Oh, My Aching Neurons!

Having a hard year?

Fiscal Cliff, Sandy Hook, Sequester, you can take your Swiss Army knife on the plane with you, no you can't, North Korea, ricin -- not to mention your own life...

And then there was Boston.

If you are exhausted, you don't need to blame your meds.  Your mind has been stretched to the limit.

How's your brain doing?

Minding My Mitochondria

I don't know if this is related, but it sure seems timely.  One of my posts has gone viral - well, within the context of Prozac Monologues viral.  I have been working up to over 100 hits a day.  Nice progress -- thank you to all who have helped spread the word.  Suddenly one day this week, my hits jumped to 530.  Almost all of them were one post, a review of Terry Wahl's book, Minding My Mitochondria.

This post was already one of my most read, a cross-over hit with people who have multiple sclerosis.  Last month it got mentioned in an MS chat group, which drove a spike in hits out of Poland.  [The blogger.com software enables bloggers to track aggregate statistics.  I can't tell who is reading, but I can tell how many, what country, and to a limited extent, how readers found my blog.  This week's traffic seems to come from Facebook.]

Wahls' book is about brain cell health, and how what we eat sustains or starves our brain cells -- in particular, mitochondria, the little power plants inside our nuclei that turn what we eat into energy.

Hence, the relevance to your current state of exhaustion.

Why the Poor Give More

The article that inspired this post is titled Why the Rich Don't Give to Charity.  But I figure, language has power, and why reinforce behavior that I would rather see changed?

Before you go off in a huff, let me tip my hand -- I acknowledge and will discuss both the exceptions and free will.

The short answer to any of these questions, why the poor give more, why the rich don't give, and why some rich do is -- mirror neurons.  Three weeks ago I reported on these in Mirror Neurons - They Change Everything, along with a youtube featuring V.S. Ramachandran.  Here is the promised expansion on the theme.

Statistics on Giving

Ken Stern reports in The Atlantic Magazine that the top 20% of Americans donate 1.3% of their income.  The bottom 20% donate 3.2%.  He asks, What's up with that?

Paul Piff - Higher Social Class Predicts Increased Unethical Behavior

We Are On Our Own

Last week I was part of a group that was confronted with a psychiatric crisis in a visitor.  This group had never been called upon in this way.  But among our ranks we had enough experience of psychiatric crisis that:

1) We were determined we would help a stranger; and
2) We knew how to do it.

Part of the story was that inevitable series of telephone calls to offices in 24 hour institutions that were closed.  When flesh and blood was finally located, the response was rude, ineffective and dismissive.

When I debriefed with my therapist, she expected my frustration at calls for help that did not yield help.  That is one of my therapy themes -- a cognitive schema, as a former cognitive therapist called it.  I surprised my new therapist and surprised myself with my response.  No, I didn't expect help.  We are on our own.

In the Beginning -- Four Years Out

Four years ago I had lost my voice.  Literally.

How does a psych patient get help without a voice?  Too many times shamed into silence, when I quit my therapist I went to a Chinese Practitioner who did energy work, so I wouldn't have to speak.  When I had no choice but to find a new psychiatrist, I had to whisper.

How does a preacher preach without a voice?  Too long in the dark night, I had nothing to say.  When the pension fund required I not work at all for a year as a condition of disability, it was a relief.

How does a writer write when the words disappear?  Again I had no choice but to return to the Chemistry Experiment, this time with Lamictal. -- They tell you all about this exceedingly rare rash.  Sure it could kill you.  But you just stop taking the med, the rash goes away.  Meanwhile, they forget to mention the very common side effect -- your words disappear.  I didn't complete a sentence for months, forgetting in the middle what I intended to say.  Four books languished on my laptop.

Prozac Monologues

But I am a psych patient.  I am a preacher.  I am a writer.  I need my voice.  Enter http://prozacmonologues.blogspot.com/.

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