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Showing posts from 2010

10 Items Or Less -- Shedding And Keeping

Archetypes For The Turning Of The Year

For some people, New Years Day means the Rose Bowl.  For others, black-eyed peas.  For my mother, that was the day we were required to organize our clothes drawers.

Where did that come from?  You got me.  But it must be an archetypal response to the turning of the year.  Right now advertising is crowded with sales on organizational supplies.  If you don't know how to organize your sock drawer, surely there is one of those Dummies book to tell you how.

I just looked it up on Amazon.com.  Sure enough, here it is.

Responding, I suppose, to that archetypal imperative, I am currently recycling meeting agendas, staff reports, conference handouts and class notes, things I no longer need since I have become unemployed.

You know me.  Overboard is my middle name.  At 100.4 pounds and still shedding -- make that shredding now -- old checks with my social security number on them, I am well on the way to my goal for the week: to shed my weight in discarded …

Holiday Shopping for Loonies and Normals Alike

Last year I got an earlier start with my efforts to help you purchase the perfect Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Christmas present.  Here are the links, one for your favorite loonie, the other your favorite normal.  The first is even diagnosis specific.  The most popular pick turned out to be a bluetooth phone for the one who talks back to his/her voices, but is trying to pass.

This year, regular readers know that I have been living and breathing gingerbread.  So this post, like my own shopping, comes late in the season -- Chanukah has passed us by.

Internet.  God bless the internet.

And what with last week's post on happiness fresh in my mind, this year's holiday shopping picks combine the two issues -- where to get what makes for true happiness on the internet.  No, really!

The Sources Of Happiness

Martin Seligman's Authentic Happiness identifies three major sources of happiness, pleasure, engagement and meaningfulness.  So here are suggestions to enhance all three for your favorite lo…

Happiness in a Gingerbread House

How To Be Happy

How to be happy yields approximately 450,000,000 results in a Google search.  At that number, they don't bother to be precise.  Amazon.com gets you 2914 hits in the book department.

Nevertheless, I betcha I get my own share, as I explore the specific application of gingerbread houses to research reported in The New Science of Happinessby Claudia Wallis.

Research On Happiness

Martin Seligman, former president of the American Psychological Association, started off a flurry of happiness research when he picked happiness and oddly enough, mental health as the theme of his tenure, a decade ago.  His own contribution is Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfillment.  More on Seligman below.

Moment-Based Happiness

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happinessresearch focuses on the immediate.  What are you doing right now?  And how much are you enjoying it?  Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (no kidding) spent money …

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -- Mindfulness

Last Week's Cognitive Therapy Technique -- Distraction

I can't stop thinking about... [some traumatizing thought.]

So think about something else instead.

Distraction is abasic Cognitive Therapy tool.  Personally, I think it's stupid on the face of it.  The point is, I can't stop thinking about what I am already thinking about.  I am stuck on this horror movie, and somebody stole the channel changer.

Except I can change the channel.  You can, too.  You can think about something else instead.

That diagnosable gingerbread house of mine worked just fine.  It changed my channel.  How weird is that?

Here's the deal.  I think it worked is because, just like that other channel, it was all-consuming.  I had to pay exquisite attention to those cans supporting those fragile walls, whether the walls would meet, whether the pretzels would break...

Mindfulness -- Another Cognitive Therapy Technique

There was no room for a wandering mind on this construction site.  Gingerbread was my …

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -- Gingerbread Style

First Cognitive Therapy Technique -- Distraction

My therapist said Think of something you might find enjoyable.  You don't have to do it.  You don't even have to enjoy it.  The goal is not to move your mood from 1 to 10.  Any mood change is a bonus.  The goal is simply to give you something else to think about [-- besides what I had been thinking about.]

Distraction is one of those really irritating CBT techniques.  I am traumatized and can't stop thinking about this.  Okay, so think about something else.  I pay money for this?

But my other therapist, totally different method, said pretty much the same thing.  And I was six weeks from a major project I had promised for the holiday season.  And I am not sure it would have worked except that the wheel was ready to turn from early autumn danger to late autumn hypomania.  But he did and it was.  So...

She said think about it.

I guess I overshot the mark.


Ya think?

To Diagnose Hypomania -- Pay Attention

I used to churn out 10-12…

Holiday Survival Tips for Loonies

While I am working on my entry for the Gingerbread Trail contest, here is a repeat from December, 2009.  I have reformatted and modified it slightly for Thanksgiving.  Happy Turkey!


Ah, the holidays!  Time when far flung family members travel home and grow close around the turkey table.  Time to renew friendships in a round of parties and frivolity.  Time to go crazy?

There are stresses this time of year.  Routines are disrupted, people stay in crowded quarters, those who have reason to avoid each other are thrown together, negotiations between exes require professional mediation, alcohol is consumed in greater quantities, expectations for love and good cheer are bound for disappointment.  Loonies and normals alike need to tend to their mental health.

So Prozac Monologues supplies a handy holiday guide, with an assist from NAMI's Peer to Peer class and the University of Iowa Adult Behavioral Health department, covering the basics, planning ahead, mindfulness and quick geta…

Hope and the Play of the Week

I am up to my earlobes in ribbon candy, pretzels and gingerbread right now, a holiday project gone diagnosable.  I have been working for several weeks now on the prototype of a gingerbread house that is yet to come.  If this one stands.

I hope I can post pictures of the finished product.  They could go in my file.

Meanwhile, I have scavenged a video from a Facebook friend.  It reminds me of my very favorite poem in the whole wide world.  My congregations know it by heart, they have heard me preach it so often.

Listen to the mustn'ts, child.  Listen to the don'ts.
Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts.
Listen to the never haves then listen close to me...
Anything can happen, child.
Anything can be.

-- Shel Silverstein
Come to think of it, the gingerbread house, the poem and the play of the week all have this is common.  They are matches, held up against the darkness.


Here's hoping you some light.

Weighing Costs and Benefits Part V -- Down and Dirty Algorithm

SE + NE + $$$ + STG + TR = STC.

E#PT X NSR = STB.

STB TO STC = ODDS OF SUCCESS


There it is, theProzac Monologues Down And Dirty Algorithm, to weigh your costs and benefits for medication or any other treatment for any mental illness, or any other medical condition, for that matter.  Click on the first and second lines.  They will take you to the posts that develop the formula.

Can you believe we finally made it?

We started with the:

Manifesto of a Lab Rat.


I am a Lab Rat.  Yes, I am.

The Manifesto begins there.


It continues:

If I am a lab rat, I will be a free-range lab rat.

What I mean by free-range lab rat is this:

I insist that I contribute more to this enterprise than my body.

Your doctor tells you to weigh your costs and benefits, but gives you no way to do so, other than insufficient information + gut + desperation = noncompliance, if you don't come up with the same answer as your doctor.

What we need is an algorithm: logical rules that we can apply to objective data to so…