Thursday, January 27, 2011

Today

1. Thought of writing a long post about mental health in Australia, but it's so overwhelming.  I wouldn't even know where to begin.  Also, I've already written about it many times....scattered in various posts.  

2. Read article about the green fund cuts. Honestly, most of it goes over my head.   But what I'm getting is that not only are the environmentalists upset for environmental reasons, but there will also be job losses.  These cuts are being done to help pay for the flood repair stuff. So we worry about families paying a little bit extra taxes.  What about all the jobs lost?  What's worse?

3. Read article about how Ted Baillieu is against the flood levy.  He thinks it will be hard on families, and he also thinks they shouldn't ask for money until they know how much money is needed.  Is he worried too much money will be collected?  Not enough?  I just don't get this anti-tax viewpoint.   There's this push to just cut from the budget. But what do you cut from?  If you cut from here, one group will be mad.  If you cut from there, another group will be mad.

I do side with Baillieu when he says he was offended that Gillard never mentioned Victoria's floods in her speech announcement about the flood levy.  That was a bit rude.  I'm sure she didn't mean to be rude....probably just a bit stressed.

4. Disturbed to read that in Victoria, ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) can be given without permission from a patient, and without a review from a second psychiatrist or other similar type "expert" opinion.  Someone from the not-my-side-of-the-debate says that changing laws around this would delay treatment for people.  I'm sure that would be bad in some cases.  But it scares me more to imagine these treatments being overused.

5. Read article about the flood and mental illness.  It really bothers me when they use the term illness in this context.  Symptoms of distress do not mean someone is definitely ill.  You know what it's like....     Coughing is a symptom of illness, right?  A coughing person might have Cystic Fibrosis.   They might have lung cancer.  They might have the flu.  They might have whooping cough. There are tons of possibilities.   But they might NOT be sick.  Maybe they swallowed something the wrong way.   Maybe they inhaled some dust. Maybe they simply have a tickle in their throat. Maybe they're a bit nervous, and nervousness makes them cough.

If someone starts crying a lot and withdraws from family and friends...MAYBE they're mentally ill.   Or maybe they're not ill.  Maybe they're just sad because something really bad happened to them.   Maybe they don't feel like talking.  Or maybe they do, and they just need someone to reach out to them.

I'm not saying we shouldn't give people help.  But I don't think we should call it mental health treatment, or anything like that.  I think we should say, people have been through a really hard time because of these floods.  They need us to be compassionate.  They need us to listen to them.  They need to know that we're here to help them.   They need to know they're NOT alone. 

6. Entered some contest on Facebook for The King's Speech.  They're looking for the movie's biggest fan in the Dallas area.  I'm in that area.  I probably sounded like a fool with all my gushing.  

7. Enjoyed reading the entries of the other people participating in The King's Speech contest.  They're having multiple contests....in various cities.   So far, there's one in Dallas, one in Atlanta, and one in Portland.

8. Decided to explore the website of the EPPIC in Melbourne.  That stands for Early Psychosis Prevention and Intervention Centre.  I'm reading over the symptoms of psychosis.   One of them is delusions, of course.    That means you believe something, and those around you think you're wrong.   But what if THEY'RE wrong, and you're right.  Huh?  Then what?  I've been reading my old Livejournal lately.   I wrote the entries when I was going through my major-spiritual phase.  I had all kinds of weird beliefs and ideas. I ALSO smelled things that Tim said he couldn't smell.  That could count as hallucinations.    I think if someone from EPPIC read some of these journal entries, they'd put me in the early psychosis category.  I wouldn't be surprised if wanted me on medication.  But look.  I never had any intervention, and I didn't go totally insane.  I'm fine....relatively speaking. I'm just a weird girl with a weird blog.  

9. While folding laundry, watched Oprah and her Americans ride a sailboat with Russell Crowe.  Crowe didn't seem very comfortable with the attention; seems kind of shy. He talked to Oprah about how he uses his intuition to judge whether people are for or against him.    The EPPIC says that persecutory delusions are ones in which the person believes that they are being, watched, followed, or talked about in a negative way, or that people are planning to, or actually, harming them. Would Russell Crowe qualify?   He seems to feel persecuted.  And grandiose delusions are ones in which the person believes that they have special powers or abilities.  Would intuition, used to protect a celebrity from harmful people, count as a special power or ability?  


What I want to know is how psychiatrists PROVE that something is a delusion or not.  If someone says they're talking to God, how do we know they're not talking to God? If someone says they're Jesus, how do we know they're not Jesus?   If a celebrity worries that some people are out to cause him harm, how do we know that's not true?

10. Learned about the so-called Wild Australian Children.   The Vapour Trail Blog has some information about them.  In the 1860's, they were in American freak shows, presented as being part of a lost cannibalistic tribe from Australia. In reality they were children from Ohio who had something called Microcephaly.  

11.  Played Hangman with Jack, and used The Northern Territory, as one of my words.  I messed up though.  Jack said R, and I forgot one of the R's in Northern.  Oops. I had a really hard time spelling territory in my mind.   Jack's really good at spelling.  I'm not. One day I should ignore all the Firefox corrections so you guys can see what I mean.   

12Saw an 1863 photograph of a toddler named George Ernest Morrison, on the National Library of Australia website.   I wondered who he was, so I googled his name. He was a man from Melbourne who did a lot of work for and about the Chinese.  At Australia National University, there's a lecture series named after Morrison. It makes me think of one of my email-pals.  He's Australian, and very interested in Chinese culture and politics.

13. Received a Facebook message from The King Speech Facebook page.  They say I qualify as being one of the top fans!

14. Continued to read The Rose Crossing.    I don't love it, but I'm not ready to quit yet.

15. Found the blog of Martin Whitely, a Western Australian teacher and politician.   His blog is the type of thing I'd like.   It's about the over-diagnosis and over-medicating of children who are a bit energetic and spacey.    His bio page says, Martin describes himself as a disorganised, forgetful, daydreamer who fits the diagnostic criteria for ADHD. However, Martin does not consider himself disordered or diseased. He feels lucky to have be born before his personality type became all too frequently labelled as a disability, warranting biochemical intervention.    

16.  Read Martin Whitely's blog post about Patrick McGorry.   It makes me glad that McGorry's reign as Australian of the Year has ended.  To me, the guy sounds like a drug pusher.  And it's so easy to play into the insecurities of parents.  What if someone told you that your child had the early stages of psychosis, and they needed early intervention?    The EPPIC lists early signs.   I can imagine a mentally ill person showing these signs as a precursor to their illness.  I can also imagine almost every teenager showing these signs at some point in their adolescence.  I know I had pretty much all of them.  Parents want what's best for their child. They bring them to a doctor who tells them their kid needs medication. What do the parents do?  Do they dare to question a doctor's advice?  

17. Found other blog post by Martin Whitely in which he reports that in November 2010 McGorry said he no longer advocates psychiatric drugs as the main treatment of early psychosis. Well, good to hear he changed his mind!    The blog post has a link to an article about it (a PDF file). I'm going to read that.  Oh! Martin Whitely is actually a member of Parliament. 

Reading this stuff gives me the creeps.   The article says that the diagnosis of the so-called Psychosis-Risk syndrome has a false positive rate of 60%.   Yikes.

18. Read Lord Wiki's information on Whitely.  He says there are Internet rumors about him being a Scientologist.  Yes, because all of us against psychiatry are Scientologists.   The truth is we want your children to be free of drugs so we can feed them to Xenu.  On Whitely's blog he says saying Martin respects all religions, however, Martin is not and never has been a devotee or follower of any religion, or a member of any organisation associated with any religion.     


19.  Found Patrick McGorry's own blog, so I can be fair and read his side of things.  He says they do not recommend anti-psychotic drugs as the standard treatment for the high-risk people.   That's very good.  He also says they NEVER recommended the anti-psychotic drugs as the primary choice for treatment.  So what was all the fuss about then?  Was he misinterpreted before?  Or is he changing his song because of all the controversy?   It's kind of hard to tell.  I guess it would be like talking to a parent who says We spank our children, but only when they REALLY need it.  That really doesn't provide us a clear picture.  How many kids are diagnosed with psychosis risk-syndrome, and how many of these diagnosed kids are NOT medicated?  To what extent are other therapies used?  

20. Looked at Orygen which is the organization that McGorry is involved in.  From what I see on the website, they're fairly reasonable.  I still don't like all the diagnosing and labeling. But it doesn't look like they're super eager to medicate people. 

21. Read this Martin Whitley blog entry about McGorry saying they NEVER recommended anti-psychotic drugs as the primary choice for treatment.  Shit.  You know what. I probably should have just written a whole post about all of this. Oh well.  My guess (from my delusional notion that I have intuition) is that McGorry was a believer in psychiatric drugs, but has toned down his stance because of the negative associations people have with over-medicating children and teens.  Really though. It doesn't matter.   If less children are being drugged (for whatever reason) it's probably a good thing.   Then we can feed them to Xenu.  

22. Realized I have been so into all this reading and researching, I lost track of time. Where is Tim?   Why isn't he home yet?  And it's time to feed the cats.  


23.  Read a beautiful editorial written by my friend. (the one I met in a Sydney playground) in which she talks about being a bear mother instead of a tiger mother.   Michelle says, My inner Bear Mother is a much more pleasant beast. She truly celebrates every achievement of her child, never asking how his results compare with those of his classmates, instead measuring his achievements against his own past progress.   And she says a bunch of other brilliant stuff, so go read it!   

24. Answered an email from The King's Speech regarding my feelings about the movie.  I might be disqualified because I had to tell them I saw the movie only once.   They might be comparing me to people who've seen the movie five times.  What was the last movie I saw multiple times in the theatre?   Maybe Twelve Monkeys?   Or it could have been Scream.  Ever since Jack entered my life, I see movies only once at the theatre.  And I don't very often even do that. Usually we wait for DVD, or I see bits and pieces of movies when they're on cable.  


25. Read various opinions on Facebook about the flood levy.  I'm glad to see there are people who share my feelings.  Dallas Nibbs says, I have donated money AND bags and bags of clothes, nappies, baby toys etc to my sons Kindy to be sent to flood affected areas. I've also put coins in the red cross tins on my local woolies and donated at the coles counter. We have a young family and certainly are not well off. The amount of money we are talking about is a tiny amount... Like a mcdonalds value meal - or less!!! LOL.... Omg!!!    ALTHOUGH we have to remember that it's really like fifty-two McDonald's Value meals.    If I understand it correctly, the levy will have people paying $1-5 a week.  If someone is upset about losing that many McDonald's Meals, instead they can think of it as losing 1-2 nights of fine dining.     Or how about the loss of one night at a hotel?   Might be a very cheap hotel....if you're closer to the 1 dollar range vs. 5 dollar ranges.