Friday, August 28, 2009

Brains on my mind

I may need to have this asap

And this.

How beautiful is the gray with the yellow on a mahogany background? And who doesn't need a brain trinket box or wall clock?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Poem of the Day

I had one of those situations today in which you look up something on the internet, and it leads to something else, then something else, then suddenly you don't know how you ended up from looking up a GRE word, to watching a 1930's neurosurgery video, to poetry by Pablo Neruda. Mostly this phenomena takes hours and is completely useless (oh right, I'm supposed to be using my day off to study), but sometimes you do find a rare gem. I've been in love with the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda since I was first introduced to him in high school, and I found this beautiful reading of "Me Gustas Cuando Callas" in the abyss that is YouTube. Much apologies to those of you who don't speak spanish. At any rate, I've included the video followed by the spanish text and a very sad, but only one I could find, english translation.

Me Gustas Cuando Callas

Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente,
y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te toca.
Parece que los ojos se te hubieran volado
y parece que un beso te cerrara la boca.

Como todas las cosas están llenas de mi alma
emerges de las cosas, llena del alma mía.
Mariposa de sueño, te pareces a mi alma,
y te pareces a la palabra melancolía.

Me gustas cuando callas y estás como distante.
Y estás como quejándote, mariposa en arrullo.
Y me oyes desde lejos, y mi voz no te alcanza:
déjame que me calle con el silencio tuyo.

Déjame que te hable también con tu silencio
claro como una lámpara, simple como un anillo.
Eres como la noche, callada y constelada.
Tu silencio es de estrella, tan lejano y sencillo.

Me gustas cuando callas porque estás como ausente.
Distante y dolorosa como si hubieras muerto.
Una palabra entonces, una sonrisa bastan.
Y estoy alegre, alegre de que no sea cierto.

I Like for You to be Still

I like for you to be still: it as though you were absent,
and you hear me from far away and my voice does not touch you
It seems as though your eyes had flown away
and it seems that a kiss had sealed your mouth.

As all things are filled with my soul
you emerge from the things, filled with my soul.
You are like my soul, a butterfly of dream,
and you are like the word Melancholy.

I like for you to be still, and you seem far away.
It sounds as though you were lamenting, a butterfly cooing like a dove
And you hear me from far away, and my voice does not reach you:
Let me come to be still in your silence.

And let me talk to you with your silence
that is bright as a lamp, simple as a ring.
Your are like the night, with its stillness and constellations.
Your silence is that of a star, as remote and candid.

I like for you to be still: it is as though you were absent,
distant and full of sorrow as though you had died.
One word then, one smile, is enough.

And I am happy, happy that it’s not true.

Incidentally, it appears that the woman who does this reading is a published poet herself and has many other videos, including one which I greatly enjoyed entitled "Me Gustaria Ser Lesbiana" or "I would like to be Lesbian"


Monday, August 17, 2009

Talking about our feelings

I just read a fascinating article in the New York Times about the Army's decision to include "training in emotional resiliency" (which by the description that follows is basically psychoeducation and psychotherapy)as part of its regular training. It took the army a very long time to even accept terms such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, so I think this is fantastic. The training involves what sounds like cognitive restructuring (in which people examine flaws in their thinking and turn it around). This method is widely used in all sorts of therapy and it is what I regularly encourage my clients to participate in at work. It's an interesting read. Check it out.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Music, schizophrenia, and the streets of L.A

I am really loving my new job at a locked psychiatric facility and last night, as a reward to myself, I rented a movie called "The Soloist". I've been meaning to watch this movie for a while because there is a remarkable story behind it that hits close to me. Two summers ago I was walking the streets of downtown L.A by Pershing Square when I heard beautiful cello music. I looked around and the music came, quite surprisingly, from a young homeless man sitting at the station, wearing a surgical mask, shopping cart next to him. I stopped my busy day, listened, and took a picture.

My bus made its way and I had to rush off before asking his name. In L.A there are roughly 60,000 homeless people, and unfortunately many of them are mentally ill. I suspected the man I had met with the beautiful music was part of this statistic. The music stayed in my mind for a while, and I couldn't help but to wonder about this mans story. A couple of weeks later my mom informed me that the man I had snapped a picture of was Anthony Ayers, a musical prodigy, who also happened to be homeless and had paranoid schizophrenia. UCLA was bringing him as a guest speaker and a book as well as a movie was going to come out based on his story entitled "The Soloist". Unfortunately, I couldn't make it to UCLA to hear it and for some reason or another I hadn't gotten around to watching the movie. If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it. Steve Lopez, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times ran into Ayer's music, much like I did at Pershing square, and a friendship developed. Lopez wrote about Ayers for the times and found out that Ayers had gone to Julliard for two years before having his psychotic break and was a musical prodigy, playing a variety of instruments beautifully. What I truly love about the movie is the fact that it gives such real hope and portrays mental illness in such an accurate, nondiscriminatory way. Ayer's is able to get some help, but he is never cured (to this day, we can find him on the streets of L.A). It also shows us that sometimes the most important thing we can offer someone is our friendship. I loved the movie for showing that and will think about that next time I go to work.

Check out the preview

and an interview of Ayers on 60 minutes

And if you'd like, the original articles Lopez wrote for the times, here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My entrance into the "Real World"

Dear Readers,
Sorry I have neglected you all as of late. I have been madly preparing myself for my first real world job after college. Ironically enough, it is in a locked inpatient psychiatric facility. Go me! I am very excited but also extremely nervous to begin this job and today was my first day (granted, it was only orientation and therefore involved my sitting and listening to speakers for 8 hours). Nonetheless, my first day was exhausting (read: information overload!) Tomorrow commences day two of orientation and after hearing about dental, vision, medical, and even (gasp!) life insurance, I finally realized, holy fucking shit, I am an adult!
I don't know what to make of that, and I don't want to think about it too much lest my head explode. However, I will say this; you can make me an adult, but that doesn't mean that tonight I won't be sitting in my bed eating a fudge pop and possibly playing some guitar hero with my twelve year old sister.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

When I want to laugh

I've been feeling a bit anxious lately, what with my first real world job at a mental hospital starting monday (gasp), and the realization that I really, really suck at math and thus need to study my ass off for the GRE, lest I do badly and not get into grad school. I'm what people call a spiraling thinker. A spiral of pure and utter darkness in which I almost always end up dead or homeless or living in an apartment with nine cats. It's funny how anything from missing the bus to doing badly on a test always ends up this way in my mind. When I'm spiraling this bad, there's only one person that can save me- David Sedaris.

Sedaris seems to be as paranoid sometimes as me, but he has something I lack. Sedaris is funny. I mean really funny. Not the kind of funny that ends just as abruptly as it started. I mean the kind that creeps up on you, that comes after looking at something many of us have seen before, and making a curious and witty remark on it. "When you are engulfed in Flames" is his latest set of essays, mostly centering on gross or unfortunate situations and observations. Upon finishing this book I was still unsure of myself, but I thought, at least I don't have an open sore above my crack, or struggling to get my message across in foreign countries, nor of course, am I engulfed in flames. Thanks for reminding me of that Sedaris.