Tuesday, July 27, 2010

mania-and a week to ten days hiatus

Dearest Readers,

I look at so many of you as family, it hurts to write this. As of now, I've flipped into mania. Real bad. Cannot sleep, and some real bad side effects..... won't go into now.....pdoc worried, friends in real life worried, hospital has been called I am fighting going in cause I don't wanna go, no one will take care of kitteh, but if  I don't go in in the next few days voluntarily, I shudder to think of going in involuntarily and what will happen to kitty. The only good news is it will be a diff hospital.

So I am going on hiatus for a few days I don't trust myself to write- I am writing, but I cannot post what I've been writing.... Not here, not on FB.... I'm scared shitless. I don't wanna go. I wanna try to sleep a good 12 hours get better by my own......

Anyway , comments are not going to be watched. Play nice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

An Amazing Woman and a Walk for Cancer

According to Nick TV, today is National Sister's Day. I only have on sister- and even though she and I are like "chalk and cheese", I do love her very very much. She is an amazing strong person, who works in the city and has a scientific brain,something I don't have, mine is more literary. I wish I  was more like her.

She went on a 3 day walk next month for cancer-, on of those Susan Komen walks. 60 miles, 3 days, in a state more than half way across the country with some of her friends. I am so proud of her. I sponsored her a bit-  the walk was a month ago, but you can still contribute to her team if you like, or a team near you. Or make up your own team for next year.

I don't always say I love my sister, we fight more than we get along, but I do love her. I know if you looked up sibling rivalry in the dictionary, you would see our faces. But still, I cannot imagine anyone else as a sister than you.  She was my first friend, I ever had, and despite what I said, the best day in my life was the day mom and dad brought you home instead of a puppy. Happy Sister's Day.

And Happy Sister's Day to everyone's sisters.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Perfect Peaceful Day

My alarm clock went off at 5 am, which in itself is unusual. It's normally set to the news radio station out of NYC- not the one affiliated with the company I worked for, but the other one- the one that gives "traffic on the eights". My ears heard strains of "Magical Mystery Tour" as my arm hit the sleep button. Through the sleep miasma I thought, "oh my gosh, something happened to Ringo or Paul". But no. It was an ad for a Casino I think.

Keeping up with the theme- I lumbered off for coffee and saw the Magical Mystery Cat had left a perfect hair ball on the old computer. Lovely.

I am feeling so much better. The pdoc gave me a script for Ambien, and I am actually sleeping. Not a lot, but five hours a night is better than no hours. The air conditioning is working a bit better. Amazing what happens when you hit it. And... a miracle happened.

I want to thank long time reader Stan, who used his journalistic skills conjouring up "Deep Penguin" to find out what I have been unable to find for over two months - namely my friend is alive. I guess he was just AWOL. Maybe, actually that is the reason I have been able to sleep. I cannot recall a time I cried in happiness in a very very long time.

Stan, you and I don't agree with everything, (but I don't agree with everyone-) but you are a good person to do this for me, and I respect how you take care of your loved ones in real life, and I have nothing but honor and respect for that. Family is big in my book, whether it's human or in fur.

So I give you this award, which was given to me by Merelyme years ago. I never got around to giving it out to anyone, but please, you deserve it. You and your Deep Penguin journo source.

And now, I am logging off the computer. I am going to have a perfect day. Go for a ride. Visit the Apple store and see an Ipad. Lust after it. Try on some clothing since I've dropped 20 pounds, and back to my weight I was at Christmas. Have a slice of pizza at the Mall. Maybe see a movie. Have a perfect day.

Holly's Magical Mystery Tour

Government Officials Cause Whitaker To Be Banned From Keynote

Susan's note: I am a member of Mind Freedom, and am passing this on as a PSA. If you do not belong to MF- consider it. Mind Freedom International. They are good guys.


USA Mental Health Agency May Cancel Journalist Robert B. Whitaker as Keynoter of "Alternatives 2010"

Bob Whitaker's Book "Anatomy of an Epidemic" Criticizes Psychiatric Pharmaceutical Claims

A major annual conference funded by the US government since 1985 advertises itself as "organized by and for mental health consumers and survivors." The goal of this popular "Alternatives Conference" is to support empowerment, self-determination and choice by mental health clients.

But MindFreedom International News discovered that after Alternatives 2010 organizers confirmed their choice of keynote speaker as journalist Robert B. Whitaker, author of a new book with a scathing critique of psychiatric pharmaceutical claims, upper-level federal officials objected.

*BELOW* is an exclusive MindFreedom interview with Whitaker about his possible cancellation, plus how you can take action to inform President Obama, and join an online conversation on the controversy.

BACKGROUND: Anatomy of Psychiatric Censorship?

Since 1985, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA] has provided a grant to fund the Alternatives Conference, bringing together several hundred mental health consumers and psychiatric survivor from throughout the USA, many of whom lead innovative mental health peer support programs.

The Alternatives Conference is organized each year by one of the handful of federally-funded "Technical Assistance" or TA Centers, which are staffed and advised by mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors.

Alternatives 2010 is slated to begin 29 September in Anaheim, California with the provocative theme, "Promoting Wellness Through Social Justice." Conference organizers confirmed an invitation with Robert Whitaker to keynote.

Whitaker's book is getting a lot of attention. Time Magazine's review said, "Despite much vaunted claims to the contrary, writes Whitaker, a medical journalist, 'there was never any evidence' in the scientific literature showing that certain mental illnesses result from faulty brain chemistry... Psychiatric drugs have changed the lives of millions, but this book explores how they would have fared without them. It's an alternative worth imagining."

On 15 July, Alternatives organizers told Whitaker his "confirmation"
was retracted, saying they had received objections from US government higher-ups that he was a high-profile critic of federal agencies.
However, many past Alternatives keynoters -- including the heads of federal agencies and MindFreedom director David Oaks -- have also criticized federal agencies.

And Whitaker is no radical, he's a medical journalist. He emphasizes that he sees value in the use of psychiatric drugs. His book is also pro-active, describing his recent visit to Finland's vaunted "Open Dialogue" approach that is helping young people diagnosed with schizophrenia while minimizing psychiatric drug prescriptions.

By coincidence, the day before Whitaker's un-confirmation, on 14 July, a number of national mental health consumer/psychiatric survivor leaders issued a statement of "alarm" about "the conflict of interest in the current relationship between the federal government and the pharmaceutical industry."

So if the Alternatives conference is about alternatives... then what about the alternatives Bob talks about?

What about Bob?

BELOW is the MindFreedom International interview with Robert B.
Whitaker. BELOW that is how to speak out to President Obama, and find out more info.



MINDFREEDOM INTERNATIONAL [MFI] QUESTION: Why do you think you have been disinvited from the Alternatives conference? What do you make of this?

ROBERT B. WHITAKER ANSWER: I think the reason is obvious -- I was going to tell a well-documented story of science about psychiatric medications that some at SAMSH find threatening, a story that they don't want users of the drugs to hear. But you should ask those who nixed the invitation. I would be curious to hear their answer.

MFI: What is it that you write about in Anatomy of an Epidemic that is so threatening?

WHITAKER: The story told to the public by the NIMH and by academic psychiatry is that psychiatric medications have greatly improved the lives of those diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses. Yet, even as our society has embraced the use of psychiatric medications during the past two decades, the number of people receiving government disability due to mental illness has more than tripled, from 1.25 million people to more than 4 million people.

So you can see, in that data, that something may be wrong with that story of progress. And then, if you look at how psychiatric medications affect the long-term course of psychiatric disorders, you find -- in the scientific literature -- consistent evidence that they increase the likelihood that a person will become chronically ill. I know this is startling, particularly since we do know that some people do well on the medications long term, but that evidence, in terms of how the medications affect long-term outcomes in the aggregate, shows up time and again in the scientific literature.

MFI: Can you give an example?

WHITAKER: Sure. I'll give two quick examples.

First, outcomes for bipolar disorder today are much worse than they were 40 years ago. Today, people so diagnosed are much more constantly symptomatic than they used to be; their employment rates have declined from around 85% to around 33%; many struggle with drug-related physical problems, such as obesity; and today they show signs of long- term cognitive decline, whereas that didn't used to be the case.
Leading bipolar experts have written about this deterioration in modern outcomes, and they point to the prescribing of antidepressants and antipsychotics to this patient group as a likely reason for the decline.

Second, our society of believes that all people diagnosed with schizophrenia need to be on medication all their lives. Yet, the NIMH has funded a long-term study of schizophrenia outcomes by a researcher named Martin Harrow, and in 2007 he reported that at the end of 15 years, the recovery rate for those off medication was 40%, versus 5% for those on medication. At the very least, Harrow's study shows that some people diagnosed with schizophrenia do better long-term off medication, but that is the type of information that is never conveyed to the public. The NIMH didn't publicize the results of Harrow's study, and certainly it hasn't publicized the astonishing deterioration in modern bipolar outcomes, even though it is recognized by experts in the field.

MFI: Why is this information so important? What is at stake here?

WHITAKER: I think we can all agree that the honest communication of scientific results is essential to good medicine, and essential to helping people make informed choices about what is best for them. And if our society is going to stem this epidemic of disabling mental illness has erupted in our society, then it needs to know this information and think about alternative programs of mental health care that might be funded. Mindfreedom held a hunger strike in 2003 to push for this very thing--honesty in what psychiatry and the powers that be tell about psychiatric disorders and psychiatric medications.



Please keep all communication civil and strong:


Please use the White House web site to encourage President Barack Obama to ask SAMHSA to encourage empowered community organizing and choice by and for mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors,


Sample message -- your own words are best:

"Dear President Obama: You are a community organizer. Did you know that mental health consumers and psychiatric survivors have also done community organizing for decades? Please ask your agency SAMHSA to support their choice of journalist Robert Whitaker to be keynote speaker at the annual Alternatives 2010 conference. The Alternatives conference is about alternatives, so... WHAT ABOUT BOB? Bob's book Anatomy of an Epidemic is an important warning about problems with the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry."

If possible, please copy your message by e-mail to SAMHSA director Pam Hyde at Pam.Hyde@SAMHSA.hhs.gov, and to MFI for public use at news@mindfreedom.org


You can use the MindFreedom Facebook page to speak out about your opinion. Should Bob be allowed to speak? What do we do if he's censored?

Go to MindFreedom's Facebook page here:

or click here: http://3.ly/FacebookMFI


Please *forward* this alert with a few words of your support to all interested people on and off Internet.

Forward MindFreedom's Twitter feed and add your own.

Use your "creative maladjustment" and get out the word!



** TIME Magazine's review of "Anatomy of an Epidemic":

** Read OTHER reviews of "Anatomy of an Epidemic":

** ORDER Whitaker's book "Anatomy of an Epidemic" at discount from MindFreedom's MAD MARKET, and benefit MFI's human rights work:

** HEAR a MindFreedom Radio interview with Whitaker:

** MORE about Bob's book at MFI web site:

** READ Rockville Bastille Day 2010 Statement about "Undue Influence of Psychiatric Pharmaceutical Industry":

** INFO about Alternatives 2010:

** SAMHSA web site:



MindFreedom International is one of the few totally independent groups in mental health advocacy.

That means NO funding from mental health industry, drug companies, government and religions.

That means MindFreedom International counts on YOUR donations.

There are plenty of system-funded groups doing good work. But when it comes to speaking out about drug company abuse, you can see how important INDEPENDENCE can be.

Please join or renew your MindFreedom International membership here with a tax-deductible gift of any size:


Support an independent united voice by and for survivors of human rights violations in the mental health system!

Everyone is welcome to join now and be part of MindFreedom's 25th Silver Anniversary celebration next year:

Join or renew your membership in MindFreedom International today, here:


For a limited time, all donors of $50 or more can ask for a free "thank you gift" premium jewelry pin, including a pin of MFI's logo.
See the pins at:


Specify type and color of your pin when you join or renew by e-mailing to office@mindfreedom.org.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Tomato garden for anxiety?

The last few days I have been anxious, which is a novel experience for me. I don't get anxious. But it's been with me the last few days, and I don't know how to get rid of it- it's like that Pink Floyd line-

"I got a strong feeling to fly/
But I got no where to fly to".

This morning I realized as I had my cornflakes and milk that I was about to commit the number one Cardinal Sin in this apartment. I had run out of cat food. Holly's dry tin was empty. So I finished the corn flakes, burping up milk on my pj's because I ate too fast, threw on clothes, and drove like a bat out of hell to the supermarket to get the fuzz ball her dried food. And to make amends, I even got a can of Fancy Feast Tuna in dark gravy.

I was home quickly... poured it in her bowl, freshened her water, and gave her the Fancy Feast. All is well in kitteh land.

As I was leaving the store, I had a pain, like a heart attack. And  I felt like I was not going to die, but something was going to bother me. And  I saw it. The tomato plants. Looking at them made me smile, and I thought to myself- why don't I get one, plant it, nurture it, and have little Jersey tomatoes to eat in my salad and make tomato salads. 

Sounds nice? The only thing wrong with the picture is I have a dead thumb. Every plant I touch dies. But I picked up the tomato plant, paid $3.99 for it, and took it home. After the cat was fed and watered,I borrowed something which let me dig in the dirt in my postage stamp sized yard, put the tomato plant in there, watered it, and said a little prayer to Mother Earth that this plant won't die. 

And since 9 am I've been outside four times to check on my little green tomatoes. My little babies. Watering them. Hoping they are OK. Channelling my anxiety to something a bit more positive, which makes me feel a bit better. Less lost with it, less feeling like a heart attack in making. 

I think tomorrow I might go to get some fertilizer. Or maybe not. I really don't want to kill these tomatoes.  I don't want to be too anxious. I just wanna eat them. A little salt, a little pepper in all their glory. 

Monday, July 19, 2010


I posted something today, which I thought was well written and salient, but as a very good friend pointed out, it had flaws in it's research. I should know better, I worked in a news room and I would have been laughed at to submit something to an editor without handing in the footnote/endnotes where I got something with it. Thank you  for pointing this out to me!

In the summertime my brain acts- badly. I don't know how else to say it. Too many years of lithium. I cannot tolerate the heat. I need to  be somewhere cold, like the Penguins of Antarctica. It's been a very hot summer here in NJ, some days it's over 100 - most days. I cannot handle it. My brain acts wonky.... it gets things messed up, I cannot eat, and I cannot sleep. The lack of sleep makes me see things that aren't there, smell things that aren't there and think things that aren't there.  Right now I am not a good daughter, a good friend, a good person. I just need to sleep, I need the weather to get down to 50 degrees.

I think it's best I go on hiatus for a bit before I really get reality messed up with fantasy. Or hurt someone. But - if I am going to have reality messed up with fantasy, can George Clooney cook me dinner?

Ahenodia and the Last of the Yankees

The strep still lingers, days after the penicillin is over. I went out one day for some food, waited on line behind a kid with a cough, and the next thing I know, sore throat again. Doctor gives me another round of antibiotics, but the heat is over 100 most days and I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. Is it from the heat or something else? My white blood count is still wonky. I have a "date" with the oncologist for a biopsy after my birthday. No way am I getting it done before. 

I fear something else. I put an ad up on Facebook today, I really have anhedonia because I just stopped caring about everyone and everything. But it's more. Something I haven't written about yet- or told anyone about. Because no one would understand. Since June I may have lost two more friends to suicide and I just don't feel anything, I cannot cry, I just can't. I just want to sleep. If I can sleep.  The air conditioner works in fits and spurts, a blast of cold air and then luke warm for hours. How do people on the other coast live without AC? I don't know. Hot flashes from the lithium- but then mom says it must be change of life- but I don't have any symptoms of change of life. So I don't know.

I just know this. There have been several times I could not write in my life time. From grammar school on, I chose to read and write to "escape" and was always jotting down things in my Composition books, or on my old typewriter. If I could not write, it never went on for more than a day or two. But I cannot write. I don't want to write. I just lay on the couch, trying to watch TV and I don't know. Contemplate the universe through my navel?

No. It simple if you think about it. It's too hot to cry. If I was to cry, steam would come out of my eyes. Of the two deaths  I have experienced since June 1, one - I am cool with that. If that make sense.  It was a reader who was in stage four of a very nasty cancer, and was in a lot of pain. He didn't have long left- and it was more like euthanasia than suicide. The second one was a friend of mine- someone I knew quite well in real life and helped fix up the look of the blog and did some handyman things around my apartment for me last year. This is the one I cannot talk about. I tried to talk to one or two people in real life - but they have their own full plates. People don't like to talk about this. I tried to save him. He was un-savable, but he was a friend to me one night when i was suicidal. He may or may not be dead. But he is missing in action. No one has heard from him in over two months, and he always said he would go somewhere in the wilderness like Jack London and just die so no one would find him. I have heard from the grape vine that other people have not heard from him on his cell phone or land line either, and his FB page has not been updated since early June. I pray he is alive somewhere and will trying to find his way home. But I fear the worst, because our last few conversations, he was so depressed, I am so scared.

Which brings me full circle to my dad. (Yes, I know my writing today is poor. Please throw tomatoes at my Apple. But no apples). Last week both George Steinbrenner and Bob Sheppard died, from the Yankees. The names don't mean anything if you aren't a Yankee fan- well Steinbrenner might if you were a fan of "Seinfeld" perhaps. It goes in threes. Who is next. My dad thinks it will be him. He grew up in Yankee stadium, Dodgers stadium, worshipping such greats as DiMaggio and Gerhig. But I don't think so, I don't think the deaths will go in threes, it's just a pattern that is obvious to the viewer but that doesn't make it so.

I feel dead inside. Not being able to write, is this what men lament about when they beg their docs for little blue pills? I feel sterile and impotent. No little blue pills can save me. I have to save me from myself. At one time in my life my raison d' etre were the cat and this blog. Now I find myself annoyed with kitty and in peril of letting this blog die. This isn't me. I have to, yes I have to save me from myself.

(I accidentally deleted this earlier. Blonde moment. Sorry.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Strep Throat From Hades

Yes! I am still alive. I've had the strep throat from Hades for the last week and a half,I'm on Penicillin, lots of fluids and ice cream. I lost my voice, and ran a fever between 101-104 most of the time as well. So no writing, computer, just lying in bed listening to talk radio and reading a trilogy of books my friend RPJ got me hooked on. The "Aztec" series by Gary Jennings, which I hear may be turned into a mini series by either HBO or Shotime. Lots of sex, and lots of violence..... all it needs is some rock....

Here is a picture of the elevated roads the Aztecs used to enter the city of Tenochititlan. Think of it. While in the same time during the Middle Ages in Europe, people were dropping like flies from the Black Plague, the Aztecs were building these cities and causeways......I do love history.

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