Archive for October, 2009

It’s alright for you Police ( stuck in my head)

October 28, 2009

Wake up
Make up
Bring it up
Shake up
Stand by
Don’t cry
Watching while the world dies

Big car
Movie star
Hot tip
Go far
Blind date
Too late
Take a bus
Don’t wait

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you and you and you and you and you

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you and you and you

Limp wrist
Tight fist
No twist
Black dress
No mess
People want no less, no less

Stand by
Don’t cry
Watching while the world dies
Three lane
Fast lane
Standing in the cold rain

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you and you and you and you and you

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you

High life
Can’t sleep
Good night
Up tight
Big fight
Big deal
Too right, too right

Big town
Don’t drown
Jump back
Turn around
No life
Flick knife
Finish off my life

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you and you and you and you and you

It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
It’s alright for you
For you



Warning: your success in treatment can be used to hurt others

October 27, 2009

From a listserve of therapists.  What may have helped you may hurt another. Stay off your high horse.

Overall it became clear that there is no single path to wellness. There is no better way to succeed than any other path. Again the doo-doo bird reigns over all — all are winners. There is a corollary to this story however. Each version of the truth can be inadvertently used as a weapon to vilify versions that are different from our own. The person who advocates for medication can be callous and indifferent to the one who does not believe in medications. Also the person who believes that medications are evil can be callous and indifferent to the one who believes that medication can be helpful.

The message here is as plain as the nose on my face. Each person’s path is unique and should be respected. Each person’s choices can only be judged by the experiences that those choices bring about. Our roles as professionals is to help people make sense of their choices and to offer them more and more options as their lives unfold.

And what about anthropology? Awareness  of cultural context cannot be optional. Lack of such awareness is what makes us primitive, not lack of technology.  Another post by another listserve member that refers to the Maori tribe story – 3 posts ago:

One of the fascinating contentions I have drawn in this exploration though, is that EBP  (evidenced based practice) for the practice of psychology is nearly totally devoid of the sorts of questions an Anthropology might be asking about culture. Thus when we, in our professions, study how to help people feel better in their lives, we assume the culture we live in is appropriate to our humanity. Thus we are NOT studying mental health per se. We are more accurately studying how to emotionally adapt to a contemporary technological culture… this increasingly includes drug use and the manipulative strategies of behavioral therapies. It also includes one-on-one, time-limited relationships that are forced into an economic frame that makes sense to a “profession”.

Regardless of whether what happened to this young man was “magical” or “naïve”, the part of the story that lifted my heart was this family surrounding him day and night with such intensive support. It makes me continue to wonder why we have made our mental health healing into a “profession” that compartmentalizes this profound relational factor at the same time as we have fragmented our daily relational lives.

Too much freedom can be dangerous when dealing with psychotic people

October 27, 2009

From another listserve member, keeping the discussion going from the last post:

I have two experiences of acute psychosis; one occurred in the heady
days of the early seventies, when, complete with ‘help’ from the
British (anti)psychiatrist David Cooper (a colleague of RD Laing) the
well-meaning souls of the house I lived, in tried to hang onto,
support, one of our members who had developed an acute psychosis.
After about a week, we had turned ourselves inside out, taken leave
from our jobs, and found ourselves living in fear of coming home. Not
the least because we discovered that not only had she set the last
house on fire, but we found all over our house boxes of matches, the
contents spilling everywhere. We also found our rooms in states of
disarray, possessions tossed all over. Chris (the woman concerned)
never slept. We became nearly psychotic trying to stay up with her. We
cared. We were passionately anti-psychiatry. We called a halt when in
her mania she decided to ‘drown the Archers ( a long-running radio
serial – not a bad idea!)’…She was in the bath, and tried to dunk
the radio while it was connected to the mains. Only the quick thinking
of the current house ‘minder’ stopped her from being electrocuted.
In total exhaustion, fear, and exasperation, we took her to hospital.
Which she hated. We had group therapy, afterwards, with David Cooper.
I won’t go into that…
My second, and more personal experience is my sister, in England,
whose untreated schizophrenia has left her, 34 years later, with close
to no executive function, no understanding of why she has no friends,
no job, no joy, no life. Her first breakdown was a similar experience
to the one I have described above – except that I was alone with her
and her then partner trying to ‘hang on to her’ hoping that the crisis
would pass. It didn’t. All that happened was that we became exhausted,
disoriented and crazy ourselves, but had enough insight to realise it.
Meantime, she could not be trusted to cross a road. This breakdown was
brought to a halt by hospitalisation, drugs, and unfortunately, no
real attempt to find out what had happened for her.
She broke down a second time two years later, slowly, and this time
with a determination (on her part) to keep out of the medical
establishment. She has been so successful at this that she has made my
parents’ life a nightmare (as she has been completely dependent on
them), and managed to fly under the NHS radar. (Recently I thought
about writing an article entitled “you have the right to remain
insane”……)The system , which will not intervene except on the
referral of a GP, (and she has  had no GP) has protected her from
treatment of any kind, to her detriment I believe…It’s not fair, for
her, or the others she has depended on. She is desperately unhappy,
and is aware she has no life. Unfortunately, she has no awareness that
she has no ‘reason’ or coherence either.
I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade, but I would seriously
question any idea that psychotic breakdown is positive, romantic, or
somehow easily treated if you just care enough.

More than one way to treat psychosis

October 27, 2009

From a post on a listserve of therapists:

I held hands with a NZ Maori family here a few months back whose
> beloved son
> went quite wairangi (lost to the world of spirits) after being
> involved in a
> job which brought him in contact with old things; and when these old
> things
> were disturbed the spirits were released and annoyed and haunted
> him….
> This was very bad timing as he had just become a father and was
> struggling
> with a number of other stresses too…. The mental health crisis
> team tried
> to place this young man under our compulsory treatment laws and
> incarcerate
> him; and the extended family nearly had a stand up fight that almost
> came to
> blows before the family whisked him away to the old family home.
> The family
> organised themselves to take shifts to sit with this young man
> through the
> nights and days that followed. A couple of well-nourished uncles and
> cousins
> were very helpful.  The family met every other day as a group, and
> there
> were also many phone calls, as they kept each other up to date with
> what was
> happening.  Things reached a crisis and turning point I’m told, when
> late
> one night, in the wee hours of the morning, both the “minders” on
> duty and
> the young man reported that they saw him levitate off the couch.
> They all
> believed this had occurred and made much meaning from it.  Recovery
> occurred
> quite quickly after that.  He is now back in his former town, with
> his wife
> and child, and back working full time again.  He has changed the
> line of
> work so that he no longer can disturb, or be disturbed by, spirits.
> This
> was all done with no drugs at all.
> I am currently going through the rigmarole of ethics applications to
> write
> this up (what a headache).  One of the fascinating aspects of this
> case is
> the question of whose reality is the ….?

Crap Snap Traffic

October 20, 2009

Like all kids her age, Josie is a parrot, so I get to listen in   on her mother’s adherence to common rules of decency when dealing with traffic. Mommy doesn’t do so well.  Josie gets real bent out of shape when cars dare to be stopped in front of us at a traffic light.  She yells, ” Move it! Let’s go!” and ” Don’t park there cars!” She also yells, ” God” and “Shoot” ( it may be shit, but I give Mommy the benefit of the doubt). I can’t be so generous as I share Josie’s tendency to say “Crap…Snap”. She says them together because we tend to say them together, trying to correct ourselves  and really just fooling ourselves.

After her tirades, Daddy calmly and patiently explains to Josie that we need to share the road with our friends, and that the road is for everybody, and we can all just get along if we can learn to calm down.

OK…. Mommy?

Only Words – DSMIV vs Team America

October 16, 2009

From a colleague on a listserve I am on:

We just had a visit from an editor of the Brit J of Psychiatry who is something of “expert” on so-called personality disorders.  He was claiming that although the research on the existence of the various disorder was poor, there was some empirical support for the clustering.  As you may recall the DSM clusters personality disorders into 3 clusters – as I recall cluster A being the ‘schizoid’, the ‘schizotypal’ etc., folk who are a tad out of touch with the sensitivities of those around them.  Then there is cluster B, which is the ‘Borderline’ and the anti-social etc, folk who go round shitting on others.  Then there is cluster C, which are avoidant and anxious types, who mostly just want to get along with others but are a bit wet.  These are my descriptors, but they are what came to mind as he droned his way through his powerpoint on personality disorder.  I began to chuckle to myself as it occurred to me that he was describing the same 3 clusters that are described in the puppet movie ‘Team America’.  If you have seen that movie there is a lovely scene where they describe the 3 types of people in the world – dicks, assholes, and pussies, and how they interact with each other.  I have found that many folk I have interacted with have related better to the Team America descriptors of personality than the DSMs.

This chili needs to calm down

October 14, 2009

Reena made some chili on Monday and Josie and I got our own special mild version. It was pretty spicy nonetheless and Joe was very vocal about it saying her tonge was hot. She called it ‘soup’ because to her chile means cold and this was anything but cold. I was egging her on and upsetting Reena because I was acting like it was the hottest chile ever. Then Josie said, “this soup needs to calm down.”


This morning she saw some birds in a parking lot and she said , “those birds not supposed to park there.”

She went all day yesterday without a diaper and had no problems. Only concern, no poop. So she woke this morning  and I slapped a diaper on her.  I have only so much risk tolerance.

Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize

October 9, 2009

This reminds me a lot of the participation awards that we give kids just for showing up for sport’s teams. Obama has the ‘right’ attitude. Winning , that is, actual accomplishment in the arena of peace, is irrelevant.

Which begs the question, how relevant is this prize?

I am really baffled by this one.

And he is right on the verge of having to reject or refuse his Generals’ request for 40,000 troops in Afghanistan.  Which choice will make him a peacemaker? Anything less than what they request is surrender as far as I’m concerned. Taliban resumes control.


October 9, 2009

That’s how Josie says  ,    ‘ love’


I yuv you

try using it – it sort of takes you back to your innocence when love was yuv, and it never rung hollow when  spoken of

‘my favwit’

– another good expression, though my favwit is yuv 

Siven  is 7.  Josie can count to 13 before she starts missing numbers. I like when she says 7. my favwit.

Motivation – Churchill

October 8, 2009

Awesome stuff!

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