I have a really bad headache but hope that the paracetamol will kick in soon. I have so many things to organize! My list is getting shorter every day. Next Tuesday I’m organizing a day in the park for families with free barbeque-food and refreshments. I have to buy a lot of stuff and need to find people willing to volunteer. I have already recruited some people and hope more will be willing to help. In addition to barbequing, there will be face painting and competing. I really hope that the weather will be good! The weather forecast predicts cloudy weather with a bit of sun, but it can suddenly change. If it starts to rain, we can end the event earlier and postpone it. I want to try to organize something like this later this summer, too, and hope that we can get some sponsors. Luckily there are many energetic people here, that want to make life better for others. I hope that organizing activities like these for everyone, will bring people together. Mental health depends on living a meaningful life together with others, and if you manage to inspire anxious and lonely people, they get a chance to heal.
Like I have written before, I want medication to just be a supplement to more extensive therapy. In my view, we also need to change attitudes and prejudices influencing us at an unconscious level. The best way to do this, is by engaging people and empowering them. Marthin Luther King and Gandhi, both inspired others and changed attitudes step by step. So can we.
It has been a wonderful day. It started far too early, when I went to work to attend the first meeting in the morning. I had one conversation with a patient, and then two other meetings and a long lunch with my collages. In between meetings I did some writing that needed to be done, and then I was finally ready for the weekend. 15:30 I drove to a friend who wanted to borrow some clothes, and talked with her for a bit. I then went home for a quick dinner and some relaxation.
I enjoyed myself with “the body keeps the score”, a brilliant book that I probably will reread many times since it`s packed with tips and knowledge.It is like a coffin filled with gold.
Feeling richer from listening to the audiobook, I drove to one of my best friends to watch “The voice”. We talked before the show, and under it. After a while another friend came, and her boyfriend, and we all had a good evening. We tried to plan what we should do together tomorrow, as there will be a big party with events during the day too. I will go to the library, pick up the new bike I have bought, and then go to the city centre for free concerts. Later I will prepare for the night and meet one of the girls who will join me in the show choir “surround”. She is a mother of two, and needs to do something else for a change. Like me, she works with trauma, and has a hectic life. We will drink some wine, sing and then join my other friends afterwards.
It has been a really good week, and I know tomorrow will be great, too. I feel so lucky, and struggle with not feeling bad about it. Like always, I wonder if I deserve it. I have so many fantastic people around me, the best job in the world, and the chance to do whatever I want. I have finally started taking singing and piano lessons, and can now dedicate myself to music like I always wanted. My heart reaches out to all the people out there who have so little in comparison. Why did I win the lottery by being born in one of the riches countries in the world, where we have every opportunity, while others are born into countries with war and poverty? I try to remember that I have suffered, too, and that I will help others for as long as I live. That relieves some of the guilt, but it`s still there.
To all my readers: I hope you have the same chance to lead a meaningful life as me. And if you aren`t quite there yet, that you can somehow change your circumstances and fight for the life you want.
17th of May is what we call Norway’s Birthday. It is really the Constitution Day, but we have always just called it Norway’s Birthday or the National Day. This day is celebrated as a Spring Festival. It is first and foremost a day for the children. We sing songs about the coming of Spring and the beautiful nature of our motherland Norway (or fatherland as we say in Norwegian).
Image source: pinterest. A girl wearing a traditional national dress. These dresses vary according to where you are from.
We dress up in our national dress and spend the day outdoors. The children participate in parades where they sing spring songs, and there are speeches and games.
I found this post on stumbleupon, and wanted to share it here. I have just read one of the books (antifragile), but heard about three of them before. The books look interesting, especially the first and last one. Hopefully I will have the chance to read them both this year!
Gilbert is a famous Harvard psychologist who has a knack for coming up with zany experiments that show just how flawed and biased the human mind is. In the book, he shows you time and again that as humans, we inaccurately judge, among other things, what made us happy in the past, what will make us happy in the future, and even what is making us happy right at this moment.
In fact, decades of Gilbert’s research on happiness all points to the same unsettling fact: happiness has little to do with what happens to us in our lives, and more to do with how we end up choosing to see things.
Gilbert’s theory is that we each have a “psychological immune system,” basically a bullshit generator where our minds explain away our past experiences, our future projections and our current situations in such a way that we always maintain a baseline level of mild happiness.1 And it’s when this “immune system” fails that we fall into prolonged depression and/or existential crises.
“We treat our future selves as though they were our children, spending most of the hours of most of our days constructing tomorrows that we hope will make them happy… But our temporal progeny are often thankless. We toil and sweat to give them just what we think they will like, and they quit their jobs, grow their hair, move to or from San Francisco, and wonder how we could ever have been stupid enough to think they’d like that. We fail to achieve the accolades and rewards that we consider crucial to their well-being, and they end up thanking God that things didn’t work out according to our shortsighted, misguided plan.”
On The Genealogy of Morals
by Friedrich Nietzsche
What It’s About:On The Genealogy of Morals is perhaps his shortest and most influential work, was starkest of all. In three essays totaling around 100 pages, he lays out the following:
In any population, you are going to have a group of people who are more talented/gifted/intelligent than average. Let’s call them The Strong. You are also going to have a group of people who are less talented/gifted/intelligent than average. Let’s call them The Weak.2
The Strong will naturally accrue the power in society for no other reason than they are more capable and talented than the others.
Because The Strong won their greater power and influence through outsmarting or outperforming others, they will come to adopt ethical beliefs that justify their position: that might makes right, that they are entitled to their privileged position, that they earned what is theirs. Nietzsche calls this “Master Morality.”
Because The Weak lost their power and influence by being outsmarted and outperformed, they will come to adopt ethical beliefs that justify their position: that people deserve aid and charity, that one should give away one’s possessions to the less fortunate, that you should live for others and not yourself. Nietzsche calls this “Slave Morality.”
Master/Slave Moralities have been in a kind of tension in every society for all of recorded history. Many political/social conflicts are side effects of the struggle between Master and Slave Moralities.
Nietzsche believed that the ideas of guilt, punishment and a “bad conscience” are all culturally constructed and used by The Weak to chip away at the dominance and power of The Strong. He also believed that Slave Morality is just as capable of corrupting and oppressing a society as Master Morality. He used Christianity as his primary example of this.
Nietzsche believed that Slave Morality stifled man’s greatest characteristics: creativity, innovation, ambition, and even happiness itself.
“Above all, there is no exception to this rule: that the idea of political superiority always resolves itself into the idea of psychological superiority.”
“Without cruelty, there is no festival.”
Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder
by Nassim Taleb
Some of the most important points in the book:
Often the most influential events in history are, by definition, the least anticipated. These are called “Black Swan” events.5
As humans, we are inherently biased against noticing both the amount of random events in our lives, and the impact these random events have on us.
That due to the exponential scaling of technology, Black Swan events are becoming more common and influential than ever before.
Therefore, we should build up systems (and ourselves) to be “antifragile,” that is, to construct our lives and our societies in such a way as to benefit from major unanticipated events.
“Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.”
“The irony of the process of thought control: the more energy you put into trying to control your ideas and what you think about, the more your ideas end up controlling you.”
“Difficulty is what wakes up the genius.”
The True Believer by Eric Hoffer
What It’s About:The True Believer discusses why people give in to fanaticism, fundamentalism or extremist ideologies.
“The game of history is usually played by the best and the worst over the heads of the majority in the middle.”
“The less justified a man is in claiming excellence for his own self, the more ready is he to claim all excellence for his nation, his religion, his race or his holy cause.”
“Freedom aggravates at least as much as it alleviates frustration. Freedom of choice places the whole blame of failure on the shoulders of the individual. And as freedom encourages a multiplicity of attempts, it unavoidably multiplies failure.”
What It’s About: Freud was an academic sensation at the beginning of the 20th century. He invented psychoanalysis, brought the science of psychology to the mainstream, and was highly regarded in intellectual circles around Europe. Then World War I broke out, and destroyed everything. Freud was deeply moved by the devastation and fell into a deep depression and secluded himself for much of the 1920s. Civilization and Its Discontents was the result of this depression.
To Freud, Hitler and World War II just proved his point a few years later. And as an Austrian Jew, he ran for the hills. The hills being London, of course. He lived out the last years of his life in a city being bombed into oblivion.
“It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built up upon a renunciation of instinct.”
“A love that does not discriminate seems to me to forfeit a part of its own value, by doing an injustice to its object.”
The Singularity is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology
by Ray Kurzweil
What It’s About: In the beginning of The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil shows that the processing power of computers and technology has increased exponentially through history and is likely to continue doing so.
He then argues that because of this, in the year 2046 all of our brains are going to be digitally encrypted and uploaded to the cloud where we will all form a single, immortal consciousness that will control all computing power on the planet.
The technological possibilities presented in this book are truly mind-boggling. And we will undoubtedly see a significant percentage of them in our lifetime. Medical nanobots that live in the blood stream that we wireless upload vaccines to. Genetic programming for newborns so parents can choose not only the physical characteristics of their children but their talents as well. Uploading and downloading consciousness onto the internet, so that you could download somebody else’s life experiences as your own the same way you downloaded the last season of Breaking Bad.
As Neo once said:
“One cubic inch of nanotube circuitry, once fully developed, would be up to one hundred million times more powerful than the human brain.”
“Can the pace of technological progress continue to speed up indefinitely? Isn’t there a point at which humans are unable to think fast enough to keep up? For unenhanced humans, clearly so. But what would 1,000 scientists, each 1,000 times more intelligent than human scientists today, and each operating 1,000 times faster than contemporary humans (because the information processing in their primarily non-biological brains is faster) accomplish? One chronological year would be like a millennium for them. What would they come up with?”
Because man is the only animal capable of conceptualizing his own existence — thinking about his life, questioning it, imagining future possibilities — man is therefore also the only animal capable of conceptualizing his own non-existence, i.e., his own death.
In other words, humans were given the gift of being able to imagine the future and who we want to be, but the price we pay for this gift is the realization that we will one day die. A dog doesn’t realize she’s going to die. Neither does a fish. Or a roach. But we do.
This knowledge of our own inevitable death leads to a kind of ever-present “terror” that underlies everything we do. Becker argues that this terror inspires us all to take on what he calls a “hero project,” where we attempt to immortalize ourselves through our deeds and actions, to create something bigger than ourselves that will live beyond our own lives.
It’s when people’s hero projects contradict one another that we get conflict, violence, bigotry, and evil. It’s when hero projects fail that we fall into deep despair and depression because we’re once again confronted with the inevitability of our own death and meaninglessness of our lives.7
“Man cannot endure his own littleness unless he can translate it into meaningfulness on the largest possible level.”
“The irony of man’s condition is that the deepest need is to be free of the anxiety of death and annihilation; but it is life itself which awakens it, and so we must shrink from being fully alive.”
“What does it mean to be a self-conscious animal? The idea is ludicrous, if it is not monstrous. It means to know that one is food for worms. This is the terror: to have emerged from nothing, to have a name, consciousness of self, deep inner feelings, an excruciating inner yearning for life and self-expression and with all this yet to die. It seems like a hoax, which is why one type of cultural man rebels openly against the idea of God. What kind of deity would create such a complex and fancy worm food?”
watching you build an elaborate Lego set called “Life,” and you turning around and saying, “Stop laughing, this is important!”
Read This Book If…
…you plan on dying one day. …you think you take life a little bit too seriously sometimes and need to chill. …you want to read a convincing argument for why we should embrace our pain and our fear rather than avoid it.
Posted: 03/27/15 03:05 PM ETUpdated: 03/30/15 01:59 PM ET
World Diabetes Day, World Cancer Day, and even World Egg Day, and now, drum roll please, World Bipolar Day (WBD). WBD is a day to bring about awareness of bipolar disorder. It is the brainchild of Dr. Pichet Udomratn, a member of the Asian Network of Bipolar Disorder (ANBD) who collaborated with International Bipolar Foundation (IBPF) and International Society for Bipolar Disorders (ISBD) to bring his idea to fruition. Now, each year, WBD will be celebrated on March 30, the birthday of Vincent Van Gogh, who was posthumously diagnosed as probably having bipolar disorder.
The vision of WBD is to bring world awareness to bipolar disorders and to eliminate social stigma education. Through international collaboration, the goal of World Bipolar Day is to bring the world population information about bipolar disorder that will educate and improve sensitivity towards the illness.
But a bipolar day? Are there that many people with it to support having its own day?
Why then do we hear so much in the news, on television, and in conversations about other diseases like diabetes and cancer, and rarely anything about bipolar?
Mental illnesses have historically been misunderstood, feared and therefore stigmatized. The stigma is due to a lack of education, mis-education, false information, ignorance, or a need to feel superior. Its effects are especially painful and damaging to one’s self-esteem. It leaves people with mental illnesses feeling like outcasts from society. Whether the perceived stigma is real or not, it is the subjective interpretation that affects the person’s feelings of belonging. Like most groups who are stigmatized against, there are many myths surrounding mental illness.
Enter WBD. Organizations around the world are invited to participate in this awareness campaign. Some will host educational conferences for the public or hold depression screenings; some will hold news interviews, and others like ANBD are coordinating a 5K run. IBPF, which has been collecting photos of people extolling who they are outside of their bipolar disorder, will be sharing hundreds of photos throughout the day through their social media sites.
Dispelling myths, teaching the signs and symptoms, sharing resources, and pointing out healthy living techniques will be imparted for all to use.
WBD is not about “them,” it’s for everyone. We all know someone. Join us!
Victims ‘hide in plain sight,’ experts say, and survey finds more training is needed.
TUESDAY, March 17, 2015 (HealthDay News) — Most health care workers may lack the knowledge, awareness and training to identify potential victims of child sex trafficking, a new study suggests.
“We need to become more aware that trafficking exists and [more] educated about what we can do to identify and provide resources to victims,” said study author Dr. Angela Rabbitt, an assistant professor of pediatrics at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Sex trafficking occurs when a child engages in any sexual act, including stripping or engaging in pornography, in exchange for something of value, which could include money, drugs, food, shelter or other survival needs, Rabbitt explained. This legal definition does not require proof of coercion because minors are legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity.
Rabbitt and her colleagues distributed approximately 500 surveys about sex trafficking to doctors, nurses, physician assistants, social workers, and patient and family advocates at hospitals and clinics in urban, suburban and rural parts of southeastern Wisconsin. Of these, 168 were completed, primarily by social workers and physicians.
The survey asked the respondents to read and answer questions about two vignettes, which were scenarios about potential sex trafficking victims. Only half the respondents correctly identified the child in the first scenario as a sex trafficking victim. In the second scenario, 42 percent correctly identified the child as a sex trafficking victim in addition to being a child abuse victim.
The findings were published online March 16 in the journal Pediatrics.
One expert noted the importance of the findings.
“We need more individuals — especially doctors, teachers, youth leaders, coaches, etcetera — to help identify when a child is either at risk for trafficking or currently being exploited,” said Nicole Levy, research project director at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Runaways and homeless youth, youth in the foster care system and youth who have left home due to neglect or abuse are especially vulnerable to trafficking,” she said. “Traffickers and pimps are aware of these vulnerabilities and prey upon such youth — they provide food, shelter, attention and affection.”
Common misconceptions about sex trafficking are that it involves smuggling, transportation or movement across borders or being held against one’s will, Levy said, adding that the average youth’s age of introduction to trafficking is 13.
In the survey, one in five respondents said lack of awareness was a barrier to identifying sex trafficking victims, and about a third said lack of training was an obstacle. Of those surveyed, 63 percent had never received training.
Those with training, however, were more likely to have encountered a victim in their practice, to be more confident about identifying victims, and to say sex trafficking was a major problem in their area.
It’s difficult to determine how many victims of child sex trafficking exist in the United States, Rabbitt said. An estimated 100,000 to 300,000 children and teens under 18 may be at risk. But no centralized database collects reports, research is limited, and victims are often afraid or unwilling to identify themselves or are never asked, she said.
“Trafficking often hides in plain sight — we know that there are trafficking victims whose cases never come to light,” Levy said.
Red flags signaling a possible victim include a history of multiple reproductive or violence-related health problems, such as prior pregnancies, multiple tests for sexually transmitted infections or suspicious injuries, Rabbitt said.
The study authors also reported that 10 percent of providers classified a child victim as a “prostitute” instead of a sex trafficking victim. This reflects “community beliefs that children involved in the sex trade are responsible for their victimization,” the authors wrote.
“I think when the community sees a victim of domestic sex trafficking, their first thought is that he or she is a prostitute who chose that lifestyle,” Rabbitt said. “There is now a growing awareness that many ‘prostitutes’ start out as children or as young adults who were forced into the sex trade, and now, due to fear, addiction or many other reasons, find it very hard to get out of the life.
“For the general community, the best way to prevent a child from becoming a victim of trafficking is to help them develop healthy coping skills and confidence when they are very young, and then continue to support them as they grow,” she said. Volunteering for youth mentoring programs and reporting suspected child abuse and neglect are two ways people can help, she added.
Poverty. We know this word means suffering. We know it means a life of lost opportunities. But do we know the extent of this suffering ? How terrible it is to live under two dollars pr day? When I walk around in new clothes everyday, have an apartment I can sell and eat whatever I want, I feel guilty. I know guilt helps no one, so I try to use these feelings. By knowing about the state of things, I transform guilt to more productive energy. This is exactly the goal of the book ‘the locust effect’ by Gary A. Haugen. The author travels to all corners of the world to study and write about poverty and violence. He unveils the terrors of slavery, trafficking and general abuse that poor people endure. It’s a heartbreaking tale, but an important one too. By describing the life of millions through nightmarishly examples, the readers are forced to open their eyes. You can’t ignore the reality of so much suffering. There is no room for denial, no room for ignorance.
Quentin has DID, but is so much more than her diagnosis. She has started forums, written about dissociation, promotes kindness and tolerance, and has helped so many on her road. Knowledge is the key to change, and Quentin does an important job by writing and sharing quality content. I have learnt much from her, and know many others have, too.
She has done so much good, without expecting anything in return. A wonderful woman, that I admire.
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