Feeling of Presence

An incredible advance in the understanding perceptual distortions! Though this is being applied to a greater understanding of the sense of a “phantom presence” in individuals with schizophrenia, this can be applied to understanding other perceptual distortions of the Self such as DP and DR. I have tremendous faith in this line of research.

View the video below.

Also see the full article from Andrew Sullivan’s “The Daily Dish” HERE.

A sample:
“Feeling of Presence, or FoP, is the disconcerting notion that someone else is hovering nearby, walking alongside you or even touching you. It’s the stuff of ghost stories, but also a real symptom of several neurologic conditions, including schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease. Scientists know so little about the underlying causes of FoP that long-term treatments and cures remain illusive.

Now, researchers are chipping away at the neurobiology behind that uncanny feeling. In a paper published November 6 in Current Biology, a team of scientists described how they used a custom-built robot to induce an eerie Feeling of Presence in healthy participants. Their findings confirm that sensorimotor conflict, a neurologic imbalance between what the mind perceives and what the body feels, lies at the root of some FoP illusions.”

Welcome All Emotions - Rumi's "The Guest House"

The Guest House

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.

Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

-- Jelaluddin Rumi --
Translation by Coleman Barks

Growing to Understand My Father - Not OCD But Hoarder/Clutterer

I am working on a memoir based on this site -- an “exorcism” if you will with a fervent desire to reach out to others and to a wider audience. As I review some of my life story (which I initially wrote here beginning in 2001) I am thankful I have this record of events as many details have faded with time -- and of course memories become distorted; memory is not a “snap shot” of the past and memory is notoriously unreliable; it is colored by so many things.

Much medical information here (and in real life) is sorely out of date as well.

At this time I find it critical to update (with 100% certainty) my father’s diagnosis which is abundantly clear to me even though he has been gone nearly 25 years.

On many pages here I have noted that my father most likely had OCD (along with anxiety and depression). I now understand my father was a hoarder/clutterer. I have “connected” with too many such individuals in my life … it is more than coincidence. I have taken the time to listen to hoarder/clutterers over the past few years -- those I am very close to. And though some of you have seen programs on television such as “Buried Alive” or “Hoarders” (on A&E) and find them “exploitative” I have found myself astounded that these programs have helped me “connect the dots” re: what actually tortured my father -- what I frequently witnessed yet could never fathom as a child or young adult and what many psychiatrists today in many cases simply don’t acknowledge.

It is time to update my father’s diagnosis. Like DP/DR it has been missed or ignored or misdiagnosed as something else and is also grossly misunderstood. Many who live with the shame of the disorder never seek help or have no reason to seek it as they lack insight and/or are also to maintain a facade as so many of us with mental illness do. Hiding behind closed doors; hiding in shame.

When I have the opportunity, I will go through my site and update my father’s diagnosis. In the meantime, please note I see now he was indeed a hoarder/clutterer and this is NOT the same as OCD. There are some similarities, but it is an entirely different disorder unto itself.

I reach out to medical professionals to educate themselves about it. Many psychiatrists seem to cling to the OCD diagnosis or miss the diagnosis altogether; individuals who may present for help seem depressed, dysthymic, or anxious, yet are not asked the proper questions. It is not easy for someone to mention they happen to live in squalor, or have multiple addictions -- and with my father these were hoarding knowledge and compulsive gambling as well as living in flith and avoiding simple priorities most of us take for granted -- such as paying a bill on time.

I also have compassion for sufferers of this illness. It is ironic that I now understand my best friend from college had this same disorder and took her life exactly ten years ago as a direct result of a world collapsing in on her that she could no longer control particularly after the death of her father.

I will write further on the topic in my memoir. It is difficult to update this site while working on another project at the same time. Please make note of this. In the meantime, I have attempted to convince a long time friend with this disorder to speak out about it.

We must talk. We must educate. We must advocate for ourselves and others, without shame. There is never an end to learning and never an end to expanding our awareness.

The Healing Power of Music -- Again

The trailer for what promises to be a moving documentary.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory (2014)
Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett
Screenplay: Michael Rossato-Bennett
Music composed by: Itaal Shur
Story by: George Strayton

“Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia -- many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted.”

This touches me again, as when my mother had Alzheimer’s (really over a period of about 14 years), she continued to play the piano and sing even when she didn’t know her own name. Music was truly the last form of communication to disappear before she became completely unresponsive and bedridden.

And music has always been so important to me. What more needs saying?

This was the winner of The Audience Award at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival.

Creative Illustrations of Mental States

Rubyetc has again come up with some drawings that beautifully capture numerous mental states. She brings, anxiety, fear, mania, apathy, and depersonalization to life in a series of gifs.
I have posted anxiety, dissociation, and depersonalization here, but you must have a look at the entire work which indeed vibrates and brings these sensations “to life”; sometimes feelings and emotions can only be expressed through art or music.

Visit Rubyetc’s work
HERE on Tumblr. She has some great examples of dissociation and depersonalization as well as depression, mania and more.
©Rubyetc, 2014
Spot on Ruby!

Below … imagine if your mind were a box … this would be ...