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.

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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!)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Thanksgiving and #GilmoreGirls

Haircut Madness, Reviews, Tv Series

Oh well, oh well. While watching the brand new episodes of the Netflix exclusive season of Gilmore Girls I had so many thoughts popping in my head I actually considered writing them all down not to forget anything, but as always I just did not. No wonder. Let me try to catch my train of thoughts a little anyway.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-52-08It started last night, right after my “alternative” Thanksgiving dinner: my landlords invited me for Rosh Hashanah this past October and they wanted to have me celebrate with them for Thanksgiving as well, so I could not say no. These things usually get me nervous but as always I put my daily façade and I just cope with the feeling until those first few glasses of wine set it for the rest of the night. Sounds more like an alcoholic talk but trust me, it is not what it seems. I know this is what everybody says, but honestly? Who cares? The best part was actually when my mind was just rambling on getting my inner voice upset, and I was just zoning in and out laughing at more or less funny jokes we started reading on line, from “Yo mama is…” to “Trump…”. Fun times. Even funnier was that, when I had to say goodbye, I only had to open the door leading to the basement, and just go down the stairs. Once I was all undressed and I got my make up removed, I just started binging on Netflix movies when a brand new and cooler party started upstairs. I think the adults just spent a couple more hours sipping some wine while listening to music, songs going from Jeff Buckley‘s, to Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Lou Reed… I honestly have to say I was kind of jealous. I would have done the same with the right company, so I just pictured myself in the future, in my own house (rented, of course) which is a big deal considering we may not be here tomorrow. Yeah, no. No drama, just saying.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-51-24I have to confess again, while putting my sweatpants and sweatshirt on, I accidentally looked at myself in the mirror, recalling I do not look like the person my memory still remembers. I cannot understand why I am having such a hard time getting used to the no-longer-new look. I still do not like it though. I guess I never will. While wasting time watching some movies, I had the chance to communicate with some people, not everybody was going wild till late at night after all, and it just made me feel more normal, if normal is a good way to feel anyway. Then oh yeah, I remembered. I just could not wait for a Netflix series to be finally on. I grew up watching #GilmoreGirls, I basically memorized every line because I watched and re-watched those episodes a thousand times, over and over just because I liked it. That is it! There has been people labelling it as a stupid tv-show, others saying they loved it, others simply did not watch it…and I mean, isn’t it always like that? I will always find someone to either agree or disagree with, so I just stopped justifying myself for having different tastes than others, in whatever field they might be.

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What captures me and I think most of all human beings in general, is the way we eventually end up relating to this or that character, or the story, or we simply sympathize for a situation, a memory that for some reasons gets attached to a scene, an episode, an actor or actress, and we cannot stop watching the show, the movie, the series… Having a sequel after so many years got me emotional too. I know I know, this is shocking, I was impressed too, but hey, I guess I have to stick to this human mortal condition for now, so obviously I have to have emotions, somehow.

Gilmore Girls, A Year in The Life

Genre: they want to call it “family-comedy drama”
Created by: Amy Sherman-Palladino
Starring: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Melissa McCarthy, Keiko Agena, Yanic Truesdale, Scott Patterson, Kelly Bishop, Liza Weil, Jared Padalecki, Milo Ventimiglia, Sean Gunn, David Sutcliffe, Chris Eigeman, Matt Czuchry
Watched on: Netflix and TV (Previous seasons)
Seven Seasons, One-hundred and fifty-three Episodes watched in: years, like for real LAST SEASON, or better sequel of four two-hour(ish) episodes binge watched in an afternoon. DUH.

screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-43-34I have watched all of the four episodes that Netflix had on. All the available ones. There are no more left to watch, and of course the last episode had to end the way it ended. My teeth are still grinding from anger. Why Amy Sherman Palladino? Why? Did you go to school with freaking Shonda Rhimes? I mean, if you all women in the film industry just want to drive us all spectators crazy, well go ahead, you are actually doing a pretty good job, just do not mess with us that much!!! This basically should make you guess how I am feeling right now! I am already going cold turkey (and any reference to Thanksgiving right now is totally unintentional) and I want to know what will happen next. Although, I know this is not going to happen soon, so all I can do is …imagine. Story of my life. Imagining things that will never happen, or that I would like to happen but then… of course they won’t, also having conversations that do not exist in real life but they are real in that parallel universe where everything is still screwed up a little, but definitely more interesting and exciting. Whatever.  I tried to stand up every once in a while pausing the streaming for a few minutes, just because I recalled one of the guests last night, talking about how those Apple Watches tell you to move because you have been sitting for too long. I laughed so hard. Seriously, one episode is at least 80 minutes long so sitting on my butt for six hours straight would have been awkward. Is it just me or when you stand after a long while that you have been sitting somewhere, you feel taller? I had this odd perception right after standing and taking a few steps! I was feeling weirdly taller. It goes away, but I felt the same way a few times before and it just makes me chuckle. I guess it is not just time to be relative, uh?

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screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-42-13Ha! It is also hilarious that the voice in my head (reading these words right now) is actually one of the characters I have just been watching. I have been told I looked like her before, since when the tv show actually started. One of my friends back home has me on her contacts list as Lorelei (although on the tv show it is spelt Lorelai) and another one still calls me that since high school. Should not even sound too silly that I actually own a picture signed by the actress because when I was still young and full of dreams I believed in the power of writing letters, like real letters. So I was very young, I wrote letters to celebrities, yes, and this is simply who I was. My young hearted spirit still recalls the nice feeling in getting screen-shot-2016-11-25-at-20-40-52those letters back with autographed pictures, or vhs gifted to me because I wrote this or that band a letter. Oh young and innocent Lor, where art thou?

…and I cannot help but think of the last time I heard someone say: you can be anyone you want to be, you can do anything. Just go for it. And I miss those talks, really, but it does not matter anymore. I will just have to keep going as I am doing now after the last scene of the last episode I just watched. It is bitter. Now wait, for real, it sucks. As it does not depend on me though, I will just stick to this feeling, get some fattening sugary junk food, get uglier, remembering when I had long hair, Gilmore Girls A Year in the Life was not out yet, and I could still write actual letters, mailing them to actual people, getting to see actual mail men delivering envelopes to that crazy little monster living in a small town near Venice. The island, not the beach. Peace out.