Hail and Farewell

BD Photo 2016
Grace and Larry Ward 

I thought each call would be easier than the previous, but it’s just the opposite. Perhaps my numbness is fading, and my grief is sinking in. Or perhaps I’m just tiring of sharing with others the reality that my mother has died — tiring of sharing the circumstances and the details of how we’re all reacting, what we’re planning, how we feel.

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“I love it when …” – Spinning Our Plates Vol. 2

Sung to the tune of “Out of this World,” by The Cure.

I love it when people say things like, “It’s been [insert impressive length of time] since my last bipolar episode.” I love it, of course, because for me, it’s utter nonsense.

Continue reading ““I love it when …” – Spinning Our Plates Vol. 2″

It’s War

Alyssa Alhadeff, 14 – student.

Scott Beigel, 35 – geography teacher.

Martin Duque Anguiano, 14 – student.

Nicholas Dworet, 17 – student (senior).

Aaron Feis, 37 – assistant football coach.

Jaime Guttenberg, 14 – student.

Chris Hixon, 49 – the school’s athletic director and a Naval Reservist, with one tour in Iraq.

Luke Hoyer, 15 – student.

Cara Loughran, 14 – student.

Gina Montalto, 14 – student.

Joaquin Oliver, 17 – student.

Alaina Petty, 14 – student.

Meadow Pollack, 18 – student, accepted to college.

Helena Ramsay, 17 – student.

Alex Schachter, 14 – student.

Carmen Schentrup, 16 – student, and a National Merit Scholar semifinalist.

Peter Wang, 15 – student, and a member of the JROTC program.

[Credit to CNN]

Spinning Our Plates

david-burlet-plate-spinning-act-plate-spinner-juggling-comedy-juggler-platos-chinos-malabares-giocoliere-piatti-cinesi-chinesische-platte-jongleur-zirkuskunstler-115
David Burlet in his plate-spinning act. Plate spinners were among my favorite act on the old Ed Sullivan show. They defy the laws of nature, much as people do who battle mental illness.
Some people have such difficulty expressing their periodic chasms of vengeful depression, they take to the Internet looking for narratives they might adopt for their own. Now and then, reading through these portrayals of sub-flat-line despair, they shout, “That’s fantastic!”

This does not suggest any enthusiasm – not even for recovery. Part of depression is being willing to take on anything – even the misery of others – in an effort to fill the void with something other than deep, dull pain. Continue reading “Spinning Our Plates”

Standing on Rounded Stones

 

stones
Our daily battle for balance.

In my composition classes, I taught that if you are interested in thinking outside the box – if you strive to stretch or break the rules – you must first master the box. It’s my simplistic notion based on observations that some of the most innovative musicians were first classically (or at least formally) trained. This mastery is the foundation from which they can reach for more. Continue reading “Standing on Rounded Stones”

Fox in the Henhouse of Mental Health Care

Peter Gøtzsche is a sort of anti-vaxxer in the field of mental health care.

The Danish physician is head of an organization called the Nordic Cochrane Center at Rigshospitalet, a Copenhagen, Denmark, hospital (which does not, by the way, list mental health care on its website as among the services it offers). The center has made recent assertions that challenge solid presumptions of traditional medical care.

  • They claim mammograms subject women to significant, long-lasting emotional trauma, but produce barely any statistically significant medical benefit, such as reducing breast cancer mortality.
  • They (and Gøtzsche himself) also claim the medications used to treat mental illness actually produce symptoms of mental illness.

Continue reading “Fox in the Henhouse of Mental Health Care”