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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Moby Jane --always on the depression mission

My daughter said she didn't realize that the title of my blog was Moby Jane she thought it was m.o. by jane which, of course, disappoints me terribly because Moby Dick is one of my daughter's favorite books so I guess that means no one will understand the name. So be it. I don't know yet how to change it. And once I figure out how to change it, I will probably be too far down the line to want to do it.

I met an old man at a party about ten years ago. I think he was in his nineties. He was so upbeat and chipper, even dapper, that I asked him for the secret of his success. He said "Well, I try not to be too authentic. " How wonderful, I thought. I immediately took this for my own and adapted it to my life. However I have recently added to it.

You would think I'd know better, being a psychotherapist and all, but I am much too quick to offer my "helpful" advice to my nearest and dearest which I did, again, on Christmas Day. I cooked a sit-down turkey feast for my family--approx 20 but who's counting? I got the feeling that my "helpful" advice was much more annoying than helpful. So I made a mental note that from now on I will try not to be "too authentic" or "too helpful."

I was bustling all the food to the table and the womenfolk were all coming into the kitchen with their offers of help. My daughter-in-law kept asking me about the mashed potatoes. I didn't want to let on that I was planning to whip up some instant mashed potatoes at the last minute. "Oh, I'll take care of them," I smiled. But she was relentless, looking around the kitchen for the pot of boiling potatoes (which wasn't there) that she could help me with. So I had to fess up that I was pulling a fast one and, indeed, I needed her help as I hadn't made them before and in the last minute rush was trying to measure the right amount of milk per package. I don't think anybody really noticed the difference except my daughter-in-law who said she didn't like them. I liked them better than the regular mashed potatoes myself. Now everybody is dropping hints that maybe cooking the whole meal is too much for me and we should make it more "pot luck" with everyone bringing a dish. The next day I was out booksigning again

It was more of an adventure than I bargained for. I was booksigning some of my children's books at the San Diego Zoo and it was so crowded I couldn't find a parking place. Even the volunteer parking lot space, where I was directed to park, was full. I drove about a mile away before I found a spot. Of course I could have waited until someone pulled out but I was late already and how long would I have to wait? I was in a hurry. I thought I'd park further away and then call a taxi.

But my personality is not suited to actually carrying out such premeditated organization so here's what really transpired. As I pulled into the space in the shopping center, I noticed a woman just pulling out. I knocked on her window and said, "I'm an author booksigning at the zoo and there was no space to park. I'd be glad to pay you $10 (which was about all I had on me) to drive me to the Zoo, just down the road. She rolled down her window about 2 inches and after my tale of woe looked upon me with fear and suspicion and hastily declined. Well, it is a dangerous world, I thought, and I guess San Diego isn't really a small community. If I was going to ask for a ride, I could see I couldn't ask a respectable middle-aged woman. I, you understand, with my snow white hair, am quite beyond middle-age myself.

But calling a taxi wasn't easy either. I didn't have my cell phone and these days, there aren't convenient pay phones anymore. Gone with typewriters. And how in the heck do you call for a taxi in San Diego anyway. I'd never done it before in my life. And, as I said. I was already late.

I was looking around for a more likely candidate who might be up to driving me to the Zoo. Someone who was a little more laid back and "in the moment." Just then a bus pulled to the stop and was waiting for the light to change. What good timing I thought. But the driver said they didn't go by the zoo, that I would have to cross the street and get the bus going in the opposite direction. As I was waiting for the light to change I saw a car also waiting for the light to change, with a guy in it that looked like he wouldn't be scared of anything. In a pinch he could even, I suppose, pass for somebody's idea of a terrorist. Dark, swarthy guy. Muscled arm resting on the open window. But somehow, I had a good feeling about him. So, I took a chance, I told him the same tale of woe. Meanwhile I had put on my "I am the author" button to add to my credibility that I wasn't a dangerous nut.

"Sure, I'll be glad to take you to the Zoo" he said breezily. "I'm not doing anything." So I hopped in. He refused my offter of $10 and drove me through the heavy traffic. Because of the congestion, it took about 20 minutes to traverse that one mile. While driving we chatted and it turned out his partner was suffering a terrible bout of depression. I gave him a quick once-over of my depression work and I told him I would send him my two get-out-of-depression books as a thank you and he said he felt that I was "God sent." I was already thinking he was "God sent." We agreed to meet for coffee, with his partner, later on. It was a good feeling. Maybe the world is not such a dangerous place after all. Love, Moby Jane

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Call me Moby Jane-- I beat depression


This is my first blog so I'll tell you something about myself and my ideas of getting started in a (for me)new technology that is a little scary. What to name my blog was, of course, my first task. Then, how to let you know what is the purpose of my blog and some hint of what I'm about. So the first two posts are kind of a hesitant introduction to me and my work. But you'll get the idea, I think, of who I am.

First of all, I have beat depression. I did beat depression. I do beat depression every day of my life. Showing others how to beat depression is my mission in life. Which is why I wrote my two depression books, DEPRESSION IS A CHOICE and BRAINSWITCH OUT OF DEPRESSION.

Some say, quite wrongly, that I can beat depression only because I'm a board-certified cognitive behavioral therapist. Being a therapist doesn't mean you can automatically beat depression. Therapists, psychiatrists and psychologists suffer as much or more depression than their patients.

The only thing that beats depression is knowledge of how your brain works and practice in managing it. Know how your brain works, understand how you get from one thought to another (neurologically speaking) and practice the exercises that let you walk away from the agony going on in the emotional part of your brain (the subcortex), while you are actively living  in the thinking part of your brain (the neocortex.) It is not an easy thing to do at first, but anybody can learn how to do it, if they want to.

I'm not here to tell you depression is "all in your head." If you are suffering from depression you know where it is. It has taken over your whole self, your whole world, in fact. I think I can help you extricate your self from your depression (d
ivide and conquer they always say) and help you move into a different world more to your liking.

So bear with me, as blogging is not like giving seminars, or counseling, or anything else that I am used to. I am a beginner at blogging. So I will call myself a beginner and begin to hesitantly move into a world totally unfamiliar to me and get my "sea legs" so to speak before I start getting serious about my mission--showing you how to beat depression.

So. To begin my blogging experience. This is my second post to my first blog. Do people have more than one blog? I didn't have the slightest idea what to name my blog that would describe what I was about, or should I not even try to describe what I'm about and just get down to it. So the name was my first task, and a daunting one. However, I am nothing if not tenacious, and I'm also a risk taker, so here goes.

Risk taker means I am a person who swims every day in my unheated pool (which I also clean so that makes me a pool cleaner as well as a risk taker) which can get down to 50 degrees. It is always terrifying to jump in during the months of Nov through Feb but I risk it. I am convinced that my twenty-two minute, 20 lap swim (a lap is back and forth), followed by a hot bath (which I draw ten minutes before my swim with no cold water added) and then doing 15 minutes of Yoga has cured my knees of years of arthritis and my back of years of lower back pain.

I thought I would name my blog something exciting and earth shattering and impress all my nearest and dearest. But all those names were taken already. So then I thought I would name it after a character in my favorite book, The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmund Dantes, but he's not a she. Didn't feel right. So on to my second favorite book, Moby Dick. Also a he. Then the old neurons started to crank up, the brain works by learned association, right? Dick and Jane. Moby Jane. Eureka! I know it can't be that good a name because it hadn't been taken yet. But I love the name because it's mine.

In addition to being a psychotherapist, and a beginner blogger, I am a wife, mother, grandmother, cat lover, big dog lover, an author of 12 books. My board-certification in cognitive behavioral therapy was issued by the National Board of Cognitive Behavioral Therapists. I'm also a licensed psychotherapist (Marriage Family Therapist) in the State of California, a certified hypnotist, a certified massage technician, and I also have a current card that says Diplomate of the Board - Psychotherapy. Although I worked for, qualified for, and feel I deserve this title, I'm still not sure what diplomate means. Also I never knew how to pronounce it. Was it diplomatt or diplomate. And, since I didn't know how to pronounce it, I never got the chance to brag about it to anybody in person, so I am taking the opportunity of bragging about it here

I was one of those who went into the psychology field to help myself after I was diagnosed more than 25 years ago (along with my father and brother) with manic depression (they call it bipolar now).  But I'm no longer bipolar, or manic depressive, and I am horrified at the pharmaceutical companies and psychiatrists (I went to them for 20 years and they couldn't tell me how to stop the pain except to take pills) who are forcing their drugs and learned helplessness on younger and younger people. And more and more research is emerging that says a full 70% of people are not helped by taking anti-depressants. 

And some of the research that says anti-depressants are helpful is necessarily all on the up and up. For instance, a while ago an article came out saying anti depressants were okay for teenagers after there had been a flurry of suicides. Oh, really? If you investigated the source of the article, it was the NIH, National Institute of Health. Okay, that seems credible, until you check deeper and find the study was funded at NIH by the Johnson Family. Wonderful of the Johnson family to contribute to society, right? That's the pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson. This $ milllion dollar contribution will come back to the Johnson Family 100 fold in terms of the greater amount of pills they can now peddle thanks to the article. You can already see I'm on a mission to get people out of depression without years of therapy and drugs--by learning how their brain works so they can control where their brain takes them instead of just riding along, willy nilly, wherever the old habitual neural patterns want to take them.