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Friday, June 20

People suffering extreme anxiety in social situations 'are born with affliction'  

Jun 20 2003

by Paul Carey, The Western Mail


SHY individuals who fear change and meeting new people are probably born that way, new research released today suggests.

Scientists found that when pictures of unfamiliar faces were shown to people who had been timid toddlers, it stimulated the "fear centre" in their brain.



Read the whole thing here.

Wanted: Anxiety/Agoraphobic/Depression sufferers 

I am going to attempt to put together a coffee table book of inspirational poetry, essays, anecdotes for those of us who suffer from these maladies. Original work only will be considered. Please send any offerings to the1markman@yahoo.com All authors will get due credit for their work, and who knows, maybe we could find a publisher. I bet it would be a big hit in institutions and agoraphobic households. The audience is huge. If you wish to use an accompanying photo with your work, please send it as .jpg or .gif and compressed. If it makes it into the final draft, an original may be needed, so take care of that photo/artwork!

Thursday, June 19

Added new Poetry link 

On the right you will see under the "links section a title called "Inspirational Poetry" When you click on it, it takes you to the first of many, so after reading the first, just click the "next" button at the top of the page to see the next poem. There are thirteen there so far, and I will be adding more.

Strange how the interactions are sometimes 

With the drug cocktail I take (including XANAX, Lithium, Ativan, Lexapro, and Klonopin) you would think that I could sleep like a baby. Instead I am wide awake. Anxiety is funny that way. I have a phone interview with Social Security at 2 p.m. today, and am worried sick that I will be denied. It is not easy to make a living with my poetry, though I have won a few awards, I am not nearly Liberal enough to satisfy the hoity-toity set that give grants. The anxiety is sometimes overwhelming. I wish to thank the kind folks over at ENcourage Community (if you haven't been there, the link is on your right) for allowing a peek into their experiences, and invite them to share some with my growing coterie of readers. I've only run this site for a little over a week, and already have amassed over a hundred hits. That's progress. Hopefully, it will increase exponentionally, and we can get the word out that agoraphobia is real! I mean, it is difficult to have an Agoraphobics Day Parade when we are afraid to come out of the house, right? Anyway, I hope you enjoy the articles, and I will continue probing for more info for you, some please visit often.

Wednesday, June 18

APA: Virtual Reality Approach as Effective as Conventional Treatment for Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia 

By Paula Moyer

SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- May 26, 2003 -- A new treatment strategy utilizing virtual reality and cognitive behavior therapy to treat panic disorder with agoraphobia achieves results similar to those seen with conventional treatment, but in one third the number of sessions.

"This treatment, known as experiential cognitive therapy, is as effective as conventional treatment," said Young-Hee Choi, MD, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry at Inje University in Seoul, South Korea. "Conventional treatment consists of 12 sessions, while experiential cognitive therapy consists of 4 sessions." He presented his findings here at the 156th Annual Meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

Dr. Choi developed experiential cognitive therapy as a way to integrate cognitive-behavior therapy with virtual reality exposure to treat panic disorder with concomitant agoraphobia. Virtual reality is accomplished through a head-worn monitor in which the scenes that induce the phobic response are simulated, such as scenes of crowds, an airplane cabin, and an airplane taking off. Dr. Choi conducted this study to compare the efficacy of experiential cognitive therapy with that of conventional therapy for this disorder, known as panic control program (PCP).

He recruited 40 patients who had been diagnosed with panic disorder with agoraphobia by the diagnostic criteria of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IV (DSM-IV). The patients were randomly assigned to experiential cognitive therapy or to the control group, which received the panic control program. Each group consisted of 20 patients. The groups were similar demographically.

Dr. Choi measured the treatment efficacy with the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), the Spielberg State Anxiety Inventory (STAI-state), the Anxiety Sensitivity Index (ASI), the Panic Belief Questionnaire (PBQ), the Body Sensation Questionnaire (BSQ), and the Agoraphobic Cognition Questionnaire (ACQ). He also assessed the patients' panic attack frequency, the clinical severity rating (CSR), and the end-state function (ES), as well as patients' success rate in being able to discontinue or reduce their anti-anxiety medication after treatment and at 6-month follow-up.

On all criteria, the 2 groups showed significant improvement after treatment compared with their baseline scores. Dr. Choi documented no significant differences between the 2 groups, either immediately after or at the 6-month follow-up assessment. These findings led him to conclude that the 4 sessions of experiential cognitive therapy were similarly efficacious to the 12 sessions of traditional treatment.

"This study might be the first pilot study to apply short-term cognitive-behavior therapy, in combination with virtual reality exposure, to the treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia," Dr. Choi said. "I recommend this therapy for patients who have this combination of symptoms."


[Study title: The Development And The Effects Of Experiential Cognitive Therapy For The Treatment Of Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia. Abstract NR813]


Americans with major depression don't get adequate treatment 

From USA Today
Only about one in five Americans with major depression are getting effective treatment, although most can be successfully treated, according to new studies in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

The illness strikes about 34 million in the USA at some time in their lives, suggests a recent survey of more than 9,000 Americans, and the average person with depression can't work or do normal activities for five weeks in a year, says study leader Ronald Kessler of Harvard Medical School in Boston. ''That figure was a great surprise,'' he says. It compares with about 15 days out of commission for people with diabetes or hypertension.

Employed adults with major depression lose about eight hours of productivity a week on the job, says a study led by Walter Stewart of AdvancePCS Center for Work and Health, a Hunt Valley, Md., pharmacy benefits manager.


Depressed adults often come to work but can't concentrate, work slowly or are fatigued, Stewart says. Depression costs U.S. employers about $31 billion a year in productivity, and that doesn't include disability-leave payments, he says.


Stigma prevents some from getting help, says Thomas Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). But even if they're willing, access is still a big stumbling block, with poor and rural residents often least able to get good mental health care. Even working adults may have very limited insurance coverage.


The new evidence ''confirms there's no scientific justification for treating mental disorders any differently than physical disorders,'' so insurance coverage should be comparable, Insel says.


In Kessler's study, about one in five depressed adults were getting effective treatment. Half of all the depressed were treated by general practitioners, but research has found such doctors often know little about treating depression. ''Some are not allowed to refer to mental health experts, others need to jump through lots of hoops to refer,'' Kessler says. ''There may be no incentive for them to treat depressed patients, or financial disincentives.''


More than half of employers with at least 1,000 workers now use specialized firms that handle care of mental disorders on a contract basis. Quality of care tends to be better, but about three-fourths of employees work at smaller firms, Stewart says.


These mental health contractors can be more expensive than an integrated system with general doctors trained to screen depressed patients for referral to specialists, Kessler says.


Nearly 30,000 Americans killed themselves last year, almost twice the number of homicides, Insel says. ''Depression is not a small public health problem . . . and only 21% are getting adequate care? I don't think that's acceptable. We wouldn't accept it for diabetes or hypertension, and we shouldn't accept it for depression.''


Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders 

Complete article can be found here.
Money quote:
"...it is important to remember that some anxiety is not only a part of everyday life, but can even be useful. If anxiety is interfering with your life, however, try some of the suggestions mentioned, and do not hesitate to seek help from a qualified mental health professional. Always remember: anxiety symptoms are treatable."

Help save Agoraphobic Pundit! 

Blogger has got to go. Too many people are logging on and unable to read all of the posts. I am unemployed, and have much to say about anxiety/phobias, but this blogger thing is driving my readers and myself far more nuts than we already are :). Please donate whatever you, even a buck or two will help me get to a new site with good software!
Thank you! Remember this site is ALWAYS free, and you are under absolutely no obligation to contribute, but if you enjoy what you read here, and wish me to keep it up in an easier to read format, the tip jar "make a donation" is on the top right.
Thanks,
Mark

Tuesday, June 17

From the NAMI Website
What's happening?

Imagine you've just stepped into an elevator and suddenly your heart races, your chest aches, you break out in a cold sweat and feel as if the elevator is about to crash to the ground. What's happening?
Imagine you are driving home from the grocery store and suddenly things seem to be out of control. You feel hot flashes, things around you blur, you can't tell where you are, and you feel as if you're dying. What's happening?
What's happening is a panic attack, an uncontrollable panic response to ordinary, nonthreatening situations. Panic attacks are often an indication that a person has panic disorder.

What is panic disorder?

A person who experiences four or more panic attacks in a four-week period is said to have panic disorder. Panic disorder may also be indicated if a person experiences fewer than four panic episodes but has recurrent or constant fears of having another panic attack.

Doctors often try to rule out every other possible alternative before diagnosing panic disorder. To be diagnosed as having panic disorder, a person must experience at least four of the following symptoms during a panic attack: sweating; hot or cold flashes; choking or smothering sensations; racing heart; labored breathing; trembling; chest pains; faintness; numbness; nausea; disorientation; or feelings of dying, losing control, or losing one's mind.

Panic attacks can occur in anyone. Chemical or hormonal imbalances, drugs or alcohol, stress, or other situational events can cause panic attacks, which are often mistaken for heart attacks, heart disease, or respiratory problems.

What are phobias?

Phobias are irrational, involuntary, and inappropriate fears of (or responses to) ordinary situations or things. People who have phobias can experience panic attacks when confronted with the situation or object about which they feel phobic. A category of symptoms called phobic disorder falls within the broader field of anxiety disorders.

Phobias are divided into three types:


Specific (simple) phobia: an unreasonable fear of specific circumstances or objects, such as traffic jams or snakes.
Social phobia: extreme fear of looking foolish or stupid or unacceptable in public that causes people to avoid public occasions or areas.

Agoraphobia: an intense fear of feeling trapped in a situation, especially in public places, combined with an overwhelming fear of having a panic attack in unfamiliar surroundings. This word means, literally (in Greek), "fear of the marketplace."

Phobias are usually chronic (long-term), distressing disorders that keep people from ordinary activities and places. They can lead to other serious problems, such as depression. In fact, at least half of those who suffer with phobias and panic disorders also have depression. Alcoholism, loss of productivity, secretiveness, and feelings of shame and low self-esteem also occur wit this illness. Some people are unable to go anywhere or do anything outside their homes without the help of others they trust.

What does it mean to "fear the fear"?

Many people with phobias or panic disorder "fear the fear," or worry about when the next attack is coming. The fear of more panic attacks can lead to a very limited life. People who have panic attacks often begin to avoid the things they think triggered the panic attack and then stop doing the things they used to do or the places they used to go.

Am I the only one?

It is estimated that 2 percent to 5 percent of Americans have panic disorder, so you are not alone if you, too have these symptoms. Usually panic disorder first strikes people in their early twenties. Severe stress, such as the death of a loved one, can bring on panic attacks.

A 1986 study by the National Institute of Mental Health showed that 5.1 percent to 12.5 percent of people surveyed had experienced phobias in the past six months. The study estimated that 24 million Americans will experience some phobias in their lifetimes.

Phobias are the leading psychiatric disorders among women of all ages. One survey showed that 4.9 percent of women and 1.8 percent of men have panic disorder, agoraphobia, or any other phobias.

What causes panic disorder?

No one really knows what causes panic disorder, but several ideas are being researched. Panic disorder seems to run in families, which suggests that it has at least some genetic basis. Some theories suggest that panic disorder is part of a more generalized anxiety in the people who have panic attacks or that severe separation anxiety can develop into panic disorder or phobias, most often agoraphobia.

Biological theories point to possible physical defects in a person's autonomic (or automatic) nervous system. General hypersensitivity in the nervous system, increased arousal, or a sudden chemical imbalance can trigger panic attacks. Caffeine, alcohol, and several other agents can also trigger these symptoms.

Researchers have found that sodium lactate, when injected into the bloodstream of some people who are predisposed to panic attacks, will induce such attacks. This suggests that people who experience panic attacks may have trouble metabolizing lactate, a substance usually produced by muscles during exercise.

Is panic disorder treatable?

Recovery from panic disorder appears to be most successful when a combination of treatments is used in fighting the disorder. Most often, medication is used to block panic attacks, and when it is used in combination with cognitive or behavioral therapy, it allows people to overcome their fears and return to normal, functional living.

On the other hand, even though 75 percent to 90 percent of the people treated have significant improvement, only about one-fourth of those who have this disorder ever seek appropriate treatment.

Cognitive therapy is used to help people think and behave appropriately. Patients learn to make the feared object or situation less threatening as they are exposed to, and slowly get used to, whatever is so frightening to them. Family members and friends help a great deal in this process when they are supportive and encouraging

Medication is most effective when it is used as part of an overall treatment plan that includes supportive therapy. Antidepressants and antianxiety medications are the most successful medications for this disorder, although beta blockers, which limit neuron activity in the brain, are helpful with social phobias. Ask your doctor about these medications or others that may help you. .

Healthy living habits may also help people overcome panic disorder. Exercise, a proper and balanced diet, moderate use of caffeine and alcohol, and learning how to reduce stress are all important.

Peer support is a vital part of overcoming panic disorder. Family and friends can play a significant role in the treatment process and should be informed of the treatment plan and of the ways they can be most helpful.

Resources

Anxiety Disorders Association of America
11900 Parklawn Drive, Suite 100, Rockville, MD 20852
phone: 301/231-9350
Web site: adaa.org

American Psychiatric Association
1400 K Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20005
phone: 202/ 682-6000
Web site: www.psych.org/public_info/panic.cfm

National Institute of Mental Health
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663 Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
phone: 301/443-4513
email: nimhinfo@nih.gov
Web site: www.nimh.nih.gov/anxiety/anxiety/panic/index.htm

National Mental Health Association
1021 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2971
phone: 703/684-7722
Web site: www.nmha.org/pbedu/anxiety/panic.cfm

Monday, June 16

Self Esteem Overrated
Daily Policy Digest

Social Issues / Health Issues

Friday, June 13, 2003

The claims made for high-self esteem by teachers, parents and psychotherapists aren't borne out by research, according to a new review of the scientific literature by Florida State University researchers.

Among their findings in the May issue of "Psychological Science in the Public Interest":


Individuals' high self-esteem, whether present from early childhood or induced by education programs, generally doesn't lead to improved school or job performance.
Those with high self-esteem on self-ratings aren't more likely to have satisfying relationships, assume leadership positions or avoid depression.
Nor does it prevent children and teen-agers from using tobacco, alcohol or other drugs, having sex or behaving violently.
Schoolyard bullies, as well as those who stand up to them, frequently report high self esteem.
Academic and job successes do often boost self-esteem, say the researchers.

Source: Bruce Bower, "Findings Puncture Self-Esteem Claims," Of Note, Science News, June 7, 2003.

For more on Health Issues
http://www.ncpa.org/iss/soc/

For those who wish to comment: please e-mail me at: the1markman-at-yahoo-com . Sorry to have to post it that way, but it seems to keep auto-surfing e-mail address programs from finding me.
Do yourself a favor
Avoid anything posted on about.com as far as anxiety/panic goes. They are poorly written, and fairly condescending. Sort of like reading Maureen Dowd since she quit her medication. The advice is mostly recycled crap, and the links don't work half the time.
Just a friendly warning from your neighborhood agoraphobic.
Question of the day
How does an Agoraphobic ever get to tell their story to Congress. I mean, lots of people seem to testify on the need for Mental Health Care, but since I am afraid to leave my house, do you think Congress could come by to listen? Maybe a corporate sponsor would help. Then they could call it a junket.
Mental Health Assessment
(Recommended for all Democrats, Peace Activists, French and Germans, Canadians and anyone who honestly believe Hilary Clinton)
Test Overview


Mental health assessment is a series of tests and observations that a health professional uses to evaluate your behavior. Mental health assessment may include a physical exam, a psychiatric interview, laboratory tests (such as blood and urine tests), and specific mental health assessment tests.

During a mental health assessment, a health professional will evaluate your:

Appearance and behavior.
Mood (affect).
Memory and thinking (cognition). This includes attention, concentration, level of consciousness, comprehension, and your ability to understand abstract ideas.
Thought processes and content. The health professional will evaluate your awareness of your surroundings (this is called orientation) and will determine whether you have an accurate understanding of time, place (where you are), and person (who you are). You will be asked whether you have had any suicidal thoughts, thoughts of hurting others, or strange and unreal thoughts (psychotic thoughts) or experiences, like hearing voices others don't hear or seeing things others don't see.
Ability to express yourself, by assessing your body posture, eye contact, and verbal expression.
Physical functioning, by evaluating areas such as sleep, appetite, or physical symptoms.
Insight and judgment.
Relationships. The health professional will evaluate your ability to relate to others and will assess the status of the your present relationships.

Read the whole thing here

Scientists Say They ID Depression Gene

Via The Washington Post
"Scientists say they've identified a flawed gene that appears to promote manic-depression, or bipolar disorder, a finding that could eventually help guide scientists to new treatments.

A particular variant of the gene was associated with only about 3 percent of cases in a study, but researchers said other variants might be involved with more."
As InstaPundit might say: read the whole thing.




Sunday, June 15

Today is Father's day, and I must call my dad. I have not told him about my latest suicide attempt, and don't intend to. It is difficult to lie to my father, but he is in his seventies and does not need this, now. I wish when I am feeling suicidal that I could speak with him first, but he does not quite understand. Please don't get me wrong, my father is the nicest man in the world. Everyone who meets him instantly calls him "dad." I hate keeping this from him, but every time I have tried suicide, he cries, and it breaks his heart. I cannot keep doing this to him, but sometimes I cannot keep from doing this to myself. I have a very serious mental disease, and it scares me almost as much as crowds do. I will call him, of course, and we will talk about sports as we always do. You see, in 1986, I made third-team Parade All-American as a running back. My father keeps the paper in a framed copy in the living room, and everyone who visits is treated to my "trophy room." My father has all of my black belts, my trophies, my poetry awrds, my NAIA strikeout record award (which has since been broken, I'm sad to say) and various other awards I received. He just does not understand why I want to die. I've tried to explain, but can never do so without breaking into tears myself. My father loves me deeply, and never judges me, but I feel that I let him down. It is not through his actions that I feel this way, it is only through my own disease that these feelings dominate.
So, it will be a hard day for me, please wish me luck.
Update on BBQ Grill
Couldn't go. Got dressed, made myself presentable, and the long suffering AgoraWife had to go by herself. I am so tired of being afraid.
BE VERY AFRAID
"The Nashville Tennessean writes about the latest developments in the movement to draft Al Gore back into the presidential race. LINK

" … a rally to draft Gore is scheduled in Nashville tomorrow. Organizer Jim Tate of West Virginia has set high expectations, saying 8,000 to 9,000 people from across the country may attend."

"Organizers of the Gore rally think they have enough support to elect delegates to the Democratic National Convention to block the nomination of any of the nine contenders."

"The Gore rally will be at noon tomorrow at the Bicentennial Capitol Mall amphitheater."
From ABC's The Note Blog


Saturday, June 14

New Link Added
Check out this page by Ruth Ann, lots of good stuff here.
Venturing Out Today
The AgoraWife and I must have a BBQ grill. I'm originally from Texas, and BBQ is required as a manly duty. Unfortunately, my new home in Scranton, Pennsylvania has exactly ONE Wal-Mart, where the sale is going on. That place is packed, always. I think a XANAX and a hand to hold should help (hopefully), and I will share one of my world-famous Texas BBQ recipes later. Wish me luck, gang!
From Grohol.com (Recommended Reading)
"Enpsychlopedia.com offers a searchable interface to Psych Central, as well as about a dozen other mental health and psychology Web sites, offering a subject-specific guide to 40,000 psychology and mental health resources online."
Prescription Drug Hell
Please read this. Be afraid.

Friday, June 13

Ben Wondring
Lots of atttention paid to seniors with prescriprion problems, but those of us that APPEAR normal, yet, have no chance for Medicaid? I am thirty-five years old, six-foot even, 225 pounds. Basically, I look like an NFL safety with out the the skin color.
Had several offfers from major colleges before my knee blew out, and now I am a boring blogger. Should I not get some compenstaion for being physically superior to my peers at my age group? Just wondering. Fate Sucks, ya'know.
Agoraphobia, Markman Style
I have been perusing many websites and articles regarding agoraphobia, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, depression and many other mental health issues in order to develop and fill this weblog with pertinent information.
One of the statements that was given as encouragement at the ENcourage Community (link to the right, highly recommended) was that I should continue blogging as this person was interested in reading about my reaction to my sickness.
Well, here is a typical day at the AgoraphobicPundit household:
Generally I awake when my wife does, around 6:00 a.m., no matter how long I may have been up the night before. I do this for two reasons.
1) It gives me a chance to run downstairs and see if I left a mess at my desk ( a major no-no! )
2) So that I can let the dog out and start her coffee.
Then, I check my e-mail and delete about 60-70 spam messages, saving the rest to peruse during the day.
My wife will come downstairs, make her lunch (I'm not allowed anymore after one unfortunate incident that we will NOT be getting into), grab her coffee, kiss me good-bye and leave.
After she leaves, I am alone until around 5:00 P.M., filling my day writing silly crap like this, maybe working on a new poem (for samples go here) and basically surfing the web.
This is life for an Agoraphobic.
I sincerely hope that most of you never get this bad.
If I have a doctor's appointment, I make sure and take an Ativan at least twenty minutes prior to getting into my car. I have an arrangement with my doctor. Her office is in a refurbished home, and one of her examination rooms is in the back room with a door that leads to a small patio. Her assistant will have the door unlocked and ready, and I will wait there instead of her waiting room.
Most of my psychiatric sessions take place over the phone, or my therapist will come here. Under no circumstances will I go to a mall, a grocery store, a movie theatre or other potentially crowded place.
In general, life sucks this way, but I am receiving treatment.
I will continue to fill my days posting info that I hope you find interesting, so please continue to visit often, and the information helps or your just in the mood, the tip jar is on the right ;).
Thank you,
The AgoraphobicPundit

Thursday, June 12

Sorry, meant to say hit the dates UNDER the archives header to see the rest of the posts.
Sorry..
for the light posting. I am still getting used to this XANAX stuff, and you would not believe how incredibly boring it is to wade through Guv'mint documents to report on. I have to have my nappy times. As I get used to this, blogging will be much more frequent.
Also,
Sometimes Blogger only shows like the last two or three posts I have put up. If this happens, hit the "Archives" button on the left side, and the other posts should appear.
Fabulous Article On Panic (required reading newbies!)
Panic Page
Facts about Social Phobia, from the NIMH
Link Here:
Phobia Facts
Great Place To Go For Support!
If you suffer from anxiety/panic disorders, may I suggest this site:
ENcourage Community
I just found it a couple of days age, and love it! Everyone there is a fantastic individual in their own right, and no one will judge you.
Ok, This is wrong
Look folks, I have attempted suicide six times. I have been to many treatment centers, many hospitals, and too many so-called counselors to count, but I would NEVER advocate this:
www.s-u-i-c-i-d-e.com
That link will take you to an excellent article in today's National Review Online. I suggest you read it, simply so that you can see some of the forces arrayed against those of us who have difficulty with everyday existence.
Welcome to all from the ENcourage community! I hope you will visit often, as I plan to post an topics of anxiety/depression/phobias and the like on a mostly daily basis.
See you soon!

Tuesday, June 10

I have decided to hate Blogger. I posted seventeen posts today, and at least one was interesting.

Monday, June 9

For the two or three people who have browsed this blog, please remember, as soon as I get used to my medication, I will actually be writing about stuff that matters. (My own impending death notwithstanding) Please visit often, as at one time or another I amy have something important to you to say.
Returned from Doc. She says that I may have damaged my heart in my last suicide attempt. I asked her, "But I'm a Conservative, my heart is very small." Unfortunately, being from India, she did not get the joke. "Has another doctor told you that your heart was undesized?," she began, "Why did you not tell me this before?"
"Um, sorry, Doc, that was a joke."
"What kind of joke is that," she countered, " When my job is to assess your physical condition?"
"A poor one," I countered.
"You may have a poor heart, a defective heart, a diseased heart, but you never, EVER have a funny heart when we are speaking of your heart!"
OK

Going to see my Primary Care Physician in abou half an hour. Have to start gaining data for SSDI. I hope I can stand it. The Agora[hobic Wife (long-suffering) would be able to provide reams of testimony, but unfortunately is more afraid that I will never work again.
This is always a tough question. As a staunch conservative, I believe in smaller (nearly non-existent) Federal guv'mint. However, my prospects are limited in the short term, and I have to apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. This pains and embarrasses me greatly. Feedback would be appreciated on how I can justify this in my own mind. I know that I have paid into the system much more than I will get back, but I still consider it a form of charity. Anyone with suggestions please e-mail realmarkman@yahoo.com but make sure that your subject line does not look like a scam line. Please use the subject line: Mark, Big Government Answer and I promise you will not be automatically deleted.

Sunday, June 8

Oh, by the way, I can also help with research on many topics. Like I said, I have a LOT of time on my hands (ass?
)
One more thing this early A.M. I will be posting a tip jar, as my medications are out of reach for my new unemployed budget. I will gladly help anyone with a desire to have a new poem to present to their loved one, and am quite good at it. Please e-mail me at majr1@adelphia.net for a quote. I am developing a questionaire to make them personal, and will never ask for more than twenty bucks for an original poem that you will immediately be given copyrights to. I hope you understand, but being unable to go further than the street in front of my home (about twenty feet) does not bode well for my employment prospects. For samples of my poetry, please go to http://leavesofchange.com and click on inspirational topics.
So, I was thinking (heavy emphasisi on was), which is always dangerous to a man like me, about the disparities found in the major news media. As an agoraphobic, I spend an inordinate amount of time between the Internet and all-news cable channels. I have lost interest in most movies by the way, as my limited intelligence does not need to recede further. I found an interesting factoid published by FNC. 18% of their viewership identifies themselves as liberal, while 16% say they are conservative.
Ummm, isn't FNC part of the VRWC? I know that Shep Smith is on there, along with the insufferable Alan Colmes, and the barely watchable Greta Van Susteran, but a majority of politically identifiable folk are liberal?Amazing, and quite reasonable when you think about it. My few liberal friends are unfortunately Northeastern college educated, but I am making inroads with them. Is this the same as what FOX has done? I sure hope so.
For those unlucky few who have read my last few ( and first few) posts, please stay tuned. I DO have a degree in Journalism (why, I don't know, have never used it) and a degree in English Lit. (never used it either). I promise that the posts will be more frequent and much more interesting, as soon as I get used to this XANAX crap.
Wll,
I managed to qualify for unemployment. Next step, the Social Security Administration!

Saturday, June 7

Diversity joke of the weekend
I knew a man who ran a successful small business in North Carolina. Had a couple hundred, well-paid, happy employees.
One day, a man in a smart suit barged into his office, flashed a badge and demanded to know how many of my friend's employees were black.
"Due to Federal quota laws," began the badge man, " you MUST have at least 35 black men working here."
"Just a moment," my friend answered, as he punched the secretary extension on his phone.
"Mabel, how many blacks are working here?," he asked.
"Please wait a moment, sir, I will check," came the discombobulated voice.
My friend stared directly into the eyes of the Federal agent as he patiently awaited the answer.
"Sir,"Mabel responded, "According to our records, there are 40 blacks currently employed here."
Never taking his eyes from the Fed, my friend responded, " Fire five of them."

Wednesday, June 4

Just got off the phone with my Primary Doctor's receptionist. I need a referral to see a new psychiatrist, according to the rules of my HMO. I told her I needed to be seen immediately, as I tried to commit suicide three weeks ago (which required a CareFlight), and was having suicidal thoughts.
Her response? June 18th, 8 A.M.
I love the help available these days.
I am still learning blogger.
Please forgive multiple posts.

POWER MUSE
Wilt thou view Landscapes,
or Escapes?
Wilt Thou see Designs,
or Timelines?
Wilt Thou gauge the Tide,
or feel Pride?
Wilt Thou gaze Long,
or mime Strong?
Wilt Thou look Deep,
or seek Sleep?
Wilt Thou Believe,
or perceive?

(photo)
I wonder, sometimes, and I hope I am not alone; Is it so important to know what is going on, when you have to rely on others?
What I mean is, why is my own knowledge insufficient, given that I pay attention to others?
Does anyone else feel this way?
Well I tried it. The E-MODE IQ test. It gave me a 126 and proclaimed me a VISIONARY PHILOSPHER (complete with artist rendition of Plato). I wonder how I went from an I.Q. of 164 when I was twenty, to an I.Q. of 126? I guess it is true , the more you know, the less you know. Of course, it may have to do with Xanax. That is it. I am shredding my MENSA card.

Tuesday, June 3

Welcome to the first post of the AgoraphobicPundit! As I travail through the Social Security system for disability, I will keep you updated. Mostly, though, I will blog on current events and outright silly shit!

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