Archives for November, 2011
Richard's off today, C.R. writes: I was recently interviewed by a young woman who was interested in having me edit a manuscript she's writing. Lisa was a cult member and though she has left the cult and wants to begin a career writing and speaking about her experiences, she doesn't yet feel safe enough to go public. Her attorney has evidence that shows that the cult Lisa belonged to, though not one of the largest or wealthiest, is still powerful and rich enough to launch a multi-million dollar defamation suit against Lisa. Even though Lisa and her attorney and her psychotherapist feels Lisa would eventually win, they all agree that the stress of going through such a public, drawn-out process will almost certainly trigger Lisa's PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Lisa isn't ready to take that step.
C.R. writes: I bend down towards the stroller looking at little Reba. She's 6 and a half years old and adorable with glossy, blonde pageboy bangs and a silvery-blue down coat. She's wearing pink boots with little yellow ducks on them. "Hello, Reba, bunny-rabbit. I haven't seen you in nearly a month," I say in my extra-friendly voice. Reba usually giggles when I call her bunny-rabbit, her favorite animal. The family has been away for three weeks visiting family overseas. Reba doesn't answer. She looks totally stunned. She seems to not remember me (despite the fact that her mom and I are good friends who've spent many hours gabbing with Reba in tow). In fact, she is staring right through me. She doesn't appear to see or hear me.
In our religious tradition we say "thanks for everything" everyday. In fact, first thing in the morning, when our eyes open we thank God for life, and go from there. For about 45 minutes we say special morning prayers that are explicit words of gratitude. Sure, we get up extra-early, but it's worth it. It sets the tone for the whole day.
C.R. writes: The latest victim of extreme bullying was a ten year old girl, Jasmine McClain, from North Carolina. She couldn't take the constant taunts and hung herself in her bedroom, where her mom found her. She died in her mother's arms. When I look at her picture I feel so sad and a bit sick. She truly looks like a very sweet and very gentle child. A long-ago memory surfaces, something I've forgotten about, even though I've written posts about bullying in the past. I was bullied for a couple months, in elementary school. I was a new student, transferring from a private school into public school.
Look, I don't know the whole story, and frankly no one does. And unfortunately there are reports of people taking their revenge by spreading false abuse accusations, which really clouds the issue of abuse in general. We're not even sure that the accused, Penn State University football coach Jerry Sandusky is guilty, though past police reports suggest it is highly likely. But the fact that reports indicate that a janitor witnessed some of the abuse and a Penn State graduate student/assistant witnessed the actual rape of a boy and told the coach who apparently covered up the crime -- boggles the mind. The fact that the board members and possibly other school officials knew there was at least the report of a serious problem and did nothing is the 21st century definition of shocking. There is simply no excuse.
I lost my job in May, and I don't qualify for Medicaid because I haven't been uninsured long enough. The state won't even put me on the waiting list until December, and then Lord knows how long of a wait it is from there. No doctor-no current scripts. I'm trying to make in on $468 a month in unemployment and now the state is trying to take that away from me too. And I just started the process of applying for SSI, which is gonna take years. I don't know what to do.—AG, Oregon (from the NAMI, 2011 Budget Cuts Report) Maybe the state-funded clinic you've been going to has informed you that you'll be seeing your therapist once a month instead of once a week. Maybe the clinic you work at has doubled your caseload. Maybe you've you've noticed your insurance premiums rising dramatically over the past year or two or you are finding it challenging to find a mental health practitioner who'll take your particular insurance or Medicaid payments. Maybe you find yourself unable to pay your health insurance premiums yet you don't quite qualify for federal or state assistance. If so, you're not alone.
C.R. writes: Over the past several years I've been hired to doctor, edit and even downright ghostwrite a few books about money or business matters. Because business, investment and finance are not my strong points, I generally turn to (brick and mortar or virtual) bookstore bookshelves for advice. Just the other day I came across a guide to beginner's investing written by Walter F. Wild, former president of the Hawaii Psychological Association. Dr. Wild's a psychologist who is also an MBA.
Occasionally I remind myself (and you, dear reader) that some psychological research studies are, like any other kind of research studies, prone to inaccuracy. This can be due to biased researchers or funding sources or simply and innocently due to inadequate sample sizes or inaccurate data collection or analysis. But I just read about some outright forgery. Like most people, I believe that the majority of researchers want to make breakthrough discoveries in order to help make the world a better place. But I also believe that ego gratification enters into ambition too. And frankly, that is perfectly normal. Most people want to feel that their work is meaningful and that they have contributed something important to the world. Remember that famous study (no irony intended), where researchers gave individuals the chance to do meaningful or seemingly pointless tasks for pay? To the best of my memory, the outcome was as follows: the subjects who were assigned pointless tasks (such as raising their arms up and down for no reason), ended up quitting the study—they just couldn't take it, even though they were being paid. Of course, there's meaning-meaningingfulness and then, there's fame/money meaningfulness.