Archives for October, 2012
New York City has been hit hard by Hurricane Sandy. We're here, safe, thank God, grateful that our little corner of NYC hasn't been hit as hard as some others. (Just some downed trees). So far, 34 people have lost their lives in this disaster. Many people have been injured, are without power, or have lost their homes. Last night a friend called, frantic: A man who had refused to evacuate was trapped on top of a garbage truck at Coney Island and she needed us to help her locate him using Google Earth and his phoned-in descriptions of location. She called the Coast Guard (we are waiting to hear if they found him). There have been at least a couple of explosions which have caused raging fires. Some hospital and nursing-home patients have been evacuated. Medical care for hundreds of thousands has been interrupted. For us, it is largely an inconvenience. We also worry about clients who have appointments scheduled individual and group therapy at my program.
We're getting ready for the approaching hurricane, Sandy. In my informal poll of coworkers and friends, I found that many of us view storms as kind of thrilling. Of course, if you've ever been caught in a hurricane or another dangerous natural event, you'd probably disagree vehemently with those who find approaching storms "exciting in a good way"—you'd say they are frightening and deadly and exciting in a bad way. And I'd have to agree. The potential loss of life and property is not something that I can view as other than tragic.
Today we Celebrate A Reader but this post could also be called Lessons From A Reader. Connie is a Therapy Soup reader who has a powerful story to tell. In fact, she has so much to talk about that she writes two blogs. On A Road Less Traveled she blogs about a variety of topics, from therapy, books that have made a difference in her life, music, and more. On Loving From the Inside Out she blogs about loving people from "the inside out" and inspiring others to do the same. She dedicates this blog to her late fiancé, Ron Knope, who died of a heart attack at only 34 years old. She writes candidly about Ron's weight problems and how, because of him, she learned to love someone from "the inside out." She talks about appearance, its impact on us, and the insights and wisdom she gained from her relationship with Ron. From reading her blog, you can tell that Connie is an example of someone who seeks answers to important questions and doesn't let obstacles stop her.
C.R. writes: When I read this piece, Things Fall Apart: My Descent Into Madness, a woman's experience with mental illness, which began when she was a girl, I paused, and read it again. The language of the title is a clue: This personal story is set in a place and time where pop culture holds little sway; the family and school life of a religious Jewish girl from a couple of decades ago. I found Shani Silverstein's piece moving and wanted to share it with you.* "I remember repeating a little chant to myself as a teenager and young adult: "Open your eyes, world, and see / Not the illness I despise / But me.
You may not have heard about this from your psychiatrist, but the debate on whether or not psychiatric medications help mental illness is still quietly raging. I've seen stunning improvements of symptoms in people with mental illness who take their prescribed medication; I also have seen medications improperly prescribed and over or under-prescribed. In some cases even highly-effective medications cause severe side-effects, have no effect at all or even worsen symptoms in some patients. Obviously this debate is not over yet.
C.R. writes: In the News: The U.S. Department of Health, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and now the British Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, as well as others are ratcheting up the warnings about the dangers of television-watching, computer gazing, and video games, in children of any age, but especially under three years old. I was in a waiting room today and the requisite super-sized TV was hanging on the wall blaring some reality-show nonsense about Hugh Heffner's girlfriends. There were about thirty people in the waiting room and only two were actually watching the program. The rest of us were reading, texting, meditating...I don't know exactly but we weren't watching. I knew I wanted to blog about this.
Like most bloggers we take a serious interest in your comments. There's been a lot of positive feedback, thoughtful criticism, and interesting debates. And very occasionally we've found the experience...painful. Mostly though, a large number of your comments (and emails) have inspired us to explore new topics on Therapy Soup. And for that we are grateful. Perhaps the most powerful experience for us (and maybe other PsychCentral bloggers) is watching how your comments create connections, communities and sometimes conflicts. Often, a blog post boils down to being a starting point for a conversation between readers.