Sunday, November 20, 2011

Depression Spectrum

In another blog I was reading, Three Types of Depression, it became even more clear that we are all traveling a mental health spectrum each day.  Though your depression is not the same as my depression, we do share a similarity or two with each other.

A general term for depression, "the blues", describes a lack of joy and satisfaction that we feel on a daily basis.  We can not seem to find a simple pleasure in anything.  So what do we do? We overcompensate by constantly "one upping" the self in search of a warmth and comfort within.  Bigger and better every time.  A consequence of this is the feeling of pressure to deliver not only to the self, but to the environment around as well including family, friends, and peers.  Low joy and satisfaction.

Many people try to wash away their sorrows in a bottle whether it be alcohol or pills.  They search for the pleasure they lack in life through substances that offer a quick fix to their ailment.  The downside is that once the brain returns to normal, you can hit a low that only worsens the original mood leading to another round of self medicating behaviors.  This cycle eventually interferes with the life routine costing the individual their job, their family, or both.  Self-medicating.

In general, a majority of the population believes that it is the lack of a supportive and loving environment combined with missed opportunity that exacerbates a depressed mood into a mental health issue.  Many depressed individuals do in fact come from very positive environments with an abundance of opportunity and joy to go around.  So why are they depressed?  It is purely a matter of body chemistry, the only fix for it being medication and symptom management.  Intensive psychotherapy can fall short due to the fact that the individual's history is not the primary cause.  However, that is not to say that the person will not have to go to therapy at some point to deal with the impact that the depression has on their environment. Purely brain chemistry.

I find it helpful to understand these types, because we have all experienced a low at one point or another.  Realizing you type be it materialistic conquests, self medication, or should give light to the amount and type of treatment that is most appropriate for you.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Inside Out

I follow a lot of blogs through my Google Reader.  It allows me to preview and engage with the articles that are of interest to me.  This evening as I am sorting through the last few days worth of topics, I came across three topics which in my mind parallel one another in the common thread of the self.
1.  How the actions of parents influence a child
2.  How the teen values happiness internally and externally
3.  How the adult identifies the self within a relationship

Our parents influence every move we make.  Do we behave in accordance with them?  Sometimes yes and sometimes no.  Do we challenge their rearing?  Again, yes and no.  A negative experience with a parent can impact a child on so many levels.  One negative statement by a parent about grades, weight, or even their own matrimonial issues can influence the future of the child.

In my case, the constant pressure to be perfect in school, set the best example for my sibling, and appear competent to everyone else, was a burden to heavy to bear and has impacted how I define my own happiness.  Intrinsic happiness is finding satisfaction, pleasure, and meaning within the self without the reward of materialistic objects--extrinsic happiness.  In other words, if you neglect the intrinsic self, you risk depressive symptoms and anxiety.  The self is left incomplete and thus your extrinsic accomplishments are never fully satisfying.  This can result in a decrease in the quality of interpersonal relationships and disconnect with your external world.

I made a strong effort to identify what intrinsic goals I had, and identified how to achieve them.  In some cases, the self is unable to clarify the need for intrinsic satisfaction.  The external world is seemingly satisfying and there is no immediate need for internal improvement.  As depression, anxiety, and compulsions set in, the relationships begin to decline and self esteem diminishes.

Relationships suffer when extrinsic goals and values become the foundation and livelihood of the interaction.  As a child, achieving perfection in the eyes of a parent.  As a teen, gaining the approval of peers and family.  As an adult, accomplishing a predetermined social expectation at the expense of health and autonomy.

If you find yourself in a relationship with more extrinsic value, ask for help finding your self.  At the expense of the relationship?  Maybe.  At the expense of losing yourself?  That is your choice.  You have to bring the balance back, and it may require an internal swing that allows you to be who you really are.  I do not think that is such a bad thing.

Influenced by:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Working Hard, or Hardly Working?

Do you find yourself exhausted after work? Most of us do. Are we working out physically enough? Probably not. Are we working too hard to finish up our tasks for the day? Likely. But what really may be causing a decline in your energy is a low emotional intelligence (EI). What is EI?

EI focuses on the ability to cope with your own emotions through recognition, understanding, and response. In other words, the realization of an emotion accompanied by an appropriate response, like a calm breath pattern when you are angry. A low emotional intelligence infers that your coping mechanisms are weak and that you can become very overwhelmed due to stressors like work or home.

It would make sense that if you have a low EI, you are spending more time and energy trying to figure out how to cope with the emotions thus depleting your energy stores. Stressors at work can drain any additional stores you may have to take home with you. Depression and anxiety can result from a low EI and should be managed by a therapist and medication when deemed appropriate by a licensed professional.

A study was done by Tae Won Moon that indicates an employee who spends time incorporating their own emotion into thoughts and actions in the workplace, will likely experience more stress and frustration on the job leading to emotional exhaustion. We think of this exhaustion as burnout, and a sign of low EI. You have likely become less productive due to your emotional preoccupations in the workplace.

So the next time you come home after a hard day, consider what about your day was so hard. Was it the argument in the staff meeting that left you feeling attacked? Was it the high expectation of premium customer service to a less than optimal customer that made you resent your product? Or was it the apathy of your "favorite coworker" that left you feeling empty? These or many others can drain our energy, but do not have to. Consider trying deep breathing during your day, physical exercise after work, fresh air during your break, and any other positive coping skill that you know will work for you.

Emotional Intelligence May Casue Job Burnout

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Eat this...

The men have a point?...

Check out this website,  and then follow them on twitter or subscribe via email. Eat this...

Ever wonder what you should order when your out?  This site is a great resource that will allow you to pay attention to he quality and quantity of your food.  I do not enjoy restriction.  If I want an Oreo, I eat an Oreo.  But I do think that we can make better choices when we eat out, and we can event eat more and feel more satisfied.  Who knew?  Knowing what you are eating can empower you to make better choices and not only improve your physical health, but your mental health too.  WIN!

Monday, September 5, 2011

If You Can't Say It Better, Don't Say It

Since I don't think I have anything to add to these articles, I am just going to suggest that you read them and soak it all in.  They are amazing.

Learn to Sit with Discomfort in Your Life

Your Body and Defining Self

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Reality TV

We all know that reality tv changes the lives of those who participate in the many storylines and shows we all now identify as our guilty pleasure.

Recently the soon to be ex-husband of a Real Housewife of Beverly Hills committed suicide.  Were there underlying mental health issues, of course.  But how much can be blamed on reality tv?  The marital issues were apparent on the episodes in which he was featured, but the reported financial issues were not. Both were indeed stressors.

 It is yet to be seen what will happen with Ronnie from the popular show Jersey Shore.  Intermittent Explosive Disorder is playing a large role in his storyline from what we can see.  In my experience in various social situations, many people confuse this disorder with Bipolar Disorder. 

Intermittent Explosive Disorder is characterized by: failure to resist aggressive impulses that cause destruction of property or assault, not due to another mental disorder or medication.  These reactions are not proportional to the stressor, and will likely produce a strong sense of remorse and guilt for the action.

Is it likely that Ronnie suffers from this disorder? Yes.  It is also likely that he could suffer from other mental health issues as well that are left on the cutting room floor.  His bouts with aggression are strongly related to relationship violence and verbal abuse with another cast member.

So does the stress of reality tv cause the event?  Or is there an innate battle occurring within the minds of these tv stars?

Us Versus Them, You Versus You.

As a society we love dieting and we love food.  Multimillion dollar companies thrive on the mentality of Us Versus Them.  At your workplace. are you surrounded by Lean Cuisines and fast food?  Is the conversation about the newest diet or the latest dollar menu item? 

Our society loves to compete.  We often do so with our physical look and our place in society.  Through diet we can be what we want to be physically, but I challenge that we do not have the will power as a country to sustain this fight much past lunch.

A typical day started off with either a cup of coffee or a yogurt and a fruit--the commercials always show lean women eating this, it must work.  By mid morning, you are starving, but commit to make it a few more hours.  Lunch arrives and the appropriately portioned microwave meal and a diet soda round off the hour while you sit and judge the weaker population who has given in to their craving.  You are winning, just like the commercial said you would, and so is that company--what a great team.

Just two hours later you have lost the fight and 1.00 in the vending machine for your favorite snack, the other team is now in the lead.  You want the sugar and you are fighting sleep, plus it tastes so much better and it is only a small bag with no trans fat. 

The whistle sounds and you are headed home.  You are again starving and there are too many options available to sway you beyond the realm of self control.  Plus, the kids and the spouse are not willing to short change their tummies for the sake of the fight.  You indulge in a salad (with so much dressing it equals a fast food small fry), because salads are what the "skinny" people eat and they are so plain without Ranch.  At dinner's end, you snack on the left over mac n' cheese, and before you know it you are head first in the bowl of ice cream.  Why?  Because since you lost the battle today to the cookies from the machine in the hallway, you might as well give it up and start again tomorrow.  The commercials are again filling you with self confidence and tomorrow is a new day!

Deprivation for the sake of weight loss is not effective.  Fighting the good fight in public only to relapse at home is not effective.  Gaining control of your emotions and understanding how food and your body can actually be friends may very well be your ticket to a size smaller with a brownie on the side.

Inspired by this article.

Did I Fail?

When I set out on this journey to encourage others to find a sense of self, and possibly learn a bit about myself as well, I never though it would be less than one year before it fell to the bottom of my priority list.  Why do blogs fail?

I spent some quality time with Google today trying to find out why.  I stumbled upon an article on World of Psychology that dicussed it.

My blog failed for a few simple reasons.

1.  I simply put more time and effort into updating my personal Facebook and Twitter.  The amount of hours I spent on an ordinary evening refreshing those feeds could have been spent on updating my blog.  Upon reflection, my priorities are definitely a little off.

2.  Life.  Simply put, my brain and my body just needed a break.  I have been growing personally and hitting very important milestones.  Has this taken away much of my free time lately, yes.  Do I regret not devoting more time to my sweet little blog adventure, not until today.

So what can I do?  This evening, I am plan to update my blog with the articles that I have been saving.  I plan on catching up, and digging further into the latest of mental health happenings.  I must motivate myself to do this.  Why?  Because it is just me in this world before all else.  It isn't just about the blog, the social networks, the job, hobbies, or anything else.  It is about the self and its purpose.  Is this blog then my purpose?  I don't really know, but perhaps for now it can lead me there and help some others along the way.  Or at least that is the idea.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

You Aren't What You Eat Part 2...or Are You?

Ok, so how are we feeling now?  What do the food choices that you make really say about you and where you are mentally?

Many with eating disorders also suffer from anxiety, depression, PTSD, among others.  The desire to reduce the anxiety by being in control will continue the cycle of the eating disorder.  It was also cause the person to withdraw in shame and elicit the negative thoughts of guilt and loss of control after the episode is over.  Thus beginning the cycle all over again in the case of many binge eaters or bulimics.  This withdrawal and cycle will also nurture the depression.  As you can see, all of the co-occurring disorders are intertwined.

This is a fantastic post on regarding self-care.

Though we may not all fit each exact terms of that article, many of us can find something in there that mimics our thoughts and/or behavior.  Relate them to food and you can see how you are using your diet to control you mind.  It isn't working though in the long term.

Why are we so hard on ourselves?  There are thousands of answers to this, but only one person can really change it.  Think about your sense of self and what your next meal is telling you.  This evening I had a steak with cheese and spinach.  A perfect little bundle of happiness.  I knew I needed the protein and I did not cut off the fat.  Why?  Simply because I do not make the effort to cut all of the fat out of my life so to speak, so why not enjoy the fat that makes my meals so flavorful?  I also had a baked sweet potato.  Nothing is more satisfying than eating your comfort food of the moment.  I don't even have to eat it in moderation because it is a super vegetable! The satisfaction and energy I feel after that side dish, is what I strive for in my life. 

 So am I what I eat?  I would like to think so because my food choices at this point in my life really do reflect what I want for my life.  Perhaps what we are, are the healthy or disordered eating patterns.  Whether you are the orthorexic or the average American dieter, you are still left with the same results tat you began with.  I say, if the carrot won't make you happy, then just eat the freaking brownie.   Happiness  = endorphins that give you energy, thus burning the calories you consumed from the brownie.  Everyone wins, and you are as sweet as the chocolatey goodness you consumed, you actually become what you eat.

Remember When...You Aren't What You Eat Part 1.

Remember when I discussed Orthorexia.  If not, see the post from December 29, 2011 to refresh your memory.  In my work environment I notice to all to common two extremes of women.  The ones who strictly control their diet to maintain their already low weight and the ones who binge on "low calorie" "reduced fat" "lean" choices that are ready in 2-3minutes on high.

I am going to right this post in two separate parts.  The first to satiate my need to bring awareness to eating disorders, and the other to satiate my need to address the impact on your personal life when you do not take proper care of yourself.

First, mental health professionals all over the globe are working diligently to upgrade the DSM IV for a new edition set to release in 2013.  (This is the bible for diagnostics in the mental health field.)  I came across a post in my RSS feed for, that brought up this topic. is a link that I suggest that you visit to understand this new age eating disorder.  Can to much healthy be unhealthy?

Often times, sufferers are battling for control just as those with Anorexia or Bulimia would.  Steven Bratman, M.D. is the creator of the link above and describes orthorexia as "an unhealthy obsessions with healthy eating".  In Hollywood, it is not acceptable to be Anorexic. After all, celebrities are role models for the youth of America and must maintain a wholesome image, and by wholesome I do not mean to reflect weight.  I believe however that we have replaced Anorexic with Orthorexic in our media to maintain the smoke screen of disordered eating.

We gush over their new diets, we change our routines to mimic their patterns of daily life.  Yes, you can have the whip on your Starbucks skinny latte, but only after working out and as long as you skip breakfast and lunch.  I am a bit cynical.

The other part to this is the control factor.  We eat what we eat, when we eat, and where we eat because we are in full control.  We choose our diet daily. (Diet in all of my posts meaning the food we are consuming, not the impact on weight).  Do our choices comfort us?  Do they make us feel safe?  Do they replace emotions?

In the case of the women at work who eat the dreaded frozen meals daily, are all in a struggle to lose the weight.  The advertising companies always win here.  The average American reads "lean" and throws a weeks worth of 2/$5 frozen lunches into the basket.  These generally high sodium, unsatisfying, sometimes high calorie meals make you retain water, want a "closer" (many times a sweet of some sort), and at the end of the day put more calories in your body than you can burn in a work day.  Buuuuut lets not forget, they're "lean".  I generally eat the same caloric intake as most of my coworkers each day.  But instead of a frozen meal, a yogurt, and a diet soda, I get a cup of soup, a sandwich, a yogurt or fruit, and a granola bar (usually some amazing sweet flavor, chocolate or peanut butter).  I eat twice as much and feel satisfied and energetic most days.

The underlying theme here is, we are controlling our diets to control our minds and how we feel about ourselves.  You are no longer what you eat.  You are not lean.  You are not reduced fat.  You are not low calorie.  You are 2-3minutes on high from losing control and losing yourself.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

I love the idea of preaching mindful eating.

This is a cool article, and a plug for a book I might one day buy and read.

Stuff, Starve, or Savor? Your Relationship to Food and Life.

Basically, how we eat, what we eat, and why we eat is connected to how we manage our own life.  Being mindful is one of the most important aspects of a lifestyle you can possibly obtain and manage.

Much of the world has their eyes on Bethenny Frankel these days.  She has turned the idea of being skinny, into a lifestyle created and managed by actually eating and exercising because you want to, mindfully.  Her yoga dvd and two best selling books are just the beginning of what I anticipate turns into a lifestyle empire, if it isn not considered so already. 

I am the proud owner of the dvd, and enjoy is mostly for the fact that you are aware at all times of the art of the yoga practice, but also on the fact that if we did it perfect every time, we would perhaps not be living our lives fully. 

Coming from a nutrition background from my undergraduate work, and from the teachings on the importance of a healthy mind in graduate school I would like to offer my professional opinion that both women have something to say, and we should actually give this one some thought.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Become aware, stay alive

There is something to be said for meditation.  The attached article discusses the result of compassion meditation and its potential influence on your immune system.

But, more than just the health benefit, the ability to control and recognize your being is something most of us strive for each day.  Some through diet, role playing, or even the ever present self fulfilling prophecy.

I am pasting the steps for compassion meditation below.  Not for you to master, but just to try.  Some of the steps sound a bit silly, but look beyond the actual task and really just focus in on your purpose--to connect and become aware.

How to do a Compassion Meditation

  • Sit in your usual comfortable position form meditation.
  • Begin allowing your mind to clear, your breathing to slow and your body to relax and slow.
  • Using something or someone as the focus point in your meditation (this is usually the target of your compassion). Begin to see it as an image on your mind's eye.
  • Next see yourself sitting in meditation where you are, now begin to picture your breath entering your body through your heart chakra, which is at your heart.
  • Then on the out breath see your exhale through your crown chakra, which is the top of your head. When you exhale you are exhaling love and compassion.
  • Next picture the exhaled love and compassion making its way to your target (person etc.). Watch as your compassion falls on the target and surrounds it with love and positive energy.
  • Do this technique of breathing in and out and focusing on the target for as long as you sit in this meditation, allow the same procedure with your breathe/energy to continue.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Happy Happy, Joy Joy

20 Amazing Facts About Happiness
Written by Suzannah Moss - FamilyHealthGuide Senior Writer

Scientists are continuing to unravel the roots of positive emotion. You will be surprised and encouraged by the research findings outlined below.

1) Although genes and upbringing influence about 50% of the variation in our personal happiness, our circumstances (income and environment) affect only about 10 percent. The remaining 40% is accounted for by our outlook and activities, including our relationships, friendships and jobs, our engagement in the community and our involvement in sports and hobbies.

2) A good mood has a distinct smell. Scientists have found that people can judge whether someone is in a positive mood from their body odour alone. In one experiment men and women were shown scary films while their armpit odour was collected on gauze pads. A week later researchers asked strangers to decide which pads came from people in a good mood and which came from frightened people. They were able to do this with surprising accuracy.

3) Older people are more satisfied with there lives than younger people: a recent survey by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found that people aged 20-24 are sad for an average of 3.4 days per month as opposed to just 2.3 days for people aged 65-74

4) If you do 20 minutes of exercise, three days per week for six months, your general feeling of happiness will improve by 10-20%.

5) People who rate in the upper reaches of happiness on psychological tests develop about 50% more antibodies than average in response to flu vaccines.

6) According to researchers at The World Database of Happiness at Erasmus University in Holland, Denmark is officially the happiest nation in the world, followed closely by Malta, Switzerland, Iceland, Ireland and Canada.

7) In the USA clinical depression is 3-10 times more common today than two generations ago.

8) Immigrants tend to acquire the happiness characteristics of the nation to which they move, not the nation from which they were born.

9) Richer workers tend to be happier than poorer colleagues, but research suggests that happy people tend to have greater potential to become rich, so it's a chicken or egg scenario

10) People who suffer strokes or other debilitating diseases suffer tremendously in the short term but after a while their happiness is only slightly below the average of the population.

11) When people get married their happiness peaks, but after a while their happiness returns to the level it was before they got married.

12) Women tend to experience their all-time lowest life satisfaction at age 37, whereas men typically experience this at 42

13) Having 100-200 belly laughs a day is the equivalent of a high impact workout, burning off up to 500 calories.

14) Gold doesn't guarantee happiness. Studies of Olympic athletes found that bronze medal winners are happier than silver medal winners and sometimes happier than gold medallists. According to the Australian teams psychologist , Graham Winters, it feels better to come third when you are not expecting it than to be pipped for first.

15) The late pioneering social psychologist Professor Michael Argyle, who conducted many happiness studies, showed that among the things that made people happy are sport, music and - most of all dancing. Encouraging sports facilities everywhere would greatly increase a nations happiness. Group dancing which, which combines, exercise, music, community, touch and rules, also drastically increases happiness.

16) Several studies have shown that a pet can reduce blood pressure and stress, promoting health and happiness.

17) After basic needs are met, extra material wealth has little or no effect on life satisfaction or happiness (broadly speaking you would need to receive a windfall of more than £1 million to transform you from an unhappy person to a happy person and even then the effect is often temporary).

18) People in steady relationships are generally happier than singles.

19) In nations with high levels of income equality, such as the Scandinavian countries, happiness tends to be higher than in nations with unequal wealth distribution, such as the USA. People tend to prefer more local autonomy and more direct democracy to increased income.

20) According to a new look at a 40 year old study on child rearing practices conducted at Harvard University, those children who were hugged and cuddled more grew up to be the happiest.

May is Perinatal Mental Health Awareness month

Just in time for all of the spring eggs to be hatch.  Here is some info for soon to be moms and/or moms you know.

When Mama Ain't Happy

Perinatal Awareness Month

Sunday, May 22, 2011

It's been a while...

While it may seem as though I have neglected my blog, and maybe I have--ok I have, I find it necessary to at least touch upon why.

Attention to personal mental health and creating your world.

I find that in my field of counseling and public service that professionals often forget why exactly they chose this path.  And though most will give you the generic answer" because I want to help people", the truth is that most do it to feel better about themselves, and create a life they find socially acceptable and admirable.

In my case, I do really want to impact the mental health of other people in a useful way--not negatively or positively--I just want to leave them with another perspective, a different choice, or a new circumstance to explore.  I strongly feel though that I am of no use to you if I can not provide those very things to myself.

The past month has brought many changes to my life personally, and I consciously took the time I needed to address my emotions, my choices, and my plans.  And here I am, back and ready to serve.

So I will just leave this, take the time to explore your choice to put others before yourself.  Can you give them your best if you have not given yourself the opportunity to be your best for them?  How might your self care impact how you care for others?  Can you really give everything you inherently want to give, or are you only tasting what could be if you could only "get it together"?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Teen Forever?

I was reading this article today about teenage friendships and how parents should teach their children to "phase out" certain relationships that do not contribute to their lives in a positive way.  I then asked myself, how is that different from your adult life?  I do not really want toxic relationships now any more than I did when I was a teenager. 

The article describes the  foundation of an ideal friendship.
  • reciprocity/mutuality: getting out of the relationship something equal to that of which you put in.
  • support/understanding: how can each of you empathize and act in times of need
  • fun/pleasure: positive interactions outweigh the negative ones by a noticeable amount
  • inclusion: can the relationship transcend families, work, and other social circles?
Past experiences should have taught you a lesson in toxic relationships and what signs to watch out for:
  • one sided in: conversation, effort, input
  • noticeable negative interactions and feelings: complaints, insults, worry, anxiety
  • need to compete or point out personal gains and injustices
As adults we are told by the various relationships in our lives that the result of our work, our kids, our lives in general are the root of our problems.  We should slow down and take a break from our life. When really is it possible that those relationships are just not built upon a great foundation, and that they may in fact be the root of the toxic feelings?

All I am asking is that you take a step back and examine your relationships.  How do they really benefit you in a positive way, if at all?  What choices are you making that allow the toxic relationships to continue to impact your life in a negative way?  Understand that your sense of self is reflected in many of your relationships, and without a strong core within yourself, most relationships themselves can not share strength in the foundation.

Why as adults do we feel that it is worth it to "put up with" relationships that do not serve us?  How can we better cope with what we can not change, and what can we do to change the things we can?  If the relationship is not what you would want to see for the person that you love most, then why would it be ok for your life?


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Say what you will about greeks.

Each year students at universities across the USA get together to dance and stand for hours on end to benefit the Children's Miracle Network.

Hailing from the University of Florida, I thought I would let you experience their Dance Marathon 2011.

Throughout the past year, students have been raising money and awareness about DM. A vast majority of the participants are affiliated with greek organizations on campus. Each organization pairs with another and they work hard to raise funding for the children's area at Shand's Hospital in Gainesville, Florida.

Each dancer must stand for 26.2 hours straight, all this FOR THE KIDS!

This year they raised $713,053.68 for CMN and Shand's. Say what you will about greek organizations on college campuses, but without their time and pledge to benefit this cause, DM would not be the same.

For more information:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Passages..........: Are you at Risk of Burnout?

Passages..........: Are you at Risk of Burnout?: "Burnout is a problem that many people either face or come very close to at some point of their life or career. If your job or some other c..."

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

This is really neat.

"Read back over the pages of your teenage diary. The thoughts and emotions that once filled your mind probably seem silly in hindsight. Thing is, they're still very real for teenagers today.
The Open Book Project calls on people to offer up past diary entries, and revisit the thoughts, feelings and ambitions they had as a teenager."

What does it aim to do?

"The Open Book Project will show today's teenagers that they're not alone. By sharing a page of your teenage diary, today's teenagers will know that, no matter where life takes you, there are similar things we all experience when growing up."

Jim Stynes Intro Video from Tribal DDB on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

What is irrational?

In a recent article about the shooting in Arizona, the "alleged" shooter's plea was not guilty.  I am pasting it below because I feel that it is worth reading.  But what I focused on was the end where it discussed the need for testing to determine if he was able to stand trial due to his mental state. 

I don't really know if I find the actions of a killer more irrational, or that an attorney may use any underlying mental illness as a crutch to manipulate this case further.  It is for you to judge.  I just question the actual motives of any attorney who would make a statement as such in the last line of this article as much as I would tend to question the motives of the killer.

In Tucson, Loughner Enters Plea: Not Guilty

“It was an emotional proceeding,” said Michael Piccarreta, a longtime friend of Judge John M. Roll of Federal District Court, one of the six people killed in the Jan. 8 shooting. Mr. Piccarreta, a lawyer, attended the hearing on behalf of the Roll family and he greeted others who were there, including Bill D. Badger, a retired Army colonel who was slightly wounded and who helped subdue Mr. Loughner, and Susan Hileman, who was shot three times and who followed the proceedings from a wheelchair.

The hearing took place in the same federal courthouse, one floor up, from where Judge Roll’s chambers used to be. Down the hall was a memorial for the fallen judge, decorated with bouquets of flowers.

Judge Larry A. Burns of Federal District Court in San Diego, who was appointed to the case after Arizona judges recused themselves, said Wednesday that he had questions about Mr. Loughner’s mental competency and he ordered psychological tests and a hearing to determine whether Mr. Loughner fully understood the charges against him.

Mr. Loughner, 22, his once-shaved head now covered with brown hair and long sideburns, smiled through much of the proceeding, as he has done in previous court appearances. He spoke only once, when asked by a clerk if his name was Jared Lee Loughner. “Yes, it is,” he replied.

It was not clear whether Mr. Loughner noticed that his father was in the crowded courtroom. Like others who attended, Randy Loughner left the courtroom without comment.
Judy Clarke, Jared Loughner’s lawyer, had opposed the prosecution’s request for the court to order psychological tests, saying they could interfere with her ability to establish a rapport with her client. But Judge Burns said that evidence submitted by the prosecution, including postings on the Internet, raised questions about his mental state.

Wallace H. Kleindienst, an assistant United States attorney, argued that tests should be conducted soon so that court proceedings would not continue needlessly if Mr. Loughner is ruled unable to stand trial. Arguing that Mr. Loughner has “severe mental issues” that need to be evaluated, Mr. Kleindienst said that there was evidence that Mr. Loughner distrusts courts and judges, believes the C.I.A. and F.B.I. are investigating him and has been hearing voices.

“Certainly every murder is irrational, but this one is more irrational than others,” Mr. Kleindienst said.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


The last time I really noticed the sunrise was last Monday on my way to work.  The vibrant colors and the birth of  new day. 

I am in the process if growing my garden for the spring and summer. 
I have planted zinnia and daisies thus far to add some variety to my beautiful purple violets that bloom all year long.

Flowers are a sure way to cheer me up, and knowing that I control their well being throughout the year as they sit on my porch and sunbathe in my window, I am suddenly aware of the fact that I am directly controlling my happiness.

How many people actually make an effort to be happy?  I must say that it is exhausting at times to make a choice to not be negative.  And really, sometimes embracing that negativity is the recipe for happiness later on.  But how can you rise to the occasion and consciously do something to give rise to your own growth and happiness?

The point is, do what you can to make yourself happy, or at least take a moment to tend to that hobby that has been sitting in the closet for a while.  Think outside of the box and renew your love for books, cooking, the outdoors, art, anything!