Monthly Archives: February 2013

I work at home.  I’m not only a freelance writer, but I’m the caretaker to my Mom.  Mom has a tendency to fall asleep in front of a blaring television.  However, if I turn the television off, she wakes up and turns the television back on.  And then goes to sleep again.

So I was not responsible for listening to a recent episode of The Biggest Loser.  During this episode, there was mention that many American girls do not think they are beautiful.  There was a lot of gasps and “tut-tut”-ing at that.

And I thought, “Yeah? So?”  Maybe the girls are ugly and they accept reality.  It’s not that big of a deal.  I knew was I was ugly when I was a kid and (SURPRISE) I grew up into an ugly woman.  Quite frankly, the only thing that’s going to make me look better is intensive reconstructive surgery.  That’s just the way it is.

When someone claims they are beautiful (and really are butt-ugly) don’t you feel a little unsure about this person’s sanity?  Am I the only one here thinking, “How many layers of delusion are you under, kiddo?” It’s like listening to a failed audition at American Idol (another show my Mom likes to fall asleep to) and the wanna-be singer has no clue as to why they failed.  One hopeless case from when Ellen DeGeneres was a judge even wailed, “But it’s my DREAM!” The judges have no problem telling her that she couldn’t sing.  Why can’t we tell someone they’re ugly (provided they ask first?)

Worrying about your looks is majorly stressful for some people.  I understand that (especially if you are in a job where looks are everything.)  But if you’re ugly (like me) then why even try going down that path which you know will lead to absolute, crushing failure?  Just accept it and move on.  Read a book.  Take up a hobby.  Adopt a pet (which neer cares what you look like as long as you are breathing.)

I think this is a much healthier outlook for ugly people than for insisting that they are beautiful.



One of the least understood mental illnesses is schizophrenia.  100 years ago, getting schizophrenia was akin to getting inoperable cancer.  There were no treatments other than being shut up in an institute and drastic treatments like insulin shock therapy.

Yet somehow American mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. came back from the brink to win the Nobel Prize in Economics.  Sylvia Nasar presents a pretty exhaustive biography of Nash’s remarkable life in her bestselling biography A Beautiful Mind (Simon & Schuster; 1994.)

I’ve never seen the popular movie of the same name based on this book, but my Mom tells me that it was a great film.  Maybe one day I’ll get around to seeing it.

This book is a hard slog in places, especially where it details mathematical theories and game theories.  But I recommend it.  Although not the main focus of the book, it does chronicle the remarkable love story of Nash and his wife Alicia, who divorced him and yet took care of him even after the divorce.

Nash’s recovery was spontaneous and the reader is left to draw his or her own conclusions as to just what contributed to Nash’s recovery.  Nash is still alive and winning awards at the venerable age of 84.

Hypnosis is a natural, gentle method of treatment to help bring any kind of needed change into your life. Hypnosis, often called hypnotherapy, can be learned or you can go to one of the many certified hypnotherapists in the country. Some studies have shown that hypnosis can help ease anxiety and stress related disorders, more studies still need to be done.

Check with your doctor or therapist to see if they can benefit from hypnosis and if they know of any hypnotherapists they can refer you to. Stress and anxiety symptoms can often be triggered by thoughts – and treating stress and anxiety with hypnosis gets you to have power over your own thoughts.

Going To A Hypnotherapist 

Hypnotherapists have to be certified to before they can go treating stress and anxiety with hypnosis.  They are trained and watched over by the National Board of Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.  They cannot make you do anything you really don’t want to do.  And if you find you can’t be hypnotized, don’t worry about it.

The hypnotherapist gets you to deeply relax to the point where you just about fall asleep, then makes a helpful suggestion, perhaps “I am a healthy person,” or, “I can control anxious thoughts”.  He or she might also suggest hints to help you turn off an already started anxiety symptom.  This suggestion plants itself into your subconscious.  When you start a symptom such as a pounding heart, which might automatically trigger you mind to gently remind you that you are NOT your symptoms and your body can relax.


Hypnotherapists don’t use any secret tricks or spells.  They just help you to relax and make some encouraging suggestions.  You can do this yourself, although it can take some practice.  Some people find it easier to relax in an office and have someone else have the responsibility of planting the suggestion.  Some people find it easier to relax if they do it themselves.  There is no one right way for everybody.

There are many self-hypnosis tapes and CDs on the market, or you can do it yourself.  You need at least ten minutes of uninterrupted time.  You can have your room quiet or with soft music.  You can burn incense or not.  You can lie down or sit up.  You may choose to go right to sleep after the hypnosis session, but you have to be awake throughout the whole session.

Get relaxed.  Get deeply relaxed.  You might count from twenty down to one to get relaxed, or chant a familiar poem or prayer.  Then, you make your own helpful positive suggestion, such as “I am a healthy person”, then slowly wake yourself back up and go about your day.

In Conclusion

Treating stress and anxiety with hypnosis is just one of many tools you can use throughout your day.  It does not work overnight and does not work for everyone.  You still have to take your medication – if you are already on medication – and to follow any other advice from your doctor or therapist.


I’m sick of being told to “forgive and forget.” I get told this because I was a victim of domestic violence and have PSTD (as well as major depression).  I can understand forgiving and forgetting when someone dings my car door in the supermarket parking lot but getting beat up and left for dead?  Fuck that!

And, being in love (read idiot) I did do the forgive and forget thing the first time he tried to kill me.  And the second time.  And the third time.  Can you see you ineffective forgiving and forgetting was in that situation?

So, moral of the story is — forgiveness ain’t cheap.  Don’t give it away freely.


Also called insulin coma therapy and Sankel’s therapy, insulin shock therapy was even more dangerous than the better known electroconvulsive shock therapy (ECT.)  This treatment began in 1927 but has disappeared in the West by the 1970s.  There are scattered reports that it is still used in China, Russia and countries of the former Soviet Union.

It was considered one of the only treatments for schizophrenia.  Even when Thorazine came on the market, patients were often given Thorazine and then went through weeks or even months of excruciating IST sessions.  At least patients are anesthetized for ECT nowadays.  Perhaps the most famous person to survive/be treated by IST is Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash, subject of the popular film A Beautiful Mind (2001.)  In his case, IST did more harm than good.

For more details about the history of IST, please read my article at Yahoo.  Thanks!

Serotonin syndrome is a potentially life threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by nerve cells. 

Well, that sounds scary, doesn’t it?  The above quote is from PubMedHealth, the #1 site on Google for the search phrase “serotonin syndrome.”  Many antidepressants now have a warning about serotonin syndrome.

This doesn’t mean that if you have been taking antidepressants for months or years without any complications that you should suddenly stop taking the meds in the hope that you can prevent serotonin syndrome.  Never suddenly stop your meds unless you have okayed it with your doctor or therapist.  You could get bad withdrawal symptoms or your depression could come back.

The main warning is for people who take triptans to treat migraines or epilepsy and then need to go on antidepressants — or vice versa.  It is very common for people with migraines or epilepsy to get depression.  Anyone with a chronic pain condition or a major diagnosis tends to get depression.  Both triptans and SSRI and SSNRI antidepressants affect the way the brain absorbs serotonin.

The good news is that:

  • if you’re going to get serotonin syndrome, you’ll get it just after starting a new drug
  • it’s treatable
  • 100% recovery can happen if you are already aware of serotonin syndrome symptoms and contact your doctor as soon as you think something is wrong

Also — another major drug that cause serotonin syndrome is the heavy-duty painkiller Demerol.  The chances are if you really need Demerol, serotonin syndrome is the last thing you’ll be worrying about.  But it is something your doctors will worry about and may try to talk to you about if you are in such a position as needing Demerol.

The bottom line is do not let anyone or any website scare you about serotonin syndrome so that you stop taking your meds.

I know that this blog is about human mental illness and mental health, but chances are that someone reading this is trying to find information about canine depression or dog depression.

Veterinarians use the word “depressed” in a different manner than do human doctors and mental health professionals.  Dogs can go through grief, which can cause a depression similar to human depression or in human complicated grief.  Dogs with major illnesses like cancer can also be diagnosed as “depressed” by veterinarians.  Depression can be a first sign that a dog is sick and needs veterinary care.

So what does it mean when a dog is depressed?  This usually means the dog:

  • lacks normal energy
  • lacks interest in just about anything
  • sleeps more often than usual
  • has a lowered appetite

Canine depression is treatable.

To learn more about dog depression, please read my article at Yahoo.  Thanks!