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Neuroscientifically Challenged - Check it out

Yay! When I found a new (to me) website, Neuroscientifically Challenged, I rewrote the resource section of the book. Given that Prozac Monologues is in proofreading stage, my project manager was not as pleased as I was. But it's now a better book.

Mark Dingman started blogging in 2008 as a way to explore his interest in neuroscience. That interest morphed into a PhD program, then a new career, and now his continued work on a website where he can learn, draw, teach, and talk about his favorite topic, the brain. Take my eclectic blog, focus on the brain part, turn it into a genuine resource, call it Neuroscientifically Challenged.

The website features two-minute videos each with a bite of information. Okay, Dingman has to talk kind of fast to get it done in two-minutes, but really, what do you want? Here is a sample:



As my own reading continues, his glossary will get a workout, from apoptosis to zona incerta. Actually, I haven't come across either of these terms in my reading y…

A Common Struggle - A Review

In A Common Struggle, Patrick Kennedy tells the story that only he can tell.

There are many memoirs of depression, bipolar, co-morbid substance abuse, families that keep secrets, and recovery. Lately there are memoirs that combine a personal story with a cause: get help, get the right diagnosis, find people who can support you, advocate for better treatment.

Kennedy's unique perspective is the insider's view on the long-term national political work of improving mental health care.

His aunt Eunice lobbied for better care for people with mental disabilities and started the Special Olympics. That issue was combined with mental health care in the Community Mental Health Centers Act signed by his uncle John in 1963. His father Edward spend his whole career advancing the cause of universal health care.

Patrick's contribution to his family's record of public service is The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act.

For political neophytes Kennedy's book is a master c…

How to Stay Sane

Shock, rage, fear, despair, depression, hopelessness, apathy, or even how about - drinking the kool-aid, surrender. Do we have a better choice?

Robin Chance, behavioral specialist and therapist, did a little therapy for the nation three years ago with her article, How to stay sane if Trump is driving you insane: Advice from a therapist. She offered a better choice.

Two questions: (1) How do we integrate this crisis into our understanding of the world? and (2) what do we do now? Now that the crisis of three years ago is our new normal, it seems time to revisit her words.

She begins with some hard truth telling.

We must understand that the belief in human progress is a myth, with historical and religious context, and it is no longer serving us.

Now you don't want to believe that. You were taught to believe in progress like you were taught to say the Pledge of Allegiance. But there it is.

Nobody ever heard of the idea of progress until the eighteenth century. Nobody expected things to…

Mental Health Care as our Institutions Fail

There are twelve psychiatrists in Zimbabwe for a population of 16 million people. When Dixon Chibanda, one of the twelve lost a patient to suicide because she could not afford the $15 bus fare to get to her appointment, he did not blame her for breaking the appointment. He came up with another system to deliver mental health care. He trained grandmothers.



We also have barriers to psychiatric care in the US. Some of these barriers are similar to Zimbabwe's, distance and lack of providers.

There are less than ten psychiatrists for 100,000 people in eastern Oregon, an area with one of the highest suicide rates in the country. An overworked psychiatrist in eastern Oregon came home one day to find seven cows in his driveway. They were not his cows. It was not the first time. Who knows what his day/week/year had been like. He snapped. He shot seven cows, killing six of them.

Unfortunately, he botched the job. The community might have been understanding if he had shot them in the head. …

Prozac Monologues - A Book is Coming

The life of an author - this author anyway:

Mornings I work on finding my peeps. Twitter has been a revelation to me. I resisted it for years until I discovered what was possible. It's not all politicians and celebrities! I thought I was supposed to do Twitter because that's what you do when you want to sell books. That made me feel icky.

But then somebody reframed it for me:

There are people out there who have a question, a need, a pain point. Can I address their pain point? If so, how do they find me?

Those questions, posed by a webinar on search engine optimization (oh, brother!) went straight to my heart. They torched my author's conceit. If you are an author, you know that conceit - "I hate marketing. I just want to write."

Because I know my pain point. Boy, do I know my pain point. And I remember the day I typed into a search engine, "suicide." I found the website that became my lifeline, that told me I was not crazy. Well, crazy, but not alone. …

Six Ways to Heal the Holes in Your Head

New Year's Resolution - Eat Chocolate! Or Maybe Not...

Long time readers may know of my over-a-decade-long effort to get the sugar monkey off my back. I can report that I am reasonably  successful. I don't know if it has made an ongoing difference to my mood. But a shared dessert at a restaurant will get my arthritic shoulder burning. So I keep it up.

Or maybe I have taken it too far. It's all about costs and benefits, you know. And recent research suggests maybe I should lighten up, or rather, darken up.

Chris Aiken of Bipolar Not So Much fame, also Wake Forest University School of Medicine and The Carlat Psychiatry Report, says to my sugar fast, Not so fast. At least as far as dark chocolate goes.

Dark chocolate lowers the risk of depression, according to a cross-sectional survey of over 13,000 US adults. The study compared self-reported chocolate consumption with self-reported depressive symptoms, as measured by the PHQ-9. People who ate dark chocolate in the past 24 hours were 70% less likely to report depression.

The effect w…