YouTube on CBT

Good morning everyone,

I want to share this YouTube I found:

Warning: I have not yet watched it. From what I hear, many “service users” in the UK are pissed off about CBT. In the USA, we’re barely aware of this growing dissatisfaction with CBT. I am likely to watch the YouTube after reading Zenobia Morrill wrote about Dalal’s book for MIA. I doubt I can get the book in our local library system.

New Book Deconstructs Ideology of Cognitive Therapy

On anger

In this post I am making at attempt to challenge the popular myths out there about anger.

  1. Myth: Anger is a mental illness

No. Anger is a feeling. There is nothing, in any way, pathological about a human emotion that pretty much everyone feels now and then. We have seen college professors get pissed off when 75% of the class did not do the assignment. Have you ever been pissed at your parents? I hope so! Most kids do get angry when they’re told they are not allowed to stay up past a certain time, or can’t go to a party because their parents think there might be too many druggies there.

2. Myth: Anger causes stress, and that is unhealthy.

Nope. Not for everyone. For some people, likely this is true. but it is not true of everyone. Some people channel their anger into something constructive and beautiful. Remember Lou Reed? Check out Bruce Levine’s article on this amazing musician.

We need stress in our lives. Hunger and thirst are stressful states that help us eat and drink. Feeling a burning sensation on your skin will tell you you’ve been in the sun too long. And so on.

Of course, too much stress will wear a person down. However, who should be the judge of that?

3. Myth: Anger is violent.

Absolutely not. Certain behaviors are, indeed, violent. If you hit another person, or slap or punch, then that is violent behavior, whether driven by anger, confusion, or jealousy. A child might hit another during an argument over who owns which toys. Performing ECT on someone is an act of violence, among other things. Tying a person to a bed is violent. A feeling is not violent.

4. Your anger hurts you.

Since when? Isn’t this a huge assumption? Likely, it does hurt some people, but to assume it hurts everyone is likely going a step too far.

5. You need to meditate your anger away, do deep breathing, or some means of distracting yourself.

I agree that meditation helps some people. But that’s not what I disagree with here. Notice the assumption? The assumption is that anger is something we need to obliterate, or cope with. Why? Agreeably, some people are uncomfortable with their own anger. However, some people benefit from anger. If we remove our anger, reduce it, or we cover it up with drugs, aren’t we defeating the purpose?

One therapist (whom I actually liked) put a disclaimer in his literature. This was likely aimed at rape victims. He said that your feelings of trauma are going to be very useful in court. If you’ve obliterated or muffled those feelings, you are less likely to convince a judge of the harm that person caused. (This is true, of course, but it might have been a marketing ploy for the therapist.)

6. Anger is a useless emotion.

I do not think so. If you find yourself getting rude, or even violent, then maybe you aren’t using your anger in a constructive way. Anger, used constructively, can overturn a law, and can even help improve relationships. If one person gets angry at another, and that person expresses their feelings, and they work it out, guess what happens? The relationship grows and strengthens in a way that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. Here’s an example, out of my imagination:

“I’m so glad you told me. When you refused to go out with me for pizza, I had taken it personally. I didn’t realize you are serious when you say you can’t eat salt.”

Here’s another:

“That was such a nice restaurant. I had no clue why you were uncomfortable. I thought it was something I said. I’m glad you told me about what happened. No wonder you were uneasy when the group of diners sitting near us were all doctors.”

7. You have to let go of anger.

Since when? I agree that “letting go” is useful for some people, but what if you fall outside that bell curve? What if “letting go” isn’t your thing? What if doing so isn’t productive, and what you need to do is to embrace it and use it instead? We humans assume a lot, don’t we?

8. Anger belongs in the therapist’s office.

Why? People who say that often really mean, “I don’t want to hear that because I am uncomfortable with it. Tell your therapist.”

Wait a minute. Who is the one who has the problem here?

If our words are limited to a therapist’s office, isn’t that a huge waste of our energy? This energy belongs in the courtroom, in our letters to Congress, and used to effect positive changes in our workplaces.

Hmmm….What if those anger management groups weren’t all about reducing the anger, peer-pressuring the group members into believing anger is bad, and pushing the belief that angry people are these horrible sinners who are now being punished with this idiotic group they’re stuck in, or doing useless deep breathing exercises, but all about using this amazing emotion to make changes in the world? (Yes, I know, that was a wicked long sentence. I love breaking rules!)

What if we taught angry people to become activists? Yes, activism generally has to be taught. “This is how to find your congressman’s contact information.” And so on.

What are people really pissed about? Child abuse, sexual harassment on the job, racism, poverty. What are you doing in the therapist’s office? Let’s get talking!

What on earth are we doing bashing angry people for their anger? Have you seen this on social media? Of course we have. “Don’t use all caps because then, you appear angry.”

I’d love to remind these people that some of the best literature out there is driven by emotion, often driven by anger or fear. The real reason not to use all caps is that we don’t actually write that way in English. We also need to realize that some people who are visually impaired or dyslexic can read easier if the text is all caps. In many of these online interfaces, creating boldface or italics is not so easy. I believe that when I use italics or boldface, these changes do not show up for all readers. There are other literary tricks you can do to emphasize a certain word, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows these.

Which brings me to something else. Cultural differences. What is perceived as angry or rude behavior in one culture isn’t perceived that way in another.

Isn’t it time we stopped bashing anger?

 

 

 

Power play in groups

Recently, I met with a group of people. There were five people present. This was supposed to be a democratic meeting, where all contributed to decision-making.

Are other psych survivors like me? Are you the first person in the room to recognize misuse of power?

I do not think anyone else noticed. I didn’t say anything. One person took over the meeting. To me, this was obvious.

There are many possible reasons why this happened. One reason is that this person might have thought that the rest of us were incapable and inadequate.

Every time I volunteered to take on a responsibility, she would say to me, “Don’t take on more than you can handle.” Huh? Who is she to assume I am so limited that I cannot do these things I have volunteered to do?

She did this over and over. After a while, I was truly disgusted. She literally pushed people into taking on the responsibilities she thought were right for them. Did anyone else recognize this?

I volunteered to take on a certain responsibility, but she repeatedly pushed me down and said we had to assign this to a person who was not present, and therefore, couldn’t agree or disagree to doing it. I, and the other members, pointed out that this person already has taken on a lot of other responsibilities.

Toward the end of the meeting, another member then turned to me and asked me if I’d like to do it, undermining this woman’s power plays.

Another thing: Why do people bash me badly for hurting their feelings when at the same time, they refuse to apologize for hurting mine? Do I see a double standard here?

Or is it ignorance?  Should I laugh over this?

Or maybe they just think they’re above me in some way, and my feelings do not matter.

How do you change a person’s superiority complex?

Interestingly, a member who had seemed rather quiet during the meeting emailed all of us afterward saying something about the environment, a coffee shop, bugged him.

I laughed, because what bugs one person does not bug another, clearly.

I doubt I will say anything, lest I come across as rude or insensitive.

Protest the APA!

The following is the Facebook page for the APA Protest 2019:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/protestAPA/

The feed will be running for a few days that I know of. You will likely recognize a certain person in there!

I made my videos a while back but they are not public. I will be making them public tomorrow. If I remember. You do not need a YouTube account to view them.

Oh…tomorrow is today. I forgot. Later today, then.

 

Footnote: We’ve already gone too far as it is

As far back as I can recall (which is pretty much all the way back), almost all shrinks I had, including therapists, asked me if there was any mental illness in my family. I usually told them no, except there were rumors about a distant aunt.

Like that was supposed to mean something very significant. Those idiots wrote it down.

I think this was the aunt I was partially named after. Since I am totally unsure I doubt I mentioned this. I say partially. Her name was Julia. She died before I was born. (In Jewish families we do not name our kids after a living person.) I know nothing about about her beyond that. Mostly, I was named after Julie Andrews. My mom was enthralled with her. Camelot was a smashing hit.

When I was little, very little, my mom took me to see Mary Poppins. The rebel nanny. Maybe that was a hint. On the other hand, if rebelliousness is a gene, I got if from my mom. Maybe it comes from being a Capricorn. Oh I know! It was passed through breast milk.

Just joking here. See how insane it gets?

My dad was unhappy that my hair was mess a lot of the time. I have to laugh because he was one that gave me those dreaded curls. My mom gave me fine, silky hair. Uh oh. This means chronic tangles. Still. Do I blame my parents? I know! I need to hold a lifelong grudge! (Actually, a drop or two of Vitamin E oil that you can now buy in the dollar store–for a dollar–gets the tangles out instantly.)

I like the snowflake idea. We’re all different. Who originally said that? Was it the Romper Room lady?

Puzzle’s fur is half terrier and half poodle. You have to look closely. You can see those oddly-shaped terrier hairs mixed in with her dad’s curly locks.

It’s beautiful, when you think about it.

Interesting and significant article on genetics

I love reading this stuff:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/it-s-the-end-of-the-gene-as-we-know-it

I find it interesting that they never quite find the gene for so-called schizophrenia. The genetic studies for anorexia that claimed to find the gene for it were funded by the pharmaceutical companies. Why? Because they wanted to make a drug for it. Oh great! Were you coerced into that study, too? Their findings were not as conclusive as they claimed.

Do you know anyone who did that ancestry dot com test? I have always figured there was no validity to it, especially after my friend told me her test showed there was a tiny percent of Ashkinazi Jew in her. I didn’t say anything, but since when is there a gene for that?

No, we definitely do not want to go down this road.

EMDR

Have you heard of EMDR? I have heard it is proven to work. However, to me, “proven” means nothing. Many things are claimed to be proven, such as ECT, but are actually very harmful.

My concern is the risk. I’m sure it can help some people. I have heard that if it’s not done right, it can harm people. This is why we choose the right dentist, the right surgeon, etc, even the person to repair our shoes and do our dry cleaning. We might check out review sites or ask our friends.

How many people do this when choosing a therapist? They likely will choose anyone that their insurance covers, or take the only one available. This may, or may not, end up in a disaster. Even choosing wisely, or what we think is wisely, can end up not working out.

Back around 2012, I called 200 therapists (not all at once) and almost all turned me down. Mostly it was insurance, likely valid. Some claimed their schedules were full. (I think a couple of them  lied about that.) One of them had me talk to her billing person and the billing person claimed the visit would be 100% covered.  Getting there involved an extensive number of bus transfers. I think the total commute was well over an hour. Then, the therapist kicked me out of her office after about ten minutes, likely less, when I told her I have an ED. She said she did not treat that.

Imagine my surprise when I received a bill for an “initial visit” for the full amount, in the mail. I had to fight to keep that one from going into collections. I won.

I couldn’t find anyone after all those calls. Then I settled for a guy who said he would only charge me $30, despite the fact that he seemed unprofessional over the phone. This was David Alpert, who STILL practices in Arlington and a few other places around that area. I found him weird, and totally incompetent. I was able to quit after his “therapy” included asking me out on a date.

After that, my psychiatrist called me psychotic when I tried to tell her. I couldn’t get anyone at all to believe me. They all assumed I was psychotic. I hated that. This was how I lived back then.

I don’t know how I could possibly trust any of them again. I don’t think I could trust an EMDR practitioner because they control the therapy.

The other reason is that it really sounds like hocus-pocus to me.

I have a friend who tried it. I have no clue why, or how, the therapist managed to coerce her into long-term EMDR. This sounds fishy to me.

 

Thoughts on Whitey Bulger

I’m sure you all heard that a while back, Whitey Bulger was killed in prison, beaten to death by two fellow inmates.

Were you aware that he was 89 years old? This is old indeed. I personally would love to live that long. I highly respect anyone who does.

Are you thinking, as I am, just how idiotic, senseless, cruel, and outright reckless it is to keep an 89-year-old man in prison?

I think that these arguments should prevail over any risk they might have thought they were taking by letting him out.

Electrolytes

This information is in my upcoming book, Life After Lithium. I am outlining this information here, just to help out anyone who might be passing through who has been affected by kidney disease which can come from the drug Lithium Carbonate.

One of the first signs of kidney disease, for me, was muscle cramping. This is not the same a menstrual cramps and it’s not the same as aching, sore, or stiff muscles. I have heard people say their muscles are “tense,” but I don’t really know what this means, except maybe as part of the fight-or-flight reaction. The muscle cramps you get from kidney disease happen specifically because your kidneys aren’t doing a very good job regulating your potassium. The cramps will be a sudden tightening of the muscle, and a sharp pain that can happen pretty much anywhere. Most commonly, I get these in my feet. This can be on top of the foot or on the bottom, or in a toe or two. I can also get them in my calf muscle (known as a Charlie Horse) or even in hamstring or quad muscles. Any thigh muscle cramping is excruciatingly painful. This can also happen in one or two fingers, or an entire hand. People describe their hands “turning into a claw.” I can vouch for this!

With most people with kidney disease, this means your kidneys have not properly filtered out potassium, and therefore, your potassium level is too high. However, for me, and I suspect (but don’t know for sure) for anyone who has the curious combination of diabetes insipidus and kidney disease, the opposite occurs. In fact, I lose potassium throughout the day, particularly when I exercise. The danger in supplementing with potassium is obvious, because if you mistakenly think a muscle cramp is from low potassium, and it’s actually due to high potassium, and then, take a potassium supplement, you are in for serious trouble.

Please know that I am not a doctor and it’s up to YOU to know what is happening in your body.

If your potassium level is too high or too low, you are at risk for a heart attack. Dehydration will also put you at risk because often, your electrolytes become imbalanced due to not drinking enough fluids. I can’t stress enough that you need to get to know your body and know the signs of high and low potassium. A blood test is not sufficient, because these imbalances can happen so rapidly that the time spent waiting for blood test results is too long to wait.

Hiccups can also occur from high or low potassium. They can also come from eating certain foods too fast. If they come out of the blue, and this happens frequently, try taking a spoonful of blackstrap molasses. If this relieves the hiccups, then your potassium was indeed too low.

NOTE: I’m not sure of the validity of this test, because it’s possible that the strong taste of the molasses is what stops the hiccups. I think there are ways of testing this out. I have yet to do this.

A cramp in itself is not dangerous, though I hear that certain types of muscle cramps can cause pain that lasts even longer than the cramp itself. People generally want to know what to do the moment they get these cramps, especially when they occur in the middle of the night. The pain can be so bad that you wake up screaming. I have! I’ve used the following:

  1. Stamp out the cramp. You might be able to do this without getting out of bed. Stamp your foot against a bedpost, if you have one, or against a wall. This might relieve the cramp.
  2. Get out of bed and into an upright position. Now, stamp out the cramp onto the floor if you have to. Often, the cramp ends as soon as you are upright. If it happens while you are sitting, stand up.
  3. If these do not relieve the cramp, take magnesium. I’m not sure why this works, but somehow, the magnesium balances out your electrolytes. Since you have to do this fast, I would not worry about what form of magnesium. Even mag ox will work. I would also not worry about overdosing on magnesium. I hear it is indeed possible, but rare, since your body is likely to rid itself of any excess magnesium via diarrhea. I also would not even worry about taking magnesium and occasionally getting diarrhea the next day as a result. The object is to balance out your electrolytes. Diarrhea once in a while isn’t going to hurt you. So long as it’s not frequent, any electrolyte issues that result from loose stools will work themselves out rather quickly. Some people recommend drinking a magnesium solution slowly throughout the day, which might help avoid diarrhea, or taking a small amount of magnesium at bedtime. NOTE: I highly doubt magnesium is truly a muscle relaxer and I do not think it is a sedative, either, despite the myths going around. It is a quick fix for electrolyte imbalance, that might be the cause of muscle cramping.
  4. If all the above do not work, or you are finding that you are getting the cramping every night, I’d suggest eating more potassium-rich foods.
  5. If you are out, and you cannot go grab a banana, and cramping becomes annoying, you might want to carry with you some potassium tablets. I say this with much caution because for whatever reason, drugstore potassium tablets are unsafe to take as a supplement. The dose is too high for me. I pre-cut these tablets in half and then, put them into a tiny pill container I keep on my keychain. PLEASE DO NOT EVER TAKE THESE UNLESS YOU ARE POSITIVE YOUR POTASSIUM IS TOO LOW.

I am concerned that these potassium supplements are sold in drugstores and anyone thinking they’re taking a harmless mineral supplement is in for serious trouble. I think the warnings on the label should be more visible. I’m not even sure if this would be enough. Who reads vitamin labels, anyway?

Recently, I discovered something else that really helps. I have been putting potassium bicarbonate in my drinking water. You won’t find this in the average drugstore. I mail-order mine. Again, do not do this unless you are well aware that your potassium drops, as mine does. I have been putting 1/16 of a tsp into two quarts of water. This has been amazing to help completely obliterate night cramps.

Do not use magnesium for menstrual cramps. I can’t see how this can be helpful at all, especially since diarrhea often accompanies menstrual cramping. Magnesium will worsen the diarrhea. You can also get cramping from the diarrhea, and magnesium isn’t going to help that, either.

Some people use magnesium in a bath or foot soak. I haven’t really found  this helpful and I do not like taking baths anyway. Still, this is a popular ritual world-wide. Magnesium is marketed as a “calmant,” in other words, sedative. I do not think it is. I have found studies showing it helps people sleep. Still, putting oneself to sleep is not the same as sedating oneself.

Please, make your own decisions! If you make up your mind to follow this advice, you are doing so because YOU decided. Make an informed decision. Just because this is in a blog post does not mean in any way I forced  you, coerced you, or in any way caused the negative results you got from taking this advice. I say this because taking potassium supplementation is not safe except under certain conditions.