Monthly Archives: July 2012

James Holmes and his hair makes his first courtroom appearance

This week the media has been inundated with news of the latest mass shooting — 12 people in a Colorado movie theatre were killed by America’s latest boogeyman, James Holmes.  As American mass-shootings go, this was actually a mild one, but TV and newspapers are treating it like September 11, Part II.  I’d go to Peter Gabriel forums to get away from the new — and on the PG forums they are talking about the mass shooting.

Inevitably, the questions arise, “How could anyone do this? What was this guy thinking? How can we make sense of this tragedy?”

Folks, if you can figure out why it seems to make sense to walk into a movie theatre armed for bear and commencing fire, you really need to go see a doctor right now.

But just in case someone is thinking of committing suicide by police and taking a few bystanders with you, do us all a favor and get some help.  Sure, it may SEEM as if everyone is out to get you, but you don’t have to MAKE SURE that they are out to get you.  These feelings and even deep certainties can be explored and treated.

This fellow Holmes is obviously a few sandwiches short of a picnic.  The so-called “experts” state that Holmes was “highly intelligent.”  So intelligent that he spent hours or days booby-trapping his apartment — only to tell the cops that his apartment was booby-trapped?  It seems that if you were looking for maximum carnage, you would keep quiet about booby-trapping your home.  Otherwise, why bother?

Then again, I’m trying to use logic to figure Holmes out.  Logic doesn’t work in this situation.

If Holmes is diagnosed as mentally ill, this does NOT mean that every person who is mentally ill is planning a future mass-shooting.  Most mentally ill people may harm themselves but do not want to harm others.


Cat poop and suicide???

In the last couple of weeks, there has been a lot of buzz over a study done on cat ladies and suicide.  Headlines in digital and real ink screamed that becoming a cat lady could cause you commit suicide Cat poop contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii (which causes good old toxoplasmosis) and now the parasite is being blamed for mental health problems in women.

My reaction:


There have been several past medical studies stating that, for the most part, T. gondii passes through the non-pregnant adult human body without causing any harm.  80% of adults infected will show no symptoms at all.  The big exceptions would be for pregnant women and for children under 5, which may stick dog, cat or wild animal poop in their mouths.  Then, the T. gondii can cause eye damage.  However, many places only allow pet cats to live indoors. Also, T. gondii is found in contaminated water,  raw meat and raw goat’s milk — not just cat poop.  But the laws do allow small children and pregnant women to live with smokers, alcoholics and raw meat.  Yea, cat poop’s a killer.

If cat poop is so bad for you, than why don’t the vast majority of cat owners kill themselves or try to kill themselves?  I’ve grown up with lots of pets, including cats, and they really help comfort someone with depression.  Pets help to give a reason to get out of bed, which is exceptionally hard to do when you’re depressed.  Pets can also give you a huge reason not to commit suicide, because who would take care of the pets if you killed yourself?

A warning against owning cats seems to be, at most,  a tempest in a teapot.  If cats were human, they could sue.

Even squirrels get depressed

I’m very depressed.  This shouldn’t come as news to followers of this blog.  I’m not planning on committing suicide — I’m just very depressed.  I call these times “jags” because they certainly feel jagged.  I’ve gone through many in my lifetime and I’m sure I’ll go through many more before I shuffle off this mortal coil.

Once you begin therapy and medication for depression or any other mental illness, it somehow tempting to hope that you’ll never be depressed again.  It doesn’t work that way.  Depression cannot be cured, but can be managed.

One of the ways I’ve learned how to manage my depression is to accept when a jag arrives and just ride it out until I’m either bored with feeling miserable or just feel better. So, I get as depressed as possible. I spend a lot of time sleeping (or trying to sleep).  I’m not going to recommend this for everyone with suicidal depression, but for some weird reason it seems to work with me.

I guess I’m getting over the worst of this depression jag. I’m writing today. I’m doing a load of laundry.  Yesterday, I only had my laptop on for about 10 minutes before I couldn’t stand it anymore and the day before that I couldn’t write a word, no matter how long I stared at the computer screen.  I’d even start a sentence, then look at it, pronounce it crap and delete it.

So right now, since Mom is feeling better and a heat wave is keeping me indoors, I’m basically just sleeping, eating and reading.  I have washed the dishes and taken care of the pets all this time, so I  didn’t totally vegetate.  I also fished a squirrel out of the neighbor’s inflatable above-ground pool.  Poor thing scrambled up my arm and then shot off into my yard — where my dogs were.  The biggest dog was too busy taking a crap to get the squirrel and the smallest, youngest dog was completely befuddled at what to do when prey is lying right at your paws.

I managed to rescue the squirrel from the dogs and it hopped away.  Well, I may never amount to much in my life, but at least I rescued a squirrel — twice.

Are you like me and are at most risk of committing suicide after a pet dies?  I  can’t be alone  in this.  N matter how old the pet was, I always feel responsible for the death somehow.  My pets have proved to be better friends than people, so when one dies, I miss him or her terribly.  I hate that the last image I have of this beloved companion is of a dead of dying pet.  That last image can overshadow a long, healthy life.

As the title suggests, my red and white common goldfish Redcap died yesterday.  I had him since he was less than a half-inch long.He seemed to go into a coma and slipped away.  The other goldfish, which usually pounce on any sick fish, left  Redcap alone to die.  He managed to prop himself up in between a plastic plant and the aquarium wall, so he didn’t curl up or lie down when he died.

Redcap was somewhere between 4 and 5 years old when he died.  I don’t know what upsets me more — that he died or that I don’t know what he died from.  He did not have any noticeable injuries or infections.  When he died, his color was still vibrant.  I don’t know what happened or how to protect the remaining three goldfish from whatever killed Redcap.

People tend to laugh at grieving pet-owners.  Even when I worked at a Standardbred stable, I would be teased about crying over the death of a “mere” animal.  There are resources for grieving pet owners.  You are not alone.  Check out:


Pet Loss and Grief Support Lines

Hospice of the Valley Online Forums

Although Redcap is gone, I still have three other goldfish, two dogs and my Mom to take care of.  They are my reasons not to commit suicide.


A few posts ago, I told you about a book I didn’t recommend to read, so now I thought I’d make amends and recommend a book instead.  I have to admit that it is more fun to write negative book reviews — but it’s only fun when the book sucks.  Shock: The Healing Power of Electroconvulsive Therapy  (Penguin; 2006) was not fun to write because the book did not suck.

After the release of Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cukoo’s Nest (1975), ECT was pretty much put on the old curiosity shelf for decades, and for good reason.  It was often used indiscriminately, but not in all hospitals or asylums.  This book gives ample time to proponents of ECT but also spends a good deal of time interviewing people who claim they were harmed by shock therapy.

ECT is now performed when a person is under anesthesia.  It is saved as a last-ditch resort in many cases — often when someone has just tried to commit suicide and has bad or no reactions to existing psychological medications.  Shock therapy sure isn’t for everyone (I hadn’t needed it — yet, anyway) but it does seem to benefit a small number of people.

Anyway, my review is here on Yahoo Voices.  The money I get from page views on Yahoo helps ensure that this blog stays ad-free.  Thanks.