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Friday, September 28, 2012

What is your Kryptonite?




The Disney Channel has a music video of two young ladies singing a song of how “Fashion is My Kryptonite”.  This catchy tune talks about their love of fashion and shows these young ladies strutting their stuff on a runway in what appears to be “Wonderland”.  It is interesting that they chose an implicit “Wonderland” theme for a song that references “kryptonite” which is Superman’s weakness. I will leave that for another discussion, maybe an e-mail to the creative team but I digress…I thought about fashion being a “kryptonite”, a source of uncontrollable weakness that is so overwhelming that one must succumb to its’ power. In essence, what the song is saying is that fashion is a source of weakness that these young ladies willingly succumb to because it essentially provides them with a sense of power. This power is demonstrated as they confidently walk the runway in their video.

Many can relate to the willingness to succumb to an uncontrollable weakness because of the impact on emotional responses that it generates. The song talks about fashion however there are other forms of “kryptonite” in our lives that motivates our actions and directs our lives in positive or negative ways.  Our emotions are multidimensional that causes us to feel and react in various ways.  They can be biological reactions to situations or a representation of a purpose.  Emotions can express a motivational desire to commit an act that is outside of one's character.  They can also be a social demonstration that communicates socially identifiable facial, body, or vocal expressions. 

The song and video exemplifies how fashion can elicit certain emotions from those who are driven by it.  The young ladies are going to a party where they desire to represent themselves in a certain way so they are at odds with what they should wear.  They are driven by the desire to look their best.  When they try on various fashion styles and are out of their ordinary realm of influence, they begin to get into character by walking the runway demonstrating the confidence of a supermodel. Their facial and body expressions mirror the models on the runway and they are presenting a confident attitude through their vocal expressions.  

The young ladies are participating in an external experience with objects that motivates a specific emotional response.  The emotional response can serve in various functions. They can serve as a coping mechanism that prepares the individual to respond to circumstances in life.  The two girls are contemplating their wardrobe in preparation for what they believe to be a major event in their lives. There can be a social function to emotions that serves several purposes. It can bring about mutual communication of feelings that can influence how people interact with one another.  Emotional responses can be inviting, facilitating interpersonal interactions with other people. They can also bring about the creation, maintenance, and dissolution of relationships. It is apparent that the care spent in deciding the right wardrobe for this social event is to generate a specific emotional response that will communicate the desire to be noticed and invite interaction with those in attendance at the event. The individual’s ability to successfully cope with the external experiences or objects that generates a response is based on the regulation of emotions instead of being regulated by emotions.  This is an important concept to think about when considering how fashion can be one's "kryptonite".

Kryptonite is used in this song as a representation of an external object that motivates a specific emotional response.  It acts as a coping mechanism; serving a social function as it generates a response that reinforces the internal motives for surrendering to that weakness.  The girls love fashion, they love the response they receive from onlookers, and the positive reinforcement causes them to do whatever it takes to look good. Their proclamation that fashion is their kryptonite lets us know that they are regulated by their emotions as they succumb to their weakness.

Popular forms of  “kryptonite” are food, shopping, hoarding, drugs, alcohol, even plastic surgery. They can be addictive in nature and some individuals need the assistance of another individual to help in overcoming their addiction.  Superman often had trouble with overcoming the power of kryptonite once he was exposed to it. He was not addicted to it however he would need assistance to gain the strength to overcome its’ power when he was heavily exposed to large amounts of it. The same can be said about individuals who suffer from an addiction and their inability to regulate their emotions.  They are controlled by their emotional response to the external object allowing them to be motivators behind their behavior. 

The use of the term “kryptonite” to describe fashion is interesting because of the negative undertone that is suggested. “Kryptonite” is a debilitating substance to Superman and causes him great harm.  The use of the term to describe fashion suggests that fashion is harmful which is not what the song is essentially saying. Fashion can be harmful to one’s social standing but not to the point that it has a devastating outcome. The motivation behind the purchase of fashion can be debilitating economically.  None of these factors are what is discussed in the song, so these young ladies are just saying that they like fashion. There really is no logical reason for the comparison of fashion to kryptonite based on the lyrics in this song. The song title just leaves a theoretical conceptualization of the idea based on the theme displayed in the video.

After consideration of how fashion can be a “kryptonite”, I can understand the implicit use of an “Alice in Wonderland” theme in the Disney Channel video. It is possible that the creative team saw fashion as a playful coping mechanism that serves the purpose of communicating confidence, creativity, and independence in addition to influencing or facilitating interpersonal interactions and relationships.  The quirky “Alice in Wonderland” theme is a kid-friendly demonstration of rebellion against status quo.  They are essentially saying that they can’t help but to love being nonconformists by choosing fashion that goes against what some may say is “good taste”.  Fashion is a social demonstration of internal emotions that is just as multidimensional as the trends that are set forth in this video. They are saying that it is a weakness that they are proud of because of the response that their fashion sense elicits from others. Some may need a hallucinogen to choose some of the outfits that are worn in the video; however, this external form of self-expression empowers these youth to accomplish their dreams and that can potentially be the message that is to be communicated through the cinematography of the video.



That’s my interpretation of it at least…what is your “kryptonite”?


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Homeland Illustrates the Challenges of Bipolar Disorder





Over the past few weeks, I watched the Showtime series Homeland, and I have truly enjoyed it. I do not ordinarily have the opportunity to watch television; however, this series captivated me as a mental health student-practitioner and an individual who enjoys action and intrigue. The main character, Carrie Mathison, is played by Claire Danes. She suffers from Bipolar Disorder, a condition that is characterized by mania and major depression. Carrie keeps her condition a secret from her employers until the end of the series. She goes through a downward spiral of mental anguish in an attempt to prevent the current terrorist plot against the Vice-President of the United States.

Those who view the series and who are unfamiliar with the symptoms and treatment of bipolar disorder gain some insight into its’ implications in the case of a government operations officer. Carrie indicates that she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder while she was in college which is generally around the average age of onset for this disorder. It is recurrent with manic episodes preceding or following episodes of major depression. The recurrence of symptoms is apparent with Carrie as she goes into manic episodes that are focused on investigating the terrorist plot and the time-line involving the terrorist leader. She displays symptoms of rapid speech, racing thoughts, distractibility, increased activity and/or agitation and poor judgment during her manic episodes. Her work schedule intensifies the occurrence of symptoms as she undergoes sleep deprivation that aggravates her episodes. We see her spiral into a dysphoric mania after she is exposed to a bombing that is marked by irritability, severe anxiety, pessimism, unrelenting worry, significant risk of suicide, and a decreased need for sleep.

The show exemplifies the interpersonal and/or occupational issues that result from the onset of serious symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. It is an example of one case out of more than half of those individuals who suffer from this disorder. Carrie displays psychotic symptoms during her manic episodes that are a common occurrence when previous manic episodes are presented with the same symptomatology. Her obsession with her work often causes her to have incomplete interepisode recoveries. She goes on a rollercoaster of events that ultimately leads her to believe that she is experiencing psychotic symptoms. Carrie's attempt at understanding the cause and effect relationships of the case exacerbates her psychotic episodes. She was previously able to hide and control the onset of her symptoms; however, the last episode of the season shows how her downward spiral ultimately reveals her hidden secret to the agency and she loses her security clearance.

Although she is undergoing psychopharmacological treatment for the disorder, it is not enough to help her in keeping her secret from her employer. As a means of improving behavior during a current manic episode, treatment plans typically begin with both an anti-manic medication and an antipsychotic medication. The psychopharmacological intervention during the last episode demonstrates the importance of family intervention. Severe episodic onset of mania or depression can mean uncontrollable behavior and poor judgment that necessitates precautions from inflicting any harm.

One of the occupational hazards of Carrie’s profession is poor lifestyle management that is a hindrance to the stability of her overall mental health. Proper lifestyle management includes maintaining a regular sleep-wake cycle, avoidance of shift work that can often lead to sleep deprivation, regular annual bright sunlight exposure, and the avoidance of alcohol, illicit drug, and substance use. All of these elements are important in relapse prevention and is essential to psychopharmacological treatment. Carrie attempts to resolve her issues and her failure to maintain her mood disorder through a proper lifestyle by undergoing electroshock treatment. The new season will show the results of this form of treatment.

I am interested to see how they further develop this character in the show as she attempts to address her health and her love for her profession. Homeland is set to premiere on Sunday, September 30, 2012.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mood disorder like Bipolar Disorder, please feel free to check out these resources  www.dbsalliance.org  or

For more information, contact info@ars-mhrcs.com

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Importance of Becoming an "Informed Consumer".




     Many individuals are not well versed on the benefits of obtaining the services of an Independent Information Professional (IIP) or Information Broker (IB). An IIP/IB provides their clients with material that allows for them to be an informed consumer when conducting their academic, personal, or professional affairs. The provision of  insightful data causes the client to be equipped with the tools to make an informed decision. The IIP/IB causes the client to be an informed consumer with the research that is provided.

      There are those members of the general public who make the mistake of just being consumers without reaping the benefits of having a knowledgeable foundation of what they consume. This is because they do not understand who they are as consumers. The economic application of the term implies that a consumer is someone who acquires goods or services for personal use. An individual can consume, as in taking in food or beverages; however, many consumers also take in pharmaceutical drugs for prescription purposes without knowledge of its effects. A person can consume by using up an item, wasting it or squandering it. This can be done without knowledge of the impact that one's actions can have on oneself or the environment. A consumer can ravage or absorb a thing to the point of destruction. All of these descriptions of a consumer are important factors to think about when considering research.

     It is important for the consumer to have insight into the resources acquired, exhausted, ingested or utilized because a lack of awareness can have long-term effects. The consumer who purchases goods or services without knowledge of the product or contractual obligations can never fully benefit from what they have acquired. There are many individuals who consume food, beverages, or drugs without an understanding of the chemical ingredients that can potentially result in harmful effects to their health. Many individuals consume water as a means of refreshment and recreation; however, some are wasteful in its’ use during times of drought. There are a number of natural resources that consumers use for enjoyment to the point that the items become rare or extinct as a result of over use. An IIP/IB can provide statistical data and evidence-based research that can help the consumer to understand the short-term and long-term effects of his/her decisions.

     Research is a means for an individual to become an “informed consumer”; as the individual acquires knowledge or education on what they consume. The informed consumer will make informed decisions based on information acquired through research. This individual will gain insight about a product or service prior to its’ purchase. This insight allows them to understand whether the product is desirable or whether the service is useful. An investigation into the foods or beverages that are consumed helps the informed consumer to make healthy decisions. Research provides consumers with an awareness of important issues that can negate destructive tendencies whether it is on an environmental, personal, political, or a social level.

     Overall, the IIP/IB enlightens their clients with relevant information that can be useful in the decision making process. These professionals produce informed consumers who are knowledgeable about their topics of interest. They are equipped with the data that enables them to arrive at evidence-based conclusions.

     For more information on Independent Information Professionals/Information Brokers, visit http://www.aiip.org/WhyHireAnIP

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

ARS-MHRCS Website launched!


I am excited about launching my new website for Academic Research Solutions.  Each day I am seeing the need for information services in a variety of specialties because people need to know where to go to get the assistance they need. I am an advocate for individuals who are experiencing domestic violence or contemplating suicide. These individuals, and so many others, often feel hopeless because they lack the resources that will help them make informed decisions.  There is hope for the hopeless and I want to provide them with the information they need and point them in the right direction since I am not licensed to provide them with the treatment they need.  Sometimes they just need a supportive ear because they are uncomfortable with the formalities of speaking to a licensed professional.  I advocate the support of a licensed professional because my ultimate goal is to obtain my license however I want to let people know that I understand the hesitation and provide them with options.

Well, I invite everyone to view my website at www.ars-mhrcs.com and look at what I have to offer. I will be adding additional services catered to helping members of the community. 

Enjoy!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Mental Health Research and Consultation Service

It's a brand new season in my life as I explore the option of utilizing the skills and talents I developed in a entrepreneurial way.  The dream for Academic Research Solutions is for it to grow to provide a variety of services to students, professionals, and the general public. The first phase of the business promotion was to establish it as a service towards students however due to the constructive feedback that I have received, I am venturing out to begin the next phase which is to provide mental health research and consultation services.  

I initially was going to wait before I started this phase because of my desire to primarily focus on writing my dissertation however I heard a message at church a few weeks ago that inspired me to move forward.  The message was that we often sit on our gifts, talents, and skills not allowing for it to flourish and as result they lie dormant, not producing any real beneficial results.  There are many intelligent, gifted, and talented individuals who become stagnant in their personal and professional growth. Many of these individuals fail to reach their full potential.  I have always been a person who never wanted to sing the "should have, could have, would have" blues so I am choosing to step out in faith that I am equipped to accomplish great things.  With that mindset, I already see that I am evolving personally and professionally.

The new service that I am adding to Academic Research Solutions is to provide mental health research and consultation services to mental health professionals and their consumers.  I know that academic research can be time-consuming for professionals as they attempt to meet the demands of treating their patients, writing their patient notes, attending continuing education classes, teaching, and potentially writing journal articles or books. The potential clients of these mental health providers are consumers who will also need information relevant to any question or concern they may have about mental health issues, treatments, and/or therapies.  

In the very near future, I will be writing articles and will blog about these issues. It is exciting to see how this will all evolve and progress!