I apologize for the visual mess around here. This blog is being repurposed, and is under all kinds of construction. It won’t look this way for much longer. I took down all my old posts, because they just aren’t relevant to the reinvention.

So why write at all if things aren’t quite ready around here? Well, it’s just Time. And this is lengthy, but it comes around full circle, there is a point, and I think you’ll like it. So hang out with me for awhile, why don’t you?

Here’s a little Table of Contents for the Impatient: (Also so you don’t have to read further than you want to.)

1. Amanda Palmer and Twitter

2. Suicide: Some Answers

3. What I Do

4. Neurofeedback

5. Brian Tyler

6. Thor 2

7. Tom Hiddleston

8. Allie Esiri: The Love Book

9. Tom Hiddleston Again

10. Good

Last night, while I was taking a break from Continuing Education Credits, (I know, what an Awesome Friday night,) I decided to check on Twitter. Like you do.

And I saw this tweet from musician Amanda Palmer (also married to author Neil Gaiman,) that a friend of hers had committed suicide. My heart just sank. It was the Third death I heard about yesterday, in less than 6 hours, although this one was admittedly not delivered in person. It was the second suicide I’d heard about in a week. And I thought-I’m going to be in my office until at least 2:00 am working…and I’ll be up until 4:00 am, because I always am. So I tweeted, ” I am a therapist, and if ANY of you need ANYTHING-I am available until 4am MST. DM (Direct Message) me if so. My heart goes out.” Because honestly, what good is it to be a therapist if you won’t help, or extend yourself when you can? Of course you’ve got to have good boundaries, but I had time.

I genuinely thought that tweet would go ignored. I’ve been Actually Using my Twitter account for oh…about 2 months, and in most cases, tweeting a celebrity is pretty much pointless. However, on some occasions, it does have merit, and I’ve been lucky and blessed in the social networking experience I’ve had so far. Because I’ve gotten some pretty amazing responses, and I’ve connected with people I never imagined I would. And this instance was surprising.

Amanda Palmer retweeted that comment, and people responded to it. Some people said “thank you”, about that comment, some people said they were glad it reminded them there is “kindness” in the world, and my response to that was heartfelt. “Thank you for kind words. If we don’t extend kindess to one another, we are nowhere.” That generated more response. Again, surprising, but good. Ultimately, I connected with some amazing people last night, and continue to do so, which is wonderful, because ultimately it’s not about me, but about a message I want to share, and I want as many people as possible to know about it.

Then a sad thing happened. Someone tweeted, to me, and to Amanda too,”I wish I were dead.” I thought, “I hope this is someone who wants some help.” They actually retreated fairly quickly at the offer of help. This isn’t really that surprising. It’s scary to Try Again and Have That Fail. I hope they will be safe. They said they would be. But I don’t know. I might not ever. Again, my heart goes out. I deleted the conversation that went back and forth, because that person might not want those things public if they are ever feeling better.

So, part of what goes through everyone’s mind when someone attempts or completes suicide, is, “Why didn’t they get help?” “Why didn’t help do more?” “Why didn’t I know?” “Why?” I have some answers for that, and they are the truth.

When someone is that depressed, whether it’s been for a brief time or a long time, they really and truly do feel completely hopeless about their situation. They are literally to a point where even talking about it seems pretty pointless-they can’t see any options, and they’ve been puzzling it out for a while, in most cases. Why would someone else have an answer they missed?

The truth is that someone else may not have an answer, per se. What they have is a map to help them out of The Dark Woods. And the person’s ability to take that map and Do Something with it is ultimately up to them, but they may not be able to do that without help.

Some people say, “Suicide is a selfish choice.” What you need to know is that the person who is contemplating or completed suicide has already thought of that. And they are so miserable, they perceive that it would be LESS selfish of them to be burdening the world with their presence. They essentially feel they are a poisoned well with no chance for redemption and no hope of help, and so they take the only path they REALLY AND TRULY SEE, which is to LEAVE THE WORLD. Tunnel vision in one of it’s most extreme forms. It’s completely erroneous, but it seems very real and accurate to the person ready to die.

And here we get into an ethical issue. It used to be illegal to attempt suicide. “Self murder” it was called in England, I believe. If you survived your attempt, you got to go to jail. Hooray, right? I’m sure That made people feel SO much better.

Now, if you survive your attempt, or someone intervenes, you go to the hospital. I’ve heard it argued many times from suicidal patients, “It’s my life. I should be able to take it.” There’s a tricky thing called “the client’s right to self-determination.” It means they DO have the right to choose. But should they have the right to harm themselves? Some people say yes, some people say no.

Ultimately, I believe the brain is so diseased from depression at the point of suicidal ideation that Major intervention to save a life is warranted, ethical and moral. I haven’t yet met a suicide survivor who wasn’t grateful for the help, after we fixed the serotonin problem and did some psychotherapy to help manage thinking errors, and get coping skills functioning again.

You need to know that when the brain gets sick with Depression, it’s the same as when a heart goes bad, or a lung, or anything else. So medical and mental health intervention is appropriate. It’s just that the brain is so often invisible to us-it’s hard to understand the thoughts. I hope that helps you understand. For more information on Suicide and Suicide Prevention, visit http://www.afsp.org/out-of-the-darkness-walks and http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

I’m a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. That means I’m a psychotherapist that specializes in a lot of different things, and I try to give my clients the therapy that is right for THEM, not whatever therapy I happen to like best. One of the therapies I offer in my private practice is neurofeedback. It makes the brain visible by showing us what types of brainwaves people are producing. I can see what’s happening in the brains of my ADHD patients. I can see what’s going on with someone who is depressed, or anxious, or suffering from trauma or brain injury. And I have the technology and apps to help repair all of that. Once you are focused on a neurofeedback exercise for attention or relaxation, and you get at least a good 20 minutes of that, you get a process going called “neuroplasticity.” It essentially means the brain is opening up new neural pathways, has learned from the experience-and the brain starts to heal itself. Yes. Heals. Itself.

About 2 and a half months ago, I saw Thor 2: The Dark World, and I was utterly enchanted by the soundtrack. I bought it immediately. I don’t remember the last time I did that with a movie soundtrack. I just couldn’t stop listening. Still can’t.

It led to a happy accidental discovery for me and my clients. I was doing some neurofeedback with a young man with ADHD, and we had the Thor 2: The Dark World soundtrack going in the background, because a.)Like I said, I was enchanted, and b.) he needed something positive going to help him focus despite noise. Was NOT  expecting brainwaves to synch up in time to the music.  We were able to observe that effect due to the monitoring program we were using. It’s pretty awesome-you can check it out here, although this is not my client, this is a volunteer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LsKVir0s8Q

And it was so cool, I did it again, this time to show what happens with meditation and music. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5k2CZFUKvqs

And I tweeted the composer, Brian Tyler about it, because I wanted him to see it, and I wanted permission to use the music, and he said, “I have never seen my music represented visually in such an amazing way.” He gave permission to use the tracks-just link to iTunes. I can’t really say “thank you” enough to him for that.  I had to go learn more about him and his music. Honestly-he is amazing. He is funny, he is kind, he is incredibly talented, and he is a genius. Go watch the video for “Brake”. You’ll get the idea. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aySmGUxq-qo I say somewhere on one of his videos that discovering his music is like seeing a beautiful lake…then you dip your toes in…and you go, “Ah…lovely”…then you keep walking, until before you know it, you are totally immersed, utterly bathed in the gorgeousness of the sound. I’m still walking around under the water of this music. It’s not a perfect metaphor. Shut up. 😉

Brian’s music has been nominated for 3 Oscars this year, and one of the Oscars is for Thor 2. The others are for Iron Man 3 and Now You See Me.

I’ve got to say, out of  Thor, The Avengers, and Thor 2, Thor 2 as a movie came out on top for me. Soundtrack had A LOT to do with that. I listen to it and my brain enters the kind of transcendental state monks hang out in when they are meditating on mountains. Bliss.  I’m not saying it was a better movie than The Avengers. I’m saying it had a more personal resonance for me. The music inspired me to want to do something big. Have an adventure.

Something else hopped out at me besides music-and really, it was even evident to me in the previews for the movie-the performance by Tom Hiddleston-who plays Loki. Truly, I’ve gone back and rewatched everything-his performance in all the movies is outstanding. But I was touched by the development and portrayal of his character in Thor 2. I was Leveled by what I felt was a damn near Shakespearean delivery of Loki while he is imprisoned. He pulled off a bad guy we love to hate, and managed to make him a functional oxymoron-wickedly funny, cruel but compassionate, fragile yet strong; ultimately-Human, although Loki himself would spit on the notion.

So as I watched Thor 2,  I had a lot of thoughts at the same time-you know how that goes when you’re in the middle of idea creation and flow.

One was, “I think I originally subconsciously chalked this character up to ‘one of the bad guys and let’s leave it at that’ because he’s essentially every bad guy I dated in my 20’s. If he and Jack Sparrow mated, that would be…all of them. Ew. They even look alike. Sheesh. Only fun on screen and in stories. Note to self-no more self analysis needs to be done on this issue.”

Another was, “Holy God, who IS this guy? I need to watch everything he’s ever been in. I haven’t seen acting like this…EVER. Well…maybe Sir Patrick Stewart. And Ian McKellan. But. Wow. This man is in his own category.”

Another was, “I need to start using Loki as a character in Narrative Therapy in addition to Coyote. Who doesn’t have a Trickster in their life?”

Yet another thought was, “I wonder if this guy has recorded audiobooks, because what a wonderful voice.”

(Yes, I know ALL this is blasphemy Hiddlestoners, and HiddlesLoons. I didn’t know Tom’s name then. I fixed that, ok?) =D

So off I went to find out  more about Tom Hiddleston. Audiobooks-yes. Available to me in the US? No. Damn you Audible.

I did find out about a very lovely audio project Tom continues to be involved in called The Love Book. You may have heard of it-it’s not tiny. 10% of the proceeds go to charity, and it’s a number one selling app in several countries. If you haven’t heard of it, get familiar, because it’s just wonderful. It’s the brainchild of Allie Esiri, who is a genius for putting it together the way she did. Celebrities with gorgeous voices reading you love poetry. Also, it’s interactive. You can write your own poetry, and record your own as well. Nothing short of awesome. I started using it in conjunction with neurofeedback, and have gotten some very positive results. Different from music, but no less amazing.

Back to Tom Hiddleston. Any Hiddles fan who made it this far without collapsing in frustration, I applaud you. Delayed Gratification, ok? 😉

I really expected to find nothing more about Tom than the usual when I went looking-filmography, maybe some factoids, and I DID find that. But I kept finding more. And more. And more. Thanks internet.

And the More I found…was him being involved in charity work, and not just a little bit. A Lot. See UNICEF. And him being interviewed, and not being remotely snide, or self-serving, but honest, and funny, and erudite, and generous of his time and energy, gracious to fans, a lover of Shakespeare (which explains a lot), and very humble without being totally self-effacing, and he is also a fantastic dancer. (I mean, seriously, I get a huge kick out of watching him “destroy” things via awesomeness while dancing. A chair falls. A mic falls. It’s possible inanimate objects are bowing down. It’s pretty much that good.)

He hangs out with Muppets. Teaches the Cookie Monster about Delayed Gratification.

He seems to be slightly bewildered and flattered about all the attention he gets from fans, and about being a sex symbol. That kind of makes me a little bit ill, because it means he gets objectified, and he doesn’t deserve that in a negative way…so hopefully that stays largely positive. Because…I accidentally stumbled across some pretty freaky fan fiction, just by Googling “Tom Hiddleston Fans” and went, “Tom must never ever Google himself.” Found out he doesn’t. Add Wise to the list.

NONE of this will be news to anyone that is a long-term or serious fan of Tom, but it’s recent for me. So here’s the thing-in this blaze of research, I thought, “I don’t think I am any longer looking at an Extraordinary Actor. I think I’m looking at an Extraordinary Person. He’s using his position to DO GOOD THINGS in the world. WAY above and beyond. Not just because it’s good for his career. Because I think he really means it. This man…has inspired me. I can do more. I will do more.” So I Am.

What started out as a fun side project to show what’s good about neurofeedback+music, and the healing effect it has on the brain has turned into my desire to tell people about what’s Good in the World. So what’s going to happen in future vids is some love for The Love Book, showing what happens to the brain when listening to it. It’s amazing.

Then we’re going to look at what happens to the brain on a crush. You want to see why you a crush is actually good for you, and what it’s all about, besides the obvious things? Got that coming up. What does the brain look like while listening to music+what I hope is a good slideshow of Tom Hiddleston’s  face+crush? Pretty beautiful, actually. He was the volunteer’s crush choice. You will totally be able to justify your crush of just about anyone, including Tom after this. =D

After that, we will be done, for the time being, with THORapy, (which I thought was dead clever of me until I saw that Tom and Chris Hemsworth already came up with that term.) We will move on to video games+musical score+neurofeedback.

We will talk about abuse and trauma and what it does to the brain and how you can heal from it.

We will talk about traumatic brain injury and how neurofeedback can help heal it.

We’ll talk about how art and media mix into therapy, and really, ultimately, all about what is GOOD in the world. I’m ready for a little Good News and Kindness, and Applauding that. Maybe you are too.

I hope you found what you came here for today-and maybe more. Right now, this project is small, but everything starts small, and becomes something else. You’re here at the beginning.

Be good, be kind. Do it despite the world.

PS: I think it should be noted there are A LOT of people that inspire me. Brian Tyler, Allie Esiri, and Tom Hiddleston just happened to be the perfect storm. Right place, right people, right time. Right everything. Sometimes it’s just that way. I’m glad of it.