Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Neuro-Psychology of Suicide.

The Neuropsychology of Suicide

We’ve all gone through a stage in our life where we’ve had suicidal thoughts; some of us secretly contemplated suicide. Why is this the case? A hard childhood? A bad break up? Messed up parents? Losing a loved one? Yes, these are common symptoms and if the thoughts have crossed your mind, it’s perfectly normal because that’s what a human being is – a loving entity that feels. But here we will discuss the psychology and the biology of what goes on with a person who is seriously contemplating suicide.
You could be working with a colleague and the following day, you get the news your colleague committed suicide. Do you ever remember saying: “I can’t believe it, we were laughing just yesterday!”  And yes, everything may seem normal on the surface but the reality is different. Please take note I’m not talking about hysterics like your X cheer leader girlfriend who said she’ll commit suicide if you leave her. I’m talking about people who suffer from Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
So how do we understand suicide? First we need to understand the symptoms associated with it. Most people who commit suicide are usually in deep with Major Depressive Disorder. I mean, not unless you’re an honorable samurai who commits hara kiri (traditional suicide) to regain your fallen honor – NO, we’re talking about our present day social normal routines.
So MDD is just more than a bad day, in fact I see people going: “I’m depressed!” To be honest, there’s a huge difference between being depressed and sad or ‘very’ sad.  When one is depressed, that person is in continuous pain to the point that emotional pain becomes a literal physical pain. For those of us who’ve lost a loved one as this is the most common type of bad event we eventually face with grandparents or unfortunately some friends, we go through at least a glimpse of depression with the continuous thoughts of sadness and sorrow, fatigue, loss of appetite, etc
So you can guess that MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER is a severe state of depression and just doesn’t happen if you wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  When a person has MDD, that person disconnects everything related to life such as socializing with friends, wouldn’t even want to get out of bed and even refuse to eat. Take note I said refuse to eat and not just loss of appetite which means the person is denying all natural human instincts from eating to loss of sex drive. 
So in biological terms, what’s really going on? Is the red wire in the brain going where the green should go?  Scientists have studied the brains of those who suffered from MDD and eventually committed suicide. As dark as that may be, the results gave positive insights on things that go wrong in the brain during depression and how to fix it.
The new study reports that the brains from people with MDD had abnormally high levels of a protein called DNA methyltransferase, or DNMT for short. These brains had 61 percent more of one type of DNMT than did brains from people who had died suddenly but who were not depressed.
Why this proved interesting is because DNMT has a phenomenal ability to turn genes off. So basically MDD silences genes inside neurons so genes that should be turned on are turned off instead.  So then DMNT silences DNA in the genes that make proteins that are essential to keep electrical signals flowing in the right direction.  So without the right protein making machinery, we have a problem going a different route.
Interestingly, the overabundance of DNMT was located in the frontopolar corteX, a part of the brain involved in sizing up how good or bad something really is. So now this makes sense that the area of the brain that helps you perceive the magnitude and gravity of how good or how bad a situation is the point that is most affected by DNMT. 
So in case you believed that someone commits suicide strictly because of events taking place, you’re not right yet not fully wrong because now we have keen evidence that proves the malfunction in the brain causes one to loop and some are more prone than others.
But for neuroscientists, these are nearly one and the same. EXperience—what we see, feel, hear—can literally sculpt our brains, leaving lasting marks on neurons and their connections. As we are the sum of our experiences, so are our brains.
So it’s best to relief stress in a multitude of ways but as for depression, you can’t slap a person’s back and say get over it, because it’s the biochemistry involved at this point.  
Thus at this point, I would like to talk about how people react to depression. How many people do we know that would tell another guy suffering from depression, come on “you’re a MAN” so act like one! Now that you’ve read this article, how can you respond to that? It’s ignorance on every measurable level. A person is tired of breathing and yet you’re telling the person to get up and grow a pair.

So who is more prone to depression and suicide? Studies showed that women are more prone to depression than men since they have their hormones on the front lines such as their premenstrual syndrome and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Women are more likely to share out their feelings unlike men and will usually overeat and gain weight. Men, on the other hand, never really admit they are depressed and usually cite they are tired even though the symptoms are obvious. However, men are more at risk to suicide than women so even though women are at risk to depression more than men; they aren’t at risk to suicide as much as men.  Just remember that substance abuse, especially in males occur during a depressed state.
A few anti-depressants to name are
1-      EffeXor
2-      Desyrel
3-      Zoloft
4-      Prozac
5-      Remeron
6-      Elavil

So remember suicide is never to be taken lightly and in conclusion, if you’re ever feeling depressed, a clinical psychologist can do more wonders than asking your bff .

Monday, 28 November 2011

Phobia - A Brief Layout


A phobia, coming from the Greek word ‘Phobos’ meaning “Fear” is one of the many types of anxiety disorder, usually defined as a persistent fear of an object or situation in which the person will go far lengths in avoiding, even though the situation is disproportional to the actual danger posed.
Psychologists classify Phobias into 3 categories:

1 – Social Phobia: Associated with social related factors such as speaking in public, or simply the fear of ‘embarrassing’ themselves. This type of phobia is difficult to treat without the use of therapy. It further classifies into two groups
A-    Generalized Social Phobia: Also known as Social Anxiety Disorder
B-    Specific Social Phobia: Anxiety is only triggered by specific situations. For example, some people have a fear of urinating in public if there is no privacy.
2- Specific Phobias: Fear of a single specific panic trigger such as spiders, water, dogs, height. Normally, people are afraid of these but to a lesser degree than those who are phobic.
3- 3. Agoraphobia: a generalized fear of leaving home or a small familiar 'safe' area, and of possible panic attacks that might follow. It may also be caused by various specific phobias such as fear of open spaces, social embarrassment (social agoraphobia), fear of contamination (fear of germs, possibly complicated by obsessive-compulsive disorder or PTSD post traumatic stress disorder  related to a trauma that occurred out of doors.
Specific Phobia Diagnosis, according to the DSM-IV-TR:
1.      Marked and persistent fear that is eXcessive or unreasonable, cued by the presence or anticipation of a specific object or situation (e.g., flying, heights, animals, receiving an injection, seeing blood).
2.      EXposure to the phobic stimulus almost invariably provokes an immediate anXiety response, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed panic attack. Note: In children, the anXiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, or clinging.
3.      The person recognizes that the fear is eXcessive or unreasonable. Note: In children, this feature may be absent.
4.      The phobic situation(s) is avoided or else is endured with intense anXiety or distress.
5.      The avoidance, anXious anticipation or distress in the feared situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (or academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
6.      In individuals under the age of 18, the duration is at least 6 months.
7.      The anXiety, panic attack, or phobic avoidance associated with the specific object or situation are not better accounted for by another mental disorder, such as Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (e.g., fear of dirt in someone with an obsession about contamination), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (e.g., avoidance of stimuli associated with a severe stressor), Separation Anxiety Disorder (e.g., avoidance of school), Social Phobia (e.g., avoidance of social situations because of fear of embarrassment), Panic Disorder With Agoraphobia, or Agoraphobia Without History of Panic Disorder.

Social Phobia Diagnosis – DSM-IV-TR
The diagnostic criteria for 300.23 Social Phobia as outlined by the DSM-IV-TR:
1.      A marked and persistent fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unfamiliar people or to possible scrutiny by others. The individual fears that he or she will act in a way (or show anXiety symptoms) that will be humiliating or embarrassing. Note: In children there must be evidence of the capacity for age-appropriate social relationships with familiar people and the anXiety must occur in peer settings, not just in interactions with adults.
2.      EXposure to the feared social situation almost invariably provokes anXiety, which may take the form of a situationally bound or situationally predisposed Panic Attack. Note: In children the anXiety may be expressed by crying, tantrums, freezing, or shrinking from social situations with unfamiliar people.
3.      The person recognized that the fear is eXcessive or unreasonable. Note: In children this feature may be absent.
4.      The feared social or performance situations are avoided or else are endured with intense anXiety or distress.
5.      The avoidance, anXious anticipation, or distress in the feared social or performance situation(s) interferes significantly with the person's normal routine, occupational (academic) functioning, or social activities or relationships, or there is marked distress about having the phobia.
6.      In individuals under age 18, the duration is at least 6 months.
7.      The avoidance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g. a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition and is not better accounted for by another mental disorder (e.g. Panic Disorder With or Without Agoraphobia, Separation AnXiety Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Schizoid Personality Disorder).
8.      If a general medical condition or another mental disorder is present, the fear in Criterion A (EXposure to the social or performance situation almost invariably provokes an immediate anXiety response) is unrelated to it, e.g., the fear is not of Stuttering, trembling in Parkinson's disease, or eXhibiting abnormal eating behavior in Anorexia Nervosa or Bulimia Nervosa.

Environmental –
Much in understanding causes of Phobia and fear responses can be attributed to the Pavlovian Model of Classical Conditioning.  For example, a child who has had a traumatic event such as falling from a high place or experiencing a faulty accident on a roller coaster would develop a phobia to ‘height’ as though being conditioned.

Circumstances of being afraid of heights or spiders may be linked to evolutionary factors wired in the brain. For eXample, early man who lived in the savannas had to be wary of spiders that were secretive, stealthy and eXtremely deadly. The same with heights, being conscious that falling would lead to damage and even death, over a prolonged period of time became wired in the brain that these are code red situations. This view does not necessarily hold that phobias are genetically inevitable. Instead, there may be a genetic predisposition to learn to fear certain things more easily than other things
As mentioned, phobias are caused by an event where the amgydala and hippocampus labels it as ‘red zone dangerous’ so if the situation ever happens again, the body will react as if the event was acting repeatedly afterward. Therefore treatment works similarly the same way – the most effect therapy is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The therapy is to replace this recorded fear with a more rational accepted scenario. This can be achieved through eXposure therapy where the sufferer is exposed to the phobia from a far scale little by little. The amygdala is the region of the brain associated with emotions such as fear in this case. The amygdala triggers secretion of hormones that affect fear and aggression – this is what puts the body in an active state known as the fight or flight response.

There are many techniques used in treating phobias, the most successful of these techniques include:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – A clinical trial showed this therapy cured 95% if all sufferers of phobias.
EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing – has been demonstrated to be successful in treating specific phobias but mainly in treating Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Antidepressant medications such SSRIs, MAOIs may be helpful in some cases of phobia. Benzodiazepines may be useful in acute treatment of severe symptoms but the risk benefit ratio is against their long-term use in phobic disorders
The Top Five Most Common Phobias:

Acrophobia – Fear of heights
As mentioned above, acrophobia is neurologically wired into us through evolution. It should not be confused with vertigo, which is a physical condition that causes dizziness or disorientation when one looks down from a great height.

Claustrophobia – Fear of Enclosed Spaces
The levels of claustrophobia differ from closing a room door to entering an elevator. Some people discover undiagnosed claustrophobia when undergoing an MRI.

Nyctophobia – Fear of the Dark
This fear is common and generally transient in children. If it persists for longer than six months and causes eXtreme anXiety, however, it may be diagnosed as a phobia. It is less common in adults.

Ophidiophobia - Fear of Snakes

People who are diagnosed with this phobia not only have a problem with seeing them or touching them, but will also have a problem talking about them.


Arachnophobia – Fear of Spiders

A very common animal phobia and most common insect phobia. People with this phobia will also react to spider webs or any other indication that a spider is near. The very thought of spiders to the sufferer makes them shiver. Severe cases go as far as having anXiety simply viewing a picture of a spider.


Top Five Most Bizarre Phobias


Ithyphallophobia – Fear of Erections

Though bizarre, this phobia is commonly growing amongst men. Most fear of erection therapies take months to years and sometimes even requires the patient to be eXposed to their fears. It can also lead to panic attacks.


 Ephebophobia – Fear of Youths

Categorized as a psychological social fear of youth.


Coulrophobia – Fear of Clowns

Quite common amongst children and even adults. This phobia can be traced to having a direct bad experience with a clown. Also, the red nose and overall face painting may appear bizarre and treacherous to some people who may perceive it as a threat. Batman’s nemesis Joker or Stephen King’s “IT” are good references.


Ergasiophobia – Fear of Work

A disorder in some people causing significantly psychological disability and dysfunction. These individuals may actually be suffering from other health problems such as clinical depression and/or ADHD.

Gymnophobia – Fear of Nudity

This phobia is a fear of being seen naked or seeing others naked. It is a social phobia usually associated with people who view their bodies as ‘inferior’ particularly due to comparison with idealized images portrayed in the media.



Sunday, 27 November 2011

How Weather Affects Your Mood

The most powerful attribute the human species has developed is the power to adapt and evolve to their surroundings. Depending on where you are in the world, some places are cold and some are hot. Human beings have learned to adapt and shape their culture around their environment. But what if the environment plays a primary role that kick starts both the biology and psychology of the human being? Is it possible the very weather and temperature can be a main cause and effect to some clinical disorders such as clinical depression that leads to disastrous results such as suicide?
If you ask a child in kindergarten to draw two pictures – one on a rainy day and the other on a sunny day, there’s an interesting point. The picture with rain falling all over the place has the stick-man figure ‘frowning’ usually holding an umbrella where as the picture with the sunny day has the stick figure man with a big smile and if that’s not enough, the child will also put the pet dogs and cats with big smiles.
So what’s this? Is it safe to label this as some sort of archetype? A child in kindergarten who barely has an idea of the basics has already projected his emotions unto his drawing paper. The rain is sadness and sunshine is happiness is more poetic and metaphorical than it is scientific but there are keys to the reality it plays.
A study in 2008 by a group of European researchers eXamined the impact of six different weather factors – temperature, wind, sunlight, precipitation, air pressure and the length of day on more than 1200 subjects in which most of them were women. The study showed that a boost of mood was minimal but the degradation of mood was major, with many going as far as suffering from episodic depression to others feeling ‘tired or sluggish’.
It is important to note that some people’s emotions are simply more vulnerable to the weather and its changes than others since every human being is unique in his or her own way. Someone who is prone to a negative mood on dark cold days will be going through a very depressive winter when there’s lack of sunlight and long nights. This is the basis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
So where does the biology play a part? Surely the weather doesn’t have magical properties. Research in Seasonal Affective Disorder whereby the brain’s response was studied has shown that hormones play a big role in the change of mood. When our eyes detect darkness, a small glad in the brain known as the pineal releases melatonin which is a leading serum in establishing sleep cycles. When we detect light, melatonin produces its friendly subside known as serotonin. Serotonin helps in boosting aliveness and happiness which promotes mood positively.
Therefore if you look into suicide and depression, you’ll find out study shows there is a positive correlation between depression and suicide and weather. In Africa, even the most poverty stricken places, there is a minimal and tiny amount of suicide listings. However in Winter Europe, basic problems are exaggerated into levels of clinical depression.
In conclusion, what affects your biology will also affect your psychology. The best way to counter these symptoms is mind over matter. One should get off the computer and get out in the sun to get as much sunlight as possible. It is also advised to engage in sports and other health activities to keep the body and mind vigorous and working. Even reading a novel is preferred than to sitting around.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

How Media Influences the Human Psyche Part I

When you hear or come across the word 'media', your mind starts bringing up images from movies, news, cartoons, camera crew, advertisement etc We do live in a media world, at least the ones who are able to type this and print it out do. The media is everywhere and people label the media as 'Entertainment'. But is the media more than that? Studies in social psychology and history itself has shown that the media itself is a weapon as well as a religion. In this chapter, we'll discuss Subliminal Messages - most importantly, imprinted ideas in the human brain. 

To start with Subliminal Messages, these are messages you aren't conscious of - they are basically messages that jump into your unconscious without passing through any filters. The message is an idea and ideas are what the world is made of. These ideas could orient you to think about something and eventually do something. It is seen in advertising whereby hundreds of pictures are just being flashed at rapid rates and one of the picture has something to do with nudity, violence or food. If you're thinking, how was the person able to see that specific picture?! Well, the person didn't but the person's brain did. The human brain is powerful enough to easily skim through all those pictures and filter them so the person doesn't overload. Neuropsychological tests has proven that the brain can easily accomplish this task. 

So why do subliminal messages work? Well, tests have shown that subliminal messages work mostly on the human needs rather than the human wants. That is to say, if you flash a Pepsi bottle as a subliminal message doesn't necessarily mean the person is going to break into a liquor store to drink Pepsi. Rather, the human brain lights up with its neurons when a 'need' is within its grasp. Do an fMRI scan of the human brain while orgasm and drinking Pepsi - you'll notice there's a big difference. So the human brain is naturally wired to accept its biological needs. 

So how does the media play a role with subliminal messages? Power, control? They all work. A study showed that children eXposed to Disney Cartoons were more eager to engage in seXual activity than those that didn't watch Disney Cartoons. Conspiracy theories of how Disney Cartoons have subliminal messages that promote seXual activity in children just turned out to have a sparkle of truth. But then what do you think is wrong with the act overall? Well, you are influenced to lead a certain lifestyle and that alone can change your life drastically. 

But what about the media as it is? Does it require subliminal messages to implant an idea? Certainly not. Sometimes the Medic can just display a billboard with the message right there and that can be enough to change someone's way of living. Some starving children in Africa were brought up in a world that they've never seen beyond what their eyes can see. But then although in poverty, you still see African children laughing hysterically just chasing a ball. Now how can the media influence the child? Well, the child has never seen a television before - doesn't know the life outside here or if there is life at that moment. So then if the child sees on TV that some kids are having an entire table of food that they just can't get enough and end up throwing half of the uneaten food to garbage, imagine what goes on in the poor child's mind. The child is now 'conscious' of his reality and his stomach hurts more than he previously ever felt. So you see a media image broadcasted from half way across the world can have powerful effects. 

As a weapon, it is known as Propaganda. During the Soviet Communism Era, the allies used the same tactic as above to influence the people against their government. When there were people all waiting in line to get a pound of chicken, right besides them was a billboard that read


An entire house for mom and dad, son has his brand new car, daughter is cooking three large turkeys.

The amygdala and the frontal lobe went on fire because it touched the human need - the unsatisfied taste to have everything. Propaganda is one of the reasons that Political Systems end up working or failing. In fact, it's beginning to backfire as a domino effect. In the United States, one state created a riot known as the Occupy Movement and as it was broadcasted on TV, other states watched and ended up doing the same and now pretty much the entire world is joining this movement. 

What about the internet? The highest paid media industry is actually the Porno Industry. After all, it is a human need. So how does porno change a person's life? Well, besides getting addicted to porn and people developing SeXual Compulsive Disorders, there's always a more harsh eXample. 
In Saudi Arabia, porn and everything that has to do with nudity is forbidden by law. You have a better chance of hacking into NASA rather than trying to break the firewall to porn in Saudi Arabia. So then think about it, human males start getting erections at the age of five and from that and beyond up even into adolescence, they never get to see a woman's ankle. The repression can eventually cause someone to be a rapist or a seXual compulsive. Now imagine a giant video billboard on the city streets advertising the latest Mercedes Benz or whatever. Imagine what would happen if you just uploaded a pornographic video even for a few seconds. Men, who've never seen an ankle before talk less of an entire naked female body in the state of intercourse, would go insane with all the neurons blasting in his brain. The same goes for females - that is, if they don't pull their eyes out. In my opinion, that's the best way to start a riot in Saudi Arabia. 

[Will stop here for now, continue later -] 

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

NDU Kombat Elections: Debate VS Social - Haballity.

Well, fellow Wolf Runners, I've been contemplating for sometime what I should write for my neXt blog. Believe me, I've got alot of ideas ranging from Psychology, Political Science and Astronomy BUT I just can't seem to find the proper start and time for them. So, anyways, I decided to write about something local based that's more of a 'comic relief'

So, welcome to my University - Notre Dame Louaize. 

This used to be the coolest University when I got in a few years ago because it's made up of people that are just going with the flow. For eXample, in AUB - GEEKS GEEKS GEEKS (And not the good type of geeks) In LAU, FAKE FAKE FAKE (and not the good type of fake...there are no good types of fake) Well, in NDU, you've got some dumb people but there are some people who make it worthwhile. 

So what's the problem? Well, every fall there's the elections. The winner gets to run the university in a sad illusion. These clubs that participate work very hard to win. Now you may think that what's wrong with clubs that try to help out the University. Well, NOTHING. 

Then what's the problem? The problem is that--here it comes- Stinking Motherfucking Lebanese Politics. These clubs hide behind a mirage of their politics. The Debate standing with the Ouwait, Samir Geagea, Saint Charbel, Holy Bread etc The Social club stand with the General Michel Aoun, bipolarity disorder, aggression, Parkinson's disease. 

These clubs are always at war with one another, every single time the elections draws close, there are rounds like Chelsea fans going into a Manchester United pub--okay that's a bad eXample since Chelsea fans kick ass. Well, you get the point! I feel sad I'm walking through a fight just trying to head into class. Now you may be thinking what is the main goal that these guys are just causing bloodbaths - logically, there should be a goal. Well, last year when Debate won (as usual) the cafeteria got couches that lasted two weeks, the price of the coffee went down by like 50 cents (yeah unh) and some book prices got cheaper. Overall, property destruction outweighed the benefits we received. The University didn't get a new telescope, it still doesn't have a giant conference hall, it still doesn't have cranberry flavored ice tea. By the way you guys should see our cafeteria, I'd rather eat my dead grandmother. 

So today I got news when the elections started in LAU Beirut, there was a blood bath. I chuckled until my friend showed me a picture and I shit you not - there was blood on the walls I almost got an erection. It was something out of a martial arts movie with blood on the walls, broken boards that looked like someone got face planted, etc all for the sake of my religion and my belief is better than yours. 

Another point I'd like to put out is how some newcomers are suddenly joining these clubs. As a Psychology major, I can just tell you some people were lonely all their lives in high school and now needed a clean sheet to become popular so they find out these clubs promote attention whoring. They may deny this, but for those of you who know me, this is the case. So incase one of your new comer friends join to become an active member, just give him or her hugs and hot chocolate. 

So for those of ya'll who are new to the elections,  you're free to choose who you wish to vote for it's all good. I personally think in the end, it's not worth it. I mean, if Debate or Social could give the kids at the orphanage some blankets to keep warm this coming winter, my heart and my eyes as appreciation. Instead, they raise money and go clubbing in Skybar to celebrate their "success" and if you happen to be in these parties, watch how they just get drunk and the club chicks end up sucking cock in the bathroom and their boyfriends go bang other chicks and there's an entire highschool drama afterward.  

So now for the elections day, if you want to remain neutral, it's best you don't come because it's going to be a riot and people are going to be kissing your ass left and right it's not worth the trouble. So anyways, I'll leave this a small blog - remember, you're smarter than your political leaders. If they were so good, we'd all be living lives like its Sweden but instead we're going backwards and we're just too pathetic that we blame other parties for this downfall. Cheers and I'll see you guys sooner than later with a more interesting topic.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Physical Pain is an Illusion

When we think about physical pain, we tend to remember injuries like bruises from bumping into the door face first BAM or stepping on something sharp. As a Martial Artist, pain was a routine like breathing. Sometimes you'd get hit with the shins on your stomach and feel that volume of cutting force into your stomach or the knuckles of a good punch straight on your cheekbone all with crushing devastating force. Sometimes the pain comes as a 'sting' like a finger needle poke into the softest tissue parts of the human body, the feeling of being stung with all your thoughts concentrated on this particular point. So besides all these beautiful eXamples (Yes, I'm a Masochist), what is physical pain really? At first during my early training days, I had a tough time progressing because of all the pain I had to endure until my Master taught me a valuable lesson which was: Physical Pain is Not Real. It's an illusion of an illusion. Now not to sound all inception like, I'll be detailed but first let me eXplain biologically what pain really is. 

So as you already know that the brain and spinal cord make up the Central Nervous System where electrical messages are carried out by impulses from the environment either eXterior or internal. Specialized nerves known as Nociceptors are designed specifically only to detect pain. I'm going to use an eXample of stepping barefooted on a 'sharp' rock. When tissues are torn, electrical messages from nociceptors are fired to the brain with the coded message that 'Something is Wrong'. Take into consideration I wrote that the message is being interpreted as 'Something is Wrong' instead of 'Warning: Pain'.  So please take into consideration that anything that is wrong can be 'righted'.  

So when the pressure on the tissue by stepping on the sharp rock has been alleviated by taking your barefoot off the rock, the nociceptors stop firing. If the tissue has been damaged, there's a continuous firing until it has been repaired. Makes sense thus far, yeah? 

So these electrical signals (and that's all they are) go to the part of the brain known as the Thalamus, which also sends the signals to multiple places for interpretations of course. These interpretations are some what like: "Is this pain caused by burning, stinging, force?etc" 

Now, for some trivia - did you know that the same area of the brain responsible for pleasure is also the same spot with pain? That means violence and pleasure are interpreted in the same spot of the brain. Now this should make sense to people why we always have been brute beings waging war from day 1. This also can be interpreted seXually why people are sadists or masochists. Both a butcher and a surgeon have the same tendencies but as you can see, it is interpreted differently depending on the personalities and interpretations in the brain. The butcher just loves cutting and letting the blood spill while the surgeon enjoys being careful, cutting with precision and prudence. The Serial killer and the sociopath also have these tendencies. 

Now not to digress completely, for that is a topic on its own - it was just important you take note of these facts. Now as for pain, I just gave you a neurological graph how everything the human body does it interpreted in the BRAIN. So mind over matter works here. To give you an idea how I started to neglect pain and believe it's an emotion, I just had to focus strongly. For eXample, there are many of us that start crying if we get pricked by the smallest of things but there are times unconsciously that the things that hurt us the most have no effect on us when we're in an emotional state. You want to know how that's accomplished? Well, if you've read thus far then I assume you do. Imagine you stepping on that sharp rock and you're hurt and crying and whatever. Now imagine you won a billion dollars, found the cure for AIDs etc and you're in a state of euphoria jumping around and you step on that sharp rock. 


That is why your MOOD at the moment is what counts. If you had a fight with the entire world and nothing is going right and you stepped on a smooth rock, you might throw a tantrum or feel it as if you've stepped on needles. So like I said, it's mind over matter. Sensation and Perception in action. 

So as a Martial Artist, I learned to accept pain as a simple electrical signal saying something's wrong but can be righted. So remember the neXt time you get a roundhouse kick to the chest and the devastating force damages tissues, take it in - enjoy the vibration because if there isn't pain, there isn't gain. The gain part is that your tissues and bones can be conditioned to automatic repair and become stronger so the same amount of damage will no longer even be interpreted by the body. So basically the force is there but the nociceptors aren't firing because they don't see it as something wrong but something they're used to. I believe I've eXplained fairly enough without going into biological details with the chemicals involved etc 

Have a nice day and become stronger than you were yesterday.  


Friday, 23 September 2011

The End of the World Propaganda...Getting Really Lame.

Hello everyone, I go by the name of Kaiser. I'm a 21 year old in his final year of Clinical Psychology. I'm also Vice President to my University's Astronomy Club.  You can say I've always had a love to know how things work. With Psychology, the way the human mind thinks and behave is really the most interesting thing to me. I hope to do my master's thesis on Phobia. Why? Well, I've always thought the world became a better place every single time I see my professor help overcome someone's phobia at the clinic. Fighting fear makes you a modern day superhero. When it came to Astronomy, I was shocked to find out how 'tiny' we are in this Universe. I then proceeded a journey to find out how the Universe works. I found myself with the more I knew, the more questions came. 

Now as the Astronomy Club enjoyed its events, I couldn't help but notice how much of our mailboX had so many letters talking about 'Doomsday' predictions. I got all kinds of crazy stuff that I had to check if I hadn't confused the Astronomy Department's mail with the Psychology Department. Anyways, most of the people told me to check Youtube so that's what I did. I couldn't believe how much of Youtube was 'infested' with these videos of Nibiru, Planet X, Elenin etc But I still decided to watch them anyways and I just couldn't handle the bad physics involved. I mean literally, we have a better chance of being attacked by Barney the Dinosaur. At first I thought it was funny when people would say there's a hidden planet behind our sun just waiting to pop out and go SURPRISE! 

But then I realized if this grows big, it's going to spread because what I can tell you about Fear is that - it spreads. And so during 2009 and 2010, it got to the point where 1 in every 3 people has heard that the world is ending in 2012. In fact, during my Social Psychology class, a classmate brought up several suicide cases where people were too afraid to face the so called end when it comes. Rather than being sad, I was angry. Angry that when the joke has gone too far, one would eXpect it to stop but what happens instead? They make a blockbuster movie called 2012 with the tagline: We Were Warned. That's marketing and that's the quickest way to feed on your fears. 

I decided to play it smart so here's what I did to help all those people who sent those Doomsday mails: I invited all of them (Roughly around 50 people) to the Astronomy Club's ideal Observing spot. I just stood there in the middle of them listening to what each had to say. Some pointing here and there: That's Nibiru! etc Then I shouted out and called for their attention. I proceeded by giving them a tour of the Universe. I spent at least 3 hours talking about the Universe from the Big Bang to our present day discoveries adding a few jokes here and there to let people know I'm easy going (Some thought I was a secret agent from NASA hiding 'the truth' :P) So anyways after they got a basic understanding, I gave them this eXample to think about: For a beautiful healthy tree to grow, it requires two things: Sunlight and Water. The leaves accomplish this by stretching towards the sunlight above while the roots go deep to the water below. And just like that, that's how the  Universe works. Everything is in harmony. Everything is 'stable'. 

But just like I spoke about how fear is contagious, so is knowledge. When everyone got an idea of the basic physics involved, everyone started to get an idea of the reality of things. Someone told me to point the telescope towards the Virgo constellation citing that google skymap and Nasa have 'blocked' that patch and so I did - guess what? Nothing. The remainder of the night I gave everyone the observation of their lives seeing everything from Planet Jupiter to the far ends of our Milky Way, even observing our neighbor Andromeda. 

So what are you people scared about? The Earth has been here for quite a few billion years - does it make sense that now suddenly all this disasters just want to pop up and happen? Someone told me that there will be a polar shift ALL IN ONE DAY.  Can you imagine that? North and South switching places all in one day. I told him as much as I wish that was true so we can all use some weather change and be attacked by angry Penguins who aren't happy with the results, it's just not possible. We live in the year 2011 and counting, what are the threats we have? Let me be frank with you. The real threat is nothing celestial in nature but actually us. We worry so much about things that can't harm us we forget the real threats that can harm us AND our Planet like diseases, pollution, that whole stuff you read about daily. 

You guys remember the May 21st Rapture Prediction? So many people sold their homes and belongings only to be disappointed by a nice sunny day and an even better night sky! Looking at the interview of Harold Camping - the man responsible for the prediction in the first place, It hit me straight. I showed my head professor and we were dealing with a Paraphrinic - This person is in need of Psychological attention. So people followed predictions of a person who should be in an Asylum and I'll say that anytime of the day. That's quite embarrassing. I mean some of us are worried about Alien invasions when we should be worried that any delusional person who walks up to say something, so many people follow him. Is that the kind of person you want to be? And in the end it all came to pass. And speaking of Aliens, why are people so worried about this? So many people believe that Aliens will come and conquer and enslave mankind - a classic Steven Spielberg right there! But don't you think (Saying they eXist) if they wanted to do that, they would have done that far a long time ago? I mean if you could travel through space, you'd only be interested in tourism and observing.

I'm not going to advise anyone here to deal with their fears by turning their backs to it and doing something they like such as music, dancing etc No, my method is far different. Just like what I did with the crew, I advise you to tackle fear right in its face. If you ever have a question you're not sure about then ask your professors - these people spend their lives being good at what they do. If they weren't, then we really wouldn't be able to accomplish anything. The same goes for Physicists - if you got a question then feel free to ask they'll help out. If you're still anywhere from the 5th to 9th grade then I advise you to take Astronomy as a hobby. With it, you'll know that there's more to living than you anticipated and you can certainly tell those Doomsday wackos they're wrong. You can also pursue Astrophotography as a hobby since there's nothing as beautiful as our very own night sky. If you ever have a question, feel free to contact me and see for all your 'true' answers. Clear Skies Everyone!

Special thanks to the admins of for help spreading awareness.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Ibiza? I'll detail you!

Yoooo  Party Peeps :D I'm dedicating this blog post to my trip in Ibiza. The majority of people know that Ibiza is the party capital of the world and in the top 10 best clubs in the world, 6 of them are in Ibiza (I've been to all of em) and I'm here to give you an honest review.

Okay for people who don't know - Ibiza is an island located off the coast of Spain. This island is known for its tourist attractions blablabla and over the years became the party capital of the world. I went with 3 close friends and I just can't eXpress how much fun we had. I really can't write down everything my friends and I did because then it won't end. If you want to know what we did in details and have a laugh, then you're just going to have to sit down with me. I'll dedicate this blog to describing the island since so many people don't know the details.

To start with, Ibiza has 2 major places - Ibiza Town and San Antonio. The major clubs such as Privilege and Amnesia to name a few are located in Ibiza Town. Ibiza Town also has the Bora Bora beach where it looks like palm beach Miami. People go walking down the road and endless coast where you got many many many side bars playing music and people dancing and dancing. There's eXtra activities all over the place like massages, tattoos, hair dreads, water sports etc etc etc

San Antonio may not have the biggest clubs but they do have clubs that would make the best club you've been to look like a church and yes I mean it that much. To name a few such as Eden and El Paradis. Our first night was at Eden and it was a Japanese based theme night. That means every day there's a sort of different theme. The pole dancers dressed up as Ninjas and did performing acts and the music was loud on techno and had something they called a foam party where foam goes down and everyone gets naked and wet :p Anyways, San Antonio is famous for its West End where it's got loads of restaurants and pubs and these pubs are known as pre and post party joints where people go and drink before and after the main event.

So we stayed in San Antonio and found out that a bus takes up for 1-3 euros 15-20 mins drive to Ibiza town or anywhere else so we get the best of both worlds without any problems. The bus drives are fun as well cause people are just drinking and clubbing even in the bus. First, if you don't know me just know that I'm a free spirit and every year I travel somewhere to take a break. Now usually I'm more of the spiritual type who would prefer to go to a place that's rich in culture but lately living in Lebanon and now I'm stuck with my cousin and close mates we've been heading to party centrals of the world. Ayia Napa, Mykonos, Ibiza etc Now that I'm here I'll give you guys a detailed idea. First of all, the currency there is in Euros so as you would eXpect, if you're going for a week you'll need at least 600-700 Euros to have a blast like a king or queen.  Unlike Greece or Ayia Napa, Ibiza is more eXpensive so you're going to have to make a choice. You can find Chinese places that cost like 8 Euros a meal and you can find other places on the same street with 15 Euros for a Burger. Now Club life is different. The cheapest drink for a Vodka Redbull to say is like 10 Euros and goes up to 15 or 20. That's why most people here go drinking in the pubs where the shots go for like 3 to 6 euros and drinks for 8 or so. What I can say is that the alcohol is icy icy icy clean unlike Lebanon where the bastard puts you spirit and medicine or whatever. So what I'm trying to say is you can drink as hell and you'll wake up without even the slightest hangover and that's for Lebanese peeps ;P

Okay what you guys need to know is that, well, the girls there are goddesses. I mean picture the hottest girl you know in Lebanon and I promise you and I'll be fair that she'll score a 6/10 compared to those beauties there. I mean forget the majority of Europeans but they come out of something you see in Baywatch. Everyone with the blond, green, blue eyes. The brunettes there come tanned with light blue eyes and each of them with a height of not less than 170 centimeters. They're also really down to Earth and a simple hello gorgeous is enough to make them smile. When I landed in Lebanon with the obesity and drama queens, I just thought if someone went gay here after what he saw, he has every right.

And ladies, the guys there are all physically fit and I noticed most of them don't work out but they're just genetically modified to be ripped. I mean they drink so much alcohol yet they're almost running an 8 pack which was a real bummer. By the way, if you want to be part of their circle, you MUST have a tattoo or a weird hair style hands down.

Now the coolest part is that everyone is easy going and everyone is equal and they really take that into consideration. I mean the best night club in the world if you go in with basketball jersey and slippers, no one is gonna stop you. In Lebanon if you don't have 1 million wasta to go into Skybar and everyone is rude and nobody wants a part of you. Honestly on the door I was going to break down crying. By the way you guys there are no tables in the clubs. If you wanna sit down you got the bar and stuff but unlike Lebanon, there are no tables and you're not forced to drink anything.

The problem even though it's not really a problem is that most people are British and British people that age are real pricks. So if you're planning to socialize, then your list has been limited but remember that's if you're planning to meet people. If you're going with a group of friends then fuck everyone and have a great time. But if you aren't then just know Ibiza has like 60% British. They're quite racists with so much stereotype beliefs. I mean this one time my friend says he's from Lebanon and she literally went like aweeeeee as in fear :p But for the rest they'll like your black hair and they'll take the hair on your face as a sign of manliness.

Now for the clubs, I really can't eXplain to you no matter how hard I try. Let me start with Privilege. A year or two back it was voted biggest club in the world. It's so big the main room is the size of kaslik. You've got eXotic dancers playing and multiple DJs hitting the deck. DJ Tiesto just chilling there. The VIP section is unique and comes more eXpensive than other places but it's the kind of place where Tiesto, PVD, Snoop Dog sit down after the night's show. It's around the same price for a bottle in Skybar. Privilege is Tiesto's hang out spot and he's probably there every weekend or so.

But my favorite hands down is going to be Amnesia. You know I'm an Astronomy Freak, and it felt like those dreams where I was part of the Star Trek Crew - all the lights and music and people going nuts - I mean it's something you can't even see in a good hollywood movie. Multiple DJs stack the floor and professional musicians all playing for everyone to forget their problems. A professional saX player called Ruben really got the club upside down - he is a must see.

As for the beaches, they aren't white sand beaches like you'll find in Ayia Napa but that doesn't stop you from having a great time. The beaches in Ibiza makes you feel like you're in Baywatch - they've got bars with music playing and people join in to show off their dance moves and everyone is having a great time. I kinda liked the salt water cause it reminded me of Nigeria's lekki beach for some reason. Maybe the salt levels and the icy cold water just struck my memory back and forth. The only difference is that you don't swim with sharks and jellyfish :P

Anyways, I'm going to close it from here and I'm glad I finally wrote something out of a club life. I guess there's gonna be more to come. Cheers you guys

The Lebanese Funeral System

Though we've all lost someone close to us, the funeral system that happens afterward is what affects us the most. If you've never attended a Lebanese funeral then I do pray you never get to. Nowadays, with the overpopulated ignorance, funerals have become a social gathering. People go there to meet up after a long while, sign up business deals, meet new people. After all, let us concede that if an important person passes away, those who would come to pay respects would also be important big shots. So when all is said and done and the cocktails arrive, people meet up and before you know it, they've got a yearly schedule of work planned ahead right on the spot. 

Now not to digress from the main topic of focus, but every culture has its share of traditions. From what I have observed, the Lebanese funeral system does more damage than good. First of all, unlike western funeral system where the body is kept in the coffin and is buried as soon as possible and then people gather to talk about the good times they've shared  with this person, the Lebanese system is far more dramatic. 

The Lebanese Funeral System would have 3 days of weeping and screaming. The coffin would be placed in front of the crowd and the women would weep and scream on the top of  their lungs. Some predisposed psychotics would shake the coffin asking the dead person to get up. I understand it's hard losing someone you care about and I believe I'd understand more than anyone but personally we must remain prudent. We must think about others around us and how this behavior can affect them. For eXample, a basic approach to color psychology is that everyone wears black mostly women in this case. If a mother is to wear black for more than three months, this will affect the infant child. Seeing the color black on a daily basis affects the child. Remember, we're scared of the dark naturally and it's been an archetype implanted within us. The sense of darkness, cold, abyss etc is an overwhelming feeling. Eventually we learn to adapt to the color black itself as a symbol of power and women enjoy wearing black because it makes them look slim. But like I said, the infant child is at risk here. 

Another point is predisposed depression. What I mean by this is that some people are naturally emotional and at stake to depression - they have a weak psychological immunity. With all the screaming and suffering going around, these people are predisposed to clinical depression. 

Lets not forget the old folks who have grown to the point their immune system isn't as strong as it used to be - any emotional factor hard on them would send them sick and sometimes put them into a vital state. How many Lebanese old folks do you know have no high sugar or blood pressure going on? 

I guess the grand finale is that they keep the coffin open depending on the 'condition' of the body. What kind of stupidity is this? In one minute after a person dies, the body turns entirely pale so what would you have after 3 days on display in the freezer on and off? Has anyone ever thought if a dead body carried a virus from Africa and as soon as the body is revealed in the funeral, everyone is in a potential position of being infected? No matter what medication you inject into the body to make it look 'alive', it certainly doesn't last more than a day. 

So thus I implore everyone to be prudent, I know there are traditions and customs we cannot change but we have to look at the bright side of things always. Death is never an easy thing but try to know the overall effect. Your state of mind is your state of health so pay your respect and get out if the situation looks or feels too powerful to bear. And mothers, remember your actions can put your children into a state of psychological risk. I'll end this here and I do hope no death or tragedy befalls any of you. Til neXt time.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Lightning Archetype

Good evening Wolf Runners, it has been sometime since I have posted anything but I now return to you with some Jungian Psychology. Today's topic will be about the Lightning Archetype. 

First of all, what is an archetype? As eXplained by Carl Jung, an Archetype is a symbol all humans share in their collective unconscious. By collective unconscious, it is the part of the hidden mind all humans share - we're all connected by it one way or another. In this collective unconscious, we have what Jung called Archetypes - symbols programmed into us passed down from generation to generation. 

Now not to sound mystic, let us try to give tangible ideas by putting ourselves in the eXamples I will now present. All of us reading this have some sort of religion; a belief we follow to say the least or in a modern sense, an idea we choose to believe or not to believe in. We never chose these religions bestowed upon us on birth and some of us choose to change during the course of our lives. Now stay with me and use your imagination if you have one. Imagine the first man and by that I don't eXactly mean Adam and his vegetarian fetish. Imagine the first man standing on a vast field still new to life - no one to tell him what earth is, wind, flowers and everything else is around him. Everything is a mystery - it's just him and his senses and instincts. 

Imagine all that - it's pretty scary, no? Over here I'll jump to something important. At this point although he doesn't know what is what and has no sort of language to even question himself with, he is master of his environment because he can step on the earth beneath him and he can hold the grass and taste the water but there's something that baffles him with fear from end to end. Can you guess what that is? Here's a hint - it's the first thing man worshiped. No matter where man sprouted upon this Earth, they all worshiped this entity. That entity is no longer worshiped and it is known as the Sun. 

The sun was once worshiped because the moment he looked at it, his eyes hurt. He could not reach it no matter how hard he tried unlike the earth and water. He could feel it and could not escape it. And alas as the daylight dies, something else came - this time less scary and didn't demand obedience. The ever changing moon. The first man isn't going to know that the moon changes phase because the earth rotates so he'll interpret it as a living being just as he does. He can look at it without getting his eyes hurt and be marveled by it. 

Now as the days came to pass and man is learning by fear, something came to pass which was a breaking point in man's life: It started to rain. The rain came down from the heavens - the same heavens where man looked to see the sun and the moon. He could feel the rain and the wind with all its fury and at right moment, what sparked is what I decided to write my blog about. In the dark skies, lightning in its purest form struck and after that, the heavens roared. Now take a second to put yourself in this position. No idea what anything is about and while you're feeling this feeling for the first time, you see a spark of lightning. Like a child first seeing something - can you imagine the depths of astonishment this man eXperienced? Lightning that cuts the sky with all its glory and power and followed by a thunderous sound - something so loud he never heard before. The loudest he's ever heard is probably the roars of wild animals or himself so compare that with the entire world roaring. The fear - yes that's it. The driving stone that has pushed man since his developed a spinal cord. In order to conquer his fear, he has to destroy it. He can destroy the lion, the boulder but you can't destroy the sun or the lightning. So what's plan B? If you can't beat it then join it. That is why man decided to worship this entity and offer sacrifice to appease it. This is how all religions first developed - to be at peace with what we don't understand and what we fear. That is why in every ancient religion you will find similar entities - the sun god Ra from Egypt to Awondo from Ancient Africa and Aztec's Tonatiuh. BUT THIS ISN'T ABOUT THEM

So what about the lightning archetype? Let's go back to man now sitting in his cave all dark with people just like him. It's raining outside and it's all dark and lightning strikes a tree nearby and so falls a branch immolated partially. Man walks out and touches the flames and is hurt by it. He looks toward his thunder/lightning entity angry at first. He holds the branch not held by the flames and scares the beasts away. He enjoys the warmth of it and therefore takes it to the cave and for the first time in the dark, there is light. Man looks towards the sky and thanks this entity for this gift bestowed up them today. As man eXperimented different things with the flame, in time they came to learn how hunted food tasted better. 

So now remember we all share this same archetype. If we were to be put in his position, we would have done the same thing. The brain identifies it this way. If I asked you what comes to your mind when I say motherhood, your answer would be something like this: care, shelter, protection, wisdom etc  Your mom could be a whore but the idea of motherhood in your head will remain the same. 

In the words of Antoine Saroufim, an eXpert in Jung Psychology - here is the idea of the lightning archetype in ancient religions. 

I can tell you that many of the ancient chief gods were associated with lightning. While they were never the omniscient gods, they are often sons of these omnipotent beings and rulers of an equal rank. Zeus was the son of the titan Chronos, who was the original ruler (Zeus overthrew him). Thor was the son of Odin, but later became diety worship more than Odin. Indra was never even close to Brahma, Shiva, or Vishnu but he had a story that became equal in popularity to Krishna (Vishnu's incarnation). As you can see, in many classical societies, lightning was quite venerated. We can draw some aspect of the archetype from these gods. They are wild, unruly, and impulsive. They did as they pleased and followed their pleasure, however, they were divine, associated with spiritual power, revelations, judgement, and even sometimes purification. What I can tell you about the lightning archetype that it symbolizes destruction, impulsiveness, the pursuit of pleasure, but it also symbolizes divine might, revelations, and intervention that is beyond human control. Many people would imagine our God as having a thunderous voice, this is quite a good example of the divine might the lightning archetype displays. A flash of lightning and a crack of thunder are of the same source and can be viewed as one entity.

Why I chose to pick the lightning archetype is because it's the closest thing we have to being human. It can symbolize complete destruction and at the same time, help and even purification. Remember anytime you see lightning cut the sky, it is always a beautiful majestic sight and I hope after reading this, you'll let your imagination take its toll on you and remember what this symbol represented and still represents to many cultures around the world. 

Special thanks to Antoine Saroufim.