not that interesting so there’s no point in talking to other people. (How egocentric.)
  10. There’s no sense in inviting people to lunch  because that would give me the potential to humiliate myself and get them to dislike me. (Once again, narcissistic.)

I’m likely no different than the majority of people. The difference between those who struggle with social awkwardness and other people is how these situations are handled.

I came across a post from The Simple Dollar on Seven Ways to Overcome Social Awkwardness. Fear holds me back from actually employing these things (something else I need to work on), but let me know if any of those principles actually work for you.