Mar 05

Not the Oscars: Most-Searched MT Movies of 2017

The following movies of 2017 were the most searched on “Minding Therapy.” Post excerpts reveal key elements of interest to my readers. Click on the links for further details.

I. “The Last Word”: A Shallow View of OCPD

…OCPD is different, by the way, from OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. As Jenny TurnerThe Guardian, stated as “the single most useful fact” she gleaned from David Adam‘s book about OCD, The Man Who Couldn’t Stop (2014):

OCD is completely different from OCPD, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, which is simply to be a person with an unusually low tolerance for mess and imperfection – joke-anal people, like Monica from Friends. The need for order and ritual in the lives of OCPD people is ‘ego-syntonic’, odd and possibly anti-social, but simply part of who they are. In OCD people, on the other hand, the thoughts are ‘harrowing, ego-dystonic’, in endless, exhausting conflict with the person’s other drives and hopes. It’s like having a phobia, but worse, in that you can’t avoid it just by avoiding planes or spiders. The stimulus is internal. You generate it yourself.

II. “Gifted” Child: What Happens When She Grows Up?

…As JR Thorpe recently outlined in Bustle, there are several ways giftedness does “change the game a bit.” Click on the link for details.

  • You May Be More Likely To Have Specific Emotional Problems…
  • You May Be More Likely To Choose Your Path According To Social Pressures…
  • You May Have More Difficulty Picking Between Passions…
  • You May Have A Hard Time Turning Giftedness Into Adult Achievement…

Gail Post, PhD (Gifted Challenges blog), on what’s often seen, particularly with females: “Gifted girls…may hide their abilities, ‘dumb themselves down’ and avoid traditionally masculine fields of study to remain popular.”

III. “To the Bone”: Intensive Treatment of Anorexia

Hadley FreemanThe Guardian…:

…[Dr. Beckham] proves his unconventionality by swearing occasionally and insisting his methods are totally different from anyone else’s (they’re not: they rely on therapy and healthy eating, as almost all eating-disorder treatments do). He also clearly enjoys his power over his mainly female patients and a braver, less conventional film would have explored this more. Instead, To the Bone merely accepts the doctor’s version of himself as the brilliant, patriarchal medical professional who can fix women.

IV. “Phantom Thread”: Some Psychology

…(P)sychiatrist Marc Feldman…the author of an upcoming book on various types of medical deception, told [Anna] Silman (The Cut) he sees in Alma “’Munchausen syndrome by adult proxy,’ a form of abuse in which a caregiver artificially induces illness in someone he/she is caring for.”

On the other hand, adult-to-adult cases are apparently very rare, and “Feldman says he has never seen a case where (à la Phantom Thread) the victim colludes with the perpetrator to achieve some sort of gratification. That’s because in most cases the victims tend to be unable to comprehend the abuse they are undergoing or unable to resist, often because they are physically or intellectually disabled.”

Well, it turns out that director Paul Thomas Anderson had Munchausen on his mind too in preparing to make Phantom Thread

V. “Ingrid Goes West”: Social Media Obsession to Extreme

Sheila O’

‘Ingrid Goes West’ is a biting expose on How We Live Now: sitting on our phones, rote scrolling through someone else’s online life, clicking ‘Hearts’ without even taking a moment to absorb the image. The film lampoons stuff that didn’t even exist 10 years ago but has now become such a part of our everyday lives that no one takes a second to consider the potential negative effects. If everything is public, then where is the Self? Is turning yourself into a ‘brand’ really a good idea? If you don’t take a picture of it and – crucially – share it with the world, did it really happen?

Feb 01

“Dry January” Didn’t Help? For Feb. “This Naked Mind”

Dry January can be extremely positive or can actually reinforce the stronghold alcohol has on someone. Here’s why. When we give up something we feel is benefiting us, we feel deprived. While you might be able to get through the 31 days of January without drinking, there is a good chance that…you have actually created more of a desire for it. As soon as we tell ourselves we can’t have something we tend to want it even more. Annie Grace to Jess Cording, Forbes

If you’re concerned about your drinking and not sure Dry January has helped, consider Annie Grace‘s strategies, which you’ll find in her book This Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life. Grace, who has successfully worked on changing her own alcohol use, has already helped many individuals in similar circumstances via various other resources.

From the publisher’s blurb:

Many people question whether drinking has become too big a part of their lives, and worry that it may even be affecting their health. But, they resist change because they fear losing the pleasure and stress-relief associated with alcohol, and assume giving it up will involve deprivation and misery…

This Naked Mind will give you freedom from alcohol. It removes the psychological dependence so that you will not crave alcohol, allowing you to easily drink less (or stop drinking)…

Disclaimer noted by Grace: This is not for those who may be physically dependent on alcohol, which can require a different kind of detox under a professional’s care. From her website:

It is strongly recommended that you seek professional advice regarding your health before attempting to incorporate any advice…Withdrawal symptoms due to a physical dependence on alcohol have the potential to be severe, and in some cases life-threatening.

A book excerpt posted on Amazon elaborates on Grace’s mission:

I can put you back in control by removing your desire to drink, but be forewarned, getting rid of your desire for alcohol is the easy part. The hard part is going against groupthink, the herd mentality of our alcohol-saturated culture. After all, alcohol is the only drug on earth you have to justify not taking…

I offer a perspective of education and enlightenment based on common sense and the most recent insights across psychology and neuroscience. A perspective that will empower and delight you, allowing you to forever change your relationship with alcohol. And remember, sometimes what you are searching for is in the journey rather than the destination.

Did Dry January fail to work adequately for you? Do you believe you may be psychologically addicted to alcohol? Get the first 40 pages of This Naked Mind for free by signing up here.

Or you can start elsewhere: By reading her blog or listening to her podcast. Or by joining her support community. Or by watching Grace on video. Or all of the above.

Want to try her 30-day Alcohol Experiment? Click on this link if the following five possible benefits, per Grace, interest you:

  1. clarity and focus
  2. your time becomes freed up
  3. better health and sleep, increased libido, reduced anxiety, no hangovers, etc.
  4. whereas failing is not possible, learning is inevitable
  5. mindful relationship with alcohol

Several selected quotes from Grace in This Naked Mind:

You will no longer suffer the mental division caused by one side of your brain wanting a drink and the other side feeling like you should cut back.

While illegal drugs kill 327 people per week, and prescription drugs kill 442 people per week, alcohol kills 1,692 people per week.

I drink as much as I want whenever I want. The truth is I no longer have any desire to drink.

Jan 02

Recent Mental Health Headlines of Note

Mental health headlines—three articles from December 2017:

I. How to tell if you’re a ‘conversational narcissist’. Julie Compton, NBC News.

“Conversational narcissism” ( a term coined by sociologist Charles Derber) involves the love of talking about ourselves, according to journalist/author Celeste Headlee.

When a conversational narcissist wants so badly to have the attention back on him/her, he/she may engage in what’s called a “shift response.” The opposite communicative approach, on the other hand, is to offer a “support response,” which “focuses on the thoughts and feelings of the other person.”

I would tell you more, but maybe I should yield the floor.

II. Here’s What Your Recurring Nightmares Actually Mean. Amanda MacMillan, Time.

MacMillan’s opening paragraph:

Everyone has a bad dream once in a while. But having the same one over and over may signal that something specific is missing in your daily life, new research suggests. Men and women in the study who felt frustrated and incompetent during the day were more likely to have recurrent bad dreams at night than those who felt satisfied and in control.

Improve your waking life, improve your dream life.

III. America, Can We Talk  About Your Drinking? More people are consuming alcohol
in risky ways. That’s not a good trend. Gabrielle Glaser, New York Times.

An excerpt from Glaser’s intro to the subject:

For all the deserved attention the opioid crisis gets, alcohol overuse remains a persistent public health problem and is responsible for more deaths, as many as 88,000 per year. While light drinking has been shown to be helpful for overall health, since the beginning of this century there has been about a 50 percent uptick in emergency room visits related to heavy drinking. After declining for three decades, deaths from cirrhosis, often linked to alcohol consumption, have been on the rise since 2006.

Furthermore, binge drinking is increasing “among women, older Americans and minorities.” A common definition of such usage is “five per day for men and four per day for women.”

Why is this happening? “Many alcohol researchers and substance-use clinicians believe the steady increase in problem drinking arises from a deeply felt sense of despair: ‘Since the attacks on 9/11, we’ve been in a state of perpetual war, and a lot of us are traumatized by that,’ said Andrew Tatarsky, a clinical psychologist who specializes in treating people with substance-use disorders.”

And then there’s always Trump-induced anxiety, I might add.

Nov 29

PRIDE Study: YOU Can Aid LGBTQ Health Research

Join the first longitudinal health study of LGBTQ people today. The Pride Study

…And contribute to research that will hopefully “do for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) health, what the Framingham study did for heart health,” states UC San Francisco, the site of this landmark study (UCSF News).

After all, how can LGBTQ health and mental health needs get adequately addressed when there’s been a dearth of specific knowledge about our needs? PRIDE in the Pride Study, by the way, stands for The Population Research in Identity and Disparities for Equality.

Mitchell Lunn, MD, and Juno Obedin-Maliver, MD, MPH, “founded the PRIDE Study to engage the LGBTQ community, understand their health priorities, and frame research questions to address specific disease risks, outcomes, and resiliencies in this population.”

The PRIDE study is affiliated with PRIDEnet, a national network of over 40 LGBTQ-focused organizations. According to their site, “We are a patient powered research network (PPRN) funded by PCORI and staffed by Carolyn Hunt and Micah Lubensky.” PCORI stands for Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.

See a brief video below that features a variety of individuals explaining the importance to them of the PRIDE study:

One research participant is physician Daniel Summers, Slate, who in his recent article mentioned mental health issues as an element of the PRIDE study:

The wide range of questions asked by the survey could help health providers detect and lessen problems or risk factors they may have overlooked previously. To pick one area of inquiry that stood out to me when I completed the survey, it may be that growing up in a religious community that rejected gay and sexual-minority people is a significant risk factor for depression or anxiety in LGBTQ people—but joining an affirming religious community mitigates this risk later in life. By collecting very granular data points like those, the authors can provide physicians and counselors with a better idea about areas of their patients’ lives that might never have occurred to them before.

Also now a proud participant, one of thousands, is yours truly. I found the questionnaire informative, thorough, wide-ranging, and highly sensitive to all sexual minorities.

Although many have already joined the study, tons more are needed, say the researchers. That’s where you come in.

Get on your computer or any internet-connected device now and at this link answer just a few questions to see if you’re eligible. For starters, are you LGBTQ-identified and over 18?

If you are able to proceed with this confidential study, you’ll need at least a half hour, probably more, to complete the extensive questionnaire—a worthy chunk of your time and effort on behalf of LGBTQ people everywhere, don’t you think?

Nov 02

“First Things First” In Three Different Ways

Online dictionary definition of “First things first”: Used to assert that important matters should be dealt with before other things.

First things first. Whether regarding time management, addiction recovery, and/or decision-making about one’s primary romantic relationship versus another, this slogan may seem simplistic—but often comes in handy.

I. Time Management

Stephen R. Covey (1932-2012) wrote First Things First, about time management, in the 1990’s. Joan Price‘s Amazon Review states that Covey’s organizing process is designed to help you prioritize what’s truly important. Four quadrants represent the tasks you find at hand—and your job is to figure out what goes where:

  1. Important and Urgent (crises, deadline-driven projects)
  2. Important, Not Urgent (preparation, prevention, planning, relationships)
  3. Urgent, Not Important (interruptions, many pressing matters)
  4. Not Urgent, Not Important (trivia, time wasters)

Focusing on quadrants one and three, the urgency realm, is what many people do:

We get a temporary high from solving urgent and important crises. Then when the importance isn’t there, the urgency fix is so powerful we are drawn to do anything urgent, just to stay in motion. People expect us to be busy, overworked. It’s become a status symbol in our society—if we’re busy, we’re important; if we’re not busy, we’re almost embarrassed to admit it. Busyness is where we get our security. It’s validating, popular, and pleasing. It’s also a good excuse for not dealing with the first things in our lives. ‘I’d love to spend quality time with you, but I have to work. There’s this deadline. It’s urgent. Of course you understand.’ ‘I just don’t have time to exercise. I know it’s important, but there are so many pressing things right now. Maybe when things slow down a little.’

Focusing on quadrant number two, on the other hand, is more likely to be constructive.

II. Addiction/Sobriety

So, there’s urgency addiction, according to Covey, and of course so many other types of addiction. How exactly can “first things first,” a key 12-step slogan, apply to addiction recovery? For those early in the process, expert Lisa Frederiksen, Breaking the Cycles, offers the following steps, noting in advance that it’s either the addict or the caring loved one who can start the process toward health. (Click on the link for details.)

  • Accept that addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease.
  • Learn as much as you can about what happens in the brain of an addict/alcoholic as a result of the brain disease of addiction and about what happens in the brains of the family member, as well.
  • Let go of the old notion of control.
  • Do what you can to improve your diet, get regular exercise and get enough sleep.

III. Relationship Decision-Making

A common dilemma: Person A is in some level of commitment to one partner (B) but having an affair, emotional or otherwise, with another (C). Often at some point A has to determine, is it B or or is it C? Or maybe neither. “First things first” requires time and space to re-place more focus on both the problems and benefits of being with the one who was a priority first, B. Only then can A become rational and free enough from outside pressures to make appropriate decisions in this regard.