Tuesday, July 31, 2012

We're not the only ones who get depressed

This should come as no surprise, especially to those of us who have animals in our lives. According to a just published news article, monkeys are being treated for depression in Argentina.

The article states that , black howler monkeys at an Argentine ecological park have been suffering depression following the death of two of the oldest females in the group and had to be given medication because they refused to eat.

The article continues,

Two alpha females died 1 1/2 years ago from natural causes at the Rio Cuarto Urban Ecological Park some 650 kilometers (400 miles) west of Buenos Aires, and from that moment "their male companions began suffering depression and four let themselves die of sadness," park director Miriam Rodriguez told Clarin newspaper.
The black howler monkeys in this 12-hectare (30-acre) park "live in a group and are very close to one another," Rodriguez said. "When the females died, we noticed the others behaving oddly, but we thought it might have been something they ate."
Concerned about their lethargy and refusal to eat, park officials consulted specialists at the nearby Cordoba Zoo, who told them "the animals could be going through a phase of acute depression," Rodriguez said.
After several analyses, psychiatrist Sergio Castillo confirmed the diagnosis of depression and two months ago prescribed a treatment based on sertraline, "a mineral derived from the serotonin used in humans to reverse different symptoms originating from compulsive disorders or depression," veterinarian Ezequiel Carrizo told the newspaper.
There was initially some resistance to the treatment since it seemed "ridiculous to give them anti-depression medication even if it was only a minimum dose," Rodriguez told Radio 2, adding that "it has begun to raise the monkeys' spirits." 

Read more: http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2012/07/30/monkeys-treated-for-depression-in-argentina/#ixzz22DOf6goX

Unfortunately, the article does not state if the monkeys had any side effects and for how long they were given this serotonin based drug. I hope the monkeys are doing better and are now able live their lives without chemicals.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Major Problems with Blog right now

Hi. It appears someone or something has removed page elements and several things have been removed from my blog from posts to elements on the side .

I don't know what to do, I am having no such luck contacting Blogger, but I was able to contact the third party element that was compromised.
If you find something wonky please let me know, if anything else goes missing let me know. This is most upsetting.

ETA:  I heard from all parties. One element is just not loading on Safari, but it's there on Firefox. The latest version of Safari is making my computer wonky- I can't get on Twitter either with it, but Firefox works like a dream. I will be un-installing Safari and going to an earlier version.

The other element is upsetting. It seems that Friday night some code got erased, and I need to reinstall it from scratch. 

The good news is, I have been meaning to do a major  overhaul of the site, appearance wise. It hasn't been done since 08. This is the kick in the tush I needed to get things done. 

In other words, for the next couple of days, if you see something missing and then it's there a few minutes later, or the site changes colors and goes back in a few minutes to the original color, it's me playing with the template to make the blog more attractive. 
I've updated this piece and added two LOL's for your amusement. 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Wednesday Wonders- Henri

If you're like me, you've hardly been on the computer the last few days. It's a good thing in my case, I've been getting out and doing things. Today was the first day since last Saturday where I did have a bout of agoraphobia.

I've been doing a little bit of writing for the blog, I wrote a piece yesterday but I'm not happy with it to post, it still needs tweaking. So I thought - let's post something fun for a change,

Let me introduce you to Henri the cat. Henri suffers from depression and even worse- existential angst and despair. In other words, If Camus was a cat, he would be Henri.

For all those who sat through Existentialism classes in University- (Me! Me) and for all of us who know what that angst and feeling is, I hope you enjoy Henri the French Feline. There's a little bit of Henri in all of us. Henri has a fan page on Facebook if you want to friend him. I did.

Sunday, July 22, 2012


Crossroads. My life, ever so turbulent, takes another turn. I'm trying little things to ward off feelings of sadness, by using little tricks I've learned. Since I am not working, I get up every day at the same time. No hitting the alarm clock for extra ZZZZ's.

Every day has to have a routine. This is the hardest thing for newly retired people to learn, when you are use to working you have a routine. I get up, use the toilet, wash face, brush teeth. Have something for breakfast- usually cold cereal and milk. After breakfast, clean, dust, do the things I am supposed to.

Once a week go to the laundrymat. Once a week go grocery shopping at the big box store. Once a week go to the farmers market for local produce and what not. Help out the local farmers.

Set aside a time to write. I've been guilty of this in the past- I write when the mood strikes me. No discipline. I don't know how this is going to work.

I don't mind the Weight Watchers. I feel good about it, but in hindsight, I should have waited a week to start. I had the monthly 5 pound bloat when I started so when I step on the scale in two days it's going to look like I've lost more weight than I really did.

Two days after writing the last blog post, I fell into a kind of hypomania. I was full of energy, and actually wanted to be around people. I got a lot done, but as luck would have it the next day I couldn't get out of bed.

These are all good things, good goals. Yet I feel like I need to do something more. Something for me.

I've been (dare I say it) thinking of going back to school for another Masters.

There is a local university with a Masters degree in Applied Psychology. They would waive the GRE requirement for me because I won't be able to pass the tests at this point, even though the last time I took these tests was in the mid80s. The degree might be too much for me, so the school would allow me to take one course, non - matric  in the Fall, and if I pass that, matric in the program. What would it leave me with? Something I haven't done in years- a peer counselor.

Here's my thinking. I am about to enter the second half of my life. Some things are off the table that might have been on the table during the first part. Marriage is one. Yes,I am seeing a wonderful man, but I would not marry him at this point, because my marriage was annulled and it was not so good.  We had absolutely nothing in common, other than a label, and you can't make a relationship based on that. It wasn't anyone's fault it ended, yet it was both of ours, since we had, at the end of the day, nothing in common, and when it ended neither one of us even liked each other.  I like being single. It's a huge thing to admit, some people love being in couples, some don't. In hindsight, playing the Monday morning quarterback, I love being single, spending every other weekend with the boyfriend, and maybe one night a week. It's perfect.

It also helps that children are off the table. Don't get me wrong. My biggest regret in life will be that I didn't have children. I wanted to be a mommy. It didn't happen. I made mistakes with my career goals and forgot to date- or I did a lot of dating but nothing ever worked out.
I can still biologically have them, but at this stage of my life- it's not feasible. It's ok.

My career goals have been thwarted. You need a goal in your life to keep you going, and I am finally realizing that what worked for Susan when she was in her 30s isn't going to work now. The world has changed. Life has changed. The economy has changed. I need to be flexible and try to adapt to it, to become something new and wonderful from it.

One of the wonderful things about living in the USA is you can always reinvent yourself. Americans love people who fall and then rise up, only to become better than they were. Look at Tiger Woods for example. He's back and right now, doing as good, if not better than he was in the past.

I think with my usually calm nature, and big heart I can help listen to others. I like doing that. I really do. it would give me a reason to get up every day. I just don't know if my brain is up to the task of going back to school. It may not be. Thus, I think the idea of one class, is a good idea. If I can't do it, I can't. It's all good.

The other thing is I need to take my writing more seriously. It's the only thing I know how to do really really well and I need to find some freelance markets for it. I haven't been writing so much lately because I don't know what to say. My life is stagnant. I'm not drowning but I am not surviving. I just am.

This does not make good reading. It's good for me that I am on an even keel, it's bad for my writing, because it lends for boring reading. So I've been doing a lot of thinking, how I want to live the second part of my life.

The second part of my life. Wow. "Grow old with me, the best is yet to be", wrote Browning.

For the first time in my life, I am looking forward to the second chapter. It's wonderful to say that. It's scary but at the same time, optimistic.  Let's hope it's interesting.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Avoiding Triggers and Bad News

I don't want to write this piece, but I feel like it's mandatory.

Unless you've been off line the last day or so, once again the US had a fatal public shooting, this time during a midnight opening showing of the new "Batman" movie.

Once again, the media, doing what they do, run an interview the survivors. Hear the horrible tales. For the next few weeks, we will be assaulted by news of the burials, and learn more about the shooter. The shooter will get a fair trial and then when it's over, banished to the back pages, brought out only when the next one happens, where ever it happens, what country it happens in.

Here is some wisdom they don't teach you in Kindergarten. Life is hard. Some people are nice, some people are not nice. Mean people suck. Life isn't sunshine and rainbows, bad things will happen to you. Hopefully the worst things a human being goes through is loosing family members, sheerly by out living them. Your grandparents, your parents. Your beloved pets.

You will get your heart broken. It will hurt like hell. The amazing thing is the next time it happens the pain is a little less.

You will hear/see things you would not normally see in this world. That's because as Social Media makes us closer, it also gives us too much information. We know can read about the death of a despot, Social Media makes it possible for people to tweet, You Tube pictures of it happening.

So you are feeling fragile today. So am I. Here are a few tricks I've learned from working in a news environment, and just from living through some horrific things in my life.

You need to take care of you. Turn off the TV. Don't watch the news. Turn it off. If you must watch TV, watch something like a sporting event, or a cooking show. Even children's TV shows. (There are a few real good ones. I've just discovered Phinneas and Ferb).

Is it a nice day where you are? Get dressed and go for a walk. Have a dog? Take it for a walk, or a dog park. If you are single, this is the best thing you can do. Maybe you will meet the love of your life. Hey, it's happened for several people I know. (I've even met a guy once who was walking his cat).

Speaking of parks- wonderful places. Go to one with a small picnic lunch, or if you live in a city, buy a hot dog and a soda, find a bench and watch the people. Buy some bread and feed the pigeons, just getting happy seeing the pigeons enjoying the bread. Sounds silly? One of the smartest men ever, Tesla, loved feeding the pigeons every day in the park when he was in NYC during the last few years of his life. If it worked for Tesla, it might work for you.

I understand if you are afraid to go to the movies, - that's OK. Why not rent a movie? A lot of this year's Oscar winning films are now on DVD. Have a favorite TV show on DVD  you've been meaning to watch? Do it. (Yesterday I wasted six hours sitting on the couch watching old Red Dwarfs. It's my favorite TV show ever, and it always cheers me).

If you can get to the sea, a lake, or the ocean, that is very relaxing. Unfortunately, the traffic to these places really can give you agita, so it's a double edged sword.

A Library is a great to go, or if you would rather, go to a bookstore, and get a coffee. Go to a coffee shop.

Listen to music, or a book on tape.

When all else fails- take a nap. Hey, nothing wrong with a nap on the weekend. Just don't make it more than an hour or so. it's a NAP, you don't want to be awake all night because your nap was four hours.

Some other ways (children leave the room) if you have a partner, or are married- well, have some "alone time". Sex is a wonderful thing, it burns calories (yay!) releases endorphins (yay) and it makes you feel good and close to someone.  If you don't have a partner or are not in a relationship- well,  I understand, I'm in that boat too.  A nice long bubble bath works for me in this case.

Turn any instant news texts/alerts on your cell, if you get them. Turn off your computer. It will be there tomorrow. Pretend you live 100 years ago, before computers and phones were invented.

Take care of you. You are the most important person in the universe. If you are over a certain age, no one will take care of you, you have to take care of you. You can't be a friend to someone if you are in a bad patch. And the whole idea is to avoid bad patches, and triggers so you can stay in good shape, physically and mentally.

Now it's time for me to follow my advice. I'm logging off for the day, and I'm going to go out and go to a coffee shop. I'm the cute blonde wearing a black t shirt and denim clam diggers, with a green and blue scarf with flowers, drinking the mochachinno.

Monday, July 9, 2012

There but for the grace of you go I

It's been hotter than Hades here on the East Coast. Indeed, news reports are saying it's the warmest weather in over 100. Records are being smashed.

All I know, baby it's hot outside. So I stay inside, with a semi working air conditioner that is doing the best job to keep me cool. I can't complain. I have electricity. Parts of the East Coast are still without electricity, and other parts are suffering brown outs because the electric companies cannot keep up with demand.

It's all good.

I daydream a lot that I am in Antarctica. Or the North Pole. Someplace nice and cold. With penguins. And ice.  Can you imagine anything better for a daydream? (Hey folks, this is a G rated blog).

So I found myself at the local supermarket- a ginormous supermarket, getting a few things to eat and various important things like the dreaded toilet paper. Cottage cheese and fruit. It's too hot to eat anything heavy. Some cream for my coffee. Some brown sugar for my tea. A five pound bag of ice to stick in the bathtub and just try to cool off with.

Then I saw her when I was at the salad bar, making dinner for the night.  A woman in her sixties, Immaculately dressed, like she just came out of church, including the requisite church ladies hat in a lovely shade of fuchsia. Thinner than Kate Moss. And with a very strange look in her eye, she yelled at me "Who you staring at bitch"?

I didn't look at her, said a silent prayer that she would just move on. Again, she comes up to me, says a few words which I cannot repeat and spits at me.

I've never seen anyone spit on another human being, other than the now famous VH1 New York/Pumpkin spit episode. I thought it was something done in movies and soap operas, like slapping someone's face, or spilling a drink on someone at a bar.

I don't know what to say, I don't want to look up. The manager comes by. Again, she yells and curses out the manager. A stock clerk who knows this lady, comes over to her, and walks her away, her cursing out a group of people very loudly.

The manager hands me a tissue. Do you want to press charges? The police are on their way. Several other store patrons are pressing charges. I shake my head, no, and hand him my salad. I don't want it now. I don't want any of my groceries. I just want to go home and take a shower. I feel dirty.

"What will happen to her", I finally ask. He replies the cops will take her to the local ER. The ER will evaluate her- make sure she's not drunk or high. He thinks she is on something but doesn't know. "She's a regular", he states. "I've never seen her like this".

On the way out the the door, I see from the corner of my eye, a police car with the woman sitting in the back. I  can hear her cursing as I walk by, despite the windows being up.

Drunk or high. I hope for her case that is all it is. I'm afraid it might be worse- something wrong with her soul. Her eyes scared me when I took my brief glimpse in them. It was like her soul was missing. I've only seen that once before in my life.

I haven't slept since this encounter. It's not due to the heat- it's due to what I am afraid is happening to this woman. I'm hoping she was drunk or high, and released after 12 hours. I'm afraid she was taken to the ER, and is now in a mental hospital. I picture her sitting in a chair, doped up the gills on a drug cocktail like Thorazine,so she's restrained and not spitting. Staring catatonic at a TV screen. Lost in a universe of her own making, imprisoned in her mind.

I know what it's like to be cranky and miserable in this heat. It brings out the worst in me. Add to the mix, hot flashes, and I am beyond cranky. But not at a point where I will spit. Never there. How do I know this woman wasn't just over tired with the heat, hungry and feeling miserable. This might have lead her to a break where one brief moment she made some bad judgements and felt at the end of the rope? Couldn't they just give her a nice cold drink and calm her down.

I need to get dinner for tonight but it's too hot to eat. I'll have an iced tea and a pb and j sandwich. Perhaps tomorrow I will go to the store to get some fruit and since it's a small town, learn about what happened to this poor woman.

On the other hand, maybe I should go a few more miles down the road to the next closest grocery store. I'm afraid I don't want to know what really transpired.

See, how do I know that won't be me some day?

ETA: Big Thanks to Anthony at My Sick Mind for giving me the actual correct quote for the title. Anthony you rock!

Error Code

For some reason, some people, including me, have tried to access this blog today and are receiving an error code from Blogger.

I've notified Blogger and let them know. If this happens to you, keep hitting refresh button until the blog comes up on line. It should take two or three hits.

I am sorry for any problems this may have caused.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lazy, Hazy, Days of Summer

Confusion. Sometimes my brain is so confused I don't know if I am coming or going. So what else is new?

I've been tired. Tireder than anything. You know you are tired when you are sleeping more hours a day than a cat. It's not the sleep that comes from depression or boredom it's the kind that comes from being downright tired, worn out, feeling sick but you don't know why everything is hurting. You lie down on the bed and you can feel your insides moving around, you feel them working. There are sharp pains in the kidneys, and the female parts. I've been waking up in the middle of the night with flashes and the only way to feel cool again is to take an ice cold bath and dream I am in Antarctica.

I can't eat, which is not a bad thing. I cannot see well enough to read, so I listen to books on tape. I just stumble out of bed, like after a long ago two day drunk, with wobbly legs and make my way to the toilet. Then it's feed the kitty, water the kitty, change her box, back to bed. Maybe update Facebook or post a lone Tweet, so people know I am alive. Then back to bed. To sleep, perchance to dream. But dreams don't come- or if they do, and I am a very vivid dreamer, - I simply don't recall them.

It's a numbness. My hour of lead, so to speak.

I've been told to see a doctor. I'm scared to. Scared there may be something really truly wrong. Like with my kidneys again, or my white blood count. I know my bladder isn't working at the moment, it's either feast or famine with it.

All you can do is persevere, like Dilsey.

I see my psychiatrist for the last time tomorrow. She is leaving her practice. I have to find a new one. I still have weekly meetings with my state worker, who I think, is nice but I keep her on a short leash. (More about that later). Things with the family are status quo. They don't really ever change. It's like a weird dance where you want to change partners, but you can't. To make matters worse, the band keeps playing the same song. It's worse than Groundhog's Day.

The cat now has hyperthyroid and is on a special diet. She is doing better. I couldn't write about that because she was on pills and doing terribly, and I thought for a few horrible days I would loose her. She is doing much better now, though she's very mad at me she can't have a bit of chicken or some other yummy morsel with her dinner.

When I started this blog four and a half years ago, I never thought I would go a month without blogging. I needed the break. I needed the time off. When I blog, I read psychiatric news stories for hours a day and read all I can to keep my education current. It was getting too much, which I think had a lot to do with my tiredness. My body was tired, my soul is tired.

It still is, but I miss my readers, I miss the process of writing. This is the best therapy I know of- and it doesn't cost anything more than an Internet connection. It calms me down, makes me feel whole. Not many things in life can do that, that aren't illegal, immoral or fattening.

It's no longer a matter of surviving for me. It's a matter of persevering. One step beyond survival.


For your enjoyment, the latest Holly photo. You can see she's getting a bit older.

Million Dollar Big Pharma (infographic)

Thank you for a friend on Facebook for sending this to me. I think the graphic says it all.
Related Posts with Thumbnails