Los Angeles, CA

Uncategorized

July 2019

I haven’t gone missing, I’m just back in Los Angeles, CA. It always takes me a little while to process this kind of things so I did not blog last week, while trying to feel comfortable again, leaving my “nomadic” situation. I’m still houseless, I’m just not constantly driving and seeing things. And that’s the worst part of it. Everything looks so familiar now in this conglomerate of cities: the freeways, the landscape, the habits… the people. To be honest, seeing familiar faces helped me realize that I missed this place, but most of all I miss who I was while striving for survival in this area of the world. It made me stronger and I like it. I say “I was” because I am sure something within me has changed while on the road, although it may not be that obvious. I’ve seen so much beauty in the past month, the past weeks I’ve spent in a car, that my eyes are now longing for more, more, and I can’t wait to find it… around me.

I don’t know how many people are reading or will read this, but for what it’s worth, I want to leave a note, if only for myself to read back in the future. I was at that Starbucks at Barnes and Noble in St. George, UT on July 8th, and I sat on a chair where there was a book left alone, no one was reading it. At first it captured my attention because I remember I read “subconscious mind” from afar, then I got closer. I grabbed it and read through the cover and the back: I don’t know if it was because I was tired, or because I was receptive for other stimuli coming from all around me (people sitting, reading, talking) but, rather than being focused on that book, I left it there and I still can’t remember what I did read at all. I do recall only those two words, I must have been really disconnected because the only reminiscence of that moment is something like “I’ll check it out on line” but then I did not. Just like when I get an idea, instead of writing it down I believe I will remember it, and then I punctually forget it. Anyway, long story short, when I reached my friend’s house in the Los Angeles area and she showed me where I would sleep for a couple of days, on the nightstand she left a book she thought I may like: The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy, was lying on that table waiting for me. She did not know anything about that other book that apparently passed unnoticed to me, and it wasn’t the exact book I saw that day in Utah, but it is somehow related to it. I felt like a message was sent to me saying “read something about this topic” and I couldn’t ignore it again. So I started reading this book and I eventually understood why I had to. I always believed in the great phenomenon our brain is, our mind to be specific, why I wanted to study it –my psychology and psychoanalysis background, and the neurosciences; I just needed someone (or something) to remind me of that. It is not to talk about superpowers, or some weird paranormal activities and pseudoscience, but whatever you feed your brain will fuel your thoughts and everything attached to them, referring to both food and words, and that is just the truth.

That book, or the message it wanted to send at least, found a way to get to me. I think the one that I found in Utah was actually Subliminal, by Leonard Mlodinow because doing a quick web search, the cover looks familiar, but who knows. Still, the point of all this was to remember that, at this temporary stopover I have to take, I need to feed my mind properly in order to thrive. Harder said than done but I can try.

As for the traveling part, my poor Sienna needs to be fixed so I can’t really ask for much more from her. Not to sound too crazy or more than what I already am, but lately I was really talking to her nicely, petting the steering wheel saying “one more Sienna, one more and then I’ll let you rest” for our last miles, and I can hear now all those weird noises, that squeaking sound when I turn it on; I just have to be thankful it lasted long enough to take me back to this part of California without leaving me stranded. With September approaching I need to figure a few things out. People are back from their summer vacations and the whole employment mess is back in the game. My wandering around is not over, I may just have not enough places to see or visit, but I won’t stop researching and moving around. I currently have no fixed destination once again, and I am open to possibilities, as always. I may not be traveling by car, but I am definitely going somewhere soon. Just hang in there and you’ll find out.

Perception and mental wellness

Reviews, Tv Series

To begin with, why have I used wellness and not health? I will quote what the UNC webpage of Advisory Committee to the Chancellor for Employee Health and Wellness says with regard to this: “According to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” So, mental health is the general term to refer to our emotional, psychological, and social …well-being. Mental wellness, as I am calling it here, is yes a synonyms of mental health, but I want to give it a slightly more positive connotation. The way our brain works affects how we think, feel, act and also how we make choices. Mental health is what makes us work properly in our society. Mental wellness, to me, is how we feel and if we feel -fine enough- to work, act, exist …in our society.

519763325

There are several internal and external factors which contribute to a person’s mental wellness, including relationships with friends, loved ones, financial issues, workplace environment, and those that are called “coping behaviors” and skills. I wonder if I am interested in these topics because of my previous studies in psychology, but then I would have to ask why I was interested in psychology in the first place, back in the days. In this case, I would need a couple of years to go through this argument. So, no thank you. What remains though, is the fact that I just needed a word, perception, to be sure I would have binged watched another tv-show. Duh! And yes, the fact that Eric McCormack was the protagonist was a huge incentive because of Will and Grace, that kept me company during my first years at University, many, many years ago. (Oh, and by the way, a brand new season of Will and Grace is now showing on NBC, oh yeah!)

perception-4ff442079ec33

I am going to introduce the plot of Perception-the series before continuing this digression on mental wellness:

Perception 

Genre: they want to call it “crime drama” …I would add something psychological too, but meh.
Created by: Kenneth Biller, Mike Sussman
StarringEric McCormackRachael Leigh CookKelly RowanArjay SmithLeVar BurtonScott Wolf
Watched on: FOX Italy
Three Seasons, Thirty-nine Episodes watched in: a couple of months.

Dr. Daniel Pierce is a neuropsychiatrist who teaches neuroscience at the (fictional) Chicago Lake Michigan University (CLMU), and his interest in neuroscience stems from his own long history of paranoid schizophrenia (everyone is interested is what touches them the most, I guess). He also works as an expert consultant for the FBI assisting closely a very Special Agent, Kate Moretti, who is a former student of Pierce’s classes back in the days. It is thanks to his hallucinations that, most of the times, he can pick out the clues allowing him and Agent Moretti to solve the crimes they are investigating. Lewicki, Dr. Pierce’s teaching assistant, is a fundamental asset for Prof. Pierce’s mental well-being, because he knows how to handle his crisis and his obsessions. Last, but not least, (considering she was in another tv-show, The O.C. another favorite of mine) Natalie Vincent played by Kelly Rowan, is the most favorite Pierce’s hallucination who manifests herself as a result of his schizophrenia, but who also serves as his counselor, clue collector and, of course, best friend. How the story “ends” in the last episode of season three is up to you to find out. No spoilers here. #Sorrynotsorry.

zoqbj

One of the things I like the most is when a tv-series’ episode typically begins with a scene of the protagonist giving a lecture (missing academia much?), or introducing a sort of metaphysical problem, concerns, whatever, about an aspect of humanity that usually leads to the development of the plot itself (Grey’s Anatomy is another show that does something similar, I love you Shonda Rhimes). In this case, it is a brain fact or factor that becomes significant within the story, and reaching the end of the episode, the observations that the professor explains to the students about the paradoxes of human perception end his lecture. Brilliant, I know.

d2f027e767318e52ec33dd78676f865a--tv-series-crime

Perception was canceled after the third season and there were controversies saying it passed a wrong idea about the schizophrenic disease. Now, seriously? The big issue for some was that the main character chose to go off of his meds whilst still managing to work and teach his students, having reasonings with his hallucination-friend, sharing the wrong idea that getting off of your meds is okay. Ugh, no. I bet this is not the message, as eventually Prof. Pierce is just an adult who sees that therapy is needed, but cannot be abused. Schizophrenia is a disease, a complex one which needs to be studied deeply, still. Also, not all the people diagnosed with schizophrenia are alike. The symptoms vary and the age when they first appear makes a huge difference for the prognosis. So every time we judge a tv-show, let’s remember the viewpoint and the actual fact that -this is fiction-, with a few hints of reality, yes, but basically fictional stories.

perception-eric-mccormack-1In conclusion, why was this show important, from my perspective? Because it opened a door on the so called “mental illnesses” that can be part of a person’s life without interfering so very much with their social life. I am not saying it does not affect their own lives, because it does, but it creates no harm, no danger for their social behavior if taken good care of and most of all, if responsibly studied and handled. An important part of mental health is how we perceive the world around us. A person with a mental disease may perceive things much differently than another person, but that does not mean it is the wrong way of perceiving it. Wouldn’t you sound crazy if you had X-rays in your eyes and told others you can see through their skin? Indeed. In many cases, therapy can help interpret and detect these perceptions, but these do not necessarily need to be corrected because someone evaluated and categorized them as distorted. They are simply different ways of perceiving the world around us that may make sense to a different being with a different sensibility, and sensitivity, than others. As they say, a word to the wise is unnecessary and If the cap fits, wear it.