Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160727

I finally got a new CPAP machine and started to use it. The morning after the first night, my mind felt clear and free of fog (mostly). But physically I still ached and needed time to work out the stiffness. I was able to go without coffee that morning. The most interesting result is that time seemed to move more slowly. Before using the new machine, it would take me four hours to get ready for work on some mornings. But now I go through what I need to do and find that it's still quite early. I think that without proper treatment, I had been frequently lapsing into brief states of semi-consciousness, as in Petit mal seizures or Absence seizures. Just imagine how you'd feel if you suddenly find yourself with more time in the morning. It would be like the switch to Daylight Savings Time every day!

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Quotes from "Meditation as a Way of Life"

The following quotes are from "Meditation as a Way of Life," by Alan L Pritz.

"Chanting is an especially potent [devotional] practice because it brings energy (might) to the heart (love) and directs the attention completely (with all thy soul) on God.  In my years of leading meditation groups, I have found that chanting effectively helps people get past their heads and into their hearts.  Even persons with no spiritual leaning have reveled in the alluring aura generate by chanting.  When practiced deeply, devotional chanting can induce a kind of intoxication similar to that which Jesus's disciples felt when toughed by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost: Your energy gets elevated to a divine plane, and you simply get drunk on the love of God! (page 95)

"Another form of devotional practice involves using prayer beads of the rosary -- whatever fits your tradition.  The idea is to pass these beads between your fingers one at a time while reciting a mantra or prayer. Like anything else, it can either be an empty gesture or have inner value, depending on the quality of your attention and intention.  One story tells of a woman who complained to a Hindu saint that prayer beads were ineffective:  She had been using hers for years with no result.  Discreetly observing her over time, he noticed that her attention was on everything else but God, so naturally her mechanical prayers would not bear fruit.  The same can be said for any superficial spiritual practice.  We could be in heaven but miss its glories if inattentive.  With right determination and devotion, however, nothing can  keep us from Spirit.  Loving thought of God invites his company, and that can be done anywhere, anytime.

"The love of God opens mental and emotional channels that keep us in tune with Spirit because Spirit is love.  The Divine is omnipresent, and remembrance of God is a doorway to his presence.  'Be thou diligent in performing actions in the thought of Me.  Even by engaging in activities on My behalf thou shalt attain supreme divine success.'  When thinking of and loving God, our vibrational field is raised.  Ordinary persons may notice this rise by feeling joyfully inspired.  Those steeped in divine ardor may experience spiritual ecstasy or, in the case of the Christian mystic Brother Lawrence, can levitate.  When divinely enraptured, Brother Lawrence rose off the earth; his fellow monks, being ever practical, put him on refectory duty so the ceiling would keep him from floating away.  Heaven, it seems, manifests whenever the head and heart are absorbed in God." (page 96)

"A principal feature with breathing exercises is that mental states respond to the depth, rhythm, and retention of breath.  Regulated breathing balances energy movements through the brain hemispheres, causing a tonic effect that enhances nervous and immune system functions.  Associated benefits include resistance to stress and disease, plus elevated mood, calmness, focus, and creativity.  Even a little done daily is beneficial.

Exercise 1: Centering Breath

This exercise is a cornerstone for stress management and can be done anywhere, anytime -- at home, driving (with eyes open!), or at work.  It helps us to be present and turn within for meditation when desired.  In fact, many and spiritual traditions use centered breathing in conjunction with prayer or guided imagery to enhance inner experiences.

"Use of sound frequencies deliberately exercised for spiritual purposes is rarely employed in the West outside of Wiccan or indigenous traditions....

"Use of this mantra requires that it be repeated in conjunction with breath..."

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Quotes from "Finding the Right Psychiatrist"

Here are some quotes from Finding the Right Psychiatrist, by Robert L. Taylor...

For mild to moderate depression -- the most common target of antidepressant medication -- they are no better than placebo (Fournier et al. 2010).

And even these meager results may be overstated.  When studies fail to show any advantage over placebo or when adverse effects prove too troublesome, no problem -- psychodrug makers simply throw out the results and start over.  There are no restrictions on how many studies can be done.  A pharmaceutical company can keep at it until approvable results turn up.  These outcomes -- no matter how difficult to come by -- can then be trumpeted as the only outcomes.  (The FDA does now require all drug studies to at least be publicly registered on a website:

You might reasonably ask, Why then do antidepressants remain so popular?  One major factor relates to the tremendous influence psychodrug makers exert over psychiatric publications.  In some instances these companies arrange to have supportive articles ghostwritten!  Another factor stems from selective publication.  In a review of 74 antidepressant studies, researchers found 37 of 38 positive outcomes published in professional journals.  In contrast, only 3 of 36 negative outcomes made it into print (Turner et al. 2008).  In a few instances, failed results were buried in the report and replaced by a positive but unrelated finding.  This long-standing practice carries the nickname "data torturing" (Watters 2010). - page 48


... magnesium, commonly deficient in the American diet and susceptible to depletion by stress, seems to counteract depression.  One report documented depressed persons recovering after taking extra magnesium (125-300 mg) with each meal and at bedtime.  When put to the test, magnesium also exerts a mood-stabilizing effect, which may be related to chemical characteristics shared with lithium (Eby 2006).  - page 89


Stanford psychiatry Professor Lorrin Koran and his research team studied the addition of a stimulant drug to the treatment regimen of persons with severe obsessive-compulsive symptoms.  While continuing their previously prescribed SSRI, the patients took, in addition, one of two stimulants: dextroamphetamine or caffeine.  The researchers were surprised when caffeine (used as the control) produced improvement equal to that achieved with dextroamphetamine.  In addition, caffeine was associated with an unexpected reduction in anxiety (Koran et al. 2009).

Further evidence of caffeine's therapeutic value comes from the study of fifty thousand women.  Those who drank two to three cups of coffee a day were 15% less likely to require treatment for depression over a ten-year follow-up period (Lucas et al. 2011).  The results suggest that increasing one's consumption of caffeine might help stave off depression in persons so predisposed. - pages 91-92

2016-07-26 Added hyperlinks to quoted text.
2016-07-24 Reformatted some paragraphs to remove unwanted carriage return / newline characters.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday Weigh-In 20160720

I never weighed so much in my life! It may be that the GABA and/or Tryptophan also cause weight gain, perhaps indirectly. I plan to make an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor soon. Here's a link to an interesting article on GABA. I found it interesting that GABA should not cross the Blood-Brain Barrier. But, GABA makes me tired, which may indicate that I have a "Leaky Brain".

Waist = 43.0"
Height = 5' 9"

  1. Wikipedia BMI page
  2. Tanita Scale with Body Fat monitor
  3. Javascript must be enabled to view the data.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Dream: Interview With Nessbaum

I'm accompanying my wife, who has a job interview.  We're in the building.  I'm in a hallway at a make-shift wire gate.  My wife has gone on ahead of me.  There is another visitor there – a male.  A female employee of the company is at the gate letting people through.  The visitor speaks with the employee and gets her to slide the gate open part way.  While they're still talking, I slip through, saying, “I know the way.”

I walk down the hallway, looking into rooms, because I really don't know the way.  I figure I'd just find which room my wife is in and enter that room.  After looking in a few doorways, I find her.

I enter the room.  It's more like a sitting room than an office.  The walls are paneled with wood.  The company president is there.  I'll call him “Nessbaum” -- that's what he looks like, a “Nessbaum”.  He's an older white man, with wire-rimmed glasses, short, thick, curly, gun-barrel gray hair, and a professional yet kind and patient disposition.  He's sitting in an overstuffed chair sorting through paperwork that's in his lap.  I remain quiet, trying to not disrupt anything.

Eventually, he's finished with my wife and now it's my turn.  But he has yet more paperwork to shuffle through.  So I get up and ask him if he'd like anything from the cafeteria, a cup of tea perhaps.  He says that he'd like tea, and tells me a particular brand and flavor.

In the cafeteria, I open the cabinet containing the teas.  I don't see the one he mentioned.  I wonder if this is a test.  Perhaps he wants to know how I'll react in an impossible situation.  I ask the other folks who are there, “Do we have blank tea?”  They chuckle and one says, “Oh that's for Nessbaum, right?  He really means blah blah tea.”

Relieved, I select the blah blah tea.  Yet I take one final glance for the tea that Nessbaum asked for.  As I walk back I think about what I'd say if he complains about the incorrect tea selection.  The response comes to me quickly.  I'll say that I decided to trust the advice of the other employees.  If they're honest, you'll get the right tea and all will be well.  But if they're sneaky and try to trick me, then you won't hire me which is just as well since I wouldn't want to work among sneaky dishonest people.  It's the perfect answer, and I'm very pleased with myself.

I return to the room, but Nessbaum isn't there.  Instead a few other people are using the room.  I'm concerned that I took too long and lost my opportunity to interview with him.  I walk further down the hallway hoping to find him, and I find my wife sitting in another room.  “Where's Nessbaum?” I ask.  “He's dead,” is the reply.  I'm shocked and upset.  I explain how I thought of a great reply to why I didn't bring the tea that he asked for.  Then I start to cry.