Anxiety, Sadness and Depression

Many people do not know the difference between sadness  and the clinical depression found in psychiatric disorders, like those classified as Mood Disorders. They also do not have a clear idea about the difference between worry, fear and anxiety that rises to a level of clinical concern. They have even less of a clue whether the sadness they are feeling is a significant clinical problem, or just a feeling.

The main distinction is that clinical depression — or also in clinical ilevels of anxiety —  these disorders are debilitating. True clinical disorders interfere with work or studies, often makes the social life of the patient and thier family miserable,  and they usually come with unbelievably hard to take psychological pain. That is when psychologists call it names like clinical depression or Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

 This confusion can cause a lot of problems, with armchair psychologist-wannabes giving overly simple advice to friends and family. These patients, who have real clinical problems and not normal mood swings, likely need instead a professional consultation.  Clinically anxious people are not worry worts, they are typically racked with dread and living on a roller coaster. Clinically depressed persons may stay in bed for days, or alternatively sleep too little, and have no interest in the things they used to enjoy.

Published in: on October 25, 2010 at 11:58 pm  Comments (2)  
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Delaying the Retirement Age

Protests in France against changing the retirement age, from 60 to 62 have so far not succeeded in derailing the legislation. Indeed the senate in France voted to move forward with these changes. Like America, France has a divided government, and while the conservatives do not have to deal with filibusters, the shutdowns of the street protests, organized by labor and other groups with more progressive leanings, put the U.S. Tea Party movement to shame.

The tea party riff-raff here can be impolite and their extremists make accusations that are alternatively wacky, dumb or bigoted, by they do not rally the working class. To think of these people as populist, when most of their money comes from billionaires, is the height of absurdity.

Their goals, for the most part, seem to be to win seats at the table, so they can be in charge. That is politics not populism. If the Republicans take over the US senate as well as the house, they will then be the  “government”  that the tea party has begun to protest, when Democrats run it.  Then there will be some real populists in the opposition, and progressive populists may make things a little less comfortable for the wall street banks. I wouldn’t be surprised to see marches against foreclosure,  and some real protests akin to the 60’s.

Our  government in the US is broke, but not for the reasons the Tea Party harps on. It is because we did not heed Eisenhower’s warning about the military industrial complex, and have let defense contractors, banks, and insurance companies purchase unprecedented power, and neither political party has an interest in stopping them.

Bank of America Says Its Foreclosure Paperwork is in Order

Just like their amazingly effective mortgages, which made and burst the bubble. the big boys (known affectionately as TOO BIG TO FAIL), are at it again, only now it is with sketchy foreclosures.  Bank of America announced today that they were unfreezing the foreclosures that they had frozen, which had effectively allowed the effective stop of foreclosures. They had a freeze of their foreclosures, in order to review what was thought to be poorly documented paperwork. They did not, however, explain how they had determined that this mess had actually been vetted, and suddenly found to be in order. Other banks will likely soon  follow in this masquerade.

These are the same institutions that gave us the housing bubble. They gave us mortgages that were not worth the paper they were written on, and derivatives, which broke the mortgages up into tiny, indigestible, toxic pieces. Now these institutions cannot prove that they actually own the mortgages. Instead they rely on individuals to certify that the paperwork in order. Their assertions are often based on less than a minute’s time reviewing the documents, (robosigning) and that is not a way to prove you own something that may have been sold and resold dozens of times before you got it, if you ever actually got it.

Wait till the lawyers get a hold of this; they now have a method of how to stop foreclosure. A few lawsuits have already been filed, that led to the freeze originally. Now they are counting on the courts accepting that they have “standing,” (are the owners)  and to prove that, they are relying on an industry front that they set up, possibly with the sole intention of rubber stamping their (at best) sloppy and risky practices. If you are one of the large chunk of Americans who are attempting to learn how to stop foreclosure this may be something to look into.

And while we are on the topic of foreclosure, it’s worth connecting that to the huge increase in bankruptcies that are sweeping the US in the wake of its greatest recession. In the article How to File for Bankruptcy Without an Attorney I not only give suggestions on what to do if you need to file a pro se bankruptcy, but I also discuss how Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are connected to avoiding foreclosure. 

The best method for portecting your home, if you can quailfy, is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It would be hard to file for bankruptcy without an attorney if you go that route, and with your house at stake, an attoney is certainly advisable. However you may well be able to roll the payments to the attorney into your 3-5 year reorganization, and that could allow you to stop foreclosure and keep your home.  However, if you can successfully file for bankruptcy without an attorney (using Chapter 7), the best you can expect is a delay in stopping a foreclosure of 3-5 months. Possibly if your home has a lot of equity, you may get some money back from a sale where you use a homestead exemption in that type of bankruptcy. You may not be able to stop foreclosure that way, but you could at least save some of your equity.

Ms. Smith Goes to Washington

On this day in 1939, the movie Mr Smith Goes to Washington, starring James Stewart and directed by Frank Capra premiered. In the current climate, all the tea party women and their immitators  plan to make it Ms. (or perhaps they would insist Mrs.) Smith instead, when they talk us into sending them to Washington. The original movie was fiction, and I have to say the real world has never produced a real life version, although Paul Wellstone, the Minnesotta senator who died in a plane crash, came close.

The current crop of Republican women are making the news, and making noise like they are just plain folk. Whether it be Sarah Palin’s winks, or the mantra “I am you,” by Christine Samantha O’Donnell, they seem to think that they are  not politicians.  Bull. They are more like politicians than they are citizens. The witch can’t seem to pay her taxes, something she shares with tea party Governor candidate NIcki Haley of South Carolina.  That’s kind of normal, I guess, but not something that would inspire me to vote for them, and certainly not something a good citizen like Mr. Smith would have tried.

How many of us have had the opportuity or inclination to run for the senate and lose, then run again, like Ms. O’Donnell? Or to participate on Bill Maher TV roundtable discussions, when, like Christine, we were too young to even drop out of school? And why would she (falsely) claim she went to Princeton if she is such a plain (Palin?) Jane…. What kind of work has she actually held?  Has there ever been dirt under her fingernails?

If these tea party witches  think they are more normal, well maybe they are, when compared to Meg Whitman and Carly (Send all the jobs abroad) Fiorino, who both bring all the money they could squeeze out of the working folks to their quest to be liked by the majority of the less well-heeled voters in California.  Are we really going to have government by auction?

I like the idea of a citizen politician. If I ever see one, I will gladly give them some money and my vote.  But none of these celebrity tea party candidates seem to have any credible claim to being normal.

Published in: on October 17, 2010 at 9:54 am  Leave a Comment  
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What are Hub Pages?

I recently was helping a friend (and author) find some freelance writing work, and she started writing an article for hubpages. She found that they are a legitimate venue, and they have not yet been anything but professional.  If you are looking for a way to get a little extra cash and know something about writing, then (with some patience) this type of effort could be a source of a small steady addtional income.

They pay by sharing revenue from advertisements, so it is not a lot of money, but for those who do not have time to monitize their website it is worth a look. Thier tutorial is clear and helpful at the above link.

To sign up to use hubpages, to make money writing,  go to this sign in page . Another place to consider is  Be forewarned, both of them take some effort and patience.  At elance you bid for jobs and fulfil the contract if it is awarded to you.  On the hubpages, you just publish something and then, if you get the hang of it you will see some passive money coming in several months down the road, assuming you have good content. Consider that for a little bump up for a writer’s pension. For every thing you write, with any skill and luck you might get, on average about 8-12 cents a day down the road. So if you wrote one article a week for the next 5 years, you could be looking at about an $800/ month writer’s “pension” in that you would receive passive income from it. Of course it takes a little more effort than that, but you get the general picture.

Published in: on October 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm  Leave a Comment  
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When Do You Need a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney?

If you have already decided to file for Bankruptcy, but you can’t decide whether you can scrape up the money to hire an attorney, this quick list may help. You should know, of course that the sage advice, is always to get an attorney. If, however, all of the following are true, then you would be especially well advised to not represent yourself:

1. You are planning to file any type of bankruptcy that is not a Chapter 7 type bankruptcy.

2. You do not know, and/or do not have the patience to find out, the difference between a Chapter 13 and a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

3. You have significant money or stocks, or valuable cars, expensive furniture or antiques that you need to keep.

4. You own real estate with significant equity you would like to protect.

5. You plan to wear white socks and levis to the bankruptcy hearings.

6. You and your spouse are divorcing or in a dispute about what to do.

However, if you have no money, and only a few possessions of any value, and are willing to read a lot on the internet, buy a book or two to help you, and have some time to invest in the project, then maybe, just maybe you, can try to pull it off. Start with buying the best book on the topic, which you can find below. Also see How to File, which is a good place to start.

Published in: on October 15, 2010 at 5:54 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Miners from Chile- Good News

For once there is some good news that we can all feel some happiness about. The miners from Chile are all “OK” and no longer confined to a living crypt. This catastrophe marks the longest time anyone has been trapped underground and emerged alive.  While psychologists may still have some work to do, to mend the minds of those who were trapped (and their families), the worst is over.

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 12:49 pm  Leave a Comment  

Antisocial Media: A Review of The Social Network

I went to see The Social Network, the new movie about Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg and his antics that made him the world’s youngest billionaire. I wrote a more comprehensive review here, but first a couple quick thoughts. If you are looking for a gripping movie with a lot of conflict, this movie will disappoint.  I myself expected to see an insightful and incisive critique of the views of Zuckerberg on issues like privacy. These views are so controversial today with Facebook, and if that sort of conflict of ideas was what you were looking for you would also be disappointed. Any conflict that was in the movie was between egos not people.

But the psychologist in me found it a vivid portrayal of a prototypical  anti-social personality (actually at least 2 of them). While I have never met Mr. Zuckerberg, and so consequently I could not pretend to actually diagnose him, the character portrayed in the movie (most likely closer to fiction than realty) was, it seemed, a mix of antisocial, narcissistic, and schizoid personality characteristics.

His lack of concern for the welfare of his best and only friend, may well parallel Facebook’s apparent lack of concern for the privacy of it’s users.

Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 11:59 pm  Comments (2)  
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