OUT OF MY MIND!

SUMMERTIME REFLECTIONS
Catching Up on Life

July 29, 1997


 This has been a pretty busy summer for me. My life seems to go through cycles of being extremely busy (most of the time) interspersed with short lulls. The lulls are never long enough. And I often mix business and pleasure, to try and get a vacation while working. I don't recommend this mix!

 An example of this occurred while I was at Cape Cod for my third straight year. Cape Cod is an extremely beautiful, rustic area (the mid to lower cape, that is). Much of it is in the National Seashore Park, which means it is protected federal wildlife areas. The traffic is usually pretty bad during the season, and this year was no exception. We rented a house on the Bay side again this year, and it was a beautiful, airy place. The sea breeze blew right through the house at night, making sleeping extremely peaceful.

 So here I am in the middle of all of these beauty and nature and seashore and beaches and more. Yet to get here, you need to drive nearly 3 hours battling some of the worst traffic in the world (Boston and the canal bridge). But I also wasn't on the Cape to enjoy the wildlife. I was there to teach, of all things, how to get online! To uninitiated professionals, much like I was a few years ago... Every year we do this (Gil Levin and I; this is the 3rd year of the symposium) and every year we get better at it. This year was the best yet, with a smaller yet more cohesive and wonderfully eager group.

 It seems like one of life's little ironies that we should teach the most advanced technical and popular aspects of computers in a remote, rural and generally rustic area of the country! Surprisingly, they even have an ISP which provides Internet service to the Cape.

 But I never did get a chance to lay out and enjoy the sun. Yes, we went whale watching and saw both whales and dolphins (the dolphins are cuter!). Yes, we walked on the beach. We tried hiking, but it was far too hot for too long a walk. Cape Cod is a wonderful place to visit and if you are able, I encourage you to try and plan a vacation there some time. Or write it off as an education expense and attend one of the 30 workshops made available all summer on the Cape through the Cape Cod Institute.

 Or even come out and learn more about the online world! ;-)

 A lot else is going on in the upcoming few weeks. My second book will be published on August 8. I'm very excited and pleased because this has been some of my best work in writing. Ever. I'm already planning a new book, which I'll share more with you about when I get a solid proposal down in writing and a chapter written.

 The American Psychological Association will be holding their annual festival which they call a "convention." It's more like a mad-house. Hundreds of presentations to choose from and only 24 hours in a day. It's amazing psychologists can take anything useful away from so many choices. Information overload to the extreme. Mirror of the online world, or vice-a-versa?

 During the month of August, I'm pleased to let you know that Mental Health Net has been working furiously on some new projects which will be officially launched. These include continuing education online for professionals and new focus sites on MHN which will give laypeople a lot more information about some of the most popular disorders in an easy-to-read and navigate format. We'll also be publishing more behavioral news of interest to professionals and consumers in conjunction with our sister site, Behavior OnLine. We'll also be working in the next two months to get new discussion forum software running and to implement a new, user-friendly chat client.

 My summer lull, such as it was, is over. August is a planned busy month, and September, with the moving-in of my fiancee and our searching for a new, larger place to live as well as a new job for her, doesn't look much better. Perhaps October will give me my Fall lull? One can always hope.

 A reminder here about a few things... First, suicide is a serious matter and not one you should try and solve online. Occasionally suicidal ideation is generally normal. Planning the specific means and method for your death is not. If you're at this latter stage, get real-world help in your community immediately. That is not the time to be looking around online for support... I keep running into people who are trying to use the online world for these kinds of interactions and support and I have to be honest with you -- I don't think the online world can handle it! Your life is too important to put it up to the chance someone will be there online for you. Instead, call a local crisis helpline.

 Well, that's all for this week. Take care and keep in good mental health...

 - John

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If you talk to God, you are praying.
If God talks to you, you have schizophrenia.
-- Thomas Szasz