Two months ago doctors found tumors in my appendix, liver, and a lymph node. Also 3 tiny ones in my lungs. A week ago cancer was also found in my
brain. Radiation and steroids help the symptoms. I will choose compassionate choice [death].
Do 5’s experience neurological issues?? I have neuroendocrine sarcoma.
I miss all my fans.
And tell your Thai friendsThe HappyIntrov-ert has been trans-lated into
Part I of Gen Adderall (my January 24 blog on WordPress), featured studies on the effects of this drug. Part II is the story of author Casey Schwartz’ personal experiences with it, as she writes in the NY Times 10-12-16. This is a short, edited version of her story:
* I was one of the millions of Americans to be prescribed a stimulant medication (Adderall) for a decade. I would open other people’s medicine cabinets, root through trash cans where I had disposed of pills, write friends’ college essays for barter. Once I skipped a day of work to drive three hours each way to the health clinic where my prescription was still on file. I was always devising ways to secure more Adderall.
* There is almost no research on the long-term effects on humans of using Adderall. Some of us first got involved with this drug in high school or college when it was suddenly everywhere and then did not manage to get off it for years—if at all. We are living out what it might mean to take a powerful drug we do not need over long stretches of time.
* The first time I took Adderall, I was a sophomore, lamenting to a friend the impossibility of my plight: a five-page paper due the next afternoon on a book I had only just begun reading. “Do you want an Adderall?” she asked. “I can’t stand it — it makes me want to stay up all night doing cartwheels.”
* My friend pulled two blue pills out of tinfoil and handed them to me. An hour later, I was hunkered down in a state of peerless ecstasy. The world fell away; it was only me, locked in a passionate embrace with the book I was reading, thoughts tumbling out of nowhere and building into an amazing pile of riches. When dawn came, I was hunched over in the lounge of my dormitory, typing my last fevered perceptions. I was alone in my new secret world, and that very aloneness was part of the great intoxication.
* I would experience this same sensation again and again over the next two years, whenever I could get my hands on Adderall, which was not frequently enough. My Adderall hours became the most precious hours.
* I now thought of myself as the steely, undistractable person whom I preferred to the lazier, glitchier one I knew my actual self to be, who was subject to fits of lassitude. Adderall wiped away the question of willpower. Now I could study all night, then run 10 miles, then breeze through that week’s New Yorker, all without considering whether I might prefer to chat with classmates or go to the movies. I lost weight. That was nice, too. Though I did snap at friends, abruptly accessing huge depths of fury. By my senior year of college, my schoolwork had grown more unmanageable, not less. For the first time in my life, I wasn’t able to complete it.
* One evening I was alone in the library that stayed open all night—squinting down at my notes on the Russian intelligentsia. The fluorescent lights beat down on the empty room. I felt dizzy and strange. It had been a particularly chemical week; I had slept only than a handful of hours, and I was taking more and more pills. Suddenly, the bright room seemed to dilate around me, as if I were stuck in some strange mirage. I seized with panic—I tried to breathe, to snap myself back into reality, but I couldn’t. Shakily, I stood and made my way toward the phones. “I’m having some kind of problem in the Sci Li.” My own voice sounded as if it belonged to someone else. An hour later, I was in an ambulance, being taken to the nearest hospital. The diagnosis: “Anxiety, amphetamine induced.” I drew incompletes in my classes and went back home.
* It took me exactly one year from the time of college graduation to come to the decision that would, to a great extent, shape the next phase of my life: It might be possible to declare my independence from the various A.D.H.D. kids who sold me their prescription pills at exorbitant markups and get a prescription all my own.
* I had surrounded myself by others caught up in the Adderall web. Together with two of my closest friends, we traversed the city in a state of perpetual, hyped-up intensity, exchanging confidences that later we would not recall. When one of us ran short of pills, another would cover the deficit. [I gave the young psychiatrist I found the] answers that I discovered from brief online research were characteristic of the A.D.H.D. diagnostic criteria. These were the answers they were looking for in order to write down “Adderall, 20 mg, once a day” on their prescription pads. So these were the answers I gave.
That single doctor’s assessment, granted in less than an hour, would follow me everywhere I went. The doctor I found on my insurance plan would have no problem continuing to prescribe this medication, based only on my saying that it had been previously prescribed to me, that I’d been taking it for years.
Nearly three years after getting the prescription, I found myself sobbing in a psychiatrist’s office as I was finishing graduate school, explaining that my life was no longer my own. The Adderall made life unpredictable, blowing black storm systems over my horizon with no warning at all. Still, I couldn’t give it up.
* In the end, I did not get off Adderall alone. I had a brilliant psychiatrist. I believe she saved my life. During the first weeks of finally giving up Adderall, the effort required to run even a tiny errand was momentous, the gym unthinkable. If someone so much as said “Adderall” in my presence, I would instantly begin to scheme about how to get just one more pill. I was anxious, terrified I had done something irreversible to my brain,
* Even in those first faltering weeks, simple pleasures were available again. I laughed more. I had spent years in a state of false intensity, always wondering if I should be somewhere else, working harder, achieving more. On one of those earliest days of being off the drug, I was slowly trying to walk the few miles to an appointment I had. A rock band was performing onstage. The singer [was] pouring his heart into every word. Suddenly, tears were streaming down my face. I was embarrassed, but I couldn’t stop. It was as if I hadn’t heard music in years.
* Please see my website, Wagele.com, for my books, essays, cartoons, famous types, and more.
This blog is taken from Casey Schwartz’ article in the NY Times of 10-12-16. I have edited and shortened it:
Adderall is the brand name for a mixture of amphetamine salts prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, a neurobehavioral condition marked by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, predominantly seen in children. That condition (also Attention Deficit Disorder) has been increasingly diagnosed over recent decades: In 1990, 600,000 children were on stimulants, usually Ritalin, an older medication usually taken multiple times a day. By 2013, 3.5 million children were on stimulants; Adderall was the new, upgraded choice for A.D.H.D.—more effective, longer lasting.
By the mid-2000s, adults were the fastest-growing group receiving the drug. In 2012, roughly 16 million Adderall prescriptions were written for adults between ages 20 and 39. Adderall has now become ubiquitous on college campuses, taken by students with and without a prescription. Black markets have sprung up at many, if not most, schools. According to a review published in 2012 in Brain and Behavior, the off-label use of prescription stimulants had come to represent the second-most-common form of illicit drug use in colleges by 2004. Only marijuana was more popular.
Adderall was an accident. In the late 1920s, chemist Gordon Alles, searching for a treatment for asthma, synthesized a substance related to adrenaline, which was known to aid bronchial relaxation. Alles had created beta-phenyl-isopropylamine, the chemical now known as amphetamine. Injecting himself to test the results, he noted a feeling of well being, followed by a rather sleepless night. By the 1930s, the drug Benzedrine, a brand-name amphetamine, was being taken to elevate mood, boost energy and increase vigilance. The military dispensed Benzedrine tablets, also known as “go pills,” to soldiers during World War II. After the war, with slight modification, an amphetamine called Dexedrine was prescribed to treat depression. Women, especially, loved amphetamines for their appetite-suppressing side effects and took them to stay thin, often in the form of the diet drug Obetrol. But in the early 1970s, with around 10 million adults using amphetamines, the Food and Drug Administration stepped in with strict regulations, and the drug fell out of such common use. More than 20 years later, pharmaceutical executive Roger Griggs revisited the now largely forgotten Obetrol. Tweaking the formula, he named it Adderall and brought it to market aimed at the millions of children and teenagers who doctors said had A.D.H.D.
Martha Farah, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania, has studied the effect of Adderall on subjects taking standardized tests that measure restraint, memory and creativity. On balance, Farah and others have found very little to no improvement when their research subjects confront these tests on Adderall. Ultimately, she says, it is possible that “lower-performing people actually do improve on the drug, and higher-performing people show no improvement or actually get worse.”
For years, the predominant explanation of addiction, promulgated by researchers has revolved around the neurotransmitter dopamine. Amphetamines unleash dopamine along with norepinephrine, which rush through the brain’s synapses and increase levels of arousal, attention, vigilance and motivation. Dopamine, in fact, tends to feature in every experience that feels especially great, be it having sex or eating chocolate cake. This is why dopamine is so heavily implicated in current models of addiction. As a person begins to overuse a substance, the brain—which craves homeostasis and fights for it—tries to compensate for all the extra dopamine by stripping out its own dopamine receptors. With the reduction of dopamine receptors, the person needs more and more of her favored substance to produce the euphoria it once offered her. The vanishing dopamine receptors also help explain the agony of withdrawal: Without that favored substance, a person is suddenly left with a brain whose capacity to experience reward is well below its natural levels. It is an open question whether every brain returns to its original settings once off the drug.
Jeanette Friedman, a social worker with a specialty in addiction, said, “There’s such a casual use of something like Adderall nowadays—because it’s seen as benign, or a help to becoming more productive. There’s a tremendous pressure not just to do well but to excel.” When she is face to face with an addicted patient, what is at stake is that patient’s very ability “to become a full person without the shadow of always needing something. It’s very hard to think about going off it, because you don’t know if you’re going to be able to produce,” she says.
Harris Stratyner, a psychologist and addiction specialist, said each year he’s in practice he sees more people desperate to get off Adderall. Many are using it to mask a sense of disappointment in themselves because it narrows their focus down to simply getting through each day, instead of the larger context of what they’re trying to build with their lives. “It becomes extremely psychologically and physiologically addictive,” he says. “It’s really a tough drug to get off of.” The side effects of Adderall withdrawal that his patients report include nausea, chills, diarrhea, body aches and pains, even seizures. Occasionally, it is necessary for him to hospitalize his patients as they come down off Adderall.
See Part II of Gen Adderall in my next WordPress blog, January 31—a personal story of the author of this article, who was addicted to it.
- Learn about my books, cartoons, articles, and more on wagele.com
Objectivity means being unbiased, even-handed, open-minded and impartial. It’s impossible to be objective if emotions or strong opinions get in the way of the facts.
Some 5s (often INTPs or INTJs) live mostly in their heads and pick the most proven and factual reasons for making choices. Since facts are of prime importance, the feeling side of life is often unfamiliar and thus scary to them.
I’m a 5-Observer with a 4-Romantic wing (an INFP in the MBTI system), however, and have high regard for both the head and the heart. I appreciate the relatively subjective worlds of art, music, literature, and psychology – the feeling side of life. To me, great artists express the highest form of human potential. I also appreciate logic, and thoughtfulness, so I especially love Beethoven and Bach, whose works express both feeling and intelligence.
When I have a decision to make, I do best when I consult my values, intuition, reason, and objectivity to try to sort things out.
Perhaps the following study in contrasts will help describe objectivity: Once a friend and I arranged to meet for lunch at an old, formerly men’s only, restaurant in the financial district of downtown San Francisco. This old, well-known restaurant is proud of its traditions.
My friend is an 8-Asserter in the Enneagram. She is intelligent, informed, and interesting, but sometimes her anger gets the best of her and can become highly emotional when things don’t go her way. When the waiter introduced himself, she called him by an endearing name, “Darlin’”. When he came back to take our order he briefly touched her on the shoulder in what seemed to me a friendly way. This didn’t surprise me, given her flirtatious comment, but she took offense. “Nobody is allowed to touch me without first being invited,” she growled and demanded a different waiter. Her request was ignored.
She became offended again when she tasted a substitute orange liqueur instead of Cointreau in her drink. “Take it back,” she ordered our waiter. ”Sidecars require Cointreau.” “We never change a drink order. We make them the way we make them,” he said. But she kept protesting and raising her voice. The busy bartender actually turned up at our table and agreed to give her another drink, a proper one this time. But that wasn’t enough.
Now she was on a mission to rid this restaurant of its chauvinistic pigs once and for all. I don’t know how she planned to accomplish this, but she demanded the change must happen right now.
I watched the spectacle with curiosity and took notes on what was going on. To me, the restaurant was fine—it was what it was. I kept thinking, why is she so upset about this one restaurant in the world? Didn’t she realize there was no way she was going to change it, especially the way she was going about it? Why did she feel so urgent about controlling this place and this moment?
I could have used many other examples of objectivity and its opposite, for example, if someone believes in non-violence yet is overcome with a desire for revenge. Long ago, my emotions hijacked my objectivity when my child was attacked, kicked, and suffered cuts and broken bones. I wanted to push the perpetrators’ eyes back into their brains—if only I had known who they were. In a few days my reason returned, however, and I remembered I didn’t believe in revenge.
- Find out more about the Enneagram through Wagele’s books, including The Enneagram Made Easy, Are You My Type, Am I Yours? The Enneagram for Teens, and The Enneagram of Death. See wagele.com for more.
The following is a shortened and edited version of a New York Times article:
In the fall of 1998 and again in 2010, the National Center for Education Statistics sent early childhood assessors to 1,000 public and private kindergartens to measure their reading and math skills. They asked children to identify shapes and colors, count, identify letters and sound out words. They also surveyed parents to learn about the children’s experiences before entering kindergarten.
The authors of New York Times’ The Good News About Educational Inequality (Sean F. Reardon, professor of education at Stanford; Jane Waldfogel, professor of social work at Columbia; and Daphna Bassok, associate professor of education at the University of Virginia) and social scientist Ximena Portilla used this data to track changes in the differences in academic skills between low-income and high-income children entering kindergarten.
From 1998 to 2010, the school readiness gap narrowed by 10 percent in math and 16 percent in reading. The gaps that remain are still vast. But this represents a sharp reversal of the trend over the preceding decades.
The gap in school readiness narrowed because of relatively rapid improvements in the skills of low-income children, not because the skills of children from high-income families declined. Both poor and affluent children entered kindergarten in 2010 with stronger reading and math skills than in the late 1990s. School readiness gaps between racial groups have also improved.
These improvements appear to persist at least into fourth grade. By 2015, when those kindergartners were in fourth grade, their math and reading skills were roughly two-thirds of a grade level higher than those of their counterparts 12 years earlier. This was true for children of all racial and ethnic groups and for poor and non-poor children alike.
School readiness gaps have narrowed partly because it is easier now for poor families to find high-quality, publicly funded preschool programs for their children. Today 29 percent of 4-year-olds are enrolled in state-funded preschools, up from 14 percent in 2002.
While the quality of the typical preschool program may have improved, as recently as 2004 most poor children attended public preschools that were far inferior to those available in affluent communities. Changes in children’s homes may have mattered most. Tracking the experiences of young children over time, researchers found that both rich and poor children today have more books and read with their parents more often than they did in the ’90s. They are more likely to have computers, Internet access, and computer games focused on reading and math skills. Their parents are more likely to spend time with them, taking them to the library or doing activities at home.
But in many ways, the lives of rich and poor parents haven’t become more equal. Among families with school-age children, income inequality grew by roughly 10 percent from 1998 to 2010; economic segregation grew by 20 percent. We suspect the school readiness gap is narrowing in part because of the widespread diffusion of a single powerful idea: that the first few years of a child’s life are the most consequential for cognitive development. Less than a century ago, mainstream magazines routinely advised new mothers that intellectual stimulation of babies was harmful.
Low-income families may now be adopting these parenting practices as a result of public information campaigns like Reach Out and Read, the Too Small to Fail initiative and local efforts which aim to teach parents simple ways to help their children build the vocabulary and cognitive skills that form a foundation for success in school.
Poor children still enter kindergarten nearly a year behind their richer peers. Changes in parenting are not going to be sufficient to sustain or speed this progress, although more paid leave would help. Economic inequality still constrains poor children’s horizons. Low-income and middle-class parents still struggle to find affordable, high-quality preschools. The elementary, middle and high schools rich and poor students attend differ markedly in resources and quality. And it isn’t clear that the recent reductions in school readiness gaps will automatically translate into greater equality in high school, college and beyond.
Singer-poet-novelist-songwriter Leonard Cohen died in November at age 82. He had soulful, brooding eyes and a low, unusual voice that became lower with age. His life was devoted to freedom, searching, roaming, protesting, and women. He wrote philosophically about politics, social justice, peace, and love.
He came from a prosperous Jewish family who built a synagogue in Montreal. Many kinds of music influenced him, including Jewish folk songs, country, and rock: he used frequent minor chords, catchy melodies, and rhythms that encourage dancing.
Cohen’s songs have an intimate, thoughtful quietness and depth about them. They accomplishes this partly by hovering around one note, then creeping slightly higher stepwise to hover around another note, etc., and by repetition of simple motives. “Suzanne” and “Halleluja,” for example, are made up of 7-9-note motives in sequences. Both songs start on the fifth degree of the scale and ascend slowly, which creates tension. There are no large leaps, no big drama—and still the words and music hold our interest.
His soulfulness, elegant taste, and melancholy songs express his 4-Romantic personality. He was natty, emotional, inward, creative, and wrote music full of feeling. Depressed most of his life, he was called the “godfather of gloom”. Cohen was spiritually oriented, curious about religions, including his native Judism, Psalms, the Catholic Church, and Zen. The Economist wrote: “His concerts became more like prayer gatherings: in 2013, when he went out on the stage of the world one last time, he was dropping to his knees to sing. He was still railing at God and growling at the apparent randomness of everything: if God was the dealer, he was out of the game. Yet he was also calm.”
Cohen’s 5-Observer wing shows up in his independent nature, his discomfort performing, and his dislike of outward show. The minimalist in him liked living in a small shack. He lived in rural Hydra, Greece in 1960, in an apartment that had intermittent electricity and cost $14 a month. Later, for 5 years he lived the life of a Zen monk up high on a mountain in Southern California.
His songs include “First We Take Manhattan,” “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “Master Song,” “So Long, Marianne,” “The Darkness,” “Show Me the Place,” “Going Home,” “Bird on a Wire,” “I’m Your Man,” and “Tower of Song.” I didn’t realize before he died that Robert Altman had used three of his tunes in McCabe & Mrs. Miller.
On January 31, Cohen was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 52nd Annual Grammy Awards.
- Wagele performs music on the piano: The Beethoven Enneagram, a CD about Beethoven’s piano sonatas and personality; on You Tube: Jack and Jill Enneagram Variations, Chop Stick Enneagram Variations, and The Creative Enneagram.
I’m pleased to announce my book, The Enneagram of Death is now an eBook!
It consists of varied experiences, attitudes, and thoughts about grief, fear, and death by several of each of the 9 types of people.
See my books, blogs, CD, and cartoons at wagele.com.
My other books (and CD) are:
The Enneagram Made Easy
Are You My Type, Am I Yours?
The Enneagram of Parenting
The Career Within You
The Happy Introvert
Finding the Birthday Cake
The Enneagram for Teens
The Beethoven Enneagram, a CD
If no one has already, I hope someone will make a study of how the 9 Enneagram types do when it comes to sleeping.
I’ve never had a major problem with sleep – except for one 6-week period after open-heart surgery, when my heart fibrillated for many weeks, beating twice its normal speed. I couldn’t calm down enough to sleep because of the booming in my chest. Hoping to turn it around, one friend sang Indian healing songs to me. Another friend made me an audiotape of her soft, caring voice, based on some hypnotherapy sessions I had with her. I provided my heart with an example by holding my metronome on my chest at 72 clicks per minute several times a day. In some of those sessions I would play Bach on the piano at the same speed. Then, shortly before I was scheduled for cardioversion – shocking my heart back into a normal tempo – my heart righted itself on its own.
By then I was in the habit of not sleeping, however, so I thought of bringing to mind everyone I had ever known, one by one, and wishing each one health and happiness, similar to counting sheep. My one rule was that I had to mean it – the health and happiness part. It worked. These days I only have trouble sleeping rarely, when my legs are too wiggly or my brain is too active. I can almost always get to sleep if I get up and eat some yogurt.
My father had insomnia. He’d simply read for an hour or two. But he’d be groggy the next day.
Pagan Kennedy writes about insomnia in the New York Times, 9-17-16. On her worst nights her own insomnia feels like temporary insanity. Her mind turns into “a mad dog that snaps and gnaws itself”.
Kennedy concludes, “Though one in 10 American adults suffer from chronic insomnia, we have yet to answer the most fundamental questions about the affliction. Scientists argue about the mechanisms of sleep and the reasons it fails in seemingly healthy people. There are few — if any — reliable treatments. At the same time, medical journals warn that bad sleep can fester into diseases.”
She describes mental games she invented as a child to distract herself. She would compile a list of things and people that made her happy, starting with words that began with A and moving through the alphabet.
“Though millions of us struggle with chronic insomnia, we’re not a unified army fighting the same foe. Every one of us is grappling with a different mix of mental and physical dysfunctions. Dozens of medical conditions deprive people of sleep; these include apnea, Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, depression, brain injury, autism and restless legs syndrome.” She also cites a study of twins that found wakefulness is significantly heritable, especially in women.
And she describes the Internet as a gathering spot for insomniacs. Drew Ackerman designed a “Sleep With Me” podcast “to tame the vigilant, overactive ‘guardian’ in the brain that feels it must stay awake to worry.” About 70,000 listeners download each episode of his podcast. He treats insomnia as a disease of existential loneliness. “Even if they’re in bed with somebody who loves them, it’s the deep dark night and they’re all alone.” He promises to talk to them until they drift off. And he commiserates.
Kennedy’s article ends, “In the dark hours, when we’re wandering in the wilderness of thought, sometimes we just need to feel that someone, even a digital someone with a prerecorded voice, is watching over us.”
John Schwartz wrote about a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, in his article, Katharine Hayhoe, a Climate Explainer Who Stays Above the Storm in the N.Y. Times, 10-10-16. This blog contains excerpts from his article:
Dr. Hayhoe, an evangelical Christian, has emerged as one of the nation’s most effective communicators on the threat of climate change and the need for action. She lives and works in West Texas, but lately seems to be everywhere, kicking off a series of “Global Weirding” videos, posting on Twitter and Facebook, and speaking anywhere from local churches to international conferences. She is committed to finding consensus.
The shifting weather in West Texas has been showing greater extremes, including more severe drought and fiercer inundations when storms come.
A 2013 poll by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication found seven in 10 Texans agree that climate change is real, though fewer than half said humans were the major cause. Over half of those in the Texas survey said they had personally experienced the effects of global warming.
“Katharine Hayhoe is a national treasure,” said Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. She combines powerful communications skills, world-class scientific credentials and an ability to relate to conservative religious communities that can be skeptical about the risks of a changing climate.
Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist, said Dr. Hayhoe’s faith is an important factor, because “people can accept unwelcome truths much more readily if they come from within, rather than outside of, their community/family/group.” While some climate warriors treat those who are not inclined to believe them as dupes or fools, she wants to talk. She presents herself and the science without tumult and with a measure of optimism.
In her approach to discussing climate change, Hayhoe declines invitations to televised arguments with those who deny the overwhelming scientific evidence that climate change is real and human activity is largely the cause. She said that such shows, with their split-screen antagonists, suggested that the two sides are evenly matched, which helps explain why Americans tell pollsters that scientists are split on the matter when it’s really more like 97 percent on the side of “it’s real.”
Michael E. Mann, a climate scientist and author at Pennsylvania State University, said locking horns has its place, too: “There is a role for an approach that takes bad actors to task, naming names when it comes to the worst climate villains, those who are knowingly misleading the public and policy makers. Such an approach doesn’t necessarily endear oneself to the hard-core climate change deniers, but it does help to expose the deceit, and in my view it is important for the public to know about that.”
• Now for something different: Elizabeth’s piano CD, The Beethoven Enneagram. Hear how Beethoven expresses all 9 types in his piano sonatas.
• See Wagele.com for Elizabeth’s books, famous people, cartoons, and more.