meus intuitus

Archive for April 2013

in

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I have been spending the weekend in.  Weekends (free time in general) for me historically have always degenerated into aimless impulse-following.  My mind state does well with the structure of the weekdays and, even though I look forward to weekends, I inevitably fall into terrible habits.  Come weekends, I have a frenetic sense that I should be out and about, I stay up late (4 AM often) puttering around with various electronic amusements, and I am just generally disorganized.  Almost always, I am left feeling less rested and more anxious then before the weekend began.

It’s time for a new approach to week ends.  I will be content with or without much socialization—the latter freeing myself for my studious pursuits.  I will sleep before midnight—keeping some structure and resting my mind as I should.  May my weekends be as deliberate as my weekdays.  Yes.  The compulsions need to go.  Relaxing, but productive and deliberate.

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April 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm

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my kind of girl

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I’ve been attending an upper-undergraduate level anthropology course about world mental health.  The class has been incredible at fostering discussion about perspectives, culture, and of course as they relate to psychiatry.  The class happens to be 80% female (or perhaps that is rather typical of the liberal arts).  Not that I have been attending this class for such a reason, but wow, it has been phenomenal to be amongst so many intelligent, sharp, and sociopolitically aware women—many of whom are very attractive.  A side-lesson of my attending this class has been that my “type” of woman is not as rare as I thought her to be.  Glorious.  Take that, romantically defeatist self.

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April 24, 2013 at 6:00 pm

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abstract curse

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Some people are “big picture” and others are “detail oriented” (on a spectrum of course).  I just made a connection today between my own cognitive style and my volatility of mood.  Of course, I am a big-picture thinker.  I am constantly thinking about the biggest pictures.  I can’t help it and it’s a tad irritating, really.  I am glad for this comedic perspective I have on life, but I imagine that life would be simpler (though not necessarily easier) if I were not contemplating…  the scale of the universe, the entire canvas of my life from the completed to the projected, and the purpose of my existence… every other morning on my walk to the hospital.

Anyhow, my point is that this penchant for big-picture thinking is very related to the “generalization” of thoughts—meaning I can take a small thought, like noticing that some stranger cares not to acknowledge me when we pass in the hallway, and too-easily generalize it; often to something negative like perhaps “humanity is disconnected and we are all far more alone in life than we typically conceive ourselves to be.”  Note that this is just an example and not a proper belief of mine.  Over-generalization is one of the “unhelpful thought patterns” that is identified and neutralized in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  I am glad to have found CBT.  At my discovery of it, my mind was full of this and literally every other “unhelpful thinking pattern” (there are about 10) on the list.  Anyhoo, my point—big-picture thinking is related to over-generlization and catastrophization is related to depressed moods if even little things (like somebody not texting me back) go awry.

What a silly mind I have.  “I call myself a peaceful warrior because the battles I fight are within” indeed.  It has been quite the ordeal rallying my brain, but I have not been without excess.  These past eight months have seen leaps and bounds.

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April 21, 2013 at 8:26 pm

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contrary compulsions

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It’s odd.  I am so compelled to do things that do not really bring me happiness or satisfaction.  I hardly drink anymore, but Facebook and computer games remain as little vices.  The more I abstain form these, the greater my sense of contentment—especially as I occupy myself with other productivities like reading and study.  However, the compulsion remains omnipresent.

There are clues.  What does it feel like when I check Facebook or play computer games?  I feel like I am yearning for a high—for a distant connection, for a virtual victory.  Alternatively, what does it feel like when I read or study?  It feels more like I am seeking and finding.

The things that we choose to do in our free time…  Some things make promises that they can not keep; and other things are uncompelled treasures simply waiting to be picked up.  Life is a war for our Time and is full of these little battles of vice and virtue.

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April 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

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medicalization counterpoint

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People talk about the medicalization of behavior—always in a negative and demonizing sense.  Now, I am not here to say that psychiatry is without its issues (over-diagnosis and pharmaceutical industry influence are real issues).  However, psychiatry’s issues are ones that all good psychiatrists are very cognizant of.  Medicalization is not evil by nature.  Medical is just a lens through which we can view maladaptive psychological phenomena—and it is a lens that actually provides answers and cures.  This is in contrast to, say, the cultural lens that would shrug its shoulders when asked “what should we do about it?”  For example, there is an argument that schizophrenics in our society might be viewed as spiritual healers or prophets in other cultures.  There is truth to this statement.  However, the reality is that our culture in America is what it is—we don’t believe in shamans and we are individualistic; as such each individual must be able to stand on his or her own in life.   To draw another contrast, in Indian societies, identity and social roles are much more communal.  Families more frequently live together and the non-ill members of the family can support and make up for the lack of productivity of the ill one.  The reality in America is that people with mental illnesses are often estranged or shunned from their families—and so must stand on their own.  If you will, American culture (individualism) and family dynamics (again, individualism) create an environment such that many mentally ill patients can not “get by” as easily.  As such, it falls upon some other institution (in this case, medicine) to help these people.  This is where Psychiatry (both interpersonal-therapeutic and pharmacological) comes in.

Yes, behavior is more “medicalized” in America.  However, medicalization is not an inherent evil.  Medical is simply a method.  To use an analogy, take banking for instance.  Banking in itself is not evil.  In fact, it provides a service vital to society—the liquidity of capital for the creation of wealth.  However, in both banking and in medicine, the evil comes in abuses.  Psychiatry is to Banking as an over-influential pharmaceutical lobby is to an over-sized financial sector.  Neither is evil in itself and both do society a great deal of good; and, sure, both need restraint to prevent abuses.

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April 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

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boston marathon bombings and empathy

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I ventured to exercise a peculiar empathy today.  With the awful bombing of the Boston Marathon on every news channel, I took a moment to imagine what life must be like for civilians in areas of conflict abroad—Afghanistan, Palestine…  The news talks of the horrors of this bombing:  Over a hundred casualties—some fatalities, many with amputations of their feet and legs.  I considered for a moment:  The same tragedy afflicts civilians in those unfortunate countries in the Middle East, but with frequency.  Home made bombs, “precision” rockets, predator drones.  The situations are a bit different of course, but the tragedy, mutilation, and human suffering are the same.  Perpetrators “should” be brought to justice on both sides of the sea, but the convenient reality is that the lives of victims on one side can be written off as “collateral damage.”

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April 15, 2013 at 5:26 pm

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Chandra

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OKC date number two–an English literature major, granola, part-time stripper. We talked about Die Antwoord, virgin-whore complexes, and Cajun food.  Fine date from a life-experience standpoint.

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April 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

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