“Researcher Discovers The Genomic Mechanism Behind Schizophrenia”

Link to an article on the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation website: another piece of the puzzle:


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Lance Armstrong: Psychopath?

This question’s been posed on the Internet since people with this personality disorder have egos the size of the sun. Being charming is also in the mix. Lance was capable of lying to the public for years, and then tried to ruin the lives of people who refuted his sainthood, calling them bitter, whores, and worse. And, of course, he made tons of money.

On the positive side psychopaths are able to keep their stress levels low. Besides the charm, they are coolheaded, and also rarely psychotic. On the whole it seems being a psychopath has many advantages. And I should also note that most people with psychopathy do not commit violent crimes.

It’s also common to have psychopathic traits and not the full disorder. In fact, I suppose a case can be made that the disorder itself is not a disorder at all but” normal.” If you think about it, many who have made it to the top of their professions, from business to politics, are capable of ruthless or hardnosed behavior when crossed. (Think Donald Trump or Richard Nixon.)

And the rest of humanity, too, who go about their business, feeding themselves and their families, need to put themselves first to survive so, in essence, we all have a touch of this condition; it’s probably a matter of degree whether it crosses the line to pathology and having more symptoms than few may even earn a medal of commendation for the holder. Too little and you can wind up in a homeless shelter. And as for Lance, whether he’s a psychopath or not, of course, I don’t know. I’m just curious what’s behind the locked door of his mind.

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Link To NAMI’s Magazine, The Advocate, Winter Edition

The latest edition of the mag from The National Alliance on Mental Illness (the largest organization of its kind) can be read on-line at:





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Doing The Right Thing

My local newspaper featured a story about a young man with serious mental-health issues (bipolar disorder, ADHD, and possibly autism). Recently he’s been arrested two times and since he just turned eighteen, programs, which had been available, disappeared overnight. His mother, in despair, sought out help and the funny thing is help arrived.

I’m sure you’ve read about fundraisers for children and adults with cancer or heart disease, etc. Last June I posted about that with the question, How come no one reaches out to families struggling with mental illness? Where are the casseroles and offers of car rides for doctor visits? Where’s the empathy?

In NH we are fortunate to have mental-health courts, especially with the closing of hospitals and subsequent turning of jails into last-stop hotels, where no one can be refused admission. When an illness is at the root of a “crime,” instead of locking up the individual, alternative measures are taken. While there are still some falling through the cracks, in this case, due to the mother’s pleas and the police recognizing there is more to the situation than meets the eye, he will get another chance. And here’s the part in the article that caught my attention—individuals are offering to help. I never expected to see this—especially with all the stories about MI and violence in the media (James Holmes in Colorado and Jared Loughner in Arizona). So, hooray to the folks who can look past the “Psycho” headlines and do the right thing.

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What’s Worse–Depression Or Psychosis?

The first time I stepped onto a psych unit, it was obvious there were two types of people: those with depression and those with psychosis. People falling within the depression umbrella carried the world on their stooped shoulders, that is, if they had the energy to move at all. In the second group, behaviors ranged from spending the day in one position watching your fingernails grow, to raving at voices which ordered the afflicted to get IT Right–or else–and right meant commands from God or evil spirits or even commercials on T.V.

I fell into the first group, although I prayed for a little mishegas to take the edge off so my body could stop burning from the inside out.

What got me thinking about this was a suggestion that depressed people should stop their whining and get off the pot. If you’ve been depressed you know that this is as impossible as telling someone with foil on his head that the FBI is not after him.

I am not making any judgments. Both illnesses are awful, although with depression there is a statistically better chance of recovery and I can speak from both sides. Over the years, I’ve dipped my toes into the psychotic pool, albeit briefly, and it’s not a pretty place. My son has schizoaffective-disorder and the challenge is often beyond my capabilities. All these illnesses take a huge toll on the people afflicted and their families. Ugh and ugh again!

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Attack Of The Fifty-Foot Worm

I’ve always been a shitty type of girl: none of this stool or feces stuff for me. My love affair with four-lettered words began at a young age when there weren’t too many outlets for frustrations and anxieties. Cursing was something I could do behind the bathroom door with no one the wiser, particularly my parents. Then years later, another incident occurred. During a physical, with the obligatory stool specimen, I found out I had a fish tapeworm: Yeah, a slimy, spaghetti-like monster growing inside me.

Immediately I ran to the library to immerse myself in everything I could about this dybbuk that was eating my food and draining me of vital nourishment. I looked at pictures of these creatures with their two sucking hooks at the top of their heads. Ugh! Unless you happen to be another Diphyllobothrium latum, I suppose you won’t find them pretty. According to one book, the average length for a fish tapeworm runs from thirty-to-fifty feet.

The worm makes its home in a human host by attaching to the wall of the small intestine. Then it goes on to lay its eggs, a gift to your body’s solid-waste depository, to be subsequently released into the sewer system via the toilet. How pleasant! I looked up and ran my eyes along the length of the library’s ceiling, trying to picture my worm. It was at least as long. “Shit! Double Shit!”

My choice of profanity made me think of the only bright side to this disgusting, fine kettle of fish. Ha-ha! Now I could use my favorite word—SHIT—as much as I wanted, and the longer I pondered my predicament, the funnier it seemed. Soon I came up with an endless supply of shits: fucking shit, no shit, shitsmear, ugly shit, even you lucky shit. With its variegated forms, it is probably the most popular term in the English language, and that doesn’t even take into account its offshoots like doggy doo, crapola, brown babies, cow pies, and brown tracks on your underwear.

There’s a shit not only for the physical act itself but for the expression of just about every emotion. The single idiom—holy shit—can describe anything from anger to happiness to sadness and pleasure by the user’s inflection alone. Still, I would have preferred to have not gotten into this shitty mess in the first place. And how did I? By eating Sushi, that’s how.

So to make a long story short–or shorter–a few months later, I went into the hospital, drank some foul-tasting medicine and washed the worm from my body. Good riddance to it and (need I say?) good riddance to Sushi forever.

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A Sort-Of Poem On Why I Seldom Write

Writing is difficult.

I’m lazy.

I’m working on a novel.

How often can you say the same thing?

My blog isn’t anonymous; I have to be careful.

And last, but not least, I’m not a grandmother. Duh? Actually this is the most difficult part in my sort-of poem. My older son has been ill for nearly twenty years. When I’m around “normal” families, I am reminded of the differences–the consequences of Sam’s illness. While it’s my son with SZ, I have not been able to get beyond the pain and the loss and the jealousy of others’ good fortune.  I wish them car accidents, leprosy, and all kinds of misfortunes–but just for a minute. Then I return to my senses and go back to being depressed, depressed, depressed.

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