Thursday, October 24, 2013

Brandon Marshall Fined for Raising Awareness for Mental Health.

(Brandon Marshall's green cleats to raise awareness for mental health)

Chicago Bears player, Brandon Marshall, (who lives with a borderline personality disorder) was fined $10,000 for wearing green cleats on the field during an American football game. It was deemed inappropriate attire, which I find appalling. It's not like he was wearing cleats inscribed with "fuck" on one shoe and "you" on the other! That would have been inappropriate, but wearing green to raise awareness for severe medical conditions seems utterly hypocritical given the NFL's breast cancer awareness campaign. In support of this campaign, players wear pink everything: cleats, towels, gloves, etc. I'm not saying I oppose breast cancer awareness or wearing pink in solidarity but it sends a terrible message to those of us with mental health conditions that players will be fined for trying to raise awareness.

It reinforces the feelings of abandonment that are already coursing through the veins of people with these biological, mental diseases. Society has rejected us in ways that are as painful as they are humiliating. We have been stigmatized as "throw-aways." The NFL should be supporting Marshall, working with him to raise awareness rather than squashing it with such cold, heartlessness. They couldn't even be bothered to make a donation to Marshall's campaign. It's behind wrong; it's outrageous.

The irony, however, is that the fine imposed created greater awareness, so perhaps Marshall won in the end. That does not, however, get the NFL off-the-hook for being so cruel toward the mental health community. I have been a fan of American football since before I can remember; and I'm 38 years old! But, I am furious now with the NFL after this rejection. Fuck-you, NFL!!!! Take your blood-money and stick it up your greedy ass! If you had a heart bigger than your bank-account, you'd realized that you just stepped on the hopes and dreams of an entire community. Congratulations, assholes.


Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Rejected by My Own Kitty.

UPDATE: Things are infinitely better with Yoshi, the cat. It wasn't too long after I wrote this post that Yoshi warmed-up to me and now we're best buds. It was only a month when I wrote this and I've since learned that it takes new kittens several months, at least, to fully feel comfortable with all members of the house. I've won him over with tuna and chicken, so now he purrs all the time and loves to play with me. Yeah!!! I'm SO excited and happy to report that our little family is doing just GREAT now!! And, everyone is happy. I can't imagine life without Yoshi, now. Please, disregard the rest of the post. When I wrote it, it was way too early to make such conclusions about how my relationship with Yoshi would be.

Handsome B. Wonderful

Don't let his cuteness fool you! He's a snooty, spoiled, lil'

If you don't know--we adopted a cat. It's been a month and a half since we brought our new Balinese kitten home. He is now about 4 months old. At first, he was afraid and skittish of both my wife and me. However, now he's comfortable around us--well, not "us." He's comfortable around my wife. if my life hasn't been depressing--or hard enough, now we have a cat that finds me repellent in nearly every way--and it has broken my already dented and corroded heart.

The pathetically sad truth is that one of the big motivations behind getting this cat was to have a companion and friend for me while I'm home alone trying to managing my crushing depression and mental illness. Being disabled from schizoaffective disorder, I get lonely sometimes. I get overwhelmed hanging out with other humans but I have always been good with animals. Including cats, and so, I was looking for an animal friend that wouldn't be too hard to care for because of my limitations. A cat seemed ideal for my needs. We read all the "experts" books and have been preparing for years, actually!

But, that was all pretty pointless now because our lil boy, Yoshi thinks my wife is his "mommy" while I'm just some dude living with her that he has to tolerate. He makes an exception with play-time but only play from a distance with those fishing-pole toys you can fling like a bird through the air. If I try to pet him or even touch him, he quickly jumps away. I know he's just a cat but it still hurts. It never feels good to be rejected, regardless of who does the rejecting. This is all despite being the one who feeds him! Meals, and a special treat at 3pm.

And, you know, it kind of bothers me. My wife is gone all day, so I'm always available to cuddle and interact with him throughout the day. Yet, he doesn't approach me at all. Usually he just sleeps all day in the other room but not on the weekends. On the weekends he's "miraculously" no longer tired enough to sleep all day in the other room. He cuddles with my wife all day, instead. I don't exist. Except when it's mealtime.

Then, suddenly, he becomes my "best friend"; rubbing up against my legs and meowing. I'm essentially being "used" for But, as soon as my wife walks through the door, Yoshi is all over her. He spends the entire night either laying on her, or laying next to her sleeping blissfully. He'll not only let her pet him and cuddle with him but he let's her clean the edges of his eyes of "eye boogers."

I am frustrated, sad and confused. I've cried several times over it, and I haven't cried over anything in years! I'm frankly embarrassed a bit at how much it's bothering me but I didn't expect to be rejected by a pet. Certainly not by one that I was hoping would be my friend during the day. Man, I suck at pets. I can't even succeed at finding a therapy animal! FML

Friday, September 06, 2013

Virgin Galactic's Second Rocket Powered Flight Tail Footage.

Want to know what it's like to fly along the edge of space? Check out this thrilling video of a rocket ship designed by billionaire Richard Branson reach the dizzying height of 69,000 ft!! Pretty cool. I love the long, fiery, contrail behind the craft, but then again, everyone knows how much of a pyro I am.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Great Video on Depersonalization.

A fellow sufferer from depersonalization made this video on the psychological condition, and I wanted to share it with others who struggle with depersonalization, too. I found myself nodding a lot in relation to the words within this courageous video: 
Denise Dixon, thank-YOU for sharing this video with us!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Buddhist Monk Dedicated to Preventing Suicide in Japan.


"The bodhisattva vow is the commitment to put others before oneself. It is a statement of willingness to give up one’s own well-being, even one’s own enlightenment, for the sake of others." The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Three, edited by Carolyn Rose Gimian. © 2003 by Diana J. Mukpo. Published by Shambhala Publications. Published in the November 2006 Shambhala Sun magazine (click here for link to the full Shambhala article).

Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva [Jizo] famously said, "Not until the hells are emptied will I become a Buddha; not until all beings are saved will I certify to Bodhi [enlightenment]."

According to an excellent article in The New Yorker magazine, by Larissa MacFarquhar titled, Last Call: A Buddhist Confronts Japan's Suicide Culture, a Japanese, Buddhist priest, of the name, Ittetsu Nemoto has become the embodiment of that bodhisattva vow by offering refuge to the suicidal in Japan. In order to rescue the suicidal and/or mentally ill, it is necessary to enter the bowels of "hell." This is a literal "hell" -- not some mythical place where devils with pitchforks dance around. This "hell" is in the minds of those struggling with genetic, biological diseases such as: chronic depression, bipolar and schizophrenia. There's no need to imagine a mythical "hell" when you are living with the very real demons of mental illness. Hell is right here on Earth, it is in our minds.

This past Monday, I wrote about the human brain's evolutionary instinct to focus on the negative in life, rather than the positive (link). This makes it easier to survive physically, but it often leaves us suffering mentally. Now, imagine adding another obstacle that fuels that negativity. Imagine having a biological disease that affects the brain through chemical imbalances causing neurons to misfire, which then leads to the brain sending confusing messages to the body. It often fails to sends the right messages to the body at the appropriate moments. The discomfort, frustration, confusion and mental pain felt from these diseases create the symptoms of "mental illnesses" (chronic depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, etc).

The misfiring of neurons might tell the body to be depressed when there is no immediate reason to feel depressed. The brain might also send the wrong message to ramp-up the body's "fight or flight" system when it isn't necessary--this disconnect can often create much anxiety, stress and even feelings of suicide to make the suffering stop. Is it so difficult to understand then why some would feel suicide was their only option left to stop the suffering? Medications help calm these symptoms but cognitive therapy is also needed to bring mental perspective and retrain the mind toward healthy, mental habits.

In the West, psychiatrist and psychologists are foremost in providing cognitive therapy and psychological guidance. In Asia, however, in addition to psychological doctors, many turn to their local monks. For example, the Buddhist monk, Ittetsu Nemoto facilitates guided, "death workshops" to help the suicidal. He tells them to imagine that they have been diagnosed with an aggressive cancer giving them only 3 months to live. He then guides them to write down what they'd want to do in those months. The meditation continues as Nemoto shifts from 3 months, to one month; then week; then ten minutes.

One young man sat weeping during the exercise with nothing to write-down. When addressed by Nemoto, the troubled man stated that he had nothing to write-down because he'd never considered these questions. But, he realized, if he'd never really lived, then how could he want to die now? That shift in thinking changed this man's motivations--rather than see only reasons to die, he now saw infinite possibilities. Why die when you haven't truly lived, yet? How can you cast a precious life away so easily if you haven't fully experienced it yet?

If he'd never truly lived before visiting Nemoto then how can he judge it already, at such a young-age, of being so lacking of any value as to be worth killing himself over? Perhaps he'd made his decision about life at much too young of an age to truly judge his life a failure! His curiosity took over--and that is a life-affirming motivation. Who knows what tomorrow might bring? Maybe a reason to live will arrive--do you want to risk missing these opportunities by killing yourself? Why kill yourself when perhaps tomorrow they'll find a cure for chronic depression, bipolar or schizophrenia?  As an example, how can you judge a film that is only 1/4 of the way through? He'd focused on what he lacked for so long that he never considered the idea of what his life could be.

We focus so much on the bad that will happen in our future that we forget that good opportunities will appear, too, that might just out-way the bad. This is the essence of the Buddha's teaching on impermanence. I only seem to notice impermanence when something "good" is happening. I might be having a blissful experience with a loved-one, and wish the moment would last forever but I'm very aware of the fact that our wonderful moment will soon come to an end. This encourages us to savor the good moments because they won't last. It's much harder to conceptualize that understanding when we are in the depths of depression, or a seemingly never-ending trial in life. We can't fathom an end to our pain, but if we train our minds to the freedom inherent in impermanence, we will suffer less. This is just a taste of the liberating power of the Dharma.

This is where Buddhism can be of immense help to those suffering from the very real hell of mental diseases. Unlike most religions, Buddhism doesn't resign your fate to the whims of a fickle, "God." It teaches tried and tested "exercises" that anyone can do, thus, empowering the individual to be their own savior. The very essence of Buddhism is psychological in nature. It works by mapping-out how our minds create suffering, and then offering practical, therapeutic practices (such as meditation) and changes in how we perceive the world around us that train our mind toward habits that reduce our mental anguish and leave us with a greater sense of happiness, stability and peace.

~i bow to the buddha within all beings~