If you are worried that you may be possessed, relax. Demons or evil spirits have never been proven to exist.

There are many items in the news and on cable television about exorcism and demonic possession in America. In 2013, a GOP candidate for lieutenant governor declared that practicing yoga leads to demonic possession.  Also, a 2 year old child in Virginia was killed during an exorcism ritual performed by her father.

If you are wondering if you are possessed, then you can relax. You are not possessed. How can you be sure of this?  Because there has been no scientific proof that evil spirits like demons or loas exist.  You can’t be possessed by something that does not exist, although you can be fooled into thinking that you are possessed.

Debunking the Myth of Possession

But what about eyewitness stories of demon possession?  They describe stereotypical things seen in movies and television shows — really cold rooms, weird voices, strange rashes and cuts that are sometimes in the shapes of words, a lot of swearing, sometimes clairvoyance or even telekinesis. The stories themselves are suspect due to the tellers’ ignorance and ability to be deluded.

Another problem is communal reinforcement. If everyone in a community believes I demon possession and tell you that you are possessed, you may start spitting acting demon possessed.  You then get a lot of attention and sometimes praise for being “brave” enough to get an exorcism.  You also often have to pay a lot for the privilege of getting an exorcism.  A good example of community reinforcement is seen at where Cindy writes a pastor about proof of demon possession.

So, What’s Going On Here?

You can, however, become OBSESSED, which may make you think that you are POSSESSED. This obsession can be of a religious mania, an obsession with a single person who you wish you were, or even a death wish. There are many reasons for these obsessions, including physical reasons which can be treated by a medical professional. If you’re family keeps telling you that you have had a sudden change of behavior, or hear voices telling you to do things good or bad or think that you are a demon, then you really need to go to the hospital.

There is no shame in going to the hospital or seeing a psychiatrist if you suspect you might be obsessed. Obsession is often a physical symptom of a physical problem. You’d go get medical if you broke your leg, wouldn’t you?  Obsession or possession is a physical break of another kind that needs medical attention.

In one sense, it’s a lot less scary being possessed than obsessed.  You have no control at all when you are possessed.  Control of your own health, life and thoughts can be a very scary thing, indeed. Learning to conquer those fears is all a natural part of the maturation process. You can take comfort in knowing that, in some degree or other, we all go through feeling as if we are possessed by something outside of ourselves.

Demons, evil spirits, loas or whatever you want to call them, only have a power to posses you if you believe in them. The best way to defend yourself from them is simply not to believe in their existence. You have far more serious things in life to be concerned about.

Don't feel guilty about wanting to commit suicide

What is he thinking about?

Guided imagery or creative visualization is a drug-free way to lower stress levels.

Use your imagination to help you calm down and lower stress levels.  Guided imagery, also called creative visualization, is a way to ease your stress without resorting to drugs.  There are many online resources to help you with particular meditations or guided imagery sessions.  Please do not use this article in the place of a medical health professional’s diagnosis.

Stress might at times seem like a purely mental and emotional problem, but it sure leads to physical problems such as high blood pressure, tension headaches, insomnia and digestive embarrassments.  More and more, doctors are saying that reducing stress is a key leg in triangle to keep you healthy (the other two legs being regular exercise and eating sensibly.)  A fun way to reduce stress is with guided imagery, as recommended in January 2008 issue of Mayo Clinic Health Letter.

What Is It?

Guided imagery , when you get right down to it, is nothing more than the power of your imagination.  Another similar term for guided imagery is creative visualization.  However, sometimes our imaginations run away with our common sense.  Guided imagery — like meditation — helps us to channel imagination into helping us heal or to reduce stress.

If your imagination keeps running away on you, then you are probably adding more stress onto yourself that you need to.  This is why some people prefer to use guided imagery instruction tapes, CDs or downloads rather than just do it all themselves.  This way, they don’t have to keep wondering if they are reducing stress with guided imagery correctly.  Worrying about whether you are doing a task right or wrong can be another form of stress you really can do without.

Similar To Guided Meditation

If you have some trouble finding the guided imagery resources you like, then try searching under “guided meditation” instead.  The principles and techniques are very similar.   There is usually more variety in guided meditation products to choose from, as well.  Some will have a spiritual bent, and some won’t.

One place to search for guided meditations — including a potato chip meditation — is at Beliefnet .  (One tip — be sure your pop-up blocker is on before going there!  That will DEFINATELY save you some stress.)

Some Guided Imagery Themes

Have you ever heard of the psychological term, “Are you in your happy place?”  This is where you wish you were rather than where you are currently.  This could be in a hot aromatherapy bath, at a sun drenched beach or in a field with laughing horses (see image above).  Whatever your happy place is, picture it in your mind vividly.  Usually the thought of it will trigger you to breathe deeper and thus relax more with practice.

Another theme is to think of Good Guys vs. Bad Guys.  You picture your stress triggers as Bad Guys — whether they look human, monstrous or like an amoeba — and then have them defeated, arrested or incinerated by Good Guys.  Over time and with practice, just the thought of your Good Guys beating Bad Guys can subconsciously trigger you to relax.

For reducing stress with guided imagery, take a few minutes to contemplate either your happy place, a Good Guy defeating Bad Guy scenario or whatever works for you.  All you need is a few minutes a day.  Breathe deeply and try not to think about anything else.  It’s like watching a movie in your mind’s eye.  Over time, your brain makes the association with your memory of the image with breathing deeply and relaxing.

Guided imagery is not to be used in place of prescribed medications, but can be safely used with conventional treatments. There are no known bad side effects in reducing your stress with guided imagery.

More studies are coming out showing the many physical differences between the brains of murderers and psychopaths and the brains of “normal” people. It’s hoped that isolating the causes could lead to treatments to fix those changes and possibly prevent murderers from killing again. Although such treatments are decades in the future, identifying brain abnormalities can be done in the present time….

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

Hoarding is a treatable mental disorder.

Hoarding has been around for a long time.  Of course, it’s only been in recent years that it has been called hoarding.  Before that, it was called “being a fucking slob.”  Hoarding has now been recognized as a mental illness instead of a character flaw or a mark of laziness.  People suffering from hoarding disorder cannot figure out how to let go of any object — even if it’s rotten or broken.  What seems like obvious junk to the rest of us looks like gold to a hoarder.

Worried that you or someone you know may be a hoarder?  Then check out my article at Yahoo! to go through the most common warning signs.  Thank you.

Days before he died of cardiomyopathy in September of 1995, actor Jeremy Brett wrote and recorded an appeal for The Manic Depression Fellowship charity (which has since been renamed Bipolar UK). It was aired on the BBC right before he died.  This was his last public recording. Since no one thought it would be his last recording, a good copy of it no longer exists. But some fans managed to do a home recording and one has finally gone up on YouTube.

1208945_615852321790770_1563295279_nIt’s been a trying time for me, which is why I haven’t posted to this blog as regularly as I used to. The problems of the usual complications of my mother’s declining health, my declining health due to menopause, trying to find out what happened to my relatives out in fire-and-flood swept Colorado and a rising tide inside of me that just doesn’t give a fuck.

Although I have not been diagnosed as being bipolar (I have endogenous recurring depression), I do still go through cycles of having no energy most of the time to having a nice surge of it for about three days a month.  These cycles of “not giving a fuck” and “giving a fuck” are normal for me and my mental health.  I suppose I’ll suddenly get a whole new surge of inspiration once my bills are due.

In the meantime, enjoy swearing and still take the medication.  See you when I see you.

_photograph_of_jeremy_brett_as_sherlock_holmes_from_the_adventures_of_sherlock_holmes_available_in_4_sizes_framed_or_unframed_buy_now_at_starstills__51967“I have usually found that there was method to his madness.”

“Some folk might say there was madness in his method,” muttered the Inspector.” — “The Adventure of the Reigate Square”

One reason why the public is so fascinated with Sherlock Holmes since his first appearance in 1887 is his quirky behavior. Doyle made a fully formed heroic character complete with very real flaws. Readers in modern times can’t help but wonder, when reading the Doyle stories, if Sherlock Holmes suffered from bipolar disorder…

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