28 Dec 2013

A testimony of depression

A published author, Andrew Solomon has been suffering from severe depression and writing about it.

"The opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality"

25 Dec 2013

Empathy and sympathy

Empathy is a rare skill. It can be defined as the capability of understanding what the other person is thinking and feeling, without judging.
It's not easy. However, it can be learnt and developed. Why is it so important? Well, without empathy relationships become very difficult and dry. Also you need empathy to find your way through the maze that life in society is. I mean your love life, your friendships - and your job.
One may say that empathy is one of the most important things a person learns in psychotherapy.a.
This lovely cartoon aims at explaining what empathy is and distinguishing it from sympathy.
Enjoy! Have a Happy New Year!

16 Dec 2013

Pop music, viral videos and the 21st century

Viral videos are one of those concepts that was recently introduced in modern society and seems to have had such a profound effect. Even for those of us less technology-inclined, after the massive success of Psy and his Gangnam Style, the concept seems to have caught on. An enormous online movement was started to try and create the next big viral video. Some succeed, others not so much. What is the right formula? A comedic approach to life seems to be one of the implied traits. Such is the case of the next music video straight from Norway. With almost 290 million (!!!) views and rising, the music "The Fox" became an extraordinary online success. So what is the formula? The lyrics are almost nonsense, the rhymes are purposefully comical and poorly chosen. Is it the catchy rhythm of the song that captures attention? Or the implied criticism to 21st century pop music, where the lyrics seems to be less and less important? Will we ever find a way to use this phenomenon for positive purposes? Many advertising agencies have tried to create viral publicity, but with a fairly small success rate. Whatever moves such massive amount of people is still an unknown variable (more likely, a large set of variables). But if we could, what form of positive messages could be spread worldwide?


8 Dec 2013

Schizophrenia and Depression


The spiral of anxiety

Anxious, stressed, are words for a mental state where you feel you're loosing control. This feeling of loosing control both over things and ourselves is connected to most anxiety states.
However, some people are more prone to it, anxiety being part of their mental functioning since the beginning. Contact with anxious and stressed adults doesn't help because the child convinces herself that this is a normal way of functioning.
It's difficult to cope with this generalized anxiety. The biggest problem is that the person feels frustation and anger at not being able to handle it. And this brings guilt, more anxiety and sometimes depression.
One has to learn to cope with this terrible spiral that may escalate to a panic atack, which is no more than an acute state of extreme anxiety, bringing a terrible fear of death.
A panic atack may be an awful episode but has the merit of making the person realize that really needs professional help. The spiral of anxiety-frustration-anger-guilt has to be broken.
A good psychotherapist can help you understand this mechanism and start a process to break the spiral. It's not quick, since even a young person has been having this mechanism for long. But it sure helps.

(From The New Yorker)


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