I’ll Be Me will blow your mind and break your heart

Glen Campbell and his family have done a great thing for all of us who live with loved ones who bravely live with dementia and Alzheimer’s http://glencampbellmovie.com

GLEN CAMPBELL I’LL BE ME Official Movie Trailer – YouTube

 

Erasing the Stigma of Mental Illness – award for musician Michael Angelakos

Thanks to Shawn Amos, Stereogum and Didi Hirsch Mental Health Clinics, we get to hear a nice speech by the singer of the band Passion Pit. Hear the speech and watch a video of how Michael Angelakos lives with bipolar disorder, which he and his wife regard as “an uninvited guest” and greet it with “hard work, humility and humor.”

He’s grateful to be alive, to have love, and to be an artist: “I don’t think there’s anything more beautiful than taking pain and anger and confusion – all that Life gives everyone, really, and turning it into something beautiful and fun and engaging.”

 

The DIY Couturier’s “21Tips to Keep Your Shit Together When You’re Depressed.”

This was passed to me by a patient, and I really appreciated it, so I’m sharing here…

Rosalind Robertson’s blog on Esquire 21 Tips and MORE 

(I HAVE RE-EDITED THIS TO CORRECT FOR MY ASSUMPTION OF THE AUTHOR’s GENDER in ESQUIRE, a “Men’s” Magazine)

The author repeats lots of truths about exercise, diet, dressing to impress one’s self — the things we can’t hear too many times. She also suggests facing a window whenever possible, to never stop looking out and observing life. I enjoy thinking of how the writer has heard these platitudes, gathered them, wrote them down, related to them, threw out some of them, made them his own.  She’s got a sassy way of responding to annoying “Happy people” who pester us to Try Harder, because if we’re depressed, we must not be trying hard enough, and all we need is to obey their pep talk.

So, whether or not it’s because I tell you too or not, “Have a nice day!”

 

A giant human reason to hug a Comic-Depressive today

Screen shot 2013-02-25 at 10.21.58 PMI am seriously fascinated by comedy. I am not alone in being afflicted with a love of humor to the point of very unfunny over-analysis. I’m sure there are others out there who wonder about what’s so funny about funny, and how come Funny blossoms from the shit of Sad. I’ve been lucky to meet some of these people, connoisseurs and nerds,  and have learned so much from them. I haven’t met Patton Oswalt, but two of my friends have, and they made a beautiful 10 minute film profile of him, called “To Be Loved and Understood.” Click here and watch it. Then come back and read the rest.

It is kinda funny that the one thing that makes you maybe more perceptive, and maybe more funny, also makes you much more vulnerable and thus not as successful as a human being in so many ways. — Patton Oswalt

Once, I got to ask James Hillman why not enough has been written on Soul in comedy. While I asked him this sincere question, John Cleese was sitting in the same audience I was. I was pretending to not know this, hoping to impress the Python, to provoke something amazing to happen, maybe an impromptu skit-jam by which we would murder the crowd, together — John Cleese, Jim Hillman, and me… Hillman’s head darted to Mr. Cleese, who sat impassive, lost in his own space/time oasis, pondering fine wines, or maybe locked in a depressive fugue. The great depth psychologist drily answered me what I already knew — that writing seriously about humor is too difficult, just doesn’t work, takes all the fun out of it… The moment passed, nobody laughed. I wasn’t hoisted up on anyone’s shoulders, I sat back down, just the way most of life goes.

I have found a way to try and make sense of my life in a way that makes people laugh and gets me attention and makes me feel better about myself...There could not be a more basic human need right there: to be loved and understood… And I just try and recreate it again and again.    — Patton Oswalt

It’s not a revolutionary idea that comic genius is often borne of pain, sadness, feeling lame, getting revenge, etc. There’s an endless number of examples of comics and comedians who embody this. I’m not going to make a full roll-call here, because that story can sometimes lead to very sad and depressing stories that end in suicide or in Nutty Professor movies.

What’s become clear is that many comics and comedians working today wear their depression or anxiety on their sleeves. Yet, some don’t or can’t. Seinfeld doesn’t do that so well.  Will Ferrell (from Irvine) is reputedly very straight, un-weird and happy in real life. Sarah Silverman’s not depressed dark, but she did grow up as a bedwetter. Tig Nataro is a heroic cancer (and family) survivor and her champion Louis CK is everyone’s favorite cuddly curmudgeon.  Mark Marron is making anxiety and depression his whole thing, even playing therapist parlor games with anyone down for a Naked Lunch. There was an article in the LA Times a few years back about how the Laugh Factory put on its payroll an on-call psychotherapist to be available for the comics who worked there; Paul Rodriguez was interviewed for that article. ******** The man of the hour today is Patton Oswalt, who lays down some serious science in the film “To Be Loved and Understood.” Watch it to see how Julien Nitzberg badgers and bullies him to cry in his hotel room, and regret making the film, which is beautifully shot by Ross Harris. (Just kidding, Julien).

It’s very comforting for me to try and look at these terrible decisions I make…the profound limits of my intelligence and empathy and then try to relate it to a much bigger thing in life and maybe not feel so alone.  That maybe you’ll go “It’s not just me doing this, it’s a whole giant human reason that this thing is going down.”       — Patton Oswalt

 

Learn to orbit. Become the world’s audience. Don’t be a bitter baby.

A NY Times Opinion piece (click HERE) by philosopher Brian Jay Stanley re-discovers the necessity for a Copernican revolution of the self which demands the re-relativizing of one’s place in the universe… You know, the same old thing.

I enjoy pieces like this, that start out with a witty pull toward desperation, and finish with a balanced wisdom of the ages.  He’s put upon by life, annoyed at his insignificance in the scheme of things. I’m tempted to say he “somehow” finds peace, or poetically trips onto pretty words of truth.  His awareness is much more studied, though. After looking at his website, I find Stanley’s wisdom is earned through toil and hard looking, deep reflection and sometimes scary reverie. He brings to mind David Foster Wallace, which brings up lots of sadness for me, and some of the cutting performer/comics like Lenny Bruce or Louis C.K., George Carlin and the best stand-up yet, F. Nietzsche.

If you’re not going to read the whole piece, at least dig the penultimate paragraph:

Society is adroit at disillusioning newcomers, and many self-assured children grow up to be bitter adults. But bitterness, instead of a form of disillusionment, is really the refusal to give up your childhood illusions of importance. Ignored instead of welcomed by the world, you fault the world as blind and evil in order not to fault yourself as naïve. Bitterness is a child’s coddling narcissism within the context of an adult’s harsh life. Instead, I know that the world only tramples me as a street crowd does an earthworm — not out of malice or stupidity, but because no one sees it. Thus my pain is not to feel wrongly slighted, but to feel rightly slighted.

So today if I can muster the joy, I’ll have gratitude as my attitude. Today, I’ll try not to be so bitter. Today, my narcissism will be that of an adult, not a baby’s. Today, I’ll remember to (as someone stenciled on the wall by the Silver Lake Reservoir) “Laugh at this experience.” Today I’m going to be the audience, and enjoy the show.

“Evidence-based?” Yep! Psychotherapy gets respect from Science.

Most people are looking for a psychotherapist to help them through difficult times, to gain understanding of themselves, or to stop or begin certain behaviors which will help them develop and grow. There will always be debate about which approach or “kind” of therapy works best — CBT, behavior mod, talking, past-life regression, imago therapy, classic psychoanalysis, Jungian, mindfulness, Buddhist, Rogerian — so many approaches to psyche! Here is a scholarly article by Jonathan Shedler, a psychologist from Denver, who does some heavy lifting to bring psychodynamic therapy into the realm of other “evidence-based practices” — ie ways of working that can be proved empirically, by “Science” and not just by woo-woo good-vibes talk.

Click to download Shedler (2010) The Efficacy of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy

ABSTRACT: Empirical evidence supports the efficacy of psychodynamic
therapy.  Effect sizes for psychodynamic therapy are as
large as those reported for other therapies that have been
actively promoted as “empirically supported” and “evidence
based.” In addition, patients who receive psychodynamic
therapy maintain therapeutic gains and appear to
continue to improve after treatment ends. Finally, nonpsychodynamic
therapies may be effective in part because the
more skilled practitioners utilize techniques that have long
been central to psychodynamic theory and practice. The
perception that psychodynamic approaches lack empirical
support does not accord with available scientific evidence
and may reflect selective dissemination of research findings.

Looking and seeing…

Your arm isn’t long enough to make the newspaper legible. You buy a new lamp because there’s got to be something wrong with the one you have. Your bedroom’s getting darker, maybe autumn is early?

Adults get old and our eyes get older. You need reading glasses, so you get yourself a pair, and they sit by the bed, or in your pocket, or get left everywhere else than where you are when you need to read something.

Besides collecting pairs of reading glasses (or monocles for the steam-punkers) adults of a certain age also gain the right to another kind of vision-enhancers: the rose-colored glasses. They come in all shapes and sizes, and get lost just as often as your readers but they do come in handy, so if you don’t have some already, pick some up. You’ve earned the right to look a little ridiculous, and to see things better than they actually are. You don’t want to wear them everywhere, but you need them handy, in case you get caught up like Brian did…