Neuroplasticity and Netflix

Sawshark

Sawshark

Netflix/Amazon Prime binge watching is my choice of drug.  Once in a while I medicate myself with streaming mindless films for hours and hours and stay numb.  When I can’t tolerate feelings, mindless B horror movies or super violent action movies with serial killers, monsters, vampires, zombies, and werewolves are the most effective sedative.   I fall asleep with a horror movie playing.

Netflix learns.  If you watch Evil Dead 2 and like it, then they recommend Amityville Horror.  They recommend films I didn’t even know existed.  I click on one, watch 1 minutes, then move on to the next, till I stumble upon a movie which fits my numbness of the day.  Eventually my “You might like these” list looks like something a disturbed teenage boy would like.

When my friend apartment sat, she binge watched Netflix/Amazon.  After her visit, Netflix started to recommend something like Beckett, Elizabeth, etc. Since I don’t watch those intellectual films often, it eventually stopped and my Netflix personality returned to the normal.

Yet, the list does not represent who I am.

I guess our brain is like Netflix recommendation.  If I keep focusing on traumatic experiences of the past, my brain’s Netflix list will be filled with traumatic titles.  Eventually I would believe there are only traumatic experiences in this world.   It’s not true.

When Netflix recommended Sharknado and Human Centipede, I asked myself.

“What have I done to my life?”

Well, I chose not to watch Sharknado.

Deep Rollers Club

empirestate

“There are shallow rollers, and there are deep rollers. You can’t breed two deep rollers… or their young, their offspring, will roll all the way down… hit and die. Agent Starling is a deep roller. Let us hope one of her parents was not.”     Quote from Hannibal

Work of deep psychology requires us to roll.  There are shallow rollers and there are deep rollers.  We need to teach the young how to roll deep without crashing.

I used to roll deep.  I guess one of my parents wasn’t a deep roller.  I survived.  I don’t deep-roll anymore.

I believed that I should roll deep, that I should risk crashing and dying, and that the psychological work should be painful.

I suspect that I was addicted to the sense of elation after the deep roll. From the bottom of self-hatred, we soar to the high of “I am different because I roll deep.”

After all it was millions of rolling without crashing that saved me.

Psychological work is just like athletic training.  You need to train your mind’s muscles to roll deep.  I hope you find a good trainer/coach/therapist, who could teach you how to roll without crashing.

About Diagnosis

It is useful to have a trail map when you hike unknown territory. It will save you from getting lost at dusk or falling into an abandoned well. When I become familiar with the territory, I’ll know the trail is not the territory, and I’ll start to communicate with creatures in the woods.

DSM V is merely an incomplete and tentative trail map of the vast and unfathomable territory of our psyche.  I hope your therapist is willing to communicate with creatures in the woods without getting lost.

birdy

Mindfulness of Being Human

“Yeah, my dad was a werewolf and my mom was a python and we spent Saturdays performing musicals based on the writings of Pol Pot, but I’d like the chance to coach my kid’s Little League team.”

This sentence cracked me up in 2005.  It was well before Twilight Saga.  It was the year of Batman Begins; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; The Chronicles of Narnia.  The writer, Amy Sohn, was way ahead the curve.   The article is about dating and child-bearing.  You can read the entire article here:  http://nymag.com/nymetro/nightlife/sex/columns/mating/14917/

Since Twilight, the parentage of werewolf and vampire coupling seems to be common and perceived rather romantic than damaging.  It was the Mother Python that got me, though.

Yeah, my dad was a werewolf and my mom was a python.

If your father was a werewolf and your mother was a python and you were brought up by them, you have to remember that you could be a werewolf and/or a python. We might pass for a human if we are careful, but we have to be always aware of the possibility of turning.

What is the most difficult part of having a werewolf father was the turning part.  He was not Mr.Rogers, but appeared to be an ordinary guy during the day when with villagers.  And he turned suddenly without warning.  What we could do was to hold our breath and remain hidden till he turned back.

What is the most difficult part of having a python mother was her lethal hug.  She force-fed her children because she was always hungry for love and In the name of love, she squeezed her children’s will out till we stop moving.

So the children learned to survive.  I followed the path to be a werewolf.  When my dad turned, I turned.  Before he would turn, I turned.   At the slightest sign of threat, imagined or real, I turned.  My mom used to tell me that I was exactly my father’s child.  She covertly encouraged me to turn because I was the one with fangs and claws, while she claimed my younger brother as her own.  After I left the nest, I realized I turned to python when I was not a werewolf.  Python part was more difficult to control.

When we grow up in a family of creatures from horror movies, the world we live in is dangerous and we learn to survive in the dangerous world.  I didn’t understand people who wanted to have a family because it would make them happy.  I believed that a family is a training camp to teach children how to survive in the more dangerous world.  (Neither I or my brother has kids.)

It took me decades of therapy and deep psychology work to unlearn the old way, to learn the world is not dangerous, and to relax because the person you have a relationship with won’t suddenly turn and attack you.  Being human is a never-ending process for us, the children of werewolves and pythons.  I know I can go back to the old way at any moment and most of the time I manage to choose not to.  I’m still learning how to be human.

I don’t blame my parents for being a werewolf and a python.  That’s how they were and they did their best.  I am responsible for whom I chose to be.  As Sarah Conner in T2 realized, even a machine can learn to care.

 

Drink, it’s Cheaper Than Therapy

Probably true in the short term in moderation.

Tip your bartender well.  Two of my friends, Anna and Larry, were so good at it that they went back to the grad school and have become licensed psychotherapists.  Now you have to pay much more to talk to them and you won’t even get your drink.

In the long run in excessive amount therapy could be cheaper than drink.  I don’t know. But I’m sure those who have opted for therapy would crack up reading this sign.  It did cracked me up.

I enjoy this bar’s chalkboard sign.  Sense of humor is always good for your soul.