Re: Ask The Mineshaft - Find a Therapist Edition

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short-term anxiety/stress/panic
attack issues and longer-term family conflicts

call me "Opinionated Welshman", but whisky for the first and bludgeons for the second.

Actually, does "family conflicts" mean "conflicts within your own family" or "conflicts between your family and the neighbouring clan"? If the second, you might want to upgrade to a firearm.


Posted by: dsquared | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:08 AM
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I figured out yesterday that Psychology Today has a website that lets you search for therapists and provides a good sketch of the therapist's background and orientation. therapists.psychologytoday.com


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:09 AM
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If the panic attacks are serious, then maybe HTTN should consider looking for someone with both a talk therapy and a psychiatric background. Anti-anxiety drugs can really help tone down the fight-or-flight response while you work gradually on the longer-term issues.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:09 AM
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also, I realize dsquared is kidding (sort of), but let me vigorously discourage self-medicating anxiety/panic disorder issues with alcohol. Vigorously. (Anxiety and panic, incidentally, are among the milder symptoms of withdrawal, so just as it's a good idea to avoid alcohol in the face of serious depression, also good to be wary with panic/anxiety.)


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:12 AM
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Huh. I've occasionally thought I could probably use some therapy. Unfortunately, what I'd like therapy for is pretty much exactly difficulty with the kind of projects that finding a decent therapist sounds like. (I did attempt to see someone once for organizational issues. She asked me to bring in my datebook/appointment book/however I kept track of important deadlines. I told her that I didn't have a system, mostly I remembered stuff -- I'd write things down on legal pads occasionally, but not so that I'd ever be able to find what I'd written again. She reiterated that I needed to bring in my datebook. I figured this was going nowhere useful and didn't go back.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:14 AM
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You could do what I did and just google "therapist" and your location. Pick the first name and sign up. That's how I got the crazy naturopathic wackadoodle who spent significant parts of each session bitching about her ex husband. Downside to that approach is that it doesn't actually help, but supplemented by heavy drinking it does at least pass the time.

Starting with a google might not be a bad idea in order to generate a list for elimination. If your sure about CBT/talk (which seems like a good idea to me), then trimming the list to those who are oriented that way should be relatively straightforward. Unless you live smack dab in the middle of a major metropolitan area the list of close and CBT/talk oriented is likely to be short enough that you can call to get a better read on them.

Good luck.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:14 AM
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For the record, "Halfway to the Nuthouse" was my own designation for a nickname, and doesn't actually reflect the anxiety of the writer.

Also, they do live in a major metropolitan area.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:22 AM
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I personally find therapy awesomely narcissistic and entertaining, and basically enjoy the whole process. But when the problem is resolved, I run out of things to talk about, and so I'm not currently in therapy. Therapy for me only happens when there's something that's bugging me that I no longer want to put up with.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:24 AM
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H-G's advice is pretty good. Be willing to tell therapists early whether you think you're getting anything from it, and be willing to trust your judgment of that.

You might start with an evaluation at a nearby hospital's outpatient psychiatric facility; then you'll have someone to talk to a little, someone who can help you a bit with the process of finding a talk therapist, and a foot in the door if you eventually go for medication (since non-MD therapists can't do that, if they think you need it you have to go hunt down someone else, which can lead you back to square one in terms of having to go find somebody).


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:27 AM
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I found the best therapist in the whole world on Psychology Today's search thing. You can search by approach, price, location, insurance, etc., and there's usually plenty of information that helps you weed out someone who won't work well with you.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:42 AM
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I personally find therapy awesomely narcissistic and entertaining, and basically enjoy the whole process.

If one didn't know better, one might think you were Jewish or something.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:43 AM
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5: There are classes for stuff like that--though expensive. "Getting Things Done". The Habits of Highly Effective People. They have coaches that you can call too.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:58 AM
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12: Mmm. I suppose if I were more organized I'd look into that.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:59 AM
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The problem with dsquared's answer in 1 is that it is too broad. Non-technical problems can almost always be solved by appropriate application of alcohol (or variant) and/or violence.

for some value of "solved", at any rate.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:03 AM
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Alright, straight up: is HTTN Tony Soprano?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:10 AM
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I'm reading "Getting Things Done" right now, as it happens, and just about the first thing the author talks about is that if you only keep your list of responsibilities in your head, the items are constantly going to pop up at inappropriate times and cause a perpetual state of stress, and that the way out is to have a storage system that you trust yourself to follow (this part, obviously, is key) so that you can let all the other stuff out of your mind. It's billed as a manual for productivity but to me, it seems more like a manual for tranquility.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:13 AM
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9: That's basically good advice, but it can be hard to follow. Boston is relatively speaking full of psychiatrists, and tehre's quite a shortage. To get into some of the hospital based clinics--unless you are being referred for a psychopharm consult by another psychiatrist, you need to have a primary care doctor affiliated with the hospital.

I actually badly needed to see a psychiatrist when I first moved back here, and money was an issue. I actually got a really helpful guy on the phone (a psychologist) at a community organization who after he realized that I needed meds in addition to talk therapy gave me some tips to navigate the system. What I had to do to get seen at a hospital was to make an appointment to see a primary care doctor first--unless I really needed to go to the ER. I did that with the earliest appointment I could get (residents are easier to see)--at MGH it would have taken 2 months, and basically told the doctor that I was on X drugs and needed to see a psychiatrist. Neither she nor her preceptor were comfortable prescribing those drugs, so they got me in to see a psychiatrist within a couple of days.

I don't really recommend this method. However, I got an absolutely amazing guy--and he was only a resident. Our relationship was a bit rocky for a while, but that was mostly because I was bitter about not being able to get into MGH, and he worked very hard on it with real tact. With residents you'll run the risk that they'll move, but I lucked out by getting someone who took on a couple of part-time jobs and is maintaining a small private practice. Since he just uses the hospital's offices, he's able to charge me very low fees.

When I was in Sacramento, I found an excellent psychopharmacologist who specialized in bipolar. That took me longer than I would have liked, and I think that my school work suffered as a result. If I'd been smart, I'd have lined one up before moving, but then if I'd had teh sort of stable family situation that would have made that possible, I might not have needed one so much.

Thsi comment is too long, so I'm going to post it and then add on.

One thing that


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:13 AM
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Did 4 work?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:13 AM
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5 describes me quite well. I hold people who are organized about things like birthdays and appointments in awe.

I think I'm going to buy a calender this weekend. Then I'll leave it somewhere to collect dust.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:16 AM
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I went to a support group meeting (it might have been run by NAMI or DBSA) and asked somebody there whom he saw. He gave me the name of a guy at the UC Davis psych dept. whom I e-mailed. He wasn't taking any patients but who recommended their clinic. That didn't work, because my insurance (Blue Cross of CA) wouldn't cover treatment by residents, so I went back to him, and he gave me some names. Many of the doctors in my town weren't taking patients, there was one whose wife was the receptionist who wouldn't tell me what he did to stay current, and there was a very flaky gestalt therapist. I chose the one in Sacramento who said that he spent every Friday morning in the med school library and chuckled when he said he understood that I wanted to find someone who knew more about mood disorders than I did. He referred me to a therapist. I think that his wife who was in practice with him might have been a better match. He was an excellent clinician, but I was afraid to tell him the full extent of my difficulties and occasionally lied by giving the answer I thought he wanted to hear, as in "When I experience break through depression, I try to exercise.". There were other things that I didn't recognize as being treatable.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:23 AM
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I never kept a proper day planneruntilan annoying organization person told me that I had to. The one I found by quovadis is awesome.

I still occasionally write down things in other places, but it really helps. I use teh Septanote/Trinote version (one's on the academic calendar) which isn't too big too carry around, but is big enough to write in. I like the academic one, because i get to change it in July which is nto as crazy a time as December/January.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:26 AM
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I am an annoying day planner person. Mine has quotes from Eleanor Roosevelt and Benjamen Franklin sprinkled throughout it, which secretly gives me pleasure.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:28 AM
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I've been trying to use the calendar on my phone. It sort of happens, and insofar as it does happen, it is a useful way to offload cognitiion.

Presumably when I have more going on, schedule-wise, it'll be more useful.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:29 AM
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21 to 19.

Also, I found taht a group therapy focused on mindfulness (a kind of quick meditation) was really helpful. It seems to be the hot new thing these days. It's good at clearing your mind in the moment. YOu might consider ti as an adjunctive treatment.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:29 AM
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I actually started using Google reminders. Each time a reminder came up, I canceled the event. It worked great.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:30 AM
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22: I can't believe they misspelled his name, though. You should complain to the day planner people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:30 AM
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26: Oh, not that guy. This is just quotes from this guy down the street, that I've written throughout my planner. "Buy beer!" "Don't let the dogs out of the backyard!"


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:31 AM
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For me, the biggest breakthough in my organization was when I realized that my systems have to be really simple or I won't use it. For example, I'm too lazy to open drawers to put my clothes away. So I use a bookshelf.

I'm too lazy to open any planner that has latches, or uses electricity. When I figured that out, all of a sudden I became a super-planner-user-person.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:34 AM
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I'm the same way about any kind of electronic planner system. I've tried to keep track of things online or my computer, but the old fashioned pen-and-paper planner ultimately works better for me.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:36 AM
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28: It sounds like you have problems opening up.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:36 AM
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I completely recognize myself in 28.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:36 AM
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16 is basically why I do the water/policy blogging. If I don't write that stuff down somewhere, I'll have to keep thinking it.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:37 AM
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It sounds like you have problems opening up.

I like to be able to flop open at any given moment.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:38 AM
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I like to be able to flop open at any given moment.

Jammies must appreciate that.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:42 AM
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I'm too lazy to open any planner that has latches, or uses electricity

Actually I'm even lazier than this. Whenever I've tried to use a planner, I've failed, because I'm not only too lazy to open latches or turn on an electronic device -- I'm too lazy to flip the page to the correct date. I'll just use the first few pages sequentially, until those are all filled up. Then, when I have something really important to do, I'll have the bright idea of using a new page, so that it'll really leap out at me. Of course, the next new page is several pages in, so I don't see it when I need it. Then I throw the planner away.


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:42 AM
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I use google calendar a very little bit, mostly when I want an e-mail reminder.

I also sued it, after my last physical when my doctor said "Schedule her for a physical in a year." I took the appointment card they gave me, but I couldn't write it down in my planner, since the date didn't go that far forward.

The ideal planner, would be electric. It would fold up easily and then open up to look like a paper planner. You could write or type in it, and the stylus would feel like a pen. All of your random scribblings would be searchable.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:43 AM
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jms at 35: qquo vadis is perfect for this, because you rip out a little corner every week so that you know what page you need to flip to.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:44 AM
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I find being super habitual and just not caring if I forget things makes it much easier to organize my life.


Posted by: CJB | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:49 AM
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I also sued it, after my last physical when my doctor said "Schedule her for a physical in a year." I took the appointment card they gave me, but I couldn't write it down in my planner, since the date didn't go that far forward.

Did you win?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:53 AM
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I like to be able to flop open at any given moment

The relaxin will help with this when the time comes.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:55 AM
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39 is funny. I really should preview my comments.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:58 AM
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I need to find a therapist, but I don't know how to find one. I'm an immigrant from the US to a country where I'm not a native speaker of the language. My one attempt at going to see a supposedly bilingual therapist was so frustrating that I never went back, and I'm not nearly comfortable enough with my adopted tongue to get therapy in it. I have pretty much resigned myself to self-medication by now, but I saw this post and figured I'd ask just to see if anyone knew of anything.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 11:59 AM
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42: Is there a large enough English-speaking population that there might be a native English speaker therapist anywhere around? I'm guessing not, or you would have already pursued that route.

Other than that... phone therapy? Though I've only really heard of that for people continuing with their previous therapist who knows them really well after moving somewhere new. And even in that situation it seems less than ideal.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:06 PM
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Nice to see that ToS has gotten secure enough to ask the Unfogged community for help with his problems.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:11 PM
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for 42
hope it'd help


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:26 PM
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My younger life was actually quite complex from a work POV (I never had a full-time job for 4 years after graduation, and that only lasted 13 months), but I never used a planner. Just kept it all in my brain, which worked surprisingly well. But paper planners never worked for me. My iPhone is pretty good for this - definite credit for simple interface, and I always have it on me.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:29 PM
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HTTN & ToS too, in case if they were interested


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:30 PM
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I figured this was going nowhere useful and didn't go back.

Disorganized people without datebooks are often in serious denial. When you confront them about this, the therapy usually ends immediately.

For clients of this type, therapy is often useless, but no matter how unsuccessful therapy is, you still do get paid.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:31 PM
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I love my phone (pda/electric planner) for three reasons: searchable, always opens to today, and can set an alarm. That's where I get the `manual for tranquility' part -- I don't have to have a constant interrupt-loop thinking `Do I need to go? Now? Now?' if I trust that my tweedler will tweedle me in good time. I can concentrate harder and relax more. I think I may sleep better. I LOVE this.

(Which is backfiring right now, because my nine-years-in-constant-use phone is getting hinky and unreliable. I have to buy a new one! Wah! Although, despite the coolness of the googlephone, there is no way I'm changing OS without a message from God, so the shopping choices are easy.)

It's good for long-term things, too; when I realize it's too late to plant dahlias, I put a reminder in for ten months from now; when my other half runs out of something on a predictable-and-yet-unplanned for schedule, I put in a reminder. And, as someone above said, the final peacefulness is when you look at the reminder and delete it.

What it doesn't help with is errands that are scary and/or embarrassing, like finding a therapist. But several people who are similar to me have said CBT was good.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:31 PM
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I went through the process of finding a therapist about six months ago. A couple friends gave me recommendations that didn't end up working because of location or insurance issues. I then found the Psychology Today site, searching by insurance and location, narrowing by other criteria including therapeutic approach. Then I did two phone interviews and set up one appointment from those, plus an appointment with another guy who didn't do phone interviews. I felt good enough about one of the two in-person sessions to start with him, and it's turned out to be a good decision so far.

I found it important to see more than one person to assure myself I was at least making some kind of choice in the matter, but I also didn't want to spend a whole lot of time seeing lots of different therapists for first appointments.

The whole process took a couple of months, and I could have spent more time on it. At the beginning I felt a bit like LB in 5, and it truly was an annoying process that I'd rather not have had to put up with, but I kept reminding myself that I really wanted/needed to do this and kept at it -- and that persistence might actually have given me a minor boost in confidence that helped in the first bit of therapy.

Also, I endorse Getting Things Done, even if you only use the method half-assedly, as I currently do.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:33 PM
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16: That's exactly my issue -- even when I'm not overwhelmed with work, I'm stressed about deadlines all the time, because I'm always mentally fidgeting with them. The problem is developing a system I actually do trust; I can't imagine actually relying on myself to input obligations into such a system well enough to stop fretting about it. Hence thinking I could use some therapy on that point.

Or I could just keep on fretting. I don't actually miss deadlines or forget important obligations, I just worry about it all the time.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:35 PM
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16: I always make lists of things to do and I almost never look at these lists, and it really does help you quit worrying.

Once or twice a week I look at my list and transcribe a fresh clean new list, taking off the fulfilled tasks and adding the new ones. Some items have been on as many as twenty successive lists before events made them moot.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:48 PM
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Paper organizers are enormously superior to electronic ones for the simple reason that they are much harder to break and the batteries don't suddenly die at the least convenient possible moment.

My last attempt at getting seriously organized involved using a dedicated little electronic organizer that turned out to be enormously useful once I'd put all my contact info and appointments into it, after which it immediately died.

Right now I use a simple spiral bound notepad for most things, which both works adequately and keeps a running tally of stuff that I've done. The latter cheers me up immensely every time I open the cover, since it shows me all the stuff I've gotten done. Laundry, food shopping, go to the dentist! All neatly crossed out. Yes indeed, I am a man of accomplishments!


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:49 PM
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52: I do that some, but it's a method of making sure that I am mentally keeping track of everything, not so much a way of offloading tasks.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:51 PM
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I use 3x5 cards, anywhere from 1 to 5 at a time.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:56 PM
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Every time I try to use some sort of planner / organizer / calendar, I forget to write down at least half the things that should go in it. So "add things to calendar!" and "look at the calendar!" just become extra things I have to carry around in my head to try to remember along with all the other things I haven't written down. I don't know, I guess one just has to form a habit, but I haven't managed to. It's not like anything terrible ever happens when I forget something. (Though every so often I forget to turn in some reimbursement paperwork by a deadline and throw away a few hundred dollars, which is a pretty stupid thing to do.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 12:58 PM
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51: If you want, I can save you a trip to the library and send you a copy of the audiobook (3 CDs). It sounds like you have about the same kind of dysfunctional approach to organization and scheduling as I do, and while I can't say yet whether the method will work for me, I can certainly say that the author speaks my language. I do feel like I better understand why my systems haven't worked for me up to now, and what the actual goal of keeping lists should be.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:24 PM
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57: ooh, the audiobook. That would solve my problem of not reading the book. I could simply not listen to the audiobook!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:24 PM
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Huh. I'd rather have my toenails pulled out than try to take in useful information at talking speed, but maybe I'll pick up a copy of the book.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:29 PM
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I'm going to annoy the hell out of people by posting this but really, yoga can be so helpful to people with anxiety and with other issues. If I said to take lexapro people would not get annoyed but for some reason people react differently to the suggestion of yoga. I guess it sounds obnoxious but I don't mean it to be. Basically (perhaps not for all people but for some) yoga does something to the brain that is not a far cry from psychopharm. (There are studies to this effect. Sorry, I don't have the links.) But sometimes it is even more effective--probably with therapy, psychopharm you would be better off. If you ignore all the woo-woo discussion surrounding it and just do it, it still has a strong therapeutic effect. Also, it has this effect even if you aren't very good at it.

I only offer this suggestion because it may take time to see a therapist but you can go to yoga right away. So it could be a decent stopgap.

Of course, you might already do yoga...I'm not saying it's like a miracle cure. It wears off. It just causes a temporary increase in neurotransmitters, just like medicine. But it's way better than drinking. It's a form of self medication that doesn't have the backlash problem.


Posted by: lisa | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:32 PM
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60: Aaaack! Yoga! Run for your lives!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:36 PM
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I'm going to annoy the hell out of people by posting this [...] I guess it sounds obnoxious

I doubt the first statement is at all true and, as for the second, the bar for obnoxiousness is pretty high around here. You're going to have to try a lot harder than that.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:37 PM
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Personally, I find yoga stressful, humiliating, and unpleasant. But that's only because I'm inflexible to the point that people don't actually believe I'm trying to stretch when I do. It's probably relaxing for normal people.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:38 PM
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Man if somebody told me to do yoga in person I'd punch 'em right in the mouth. Except I'd probably miss because they'd bend out of my way. You win this time, yoga!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:42 PM
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63: Hey, that sounds like me! Can you sit cross-legged (Indian-style as we used to call it back in my politically incorrect youth)? My wife thinks it's hilarious to watch me try and fail to do this.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:44 PM
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I like weightlifting for the temporary mental effect -- I'm not like Megan, either; it was a happy day when I got to put plates on the bar. (Am also too stiff for yoga to be relaxing. I know this means I should do more yoga, but yeesh.)

Interesting thing about the weight-room, unlike almost everything else in my life: it's somewhere it's okay to fail in public. Everyone fails. The whole point is to get to failure, groan, whine, turn horrible colors, drop things. It isn't *cool*.

Electronic over paper pdas (next: vi vs emacs!): grep and backups.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:47 PM
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That I can do. Can't touch my toes, though, or even get particularly close to them without lunging.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:48 PM
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yoga can be so helpful to people with anxiety and with other issues

It certainly helps with my can't-turn-my-brain-off syndrome.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:48 PM
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I'm going to annoy the hell out of people by posting this

Next time, try: If you had truly accepted Jesus into your heart, you wouldn't need therapy. Or: the answer to all your problems is between my legs.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:48 PM
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Stop faking, LB. You have to put some effort in and stop mocking the stretch.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:49 PM
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70: You know what really hurts? When you're in high school gym class, sitting with your legs straight out in front of you and trying to stretch for your toes, and the gym teacher thinks you're not trying and unexpectedly shoves you firmly forward/downward from behind. I screamed and fell over sideways.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:51 PM
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How about acupuncture, then? You don't actually have to do anything, just lay there while someone torments you with needles.


Posted by: neil | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:52 PM
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Can't touch my toes, though, or even get particularly close to them without lunging.

If you ever do want to try yoga (not that you'd need to, you seem perfectly happy without it), I would recommend looking for a class that old men attend. (These often tend to be called "gentle yoga" or something like that.) Definitely no expectation that you'll be able to touch your toes.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:52 PM
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(I'm sort of hoping that having started TKD early will help my children from growing up deficient like I did. They're by far the least stretchy in their school, but I think they're both at least somewhat better off than I was at the same age.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:53 PM
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I would recommend looking for a class that old men attend.

I don't think I'm overall unusually vain, but I think I would find this depressing to the point of counterproductiveness. "Here I am, surrounded by my physical peers. Who all have emphysema or similar."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:55 PM
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67: I guess its just me and Dustin Hoffman then (he demonstrated this inability on a talk show once)

But I actually can touch my toes.

71: Damn gym teachers!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:57 PM
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At the very least, look for "Yoga for Construction Workers", where everyone is stiff because they're so strong.

Although the only one of those I've known about was construction-workers-only, so maybe not.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:59 PM
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Here I am, surrounded by my physical peers.

You're doing it wrong. "Here I am, the hottest one in the class by a country mile."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:59 PM
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75: But wouldn't all the delightful old-fashioned pick-up lines the geezers will try on you make you feel better?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 1:59 PM
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unexpectedly shoves you firmly forward/downward from behind

Super uncool. There's technique for helping people stretch. Sudden pushes are contra-indicated.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:00 PM
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78: Well, hell, I can manage that in most regular yoga classes. Until my face turns purple and I start swearing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:00 PM
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81: ah, you want Crust Old Sailor Yoga.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:01 PM
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"Crusty"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:01 PM
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And she'd feel conversationally inadequate during the prostate-enlargement-and-hemorrhoid bonding sessions, as though she had nothing to offer. Just another woman with nothing to say.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:03 PM
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84 to 75.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:04 PM
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I've never seen it be a class full of just old men. Three or four tops, in a class of 10 or 12. At my gym I see people from my astanga classes at the gentle classes, too. I think the thought is, I want to do yoga X times a week, so I go to the two astanga classes, and then fill out the rest with whatever else fits my schedule.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:06 PM
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Three or four tops, in a class of 10 or 12.

Yeah, but then you count the bottoms, and its almost half the class.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:06 PM
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I get annoyed when I've been to yoga because it's not competitive enough. I'm like, "Who am I trying to beat? I can't even tell how to keep score."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:09 PM
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86, 87: Blume, are you ready for a life of delivering set-up lines?


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:10 PM
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"Who am I trying to beat? I can't even tell how to keep score."

Yourself!


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:11 PM
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88: I have good news!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:11 PM
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Everyone else knew you were losing, I'm sure.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:11 PM
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I can't even tell how to keep score.

10 points for every person you sneak up on and suddenly push downward and forward. 20 points if they scream and roll over sideways.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:12 PM
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89: I have my ways of getting even.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:12 PM
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Formally, yoga is anything but torture.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:13 PM
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95: TROLL!


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:14 PM
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||

Dude sitting at my table in the library is telling the other guy here with him that you should be able to bench 10x your body weight. He keeps repeating, "Ten times. Ten times!"

(I'm about to tell them to take it outside.)

|>


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:36 PM
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I'm like, "Who am I trying to beat? I can't even tell how to keep score."

"I can bend further than you can!"

Seriously, there hasn't been an endeavor yet invented people can't turn into a competition. I think you're just not trying hard enough.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:41 PM
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97: Um, wouldn't that be significantly better than a world record? Not that it's more or less annoying if he's realistic or simply insane.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:42 PM
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Dude's probably confusing his version with "should be able to bench your body weight 10 times."


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:43 PM
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LB--Go to Amazon or wherever and buy Getting Things Done right now. It's the first organizational system I've come across that makes intuitive sense, and I've been able to avoid the constant stress of keeping things in my head all the time for the first time in my life.

I'm in the process of building out my own fairly robust GTD system right now--I've been using elements for a few years, but have never taken the time to really do a ground-up overhaul. Being un/self-employed nicely provides a time window to do so.

(FWIW, for those who might be interested, I'm pairing a Google mail/calendar/contacts implementation with my iPhone (syncing launched recently--it's nice!) along with Toodledo for task management, Evernote for taking notes supplemented by Jott. Combined with a Dropbox account for secure file storage and Expenser for expense management, I'm pretty much up and running to keep the whole thing running in the cloud, nearly completely platform/location-independent.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:49 PM
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Note that GTD does not solve the whole "procrastination via fucking around on the Internet" problem.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:50 PM
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I have found that I have much better dynamic flexibility than I do static flexibility. I don't know why the two don't have much to do with each other.

I also found that yoga was good for flexibility but not much with anxiety; my brain apparently thinks that the opportunity to quiet itself is the perfect time to examine all of the little stressors in my life in minute detail. But many people find it relaxing.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 2:50 PM
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For the original questioner--my guy, who I stumbled through a referral from a shrink who wasn't covered by my new insurance, happens to be a fairly serious yogi (like, travels to India for 12-week silent retreats, certified in Yoga counseling, level of serious). In addition to talk therapy, he does guided meditation. Guided meditation is fucking AWESOME for stress/anxiety relief.

That being said, please don't shy away too far from pharmacological solutions as well. It may take some time to find the right med (and sometimes they stop working), but I've suffered from life-long depression and my whole life has turned around since my first SSRI prescription.

(And for the American living in foreign climes--try finding an English-speaking GP. They may be able to help you out from a scrip sense, even if you can't find a therapist that gets you.)


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:04 PM
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GTD is an excellent program for getting some things done--for example, producing a whole lot of organization system doodads.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:06 PM
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able to bench 10x your body weight

I should be able to bench a Miata, then.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:09 PM
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103: Cala, when you do ashtanga, you're so focused on the breath and keeping up, that you can't think about anything else. In a really fast class, you're dripping with sweat and exhausted, so your mind can no longer wander.

(I quit for a few weeks, because I did something to the tendon in my left arm.)

I have been to a class at Blume's gym, and the ashtanga instructor is crazy (in a good way), an absolute riot. There's no way that your mind could wander to your other stresses.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:19 PM
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GTD in three lines:

1) Record everything you want to get done

2) in one place

3) and, every so often, go over that list.

All of our doodads and software and system-tuning and stationery fetiches are the Law instead of the Way.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:22 PM
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My neurologist recommended yoga. I only went once, because I really couldn't do most of it, what with having no functioning knees, but what I could do was pleasant and relaxing. [Of course, that might have been the dimly lit room and the sitar music, so reminiscent of my more carefree/chemically enhanced youth.]

If your sure about CBT/talk

FWIW, do not google CBT unless you are interested in cock and ball torture. Which might be relaxing, depending on whose C&B one is torturing.

I fully endorse the "see if you're comfortable with X" school of picking pshrinks. I got my first one by accident [she was the wife of my gynaecologist's partner; I had a meltdown after my hysterectomy], but she couldn't cope with me and, despite being a nice person, was so very much the wrong fit that the experience did me more harm than good. In fact, my subsequent therapist knew more about post-surgical hormone problems than she did, which was odd, considering her husband's profession and that he [B] was a gay man. OTOH, he was definitely smarter than she was, despite her PhD vs his MS.

I got my best therapist and my son's through referrals - first, from a friend to Therapist B, then from him to C, for psychopharm, then from C to D, a pediatric pshrink after the therapist the Offspring saw briefly at UCLA [where his learning disability was diagnosed] turned out to be a wack job - telling a child he must feel X, because all adopted children feel X = wack job, IMNSHO; the kid is the one who didn't want to see her after a couple of sessions.

Just be sure the urge to change therapists is based on badness of fit, rather than reluctance to face uncomfortable truths.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:25 PM
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That's one component, sure. But the more important aspect is in the "you have a lot of stuff that you're forced to deal with every day--here's how to get through the necessary, even urgent, crap and be able to focus on the important, long-term stuff that you want/need to be doing in a way that lets you feel relaxed."


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:28 PM
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107: I suspect that's probably right; more intense exercise focus my mind.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:28 PM
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110 to 108.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:29 PM
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110: Although, for that, I think "Time Management for System Administrators" is better. O'Reilly may have jumped the shark with self-help books, but that's a good one.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:38 PM
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||

OT: Has anyone ever written to a Federal rep over something vaguely personal, like, not just please support x, y or z, but "this is my problem and therefore, please support z.

Further has anybody actually availed the help of a rep through "Constituent services"? How does that work exactly? Was it helpful?

|>


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:48 PM
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Okay, I'm off to ash wednesday services, so I won'te be around for a couple of hours, but I'll check back.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 3:49 PM
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Just be sure the urge to change therapists is based on badness of fit, rather than reluctance to face uncomfortable truths.

This is a problem.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:16 PM
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115: I love Ash Wednesday. I think of it as "Now I know who's Catholic" day. All sects should have a day when people have to show up for work with some distinguishing mark. ("Hey, it's Pickle Tuesday for the Methodists! You can tell whether they're conservative or liberal by whether the pickle they're holding is a bread and butter pickle, or a half sour dill.")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:23 PM
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115: Of course, come to think of it, you're not Catholic. Do Episcopalians do the ash on the forehead bit, too?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:24 PM
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I think of it as "Now I know who's Catholic" day.

And Jews could wear yellow stars!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:26 PM
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You can tell whether they're conservative or liberal by whether the pickle they're holding is a bread and butter pickle, or a half sour dill.

That's awfully low profile of the Methodists. "It's fat pen day for the Methodists! You can tell Methodists because they're carrying a 1.0mm gel pen instead of the more common 0.7mm gel pen!"

I think of it as "Now I know who's Catholic" day

But... BG isn't Catholic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:26 PM
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* AHPWNEDSIFU *

Oh excuse me I must have a cough.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:26 PM
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re: 103

Different mechanisms and you train them differently. Kurtz's book on stretching explains it, iirc.

I have only average passive flexibility.* But I can kick as high as my head or higher [when warmed up].

* I can touch my toes and stuff, but I am not going to get into the more challenging yoga postures.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:27 PM
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Also, I was long since lapsed before I learned you were not really allowed to just wife your forehead off afterwards...


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:27 PM
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you were not really allowed to just wife your forehead off afterwards...

That's illegal in seventeen states anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:27 PM
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And? Why do you think I'm lapsed?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:30 PM
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108: My system had a different ending:

3. Let this list sit somewhere where you can find it, in case you might want to look at it sometime.

4. Occasionally scratch off things you've done or decided not to do, and add new projects.

5. repeat 3 and for forever.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:38 PM
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This year gave me a chance for me to test my Group Idento-Intensiti-Widespreadometer:

Catholics: 2.46
Steeler Fans: 98.43


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:52 PM
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for me


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 4:58 PM
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Thanks, everyone. For those of you who have gone through the therapist-interviewing process, what kinds of questions did you ask?

And to answer a couple of questions:
- Medication is being addressed through my GP. He also ran a battery of blood tests to make sure that there weren't underlying health issues that contributed to the panic attacks. So far it's not helping much, but we're tinkering with dosages.
- Yoga: tried it in the past, loved it. But there are even more yoga teachers around here than there are therapists, and going through the process of finding a good one is adding to my anxiety. Stress!
- I have a paper planner, but it's sitting unused. I should pick up a copy of GTD and start carrying the planner again. That, at least, should not be very difficult.
- Family all recently participated in bad behavior and have been cut out of the picture until I (and my future new therapist) figure out how to deal with them. They don't know about the anxiety/panic and won't until I'm damn good and ready. (Bosses and friends who are more reliably supportive do know.)


Posted by: HTTN | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 5:30 PM
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Has anyone ever written to a Federal rep over something vaguely personal, like, not just please support x, y or z, but "this is my problem and therefore, please support z.

I once wrote to my Congresswoman and to one of my Senators (HRC, actually) to ask for assistance/intervention. But I guess I didn't really have a "support z" angle, it was purely and selfishly personal (unless "z" = "please reform your freakin' immigration services so that I and others in similar situations don't have to wait three years for a green card interview").

Anyway, I think it's always worth a try. Squeaky wheel and etc, and what have you got to lose?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:09 PM
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I once had a returning student whose spouse in the military had decided he no longer needed to pay child support. He was deployed overseas and difficult to contact. In desperation, she called her congressman -- Jim Traficant! -- and by the end of the day his office had been in touch with her ex's CO and problem solved. That was how notorious crooks like Traficant continued to get elected.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:16 PM
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Thanks for the link, read. Blume, I had thought of phone therapy but it seems impersonal enough, as you said, that I'm reluctant just to start cold. I suppose The Google is about as good for advice such things as anonymous help even from a likeminded bunch, anyway.


Posted by: émigré from 42 | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:45 PM
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Passport issues can also be greased by your Senator. We did that once.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 6:52 PM
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That was how notorious crooks like Traficant continued to get elected.

And this is the fundamental flaw in goo-goo Progressives (capitalization intentional) - a failure to recognize that even a well-run government can use some amount of outside-channels strong-arming in order to serve citizens. I suspect that a lot of those folks would be perfectly content with a gov't that was utterly impervious to citizen interaction, as long as it was also impervious to the privileged. But the privileged have their own channels; the only chance hoi polloi has is a responsive representative gov't.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:26 PM
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Can't touch my toes, though, or even get particularly close to them without lunging.

I fucking ran hurdles for 3 years in HS, and I still never came close to my toes. And the Bad Gym Teacher is a recurring theme, as well - I never was pushed, but someone I knew was - actual ligament damage was done.

I don't know why God made me this way, but I choose to celebrate it, not deny Him.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:31 PM
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Constituent service is the single good thing that most Congressmen and Senators are likely to do. Some are really fantastic.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:43 PM
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There's a book by Bill Porter about Chinese Taoist hermits. They all live in inaccessible places in the mountains and walk down every two weeks or so to get supplies. Porter describes the relatively young ones as these athletic marvels who scamper up steep slopes with 60 lbs. on their backs. But the older ones have bad knees and live in town.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 7:57 PM
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but I choose to celebrate it, not deny Him.

JRoth's Lenten intention: so therapeutically enlightened! and so much the next new thing! He's going to give up "Denial" for the next forty days and nights or so.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:03 PM
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Let this list sit somewhere where you can find it

This is where my systems always break down.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:15 PM
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The finding, that is, not the sitting, causes the breakdown.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:16 PM
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118: Yes, we do. Yes, I'm Episcopalian. They actually gave us an opportunity to wash them off, since today's Gospel was about how only hypocrites pray in public and we shouldn't advertise our penitence. I didn't see the water with washcloths, and I'm not sure that I would have trusted it


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:20 PM
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neil, I wonder if you would consider adding an initial or otherwise adjusting your pseud a bit for further differentiation from Neil the Ethical Werewolf? If you want to get into LB's good graces, you could even go whole hog with a distinctive pseud. "Whole Hog" would be a good one actually. Or "Bread & Butter Pickles" from upthread.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:22 PM
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I've heard that Kerry sort of sucks at it and doesn't care, but Kennedy is better.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:23 PM
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141: Trusted it to wash off the ashes or to clean away your hypocrisy?


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:23 PM
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Constituent service is the single good thing that most Congressmen and Senators are likely to do. Some are really fantastic.

This. Solving practical problems (like the child-support, passport, etc. things mentioned above) is what good district staff DO. Sometimes the Washington-based ones as well, depending on the problem. But I'd recommend starting with the local district office in most cases.

The one caveat is that AFAIK there is no requirement about how Congresspeople are supposed to divide up their staff dollars. So given budget $X, some of them hire 10 experienced staff who cost $.10X, and some of them hire 30 inexperienced staff who cost 1/3 as much. A few of the inexperienced ones -- well, two in my experience -- have given actively bad advice because they were too ignorant to know anything beyond the vague "Well, what seems like the the common-sensical thing to do in this situation?"

Still and all, they're usually an excellent resource.

Has anyone ever written to a Federal rep over something vaguely personal, like, not just please support x, y or z, but "this is my problem and therefore, please support z.

Many, many times. In general I handwrite those letters and keep them relatively short (notecards) and comprehensible. This means no scribbling while standing up on the train. My uninformed intuition is that there are three reasons this can be valuable:

1. Providing a nugget of info to educate the staffer who is in charge of reading the mail on topic X. You never know how these things will eventually play out.

2. For most of us, it's easier to write a simple personal letter than to cull just the right policy stats to try to grab their attention. Because it's easier to write closer to home, it's also easier for the staffer to read. They're human too.

3. Writing a letter like that helps YOU articulate what you feel/think about a problem and how you want policymakers to fix it. In a funny way that can make it easier to talk about with acquaintances when a news story on the topic comes up or to combat ignorant remarks at a dinner party. It's like putting your ducks in a row.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:35 PM
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139: If you just put them there and never look at them, they're much less likely to get lost.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:39 PM
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139: See, this is why I think having it be part of my cellphone is key.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 8:39 PM
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129: I had the basic information for the therapists I interviewed from the Psych Today website, but I wanted to get a better feel for their approaches to therapy, so I asked them to explain that a bit more. I asked how directive they'd be in sessions and what experience they'd had with a few particular issues. I learned a little bit from their answers, but in the end made my decision based on how I felt about the discussion overall.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:07 PM
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Supposedly, constituent service as it's currently done is a fairly recent innovation (past 30 or 40 years), though if you watch a film like Washington Story from the 50s, there's a Congressman taking care of passport issues (it's important to the plot). But back when there were real machines, that's where a lot of the constituent service went. To people who voted right, at least.

I don't know if anyone's done a study of letters from more or less ordinary people to elected officials, but someone really should. There's got to be a lot of fascinating stuff in there.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:18 PM
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Also, I've so far solved the planner problem by doing very little with my life.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:19 PM
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150 to 149.2


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:23 PM
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This thread would be funnier if it were "Ask The Therapist - Find a Mineshaft Edition".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:26 PM
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152: Oh wait. I thought that's what it always already is?


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:28 PM
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151 is funny. Not because 150 is funny, mind you, but because 149.2 really straddles that line between: Yeah, that would be fascinating! Or: Wait, no. It wouldn't.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:31 PM
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154: Standpipe's blog now open. No waiting.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:35 PM
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155: Yeah. But no one wants eb thinking they're making fun.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:38 PM
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I didn't say all the correspondence would be fascinating. Or even a majority of it. The problem with a lot of "letters to" things I've seen is that they're often turned into these blanded, sentimentalized presentations of the pain of separation, etc. Not that that can't be interesting too, but it depends on how it's done. This is obviously not the same as personal correspondence, so lots of the built in emotion cues wouldn't be there.

I propose a computational study, letters coded into standardized metadata, output made up of entirely of graphs, with an API for people who want to produce narrative mashups like the cool kids do these days.

Not that I'm going to do it, if that's what Witt's suggesting.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:39 PM
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156: fun is deprecated generally.

See 157.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:44 PM
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The interesting letters are also the heartbreaking ones from mentally ill people. We get them just by being bureaucrats with addresses somewhere. They're hard to take, because they're six page single spaced handwritten notes about how they're being hounded and no one will help them and the evidence of the conspiracy. There's a lot of pain in those letters and no good way to respond.

Hold on, let me look... Marla from Fresno emails us now. She has a blog. But I've seen them at every agency I've worked for. I can only imagine that elected officials get them too.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:45 PM
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There's a really interesting documentary about Stanley Kubrick that focuses on the stuff in the boxes Kubrick accumulated and stored over the years. He kept his fan mail and had a special "crank" file. The documentary actually tracks down a "crank" author who wrote a letter back in the 70s and shows him the letter. Not a crazy guy actually. The letter went into some detail about how much 2001 was crap, if I remember right.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 9:53 PM
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We have at the bookshop box after box of William O. D/ouglas papers (thrown in the dumpster at the Lib of Congress, folks) containing miscellaneous letters written to him by friends and foes alike. From 9-year-old kids, from 70-year-old men, the works. All written from the heart, ranging from illiterate rant to heartfelt paean. Some are truly affecting.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:09 PM
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161: huh, I know somebody who might be very interested in those.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:11 PM
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162: If you're serious, write me. We've had a few interested parties over the years, but nothing's panned out. There's a lot of material, takes some time to review. It's not all letters; I haven't looked at it for some time.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 02-25-09 10:16 PM
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63 etc:

I couldn't touch my toes when I started yoga, I was perhaps 10 or 15cm shy of it. About a month of doing gentle 5 minute-long forward folds (forward to the point of feeling a gentle stretch and hold) and I had gained 20 centimetres of reach. It was quite astonishing.

The yoga school I go to is not especially lightweight (not especially hardcore either, the teachers themselves do an intense personal practice but most of the students do not) and the classes always have a few participants who can't reach their toes. You don't need a class with old men, just a class with a few men of a stocky kind of build. It also helps to have a teacher who is genuinely good at finding everyone's special yoga super-ability (it turned out that my forward bends always will suck, but my backbends are great) but they are pretty rare.


Posted by: Pineapple | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 3:47 AM
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Thanks for the advice all. I don't think that it's possible to do what I want to do under the law as it is now.

I think that I missed the narrow window of time, partly because of illness, when it's possible to switch your direct student loans from regular same-size payments to ones that are contingent on how much you make.

The department of education's website sucks at this. Kennedy has a helpful form for getting you to waive your privacy rights so that his office can talk to the agencies on your behalf.

So, if I can't manage to do this, I'd like to put in a plug for changing the law, since I imagine that a lot of people are dealing with the same problem.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:34 AM
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159: Yeah, reading the slushpile at a publishing house will expose you to a lot of those sorts of letters, and they are attached to manuscripts. I have a curse on me now, because I didn't publish this one guy's chef d'oeuvre.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:24 AM
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if anyone's done a study of letters from more or less ordinary people to elected officials

This book has been in our bathroom for several months, and it's both fascinating and heartbreaking. Also, people in the 1930s couldn't spell for shit.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:50 AM
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42- I feel for you. Have you tried asking around at the American Consulate, or an American church, or if you are a woman and in a Western Country, the Junior League ? If no leads are available locally, there are therapists who will speak to you on Skype... To echo other's advice, self medication is tricky- sleep and exercise helps the most, alcohol will only exacerbate things.

129- If you are comfortable with your GP addressing the medication side of things (not the best idea in my experience), then you could see a Licensed Social Worker. I see one, and she is fabulous. I found her through Mass General Hospital.
I have also seen Psychiatrists, and find my current therapist to be much more effective for me.

Also, just go to any yoga class. At this point a "bad" yoga teacher is better than none. That is an unnecessary stumbling block you are giving yourself. Stop thinking and start doing.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:52 AM
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132 you're welcome, i didn't subscribe myself yet, just reading the articles over there sometimes and what i read all seem sensible and similar to what i thought before
so when i'd feel i need some therapy next step will be subscription i guess, though i always thought if i can't think myself nobody can help something


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:52 AM
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167: Also, people in the 1930s couldn't spell for shit.

But apparently they could shit for a spell and write a letter.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 7:57 AM
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Like eb, for most of my life I've got around the need for a planner by not doing much worth writing about. When I was a reporter I bowed to necessity and wrote down appointments in my notepad and/or on the calendar on the wall by my desk, but even then I'd say there was an average of one appointment written down a week, usually an interview for a human interest story. Most things were regular and therefore easy to remember. The rest I would learn about in general terms long in advance, so I might as well just make a phone call or check a Web site to check as the date approaches in case it would have changed in the meantime.

Now, though, they make it so easy I'd have to go out of my way not to be organized. My office uses Outlook for all e-mail, and the calendar is linked to the e-mail, so other people can stuff on my schedule for me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:23 AM
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168, thanks, I think going through an American church might be a good idea, and I have seen reference to a few near me. I've never seen myself as needing the kind of help that a church would provide, but I probably need to outgrow that bias. (And for what it's worth, I self-medicate not with alcohol but with anti-depressant medication, which can be gotten without an official prescription here. I would probably benefit from having a real doctor adjust my dosage, but then again, the criteria they use are pretty simple when you get down to it.)


Posted by: émigré | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:47 AM
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172
I've never seen myself as needing the kind of help that a church would provide, but I probably need to outgrow that bias.

Why? I mean, do you believe God exists? If so then sure, look up a church with an English name in les Pages Jaunes (just a guess, considering you called yourself "émigré") and ask for one of the appropriate denomination/nationality, but if not, there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that bias.

It's not unheard of for people to attend church out of a desire for a community rather than a desire for religious services. (I assume that's basically what you mean by "the kind of help that a church would provide.") My own parents did that when I was a kid. There's nothing particularly wrong with that, but there doesn't seem to be much point. For me, intentionally community-seeking efforts have worked well only when I had a common ground with the group in the first place.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:14 AM
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169: The part about accepting your emotions if they are appropriate, rather than trying to cure them, struck me as right.

For example, if someone's really unattractive and feels they're unattractive, it's a reality they have to deal with. If they're attractive but think they're unattractive (as some movie stars do), it's a psychological problem. Therapy talk, and some actual therapists, often seem to deny people's actual realities with feelgood talk,

A cheerful unattractive person who accepts who they are will be more attractive than they were when grumpy, bitter, depressed, and hangdog, but they'll still won't win beauty contests and will still have to deal with people for whom beauty is extremely important.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:14 AM
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174: You know, this sounds good intellectually, but isn't there research showing that 'healthy' people are systematically delusional about how much people like them, and depressed people are more realistic? Like, aren't there areas where it's functional to be delusional?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:17 AM
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re: 175

Yes.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:23 AM
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the reason i delay subsciption is like a thirty thousand days sound like the whole life and if their library has that many articles, don't want anything overwhelming, i can kinda turn to them when it's like just absolutely necessary
i like it's not religious, Japanese they are prone to a cultists like thinking and when they are convinced it's like sacry how devoted they could become


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:28 AM
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scary


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:28 AM
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If a therapist can make people delusional the right way, perhaps its a good thing. But if the delusion causes them to enter beauty contests, not so good. Delusion can be harmless, but it can also get you into trouble (more seriosu trouble than losing beauty contests.)

I think that the capacity to forget bad things and go on is underrated, though, like the capacity for relatively undiscriminating affection.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:35 AM
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areas where it's functional to be delusional

Work, love, and community, I think.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:40 AM
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179.last is correct. Also the ability to forget, ignore, or minimize slights. This last was beyond the capabilities of my ex, and is one of the reasons she's ex.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:56 AM
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Also the ability to forget, ignore, or minimize slights.

Huh. Therapy is what convinced me to stop forgetting, ignoring, and minimizing slights.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:11 AM
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underrated, though, like the capacity for relatively undiscriminating affection.

I have that!


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:13 AM
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The link in 45 really is interesting. I wonder if it's not that it's "healthy" to be selectively delusional, but that the ultimate goal is to be realistic without taking reality quite so hard.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:17 AM
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Some people remember slights forever, and other people ignore abuse for years. And in between them is a slippery slope going in both directions.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:24 AM
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182: There's an implicit reasonableness factor here. Most people fall from a standard of perfect treatment of others all the time; most reasonable people forgive the vast majority of such lapses. Someone who doesn't overlook or forgive any slights is going to (a) have a lot of material to work with and (b) be unbearable to interact with. That doesn't mean you should overlook or forgive significant mistreatment. And setting the bar of what you're willing to overlook or forgive at a reasonable level, where you're neither overly touchy nor accepting abuse, is the whole trick.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:24 AM
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Or what Emerson said more concisely.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:25 AM
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Or what Emerson said more concisely.

And poetically, too.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:28 AM
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And in between them is a slippery slope going in both directions.

The perpetual waterslide! Whee!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:31 AM
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The perpetual waterslide! Whee!

I was thinking more "premises liability!" But also "Whee!"


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:33 AM
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Some people remember slights forever, and other people ignore abuse for years. And in between them is a slippery slope going in both directions.

Very well said, Emerson.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:33 AM
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It's not unheard of for people to attend church out of a desire for a community rather than a desire for religious services. (I assume that's basically what you mean by "the kind of help that a church would provide.")

My assumption has been that anyone affiliated with a church would identify my problem as lack of Christian (or whatever) faith and offer to treat it only with evangelism. Typing it out, though, makes that sound kind of ridiculous. Though I probably wouldn't do well to present myself as a nonbeliever.

For me, intentionally community-seeking efforts have worked well only when I had a common ground with the group in the first place.

Indeed, though for me, I have more in common now with people attending English-language religious services than I did back in, uh, the old country.


Posted by: émigré | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:26 AM
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192.1: I would think the bigger obstacle would be whether one can really find "community" among a group with whom lacks shared values. Which is NOT to say that you can't find a church filled with people who share your values, but that there are likely to be plenty of churches out there where the focus on evangelising the heathen really would stand in the way of you entering into a sense of community.

Personally, I have found finding a compatible church far more daunting than finding a compatible therapist. You may have to try out more than one before you find any kind of a fit.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:34 AM
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I can only imagine that elected officials get them too.

The chapter in Mo Udal's book about letters from his constituent s is titled (IIRC), "Get Cancer and Die, you Parasite."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 11:51 AM
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A lot of the community churches are "born" churches where you're a member if your parents were. They're undemanding about belief and not very demanding about practice. But it's as if you need an introduction, not on theological grounds but on way-of-life community grounds.

Catholic, Lutheran, and Episcopal churches are like that. "Born-again" churches are more bothersome.

I've seen hints that the Mormon church is becoming a "born" church in some areas, but not all. There are a lot of educated Mormons living in non-Mormon cities.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 1:53 PM
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129: Family all recently participated in bad behavior and have been cut out of the picture

And sometimes a good therapist helps one understand that certain people are toxic, be they family or not. Sometimes, cutting toxic people off altogether can be a tremendous relief.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:16 PM
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And for those of you prone to self-medication with weed: Holder has announced that raids on medical marijuana shops will cease.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:18 PM
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I would probably benefit from having a real doctor adjust my dosage, but then again, the criteria they use are pretty simple when you get down to it.

Not really. Besides the obvious side effects that some meds have for some people, there are lots of difference among meds. Some are better for stabilizing mood or helping with focus or feeling less desparing, and sometimes a combo is what you want. It's good that you access to something that's helping you, but I'd encourage you to find a psychiatrist who can figure out what will do you the most good.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:38 PM
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émigré, I'm curious as to why you're reluctant to tell us which country you're in. It seems unlikely that it would be identifying information. Not that it's actually any of my business.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:42 PM
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I've seen hints that the Mormon church is becoming a "born" church in some areas, but not all. There are a lot of educated Mormons living in non-Mormon cities.

I know a former Mormon (non-religious Mormon? not sure what the right designation is) who follows all the Mormon restrictions on caffeine, alcohol, etc. It seems utterly weird to me, in a way that atheistic Jews keeping kosher does not.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 5:51 PM
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I haven't read the thread yet, but I've tried several therapists, even a couple who were reputed to be very good, and have not yet found someone I can trust. Since my problem in the first place is trusting people, this kind of blocks off my options. Anyone have advice on getting around this problem?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:10 PM
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i won't dare to comment on your site, pdf, coz it feels as if i'm breaching people's privacy, but i liked your handle, it reminded me of my school,
the numbers, 23
i feel it's easier to comment at the weblog b/c there the weekly hatreds and confessions are, like, solicited, i mean, welcomed
you could participate in there, i think, pretty helpful, at least for me, to kinda like open up and it's funny, you laugh and feel better, works like chocolate


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:33 PM
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my exex's initials were MJ, so when i see MH, i recall it too, thought how very strange, why H and J, they are different, then i kinda got it
it's b/c i've learned with surprise mojo is pronounced moho, spanish coz, so i got marked that pronunciation it seems that's why, so distant associations


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 6:39 PM
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oh, and if you trust me your mailing address, PA, i'd send you a CD with my music
i bet you'll like it


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:21 PM
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201: make the therapist kill somebody for you. Then you'll know you can trust them.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:24 PM
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201: One thought is to learn a little about different types of therapy and see if one feels like a better fit than others. Something like cognitive behavior therapy, which focuses on changing behavior rather than digging into what's behind it, might mitigate the trust issue if it makes you feel less vulnerable.

Whatever kind of therapy you do, though, it can require a big honkin' leap of faith at one point or another along the way and you have to decide whether whatever you hope to get out of therapy is worth it. You may well already know that; I don't mean to condescend.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:24 PM
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I'm not hiding it, I just didn't think it mattered. And it is probably identifying, as I think I'm the only person who's commented here who (currently) lives in Chile, but I'm really not concerned about being identified anyway.


Posted by: émigré | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:25 PM
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Or what Sifu said.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 8:25 PM
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This may be more or less the same thing as Sir Kraab is saying, but you may just need to force yourself to stick it out a bit. I think this is also somewhat what that website read linked up above was suggesting -- just move forward despite the feeling of mistrust.

Not to minimize how difficult that is or how much finding the right therapist can help. Trust issues were always a big issue for me, and finding a therapist who really understood exatly what I was feeling mad a big difference.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 9:14 PM
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209: Well, I was with two of them for about a year, I think. One was worthless, the other not too helpful. (The latter ended up kicking me out (of one session, my last) because I was getting frustrated with her misunderstandings being so frequent. Of course a few small misunderstandings per session are to be expected.)

So I don't think any forcing will help.

Actually, at this point I've mostly given up hope of ever finding a therapist I work well with.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:27 PM
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It seems utterly weird to me, in a way that atheistic Jews keeping kosher does not.

That's strange.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 02-26-09 10:34 PM
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Food for mood
Selenium in depression


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 6:13 AM
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210: I misread you, then -- sorry. You stuck it out way longer than I ever would have. It really does make a huge difference to find someone who "gets it," but it doesn't sound like anyone knows the secret formula for finding that person. Good luck.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 8:51 AM
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P.A.: I'm sure you've thought this through already, and evidently you've a lot of effort into therapy already. But my own experience, fwiw: Trust has come up explicitly as an issue in my own (brief and ongoing) therapy, and I find myself not trusting my therapist with some things, even though he gives every sign of being trustworthy and caring. So we've talked about it, and I've also thought about it; it seems like I've got trust issues in certain contexts and around certain issues, and what's coming up in therapy is some kind of transference. (The whole idea of transference freaks me out, but lo and behold, it happens.) So for now I'm just trying really hard to put things out there in our sessions, even if it's uncomfortable, and seeing a little more trust develop. I see it as work that I have to do, to use the jargon. That said, I can imagine all kinds of therapists (I interviewed one in my initial search) who would press my untrustworthy or insincere buttons, even in subtle ways, and they would be impossible to work with.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:11 AM
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200: A few of the ex-Mormons I know (mostly gay ones, come to think of it) do the Mormon kosher thing. Very odd.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 02-27-09 9:25 AM
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You can tell whether they're conservative or liberal by whether the pickle they're holding is a bread and butter pickle

This comment will probably never be seen, but anyway, LB, you might like to know that at one stage in Northern Ireland rival groups of IRA members could supposedly be distinguished by whether their Easter lily (commemorating 1916) was affixed with glue or by means of a pin. Leading to the nickname "Stickies" for the Offical IRA/Official Sinn Féin faction (republican socialists, basically, as opposed to the Provos).


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 03- 4-09 7:41 AM
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Reminds me of the subtle political signaling on the Brazilian left.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03- 4-09 7:45 AM
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