Even More from the Mindfulness Blog

  • Mind Training “Many of us are slaves to our minds…” Sound familiar? You might want to click on the link to read the rest of the quote.
  • Happiness Beyond Thought – Gary Weber Weber is an interesting guy who claims to have reached a “nondual state”. For some, that may provoke eye rolling. For others, just a blank look. Weber is down to earth and describes his remarkable experience of stopping much of his thinking.
  • The Mighty Avalanche of Hype: Does Mindfulness Mean Anything? Mostly a link to a great NPR article in their Cosmos and Culture section about the hype surrounding “mindfulness”. Methodically addresses the key issues.
  • How to Get Into Jhana. That’s one of the initial stages of bliss that is commonly referred to in the “maps” of meditative progress. Here meditation teacher Bodhipaksa matter of factly describes a method for attaining this state of bliss.
  • The New Wave of Meditation Teachers. If you associate meditation with aging hippies, the fetishizing of Eastern culture, and similar trappings — meet the new folks. Meditation 2.0.
  • Is Meditation Narcissistic? A pithy quotation from Ken Wilber on a question always worth asking. One of the key questions that keeps people away from meditation. And, oh, it *can* be true. But it isn’t *necessarily* true.
  • Impermanence. A simple story about Ajahn Chah related by Mark Epstein. If you’ve ever read about this Buddhist idea and found it too philosophical and vague — give this a quick read.
  • Loving Kindness. A practice that gives many people trouble. So many of us have trouble directing affectionate feelings toward ourselves. So how to sidestep this?



The Mindfulness Blog

Well, maybe not the mindfulness blog. Since much of it falls outside the realm of psychotherapy and mental health, I write about things related to mindfulness at this blog, LA Eastsider Mindful.

Some recent posts:

Perhaps you’ll stop by for a visit.

Free Ebook — Psychotherapy FAQ

For some time now I’ve hosted a page with a compilation of thoughts on “What is Psychotherapy?” I’ve now combined and lightly edited these posts, and bundled them together into a free ebook, Psychotherapy: Frequently Asked Questions. The book is divided into two parts.

Part I focuses on the many questions —  frequently relating to doubts, fears, and misconceptions – that people have about psychotherapy.

Part II digs in a little more – focusing more on the nature of therapy and what one might expect from treatment. You can click here for the page.

Or click here psychotherapy faq to download the ebook.


Are You Your Own Worst Critic?

So many of us are. Psychologist Barb Markway has a little undertaking you might find of interest. She calls it “The Self Compassion Project”, which she started on January 1st of this year. You can find her first post, here.

Somewhat in that vein, I’ll be taking a short break from blogging to re-charge. Hope to have some interesting things in store when I return on August 7th, including a new site design. The place could use some fresh paint. Hope you’re enjoying your summer.

10 Blogs on Depression

Someone recently asked me if there were seriously really any blogs worth reading. Pause. Pause longer. It depends. Funny thing to say on a blog, but maybe not. Thing is, the vast majority of blogs are inherently frivolous. They tend to be self-promotional projects. Or driven by a very specific interest. But if you happen to have a specific interest — a blog might be worth dipping into. That’s how I’ve found most blogs. I dip into them. I often don’t return. But occasionally someone writes well, and grabs you. You come back for more. You are compelled. You find yourself reading about topics  you didn’t even think you were interested in. Now that’s a successful blog. So, while there are an awful lot of frivolous blogs, I have to answer “yes” to the general question of whether there are any blogs worth reading. Or maybe this is really about the question of whether frivolous things have any value.

But I digress. I think blogs on the topic of depression can be very valuable. Depression is inherently isolating. Anything that can contribute to reducing that sense isolation is valuable.

So thought I’d take at and update my resources on depression. So I headed over to PsychCentral, which is a pretty good starting point when you’re looking for something psychology-related on the internet, to see what they’ve been up to. Here’s a link to their Depression page.

They haven’t updated their best depression blogs category since 2010 — so I thought I’d check out the links and see what’s going on there. This is what I came up with:

  1. Una Bella Vita. So far so good. Activity seems to have dropped off a bit in the last few months, but there’s lots of good material in the archives. Last updated 4/22/12. The author was also running a blog called Depression Diaries, which is worth a look for some introductory material.
  2. Dr. Deb: Psychological Perspectives. Also continues to be active. Dr. Deb knows her stuff, and frequently posts interesting items. She is the author of the book, Living With Depression, which seems to receive quite favorable reviews. You could also click on the “Labels” sidebar to the right (scroll down a little). That will link to 42 articles related to depression, as of this writing.
  3. Storied Mind. I was immediately drawn to this post, Leaving Lamictal and Antidepressants for Now, not because I think it’s absolutely the way to go — there is no one-size-fits-all treatment — but because you don’t see it taken up that often. An open, honest blog about one man’s ongoing experience with depression. Definitely worth a look.
  4. My Postpartum Voice. Still going strong. Thoughtful and incisive writing. Of course, the “postpartum” partly refers to post-partum depression — not to be confused with the stress and moodiness that can result during the weeks and months following birth — which can be quite crippling. See her post on the controversial TIME magazine cover, TIME Magazine Fails to Support Mothers.
  5. Postpartum Progress. It appears this blog has grown a lot since the last time I looked, with a full roster of regular contributors. Check out this post on the Difference Between Post Partum Depression and Normal New Mom Stress.
  6. Draw That Beast. Art project on depression. Continues to be active. Interesting.
  7. Mayo Clinic Depression Blog. Updated about every other month recently, but good expert thoughts on interesting specific topics dating back several years. You might check out this post, Depression Is Painful, But Don’t Give Up Hope.
  8. Depression Marathon. Still running! (Sorry for the pun.) This blog lives up to its name. The author has put in a lot of blogging miles since 2008 and touches upon a very important — and often under examined in mental health circles — the importance of physical fitness. I hope to read this blog more closely in the near future. Anyone that was ever depressed knows the experience of falling into repetitive, cycling thoughts. See her post: Thinking, Thinking, Thinking. 
  9. About.com blog on depression. Appears to present short snippets from the research literature on depression. You might find some news here — though it’s couched in the language of research, which means the “news” should be taken with a grain of salt. Language of research? When you hear words and phrases such as these you should always wonder what they really mean — some examples: “Linked”, “may cause”, “may help”, “may be safe”, “less likely”.
  10. Pick The Brain: Motivation and Self-Improvement. Light. Might be most appropriate if you’re feeling a little blue, rather than really depressed. Because quite frankly, you might be annoyed by some of the advice here if you are really depressed. Here’s a sample: 10 All Natural Ways to Stop Feeling Depressed.

Update on Big Pharma Blogs

It appears most of my Big Pharma links, except one, are retired or semi-retired blogs at this point. They were good sites a few years ago, and continue to be good sources for information, but I’ll be retiring the links shortly. It’s been a while since I followed what’s going on in that world. For the record, they were:

  • Clinical Psychology and Psychiatry: A Closer Look Last updated 2/23/2011 as “Alive But Inactive,” continues to house the interesting posts of a “research blogger.”
  • Furious Seasons. A great blog by someone who was really informed on the pharmaceutical world, and who happened to suffer from bipolar disorder. Last updated 7/22/2010.
  • The Carlat Psychiatry Blog. The tagline is “Keeping Psychiatry Honest Since 2007,” Dr. Carlat only recently stopped blogging due to a conflict of interest. He’s going to Washington to head the Pew Prescription Project. His last post was 3/19/12, where he noted: “The Carlat Psychiatry Blog lives on in the form of Thought Broadcast, a blog written by psychiatrist Steve Balt, who is the new editor-in-chief of The Carlat Psychiatry Report.”

Sitting outside the group, very much alive, is The Unbranded Doctor. The site continues with its mission to foster integrity in physician education, among other things. Bloggers are active on the site, including this recent gem: “Block Grants for Medicare: The Pink Slime of Health Policies”

I discovered these moribund links while researching a post on DSM-V, the upcoming revision of psychiatry’s diagnostic manual, which I’ll post soon.

Simple Marriage

That’s the name of a website I stumbled upon recently, courtesy of Private Practice Blogs. That day’s entry, “Beware of marital drift” caught my attention. Now, anyone that’s been married or in a longterm relationship can appreciate that title. And it’s not just a catchy title, it’s followed by a pithy post. Here’s a snippet:

In the last month, have you and your spouse:
Kissed passionately without making love?
Gone out on a date without friends or the kids?
Held hands?
Talked at length about something other than the kids, money, schedules, household needs or conflicts?
Done something special for each other?
Prayed together (other than at mealtime)?

The quiz continues in that vein, followed by sections “In the last 6 months have you” and “In the last year have you” and concludes by having you compute your “marital drift score”.

Maybe “marital drift” doesn’t grab you. How about today’s post: “Sex tips for the shy wife and the nice guy.”

Perhaps you’ve already familiar with the work of Dr. Corey Allan though his guest posts on self-help blog Zen Habits, or Zen Family Habits. I was intrigued enough by what I read to click on the About page, and found Dr. Allan’s approach to marriage and relationships to be interesting.

Marriage is more about becoming a better human than it is about the two people being happy. And when you keep things simple, you can experience more in marriage and life.

It seems like Simple Marriage is up to something, launching some kind of major project. So I’ll be returning from time to time to see what they’re up to.