Friday, December 15, 2006

G Bitch Has Left the Building!

Not really, just leaving Blogger (that flashing shit is driving my ass battier): (If you forget the dash, you get--predictably--porn. I know you'll leave it out now.)

It will be a gradual process. Unless my knowledge base miraculously increases overnight.

UNOP District Meetings #3

UNOP District Meetings #3


Thursday, December 14, 2006

Major Depression

There is still, I believe, a difference between major depression and the shit you feel like because your city is being left to rot and not-so-slowly starve.

Major Depressive Episode

A. Five (or more) of the following symptoms have been present during the same 2-week period and represent a change from previous functioning; at least one of the symptoms is either (1) depressed mood or (2) loss of interest or pleasure.
Note: Do note [sic] include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition, or mood-incongruent delusions or hallucinations.

(1) depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful). Note: In children and adolescents, can be irritable mood.

(2) markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day (as indicated by either subjective account or observation made by others)

(3) significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain (e.g., a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month), or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day. Note: In children, consider failure to make expected weight gains.

(4) insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day

(5) psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day (observable by others, not merely subjective feelings of restlessness or being slowed down)

(6) fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

(7) feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt (which may be delusional) nearly every day (not merely self-reproach or guilt about being sick)

(8) diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day (either by subjective account or as observed by others)

(9) recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

B. The symptoms do not meet criteria for a Mixed Episode.

C. The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

D. The symptoms are not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., hypothyroidism).

E. The symptoms are not better accounted for by Bereavement, i.e., after the loss of a loved one, the symptoms persist for longer than 2 months or are characterized by marked functional impairment, morbid preoccupation with worthlessness, suicidal ideation, psychotic symptoms, or psychomotor retardation.

Major Depressive Disorder

Single Episode
A. Presence of a single Major Depressive Episode

B. The Major Depressive Episode is not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and is not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

C. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all the manic-like, mixed-like, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced or are due to the direct physiological effects of a general medical condition.

A. Presence of two or more Major Depressive Episodes
Note: To be considered separate episodes, there must be an interval of at least 2 consecutive months in which criteria are not met for a Major Depressive Episode.

B. The Major Depressive Episodes are not better accounted for by Schizoaffective Disorder and are not superimposed on Schizophrenia, Schizophreniform Disorder, Delusional Disorder, or Psychotic Disorder Not Otherwise Specified.

C. There has never been a Manic Episode, a Mixed Episode, or a Hypomanic Episode. Note: This exclusion does not apply if all the manic-like, mixed-like, or hypomanic-like episodes are substance or treatment induced or are due to the direct physiological effects or a general medical condition.

Specify (for current or most recent episode):
Severity/Psychotic/Remission Specifiers
With Catatonic Features
With Atypical Features
With Postpartum Onset

Longitudinal Course Specifiers (With and Without Interepisode Recovery)
With Seasonal Pattern

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Complex PTSD

Recommended DSM diagnostic criteria, per Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman, c1992 by Basic Books.

  1. A history of subjection to totalitarian control over a prolonged period (months to years). Examples include hostages, prisoners of war, concentration-camp survivors, and survivors of some religious cults. Examples also include those subjected to totalitarian systems in sexual and domestic life, including survivors of domestic battering, childhood physical or sexual abuse, and organized sexual exploitation.

  2. Alterations in affect regulation, including:
    • persistent dysphoria
    • chronic suicidal preoccupation
    • self-injury
    • explosive or extremely inhibited anger (may alternate)
    • compulsive or extremely inhibited sexuality (may alternate)

  3. Alterations in consciousness, including:
    • amnesia or hypermnesia for traumatic events
    • transient dissociative episodes
    • depersonalization/derealization
    • reliving experiences, either in the form of intrusive post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms or in the form of ruminative preoccupation

  4. Alterations in self-perception, including:
    • sense of helplessness or paralysis of initiative
    • shame, guilt, and self-blame
    • sense of defilement or stigma
    • sense of complete difference from others (may include sense of specialness, utter aloneness, belief no other person can understand, or nonhuman identity)

  5. Alterations in perception of perpetrator, including:
    • preoccupation with relationship with perpetrator (includes preoccupation with revenge)
    • unrealistic attribution of total power to perpetrator (caution: victim's assessment of power realities may be more realistic than clinician's)
    • idealization or paradoxical gratitude
    • sense of special or supernatural relationship
    • acceptance of belief system or rationalizations of perpetrator

  6. Alterations in relations with others, including:
    • isolation and withdrawal
    • disruption in intimate relationships
    • repeated search for rescuer (may alternate with isolation and withdrawal)
    • persistent distrust
    • repeated failures of self-protection

  7. Alterations in systems of meaning:
    • loss of sustaining faith
    • sense of hopelessness and despair

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Thumb Drive Drive

via Boing Boing
Do you have old thumb drives (otherwise known as USB Memory Sticks) at your office or home that you don't use anymore?

We'd love to collect these drives and share them with the organizations we work with. They can be used in 100's of useful ways by:

  • Students
  • Aid Workers
  • Small Business Entrepreneurs
You can get a donation receipt if you want:

From their "Our Vision: Connecting Villages Around the World":
More than 2.5 billion people live in rural and remote areas of developing countries where access to communications is severely limited due to availability or affordability. For these rural communities, access to Information and Communications Technologies (ICTs) can transform their lives in simple, yet profound ways.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Depressed v. Depressed

Over the last 6 months, I've had conversations with family, colleagues, students, friends and acquaintances new and old about anti-depressants. Though I don't lie about it, I don't tell everybody I take "meds." And when I do say so, seriously or as a punchline ("That's what anti-depressants are for!"), most people in NO or of the diaspora reply with, "Y'know, I've been wondering if I need. . ." But if you can ask the question, you probably don't.

You need them when you can no longer fake functioning. When you stop combing your child's hair, when you lie down 3 or 5 times a day but your eyes don't close, just like at night, and no matter how many times you get in bed or how long you stay in, you are alert, pained, exhausted, sapped, hopeless. I won't cover Chris Rose's or anyone else's territory. But you don't need anything until you can't get through the week without it or something. If you're still working, grading papers, cooking dinner, fucking, washing your hair and changing out of your pajamas, you're still on that side of the fence.

That said, most of the time, with the help (even if it isn't quite right and has to change a few times), you get better. Then there are those few of us who have more pus and treatments, most of which are painful. How that turns out, I'll let you know.

photo © Michele Valentinuz for CC:Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

Why You Have PTSD Even Though You Do Not Live in a Trailer

But chillingly, trauma has a second, even more covert mechanism. It can affect children and adults directly, as in primary trauma, or it can function vicariously, make a long, stealthy leap from one person's mind to another person's, across space and time. Secondary trauma, the vicarious sort, is a term used most often by psychotherapists, to refer to the fact that a person (such as a psychotherapist) can begin to show significant symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder merely from hearing repeated stories about the traumatic experiences of other people (such as trauma patients). Secondary trauma quietly and pervasively occurs even in the lives of those who are not psychotherapists and who do not treat trauma patients, for the simple reason that, in a world where too many children have never even slpet on a mattress, extreme human misery is not far removed from any of us.
Stout wrote this in 2001, before post-Katrina/breach New Orleans. She would not have to dig to such far-flung "extremes" for her American audience now. (No mattress? What about no food? No parents? No clean water? No homeland or country?) Americans have been able to ignore suffering abroad but for a few weeks were incensed by the suffering in their own country.

Stout, Martha. The Myth of Sanity: Divided Consciousness and the Promise of Awareness. New York: Penguin, 2001: 62-63.

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Before the "How could New Orleans do that?" commentaries and lamentations begin, it was not New Orleans technically that "re-elected" Rep. Jefferson:
Orleans Parish: (250 out of 392 precincts)
Jefferson-D.................13,204 votes
......................13,769 votes.................51%
Percent-wise, Jefferson parish gave Rep. Jefferson the votes he needed:
Jefferson Parish: (100 out of 100 precincts)
Jefferson-D............11,934 votes............71%
Carter-D............Link.....4,967 votes............29%
Quibble, yes. Not as serious as levees/federal government v. hurricane/personal failure but worth noting.

The Times-Picayune has consistently run grim-faced pictures of the representative, even on the front page under the glorious "Jefferson Re-Elected" headline. Hm. Does this mean investigative reporting is in their future?

from Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 12/10/06, A15

Saturday, December 09, 2006

You Gotta Read...


I can hardly read for the laughing and tears.
(HT: Maitri)

Saturday, December 9

All sanity is great madness, but the greatest madness of all is to live life the way it is, rather than as it should be.


The "issue" of race in the Carter-Jefferson runoff is cynically being used to manipulate, not to make progress or reveal truth.

If you are in district 2, go vote. If you aren't, cross your fingers and have a couple drinks.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Who's in Charge?

The man for the job: New Orleans recovery czar

I thought Nagin was supposed to be The (Black) Man for the Job. Isn't this the 2d or 3d "man for the job" we've had and/or that Nagin has hired?

UNOP District 2: Meeting #3

Here's another chance to look at The Three Scenarios: Back to the Bad Ol' Days, Little Bit of This and Not Enough of That aka the Middling Middle and NOLAUtopia with Little to No Funding:

UNOP Planning District #2 Public Meeting: Draft District Plans: Saturday 12/16, 9:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Dryades YMCA, 2220 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd. (enter on Philip near Jackson)


Why am I perceiving the process as inexplicably dumbed down? Am I the lunatic I think I am?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

How Long Has Bob Odom Been in Office?

His name stirs an old radio/TV commercial from childhood or my teens: Bob Odom...Bob Odom...Bob Odom...Bob Odom!

The latest sugar mill has always looked suspicious to me and I've never been able to figure out his obsession/passion for getting these things built. His trial, of course, drags on.

Some reading:
February trial date set in criminal case against Bob Odom
Sweet deal may keep mill afloat
Odom's Lacassine mill opens; Colombians win generous loan package
Sugar mill denied state support
Stephanie Grace: Fiasco leaves sour taste in our mouth

Saturday, December 02, 2006

UNOP Community Congress 2

Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, Hall E (2d floor), Ballrooms A & B
Free parking in Parking Lot F, across the street from the Convention Center on Tchoupitoulas

Link to live webcast, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. (update: which never worked for me)

Zimbabwean women want Dignity.Period!

Listed on