Happy Anniversary! What?! You forgot?!
Yep. This internet version of Lucy’s psychiatric advice booth has been up for two years. It’s been two very fine years and all of my thanks go to you, our ever-growing digital dysfunctional family.*
Last year I spent a few articles giving this website a colonoscopy and inviting others to help. While I do find menace value in self assessment, I don’t want to waist your time. So here, in brief, are my top five articles of the year, from most highest to least high—and five articles which I think had something to offer, though they didn’t come together as well as I’d hoped.
I won’t bore you with the metric I used, except that I rated the articles on a blend of “gravitas,” “reader impact,” “gut” and how well I “uncovered” the literary relic—the spark of idea which Stephen King talks about in On Writing.
When Therapy Fails
Published on 15 September 2011
The old adage Write What You Know is true, but I find I often lean more to its journalistic counterpart Write What You Feel Strongly About. This article brings to light the very real “Failure to Adjust” label and how it impacts the therapist as well as the kid getting (what they see as) the boot. I don’t feel that deeming a kid to have failed to adjust is wrong or right. I have many feelings about it and all of them strong; that’s why this article works.
Punching Violence in the Face
Published on 09 March 2012
I could just say “see above” because this article, and each of these five, comes from a real place in my life, and not a pretty place. This article was borne of the desire to understand and address a pattern of acculturated violence that I fear is damaging a whole generation of inner-city youth.
It’s Not About Dying
Published on 28 July 2011
Randy Pausch began building this profound Power Point presentation shortly after a terminal cancer diagnosis. He unleashed it on the world shortly before the disease began to erode his energy. It’s funny, it’s heart warming, it’s heart wrenching, it’s wildly empowering, it’s not for you (or me), and it’s not about dying.
I am a Patient Boy…
Published on 20 April 2012
“…I wait, I wait, I wait, I wait. My time’s water down the drain. Everybody’s moving; please don’t leave me to remain.” Okay, so that’s just the context of the title within Fugazi’s Waiting Room. This article is another in which I come to grips with how much I relate to my patients; this time by how having my own treatment team has impacted my self—and world—view. Bonus Update: It’s six weeks later and I’m 44.2 pounds down. God Bless Abington Weight Management and HMR.
The Green Lantern vs. DHS
Published on 30 June 2011
DHS gets a bad wrap. Sometimes it’s justifiable because some DHS workers that I come into contact with are just plain lazy, disinterested and mentally succumbed to an impossible job. Sometimes the wrap is an unfair stigma because all DHS workers have the same impossible job, but some are dedicated, strong, positive people. I was blessed to work with one of those a few months after writing this article. My inspiration for this piece was forged in bitter frustration with how some of my patients were wronged by neglectful caseworkers and bent on a desire to understand why so many well meaning people became part of the problem. The answer is that DHS workers have huge caseloads. Not as big as one Green Lantern serving the whole solar system, but still outside the realm of human ability.
The Last- Picked-For-Kickball-But-Such-Nice-Guys
It is interesting to me that almost all of these articles are “idea pieces,” in that they are seeking to explore a concept rather that exhort a position or expose a situation. Hmm.
RIP Saturday Morning Cartoons
Published on 26 May 2011
I had to include this one because it is the most responded-to piece on the website and still garners occasional feedback. Some of the responses are awesome and I urge you to read them, if just for a laugh or a “Hey, yeah!” I wrote this piece as a crotchety thirty-five year-old who was grumpy that things were better when I was a kid because back then we had Saturday Morning Cartoons and “…had to say dickity because the Kaiser stole our word for ‘twenty’!”**
The Operation Habit Challenge
Published on 13 January 2012
This article is proof that you can have interest and feedback on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, through your email and comment box and still it’s not worth $25 to exercise if you don’t want to do so already. The idea came from over hearing that “It takes 32 repetitions of something to build a habit” and desiring to test that theory. My execution of it in the form of a challenge was poor and—even with a second draft—garnered no takers. None the less, it is an interesting piece of study which gave me a reason to create graphs. Bonus Update: I still haven’t missed a day of exercise since.
What if Twitter was more of the logical, task oriented left brain and Facebook was the abstract, social oriented right brain of the internet? I turned what may have been better as a tweet or FB update into an entire article. Still, it had some neat research backing it up.
For Love of Fear
Published on 31 October 2011
Why do we like fear? Because, I do, as in horror movies, writing and comics. And therefore, I still like this article even though it didn’t get as much interest as it deserves. Maybe Halloween themed articles just aren’t hip since my expose on Clown Fear didn’t tear up the interwebs either. I must note that giants in the field of art, like Chuck Regan or music like Christina Ward, only brought credibility and awesomeness to the article and they rule.
Jumping the Sharks of Life
Published on 15 July 2011
I can’t let go of this piece because I find it hilarious that the guy who wrote Fonzie’s “Jump the Shark” episode of Happy Days would seek to defend it with a (hopefully) tongue-in-cheek disdain for the mantle. Such other questions answered as: Where did the term “Jump the Shark” originate? What did that TV show writer do after Happy Days? (Hint: He wrote more things you watched and liked) and How do I know if I’ve “Jumped the Shark” in my daily life?
And With That…
…we look on to more 2012 and a whole ‘nother anniversary ahead.
Hopefully this year has proven to be as enriching for you as it has been for the website and I. Your feedback has helped streamline the contact interface so completely that if you can’t find a way to reach me now than you probably also can’t fog a mirror with your breath. Your interest has birthed a page specifically to showcase my fiction writing, and I thank you for that. Finally, a most recent format change is reflected in the piece earlier in May. I pride myself in showing my data with hyperlinks. I will continue to do so but now in American Psychological Association style with in-text citation and endnotes. Why? Because I’m trained in it and needed to get over my grad school “Nyah-nyahs” about being graduated and never using it again. I write psychological work, I should put on my big-boy pants and write it in APA.
My last words are about you. Yes, you.
You who’ve emailed, used the comment box, sent me direct messages on Facebook, Twitter or Linked in seeking aid or sending thanks. It’s you who deserve all the thanks. To write something that impacts a life in something so broad as the internet is a humbling and heartening thing.
You who’ve clicked a Google ad link because of your interest in the advertised product or just to throw me a digital dime. Thank you. To write for pay is the writer way, but also I like that the advertisers which Google plugs into my site seem to be (mostly) worthy causes who deserve support.
And you, our silent majority. You’ve helped double readership this year to an average monthly readership between two and three hundred. Your voice is legion, but it is a voiceless legion. I dub this year the year to hear! There are so many ways to be heard on this site, so many open doors to join the discussion. Don’t ever think that your words aren’t valid because you don’t have some applicable degree (I’ve heard that). If you’re actively having issues and have found your way here seeking help on the net, then use one of the confidential contact options, but let yourself be heard. Because you all rock.
As it says on the front page, “You have a place here.” Thanks for making it a great one.
*Stay tuned for an article on my belief that no family is actually dysfunctional.
** And thank you Grampa Simpson