I'm kind of in awe of the article I just read in the Guardian about Impostor Syndrome, which has apparently been studied for years. I had never heard of it, but immediately identified with its subject, feeling like a fraud.
When I was moving through the ranks of business, when I was employed in that realm, no matter how many promotions I got, I felt I would never be good enough, that there was always someone better. Same with writing. I always feel like what I write is crap, and there will be someone waiting in the sidelines to write a scathing critique, and consider someone else superior. It's inescapable for me.
So, having read this article, I am finally validated in my feeling like this. I've never heard it talked about before, and now I have a starting point for researching this phenomenon of Impostor Syndrome and how it has affected my life.
Two US sociologists, Jessica Collett and Jade Avelis, wanted to know why so many female academics opt for "downshifting": setting out towards a high-status tenured post, then switching to something less ambitious. Contrary to received wisdom, their survey of 460 doctoral students revealed that it wasn't to do with wanting a "family-friendly" lifestyle. Instead, impostorism was to blame. They also uncovered a nasty irony. It's long been known that impostorism afflicts more women than men – one of many reasons that institutions match younger women academics with high-ranking female mentors. But some survey responses suggested those mentors might make things worse, because students felt like impostors compared with them. "One said she suspected her mentor was secretly Superwoman," Science Careers magazine reported. "How could she ever live up to that example?"
I feel awesome. It feels so good to be unbound and freed of cigarettes. It's like a prison whose bars are made of smoke. I loved smoking, but I hated it all the same. It stinks, it yellows teeth and fingernails, it costs a fortune, it stinks up rooms and cars and hair and clothes, it takes up time and mental energy, it causes depression, it turns you mad when you first try to quit, it takes away the ability to breathe freely, it clogs the lungs with tar, ashes make their way into every crack and crevice of life, and did I mention they cost a fortune?
Cigarettes are terrible cancer-causing little assholes, and today I've been rid of them for 90 days. THREE MONTHS! I am so proud of myself, and so grateful. If I hadn't had such wonderful support, quitting may not have been possible. I am so happy to be a non-smoker.
I'd like to thank you, whoever you are, for being there as a reader. The ability to write to you here has been incredibly cathartic, and has been a great help in quitting.
I'm a non-smoker! (Smober as they say in nicotine recovery.) WOOOHOOOOOOO!
I'm not a huge fan of Glenn Beck, but I really appreciated this discussion about the Common Core. The Common Core will dictate what every student in the United States should know at the end of each grade from Kindergarten through 12th grade. In this YouTube segment, it is implied that Bill Gates (Microsoft), Yahoo, and Google are dumping millions of dollars into funding for the Common Core Initiative so that students will be educated in the ways of working for Microsoft, Yahoo, Google and the like.
Students, under the direction of teachers who have been taught everything they need to know to prepare students for work in technology related fields, will be funneled into huge corporations as employees that push power to the higher ranks. This will ensure that competition in the form of new upstarts will cease, and these already powerful corporations will become more powerful, and are guaranteed that power for years to come.
This scares the hell out of me. Topics like this have been written about by authors for centuries, and the books they produce have been labeled as dystopian fiction. This isn't fictional, this is real. Welcome to the United Corporations of America.
Further reading: Common Core Initiative Page, Wikipedia Common Core Page
The following are the nominees for the 2014 Academy Awards (the ones I care about) announced by Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Thursday. For some strange reason, she was joined by "Hunger Games" actor Chris Hemsworth. Weird. I wonder who he had to screw to get that spot... Anyway, The Academy Awards will air live on ABC on March 2, starting at 7 p.m. ET. Share your picks in the comments.
CNN Coverage | Official Oscar Site
"People can do heroin for 10, 20, 30 years and then they get 5-12 days of treatment...that is inhumane." ―Chris Herren
I do agree that treatment of addiction in America is severely lacking. It's mostly the result of the misplacement of the responsibility governing models and standards of treatment into the hands of people who don't understand addiction. Into the hands of people who think that addiction can be swept under the rug, and the responsibility of government and the health care industry fulfilled by shuffling addicts into week or two-week long inpatient treatment centers, followed by a few weeks of outpatient therapy.
The result has been that the addict goes in and out of treatment facilities, and eventually learns how to manipulate the system well enough to extend their drug career and their lives well past the average life expectancy of a street junkie. The system is broken.
I was lucky enough to find a treatment plan that worked for me, having now been sober for almost two years. I have a treatment team that was able to address not only the addiction, but the mental health aspect of my addict brain. People often use drugs as a means to self-medicate underlying mental health problems that are sometimes temporary, but most often permanent.
I haven't seen this film yet, but the research I have done has lead me to believe that it will address these issues and more. It's about time a film like this was made. I'm really excited to see it.
Related website: Many Faces One Voice & The Anonymous People
Mark Twain said it beautifully, "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence; then success is sure. ” Oh, so true!
I went to WalMart tonight to pick up some tea and ice cream (wonderful combo, I know), and was astonished at the level of happiness I saw in individuals who are very clearly and hopelessly ignorant. Now, I don't mean rude or stupid, although some of them could be, but I mean that they have no connection to the realities of humanity and the way it works.
They seem to go along, very happily, as large, lazy, junk eaters who only gain amusement out of being confronted by the ways of the world and other people. I marveled at the lack of concern about what others must think of them, and stood in wonderment at the self checkout as a woman devoured a melted carton of Ben and Jerry's ice cream as she paid for her diabetic-coma-waiting-to-happen grocery bill with a food stamp card. She looked stress-free without a care in the world.
Meanwhile, I can't leave the house if I haven't showered and made myself presentable, even if it's just a trip to WalMart. I need to see a therapist twice a week to work on issues that stem as far back as my single digit childhood years. I am always stressed, and even have panic attacks. This leaves me thinking I've been living this life devastatingly wrong, and I am surely missing out on some secret. The secret of not giving a shit. If someone could clue me in to this awesome way of living, please do so in the comments. Thank you in advance!
This is a difficult subject for me because the pursuit of knowledge and eventual (possible) wisdom, at least in the scientific world, contradicts faith in mystical, spiritual things. I am constantly undercutting my faith and spirituality by saying I believe in all the laws of science and reason. There's nothing scientific or reasonable about pearly gates, an omnipotent being who lives in the sky, angels playing harps, or a fiery pit called hell that's home to a red man called the devil.
So, when my mom passed away in January of 2008, where did she go? Did her energy burn out like a pilot light that loses its source of fuel? Or did her spirit float up to Heaven, stop to check in with Saint Peter at the gates, and proceed to meet God while angels heralded her arrival? The bottom line is I don't want to think the person I love most in the world met a terrifying demise consisting of blackness, emptiness, and loneliness. The latter option called Heaven is much more comforting. When I suffered such great loss, I wanted to be comforted like a child, and told stories of happiness and positivity. While I do think the version of Heaven I just talked about is a fairy tale designed to be told for consolation, I've settled on a nice balance between the two theories of eternal light and eternal darkness: an enlightened spiritual afterlife.
If you think about it, there's got to be a reason for this very visceral, sinewy life. Everyone, no matter how intelligent and privileged, experiences some form of great pain and suffering at least once. Some experience more than most. I believe the reason for this is to prepare us for something better later, and if we're let in on the secret, it will just blow our minds and ruin the plan entirely. Who is the master of this plan? I believe it to be God.
I use the term God loosely because I believe there is a force that is all-knowing and all-powerful, but even though the word "omnipotent" exists, there's no way we could possibly know what that entails or what it looks like in action. What does something look like when it creates, knows, watches, and orchestrates everything that exists in the known universe? There's no way to know, so faith is required to be humble enough to get through this gritty, dirty, and often mundane life. To think that we are the be-all end-all is just ridiculous. While I am a proponent of reason and logic, I believe they are faculties gifted to us by our creator. I don't think that we are equipped to understand or explain the force that created the universe, the sun, the moon, Earth, and its inhabitants; nor do I believe we can begin to grasp how it is controlled.
No matter how skewed or evil some forces in the world may be, how relentless nature can be, everything returns to a semi-peaceful balance at some point--a stasis. The fact that we haven't annihilated our species and blown up the planet is a miracle, and proof that equilibrium exists. I don't think all this happens by chance, or if it does, chance is controlled by a greater force disguised to look like what we call "chance", leading us to believe that we have "free will."
What's the reason for believing? Just as I think it's excessive to believe in the gilded gates and harps of a kingdom in the clouds, I believe it's obtusely selfish, narrow minded, and down right depressing to believe that there's nothing beyond what we can see in this life. Since the beginning of recorded history, people have imagined fantastic things about Heaven, various gods, and afterlives with good reason. Why do we decorate and put up lights for holidays and festive occasions? Why do we celebrate anything? Because without these beliefs and celebrations, our imaginations would be starved, and our lives would be dark, cold, purposeless, and pointless.
I'm in a good mood today. If you want to read more of what I think about a bleak life under the supervision of an unforgiving God whose existence I question, catch me on a bad day.
Ugh, my brain hurts. I know that this is a controversial topic, and my views change regularly. They've centered on optimism lately, though, because I'd rather try to be happy than sad and depressed. I've traveled the path of a skeptic, and it's not pleasant. I turned around midway and took the path of faith instead. I just keep my hand on the railing in case. Please don't be offended by any of this. I'm just a nobody who thinks he has a decent opinion...but you know what they say about opinions.
Last night, I was watching documentaries on Netflix with my boyfriend Corey. One of them was called "Park Avenue: Money, Power, and the American Dream," which features clips of Ayn Rand speaking about her vision of Laissez Faire Capitalism. This brought me into research mode, wanting to find out a little more about the Ayn Rand Institute. I have loved Ayn Rand and "Atlas Shrugged" for years, but I never knew that ARI was a political powerhouse. On my quest, I came across an article George Saunders had written for the New Yorker called "I Was Ayn Rand's Lover."
I had known about Ayn Rand's affair with Nathaniel Branden from reading her many biographies, in particular "The Passion of Ayn Rand." It creeped me out quite a bit back then, but now to see that she prowled on more than one innocent young man left me with a sour taste. If you know Ayn Rand and her philosophy of Objectivism, you wouldn't be too surprised that Nathaniel Branden was a target on her radar. To hear Saunders recount his having essentially been "raped" by her was a little off-putting to say the least, but his developing jealousy over Ayn having set her eyes on a young Paul Ryan disturbed me. It wasn't his feelings of jealousy that disturbed me, rather her voracious appetite for bedding young men in late puberty is what was particularly disturbing.
So, we now know of three men in their late teens who were successfully pursued by Ayn Rand. There are probably plenty more, but my interest stops there. Seeing Paul Ryan run wild with Ayn's version of Laissez Faire Capitalism as it pertains to our present day economy was like being punched in the gut by Ayn Rand herself. All of her theories sound good as just that -- a theory, but when put into practice as Paul Ryan has done as a congressman, they are truly frightening. I don't know what plagues me more: the affairs with young boys, or being disillusioned by Paul Ryan's crazy plans for American prosperity.
To understand what I'm talking about, you'll have to do a little research. Most of it can be done by watching the "Park Avenue" documentary, reading "Atlas Shrugged," "The Passion of Ayn Rand" (also a film), and then reading George Saunder's New Yorker piece (which is very well-written, I might add). It amounts to a sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, I'll bet, because that's what I'm feeling right now. It can all be summed up in one word: UGH!
Watch the entire "Park Avenue" documentary:
Barbara Branden (Nathaniel Branden's wife) on The Passion of Ayn Rand:
Alonzo Clemons was born with many gifts, but society only saw his shortcomings. Mr. Clemons was institutionalized and deemed "bad" or "evil" by people who didn't even know him. This video shows a gifted artist who admits he has to work much harder than most to live a simple life.
This video shows us that we must not herd all challenged individuals into an institution, thinking it's what's best for them. Alonzo is proof that anyone can live the American Dream if they are willing to work for it, and not everyone who needs help is "bad," "damaged," or "evil."
> See the artistic talent of Alonzo Clemons on his website. <
This week's Sunday Art Blog has a theory: less is more. You'll find some really fun and creative things happening in the links below. I'd like to call your attention to the Aldie Counseling Center Art and Poetry Show, which is a page I just made with photos and links to poems that appeared in the art show on Wednesday, October 9, 2013. It is the first art show I was ever in that was geared toward the overcoming of addiction and mental illness. It was truly an honor to be a part of. Another amazing site is Sheen's Portfolio on Behance. You will thank me for linking to it after you've seen it. The skill is astonishing. It's pure perfection, and you will love it! Enjoy this week's Sunday Art Blog, everyone! See you next week!
"Imagine using the biggest speech of your life to talk about your deepest inner struggles. That's exactly what the soldier here does as he's given the Medal of Honor."
How courageous is Ty Carter? I struggle with PTSD myself, and I know it's not easy to talk about. My trauma is similar to Ty's in that they stem from watching a loved one die in an awful way. So, I can appreciate what courage it took to not only admit it, but to so eloquently describe his trauma so that others living with PTSD know they're not alone is heroic. He is a two time hero in my book. Thanks, Ty Carter.
What is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder? Well, the National Library of Medicine defines it very simply as "a type of anxiety disorder. It can occur after you have gone through an extreme emotional trauma that involved the threat of injury or death." I can assure you it's much more complex than that. The disorder involves reliving the traumatic event in detail over and over, especially at night or when you're trying to relax. It is a vision that consumes you so wholly that you sometimes feel that it's really happening all over again, and all the while you're terrified that it will happen again in the future under different circumstances. It involves paralyzing fear while enduring vivid hallucinations of the event, sometimes rendering us either almost comatose or actively participating in the hallucination of the traumatic event to the horror of those around us. Suicidal thoughts and ideations are common, but we all live life just like anyone without PTSD, and we hide it well to the public.
If someone you love has PTSD, The National Center for PTSD has advice here. Gently asking the victim how they're feeling about the trauma and if they'd like to talk about it, on a regular basis, is so helpful. Therapy is best, though. The National Center for PTSD can be very helpful, but seeking regional resources might be the best route to take if you need to help a loved one with PTSD into treatment. Treatment saved my life.
Here's a video of 9 life hacks to cure 9 common problems. They're definitely interesting, and I haven't tried them yet, so I can't recommend them one way or the other. I can say that I will honestly try them the next time one of these problems surfaces. I just thought they were interesting and wanted to pass them along. Enjoy....or...feel better. Haha
TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading
> View my TED profile
> View Jill's TED profile and video
While everyone else was watching the MTV Video Music Awards, I was watching TED Talks online. (Incidentally, the New York Times shares my view on the award show.) I've always found TED Talks to be fascinating, but as my life took a hectic turn, I watched these talks less and less until I eventually stopped altogether. My boyfriend Corey has gotten me back into watching them by recommending a fascinating one: "Jill Bolte Taylor: My Stroke of Insight" about one woman's struggle to survive a stroke. The description on the website is more accurate: "Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions -- motion, speech, self-awareness -- shut down one by one. An astonishing story." Truly astonishing.
I have a personal tie to this story, a tragic tie. My mother passed away from a brain aneurysm. I don't say she lived with, or suffered with, because she didn't know she had it and died suddenly when a blood vessel ruptured in the frontal cortex of her brain. I was the one who found her, and I've been working with a wonderful therapist since 2012 to try and cope with the trauma.
I wish I could've been inside my mother's brain when the aneurysm occurred, much like Jill was observing the deterioration of her mental faculties and motor function. Sometimes, I wish it would've been me having an aneurysm, not my mom. I wonder if she knew it was coming, or that something was going to happen. I wonder if she felt pain, or sadness, or fear. I hope not. I hope she experienced it like Jill did. A beautiful adventure. I'd be a lot less sleep deprived if I had a definite answer.
To switch back to a positive note, I'm now obsessively downloading and watching all of these amazing TED Talks. Some on mental illness, sleep, bacteria. My boyfriend Corey tells me that they're also available on Netflix, which is awesome. (I'm a late bloomer just discovering Netflix for the first time.) I'm always craving brain food, and I've been pleasantly surprised at how much of it I've gotten from my boyfriend Corey. I'm really happy and lucky to have him. Thanks, Corey.
"OC87" - 2010
> Watch the trailer on YouTube.
> Read the New York Times Review.
I love documentaries, especially documentaries on or related to mental illness. That being said, I was excited to watch "OC87" last night on Netflix. Upon seeing its tagline, "The Obsessive Compulsive, Major Depression, Bipolar, Asperger's Movie", I began to get the taste of excess drama in my mouth. IMDb users rated it at 6.6 out of 10 stars which isn't bad, so what did I really have to lose? Maybe I wasn't giving it a fair chance.
First of all, it's not a movie. I don't know how you can call a very insecure man trying to talk to a camera and sell the world on his problems "a movie", but apparently the "star" Buddy Clayman and many film critics do. I won't be too harsh, at least I'll try really hard not to be, because the man obviously has something wrong with him; however, I am having trouble seeing evidence of all of the illnesses listed in the tag line. Maybe one or two, but not all of them. He clearly had a nervous breakdown in 1987, thus the title, but does that mean he's been chronically ill since then?
I think Buddy's major problem is having been so sheltered all of his life. Everyone stroked his ego throughout high school, and as he neared the end of his college preparatory years, he became depressed when he had to face the real world. One thing Buddy said that was paramount to anything else said in the movie was, and I'm just giving you the gist of it here, that when he reached college and began to make films to be viewed by an audience of his professors and peers, they didn't clap and cheer for him anymore like he expected them to. Like they did in high school when he was their brand of funny. College peers and pros didn't like his work, and this sent him spiraling. He doesn't want to make films in fear of being criticized, and perhaps it would reveal that his skill level was that of a high school student and not a film student. Now, he doesn't like people telling him what to do, doesn't like being controlled, and has a general disapproval for people. Ideations of harming the people he thinks may be judging him seem to be the essence of his diagnoses. I realize that his obsession and fear of acting on these thoughts makes it a problem, but is this obsession anything that a few friends and a hobby couldn't cure? Either Buddy has tried never tried either of these two obvious suggestions, or he tried them and failed miserably. Mom and dad can't bail you out of that. I couldn't help but asking aloud to myself, "are you kidding me?"
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My name is Nicholas Emeigh, but everyone calls me Nick, and I prefer it. I'm usually called Nicholas when I'm in trouble. I'm from the Philadelphia area, work in business, and fancy myself as a freelance graphic designer, writer, and artist. I have a passion for art in all its forms including music, but I restrict my singing to the shower and the car for the good of society. If you'd like to know more, just send me an e-mail. I really appreciate you stopping by.