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If you’re just not depressed enough and/or are looking for yet another reason to hate Adolf Hitler, check out Hitler’s Niece: A Novel by Ron Hansen (Harper; 2000.)  This is a biographical novel in the tradition of Irving Stone (best known for his Van Gogh novel Lust for Life).  The author does fudge history a little bit but lists all of these deviations in the book’s Afterward.

Why am I including a book on Hitler in a mental health blog?  Well, three reasons:

  1. A book on Hitler is a book about a psychopath
  2. People struggling with the decision to commit suicide often dwell on the problem of evil.  The big problem being — how come these evil fucks get away with being evil fucks?  Yes, Hitler committed suicide but he reached the top of his profession and enjoyed the fruits of success long before Hitler and his crew had to go to the Bunker.
  3. It’s my blog — I’ll do what I damn well like.

The book centers on the relationship between Hitler and his niece Angelika “Geli” Raubal.  It is a piece of fiction but if even half of what Hansen wrote about was true, that’s still a pretty grim half.  Geli was found shot to death on September 18, 1931.  Although officials at the time ruled it a suicide, some evidence points to it being a murder.

This is a truly haunting book that would make Stephen King green with envy.  I am a domestic abuse survivor and so couldn’t help but identify with the Geli character.  My abuser was no Hitler (it was like living with Hannibal Lecter’s dumber younger brother) but he still could have killed me.

Which brings up another question — why do women find psychopathic men attractive?  Granted, a true psychopath is very charming and seems perfectly sane (hey — he’s got high self-esteem)  but eventually their true colors show.  There are probably STILL women who wish they could bang Hitler.  In my case, I didn’t know my guy was psychopathic until I was deeply involved in the relationship.  I also was suffering from untreated mental illness, which I guess is a reasonable excuse.  Still, I hope I never fall for another psycho.

Hitler wound up with a lot of kinky fan mail but he also was able to seduce an entire nation.  There have been many psycho leaders before Hitler and many after Hitler  And we all know that will happen again sometime in the near future.  People just like to be abused, I guess.

Perhaps you’ve been prescribed Zoloft (sertraline) for depression, anxiety disorders, OCD or for off-label uses such as for migraines, fibromyalgia or to combat sleep disorders.  What are the side effects you need to watch out for?  What are the other brand names for Zoloft?  I discuss these things and more in an article I did for Yahoo Contributor Network.

Please read the rest of my article at Yahoo. Thanks!  The money I get from page views at Yahoo helps me to keep this blog ad-free.

I recently read Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Random House; 2001).  I just read the first book in the series (the one that became a movie) but I’m not sure I’m going to bother with the rest of the series.  Although it was a good book, it’s kinda like science fiction to me.  Four childhood friends sticking together through thick and thin?  Not in my world.

I’ve noticed that a lot of books and movies feature ridiculously strong friendships.  These friends do incredibly brave and unrealistic things like bailing each other out jail, putting up with each other’s tantrums and regularly staying in contact with each other.

In all of my 43 years, I’ve never had such a friend who wasn’t closely related to me (and therefore, didn’t have an option.)  And there are things I would never talk about with my close relatives (because i don’t really have an option, either.)  It can be a bit depressing for me to get lost in a book about a great friendship and realize that I have never experienced what these fictional characters have.

Quite frankly, once you become homeless (like myself) no one want to know you.  I’ve had some “friends” from college contact me in the last 6 years since I became homed and once they heard that I used to be homeless I’d never hear from them again.  Can’t say I entirely blame them.  It’s a dangerous world out there.  Who wants to let a potential crazy homeless person into his or her life?

So, if you don’t have a friendship like those portrayed in books, don’t worry about it.  The stuff of great fiction doesn’t exactly work in real life.

Usually when I do these little book reports for this blog, it’s often to warn you not to read the book. I’m happy to report that this is not the case with The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (best known for his bestseller The Men Who Stare at Goats.)

Are you a psychopath? How do you know? Actually if you wonder if you might be a psychopath, the chances are very high that you are not a psychopath. There is a test given to suspected psychopaths, where a mental health expert sees how you score on 20 questions known as the Hare psychopathy test.

The book is delightfully quirky with a strong narrative voice. For example, Ronson buys a copy of the DSM-IV and promptly diagnoses himself with twelve mental illnesses. It also shows his misadventures with Scientologists, who are adamantly opposed to psychology or psychiatry.

The book also looks at the history of treating psychopaths and how this history blends into everyday problems of dealing with psychopaths, which are estimated to make up about 1% of the world’s population. Most psychopaths aren’t locked up. They can still hold down jobs and often excel at their jobs. Ronson looks at one CEO multi-millionaire who made his fortune firing people and closing down manufacturing plants.

As someone who has failed more suicide attempts than I care to admit, I am (sadly) more than qualified to help you determine of your friend is thinking of killing themselves. This is easier to spot in a good friend or family member, because you’ll already be familiar with what is normal behavior for them and what is not….

Please read the rest of my article at Yahoo. Thanks! The money I get for page views on Yahoo helps keep this blog ad-free.

Social media has impacted the world in positive ways and negative ways. Social media addiction is the latest type of addiction that mental health professionals are seeing in their patients. This is not just a problem seen in the affluent West. Doctors in countries such as Indonesia are seeing people who require social media addiction help. Treatment of social media addiction can be difficult, but it is not impossible….

Please read the rest of my article at Yahoo.  Thanks!