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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Gina, the magical cat

Let me tell you about my cat. Her name is Gina and she is truly special, and I won’t argue with other pet owners who all believe that their pets are equally special if not more.
My cat is more than special. She is a magical cat. Let’s first have a look at these marvellous eyes.

See? An Egyptian goddess she is, and she knows. The house does belong to her, I am just a visitor.
Here is a proof. 

She just claimed the entire bed to herself, as well as my table, and the third floor, where she complains if you go to fetch something when she is napping. How dare you, she mews, disturbing my beauty sleep!
We took Gina from a local shelter when she was 7 years old. She is 13 now, but in good health and still quite active on the local cat scene. Other cats know better than to argue with Gina, when it comes to defending her territory (as well as the territory belonging to the enemy), she is unbeatable.

An example. Before I finally installed a cat flap for her to go out when she fancies, I noticed at some point that she would mew, asking to let her out, exactly right after our neighbours would leave their house to go to work. They had two cats living in the house, but it didn’t cross my mind that my cat had such guts as to go there and eat both their breakfast and lunch, all of it. It didn’t appear to me as possibility for the simple reason that Gina is always starving. One would assume that she doesn’t eat at all, despite the fact that I buy her best cat brands and she has breakfast, lunch and dinner. As well as treats.
But Gina was expanding, literally so. To an extent that when I took her for a routine check up to the vet, he advised to put her on a diet and suggested to refer her to pets’ diet club.
“Your cat is on the border of obesity,” he said while cuddling Gina, who was purring from pleasure even at the vet. She is a very kind cat. But she is also super intelligent, I have to give it to her.
And so, one morning I followed her. I sneaked out after she left and where she was, guilty as charged, emerging from the neighbours’ cat flap, with a satisfied grin on her face, still eating.
She knew that she was naughty because once seeing me, she jumped over the fence and didn’t come back until two hours later, thinking I would forget.
“Don’t you dare going there and stealing their food!” I was shouting at her back, in full naivety that she would follow my recommendation. You see, Gina is more than extra-smart, she is also extremely easy to get along with in terms of sharing a household. She understood from the start that it isn’t advisable to wake me up in the morning and lets me sleep, waiting patiently for her breakfast, even if it is at 11 am.
One evening though when the neighbour came back home from work, I could hear some screaming. It did cross briefly my mind that my cat could be a culprit, but still, I hung on to hope that it wasn’t.
It was. As the neighbour explained, he first thought it was one of his own, lying in the middle of the sofa as it was a throne. But then he remembered that his own cats weren’t allowed on the sofa and upon inspection, found them hiding in the attic, terrified from being taken over by the most complacent cat on earth. Yes, that’s what they told us in the shelter. She did manage to foul them all.
“Gina is very good with other cats and children,” the staff at the shelter said, then adding as an after-thought, “she does like her food though.”
I am not sure whether the neighbours decided to move because of my cat, or maybe it was just a natural progression of the events (after all they did plan to buy a house, just not for another couple of years), but Gina is not shrinking because of their move. No, not at all. They still try to refer her to the pets’ diet club every time we visit the vet. And she is still annoyed with my son, but at least she allows now that he cuddles her…for a second so. But it is a progress. In the first couple of years, Gina would literary fly out of the room at the first sight of him, to reappear only when he was in bed. Yes, she is good with children, provided they sleep.

And now, to confirm that she is magical. Yesterday I made this picture, while my cat was standing on the kitchen counter in front. The result? I became a fairy.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

The Psychiatry versus Psychiatrists

Now, with the festivities behind us, and when everyone is busy with sticking to some new year resolutions, before giving up on them, as usual, I reckon it’s time to update you about what I’ve been doing during the holiday period.

While I might have an odd kilo I need to drop (one to be precise), as well as cut down on wine and coffee (mhh), unlike many other people who were busy shopping and cooking, I spent my final days before Christmas on writing an article for Mad in America. Here is a link to my article, called ‘Dialogue with a psychiatrist’.

This is a good article, I have to say (more or less humbly), and the number of views and comments are a clear demonstration that it reached the audience I wanted. I wished to lift up the mood of all people who have mental health diagnosis, who are stuck in a psychiatric hospital, or are giving up because they had misfortune of dealing with some bad doctors, right before Christmas. And I hope that my wish came true.

However, it also attracted some criticism from oldest members of the community (Mad in America) as their point of view is that I already come from a wrong position as long as I try arguing with a psychiatrist, less talking nicely to one. It doesn’t even matter that the psychiatrist in my article is a fictional one. I don’t see any, you see. They sing me off very quickly, as either they really think I don’t need them at all, or simply don’t want to deal with me (more likely). In my next post I will present new tips on how to talk with a psychiatrist. Beware!

But so, back to that article. I come from a position that science and magic can co-exist peacefully together. Even Christian Church started to argue for a dialogue recently, with the Pope proclaiming that the theory of evolution and Christian faith don’t exclude each other.

In my own personal case, if anything, more harm was done by some people who advised me against taking any medication after my first psychosis, saying that I am totally normal. Yes, I am! I am more normal than the majority of the human population and having been in psychosis definitely helps me to understand that those who are mad often possess much more sanity than the rest of the world, especially as far as the political elite is concerned. If I stuck to that initial dose recommended by my first doctor, and then reduced it gradually as advised (by the same doctor), then I would probably avoid any relapses in the future, and not deal with the issue of psychiatry and psychiatrists for the rest of my life.

But as fate would impose I would deal with more psychiatrists and psychiatry as a consequence of me not following recommendations from the doctor. And maybe there is a reason for it. Now, with a PhD in philosophy and managing to maintain more or less stable and happy life, my argument is and will remain that medication can help! Honestly, why choose a life being transferred from one hospital to another, instead of a life where you can have it all? Be a member of the society, work, have a family, friends and be happy? And still be able to experience magic?

And therefore, my main argument is still the following. I don’t like the power that psychiatry as institution holds, it needs a radical reform, as well as the whole domain of mental health, but there are individual, nice doctors to be found among psychiatrists and we shouldn’t ban then. If there is help available, we should take it!
In my opinion, as far as psychiatrists and medication are concerned, everything is in the dose (of medication). And in my next post I will tell you how you should talk with a psychiatrist. The trick is to come prepared! 
(picture taken from cartoon stock)