Abby Editorial

By Abby Maher

We live in a society that regards heterosexual and cisgender as the norm. For LGBTQ+ folks, this means we are so often excluded from the institutions and traditions that were built on the premise that heterosexual, cisgender people are the standard against which everyone else is judged. As an LGBTQ+ person, this can feel extremely isolating. It can feel as though there isn’t space for us. When we are simply tolerated by heterosexual cisgender people, it can feel as though we should praise them because they made room for us to simply exist in their world. In my personal experience, the feeling of constantly being on the outside has made conforming to heteronormative ideals seem like the most appealing option. I have felt the pressure to fit myself into the boxes that are considered “normal” in order to get along in an environment that didn’t want to tolerate me as a member of the LGBTQ+ community. I have also encountered many kind, well-intentioned people who wish to be inclusive and accepting of the LGBTQ+ community, but I have found that even inclusivity can come with constraints. I think society as whole doesn’t really tolerate things that it can’t explicitly define and place in a box. So for those of us who exist outside of the heterosexual, cisgender boxes, society has created a new set of standards about what a lesbian is supposed to look and act like, what a gay man is supposed to look and act like, what a transgender woman or man is supposed to look and act like, and so on.  Once I discovered that I simply couldn’t squeeze myself into the heteronormative box society tried to place me in, with a swell of pride in my identity, I searched for inclusivity within the LGBTQ+ community. I tried really hard to ascribe to the values, thoughts and ideas I was “supposed” to have as someone who identifies as a lesbian.  A lot of those things don’t define who I am at my core, but after all I am a human and I crave love, inclusion and acceptance. I have had to ask myself however,  if I have to betray my authenticity in order to receive those things, is it even love, inclusion or acceptance?

So therein lies the dilemma, as an LGBTQ+ person I am often outcast from the majority of society because I cannot mold myself to fit, and I often feel outcast and left behind within my own community because I do not see myself reflected in the assumptions society makes about me.

As a future mental health counselor who hopes to work with the LGBTQ+ community, I hope to use this feeling to guide my work. I am aware that these boxes I have mentioned often tell LGBTQ+ people how to love, how to have relationships, how to express themselves, and how to find acceptance. If I had one wish for any of  my fellow LGBTQ+ folk, it would be for them to be able to see beyond the constraints of these boxes, to get in touch with how they want to love, how they want to have relationships, and how they want to express themselves. Above all, I wish for them to feel that their truth does not make them less valid if it doesn’t align with the standard, and finally I wish for them to know that they can find unconditional acceptance through these truths. As a counselor I see it as my role to help clients do the work of silencing the voice that tells us as LGBTQ+ people what we should be, so that they can find their own voice that tells them who they truly are. Beyond that, I see it as my role to help clients feel empowered enough to share that voice with the rest of the world, so that they may be loved, included, and accepted without conditions.

My Experience with Alpha Stim

By Abby Maher

The alpha-stim device has been billed as a drug-free treatment option for pain anxiety, depression and insomnia. It functions by passing a low-voltage electrical charge through the body between two electrodes.  For treatments involving anxiety, depression, or insomnia, the electrodes are placed on each ear via clips. The device is worn for 20 minutes and treatments can be done daily or as needed.

According to research, alpha-stim has been found to assist sleep and elevate mood by stimulating associated brain regions and hormone producing portions of the brain. Devices like this have been in use in the United States for 50 years and have been considered safe.

How does it feel?

Placing the electrodes on my ears, I felt a little reservation. The device comes with instructions that says to gradually increase the intensity of the charge until you feel seasick, then turn it down. I didn’t really believe that the two little clips could make me feel seasick until I felt it for myself.

Once I had it at the correct level for me, it felt like a gentile tap on my earlobes. It was easy to ignore and not painful at all.

Does it work?

When I had the clips in place, I felt a little tired and was fairly relaxed. Once I removed them, the feeling continued for a little while. I am not currently suffering from any of the conditions that alpha-stim is designed to treat. However, I can imagine that the calming effect of the alpha-stim would be effective for use in treating those issues.  I think alpha-stim could be a useful part of a treatment regimen and is worth giving a try.

Infertility, Treatments, and Stress… OH MY!

By Nattalie Roepke

Have you or your partner had difficulties conceiving? If so, you are not alone. According to womanshealth.gov, 10% of US women struggle with becoming pregnant or carrying to term. Infertility is defined by the World Health Organization as being unable to conceive after 12 months of regular unprotected sex. Some reproductive specialists believe that this is overgenerous. They believe that after 6 months, couples 35 and older should begin the testing process for infertility.

If you or someone you love has ever gone through this, you may understand how difficult it is. 20% of couples who have been diagnosed with infertility, don’t know why. Many others are left with frustrating diagnosis such as premature menopause, low ovarian reserve, PCOS, low sperm count, or endometriosis. All of these disorders are outside of individual control and difficult, if not impossible, to treat medically leaving many couples with no other options except for expensive, and perhaps financially prohibitive, treatments.

There are many aspects about infertility that go unaddressed by medical practitioners. Women and men who discover that they are incapable of having children without medical support experience:

  • Shame
  • Isolation
  • Greif over the loss of this ability
  • Anger at their body or their partner’s body for not working
  • Confusion
  • Regret
  • Fertility hyper-awareness
  • Disappointment
  • Jealousy for other’s who do not have difficulty conceiving
  • Feelings of loss of control over one’s body
  • Guilt
  • Low self-esteem

While you may see a reproductive endocrinologist, gynecologist, and/or urologist for your physical concerns, many forget that mental health is equally important. Because many individual’s experiencing fertility challenges may not feel comfortable sharing them with friends or family, isolation and depression commonly occur.

What Can You Do?

If you have been involved in reproductive treatments for a while, you already know that reproductive health has a vernacular all its own. Step into any online chat community for infertility for the first time and the acronyms and drug names will overwhelm you. Individual’s new to the process may feel completely lost when speaking to doctors and may struggle to even know what to ask.

Reproductive mental health counselors specialize in providing support to individuals who are dealing with the stressors related to this process. As a patient of an infertility clinic, you may dig into supplements and diets all geared to help you produce the best quality eggs or sperm you can. While you are doing all that you can to take care of your body, don’t forget to take care of your mind.

Chronic stress can alter your hormonal balance. In an article written in 2008 in “Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience” researchers were able to tie stress related hormones to worsened pregnancy outcomes when patients are undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART). This seems to correlate with anecdotal stories that seem to show that couples are more successful when they are less stressed. Everyone has heard of a couple who tried for years. At some point they stop trying and go on a vacation and come home pregnant. Although this definitely does not work for most couples, lowering stress hormones can increase the effectiveness of treatment.

Help Is Available

Contact a mental health counselor who specializes in treatment of clients experiencing fertility challenges. There are many interventional therapies which can help you reduce stress and become more resilient when faced with the obstacles of infertility.

Meet Abby

Harmony US has a new intern we would love for you to meet, Abby.

Hello everyone, I am a master’s level student in Northwestern University’s clinical mental health counseling program. Having completed a practicum experience through which I provided supervised counseling to a variety of individuals, I am now in my internship year where I am able to provide counseling to individual adults, couples, groups, children and adolescents. My major areas of interest include working with the LGBTQ community, gender, sexuality, and healing from trauma. I am also a major advocate for the idea that counseling is for everyone, ranging from those who wish to heal from trauma to those who are experiencing the stress of every day life. I welcome the opportunity to work with anybody! My approach to counseling is very much relationship based as I believe that a truly safe, warm, collaborative and trusting environment can sometimes be the most powerful aspect of counseling. My hope is that the things you discover about yourself, and the things you learn through our counseling relationship can be applied to your life in order to empower you to become the best version of yourself.

Intern Spot Light

Harmony US is pleased to introduce you to one of our amazing mental health interns, Nattalie.

Hello Everyone. My name is Nattalie Roepke. I am a student at Northwestern University and have joined HarmonyUS to complete internship within my Master’s degree program. I am a Florida native and love calling Tampa my home.

I have worked as an educator and an education administrator for many years. I have my undergraduate degree in psychology and am excited to be completing my Master’s degree program and to be working within the HarmonyUS family.  

I have many areas of interest. I am currently working toward my certification in fertility counseling (which provides specific support for individuals and couples who are experiencing difficulties becoming pregnant, have had miscarriage(s), are seeking or currently using assisted reproductive techniques, or are building a family using egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogacy). I am also familiar with traditional psychoanalytic techniques, cognitive-behavioral therapies, and solution-focused therapies.

I am also familiar with the treatment of anxiety and PTSD with cannabis and can provide information and resources in this area.

I am available to see clients on a limited basis. I look forward to meeting you.

The Library of Congress Makes Thousands of Fabulous Photos, Posters & Images Free to Use & Reuse

The history of the venerable Library of Congress demonstrates the vast importance that the founders of the U.S. accorded to reading and studying. It may be one of the country’s most durable institutions, “the oldest federal cultural institution in the nation,” it proclaims. While partisan rancor, war, and violence recur, the LoC has stolidly held an ever-increasingly diverse collection of artifacts sitting peacefully alongside each other on several hundred miles of shelves, a monument to the life of the mind that ought to get more attention.

Touting itself as “the largest library in the world,” its collections “are universal, not limited by subject, format, or national boundary, and include research materials from all parts of the world and in more than 450 languages.”




Its first materials were, of course, books—including over six-thousand books purchased from Thomas Jefferson’s private collection after the British burned the original library down in 1814. Now, it “adds approximately 12,000 items to the collection daily,” in every possible format one can imagine.

And since its digital collections came online, anyone, anywhere in the world can call up these vast resources with an internet connection and a few clicks. Though we tend to take such things for granted in our fervidly distracted times, a little reflection should remind us of how incredible that is. But before we wax too rhapsodic, let’s remember there’s a business end to the LoC and it’s called the U.S. Copyright Office, that guardian of intellectual property that both ensures creators can profit from their labors and prevents the free and open use of so many enriching materials long after those creators have need of them.

But the Library has done its digital users a service in this regard as well, with its “Free to Use and Reuse Sets,” a sizable collection of images that the Library “believes… is either in the public domain, has no known copyright, or has been cleared by the copyright owner for public use.” (The use of the word “believes” seems to leave room for doubt, but if you got it with permission from the LoC, you’re probably safe.) Need photographs of Abraham Lincoln—and scans of his speeches, letters, and “dueling instructions”—for that book you’re writing? You’re covered with this gallery. Need a collection of classic children's books for your website (or your reading pleasure)? Here you go.

From the graphic genius of vintage WPA and travel posters to iconic jazz portraits by William Gottlieb to baseball cards to endlessly quaint and quirky American roadside attractions to pictures of dogs and their people… you never know when you might need such images, but when you do you now know where to find them. Want to know what’s in the set called “Not an Ostrich”? A valkyrie cat named Brunnhilde, for one thing, and much more here.

The Library currently highlights its “Poster Parade”—a set of posters from the 1890s to the 1960s featuring “travel, commercial products, war propaganda, entertainment, and more”—in collaboration with Poster House, a museum opening in New York next year. These range from delectable art nouveau ads to shouty broadsides telling you to drink your milk, brush your teeth, or have “More Courtesy.” Sensible prescriptions, but we also need more knowledge, study, and thought. Start at the LoC’s Digital Collections here and harvest your free to use and reuse images here.

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Related Content:

The Library of Congress Makes 25 Million Records From Its Catalog Free to Download

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Getty Images Makes 35 Million Photos Free to Use Online

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness.

 

The Library of Congress Makes Thousands of Fabulous Photos, Posters & Images Free to Use & Reuse is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

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36 Artists Give Advice to Young Creators: Wim Wenders, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Umberto Eco & More

"Whatever you do, nobody else can do that better than you. You have to find what you can do better than anyone else, what you have in yourself that nobody else has in them. Don't do anything that you know, deep in your heart, that somebody else can do better, but do what nobody else can do except for you." That sounds like fine advice, but when receiving advice we should always consider the source. In this case we could hardly do better: the source is Wim Wenders, director of Alice in the CitiesParis, TexasWings of Desire, and many other films besides, an auteur seldom accused of making movies anyone else could make.

Wenders' interview clip and the others here come from "Advice to the Young," a video series created by the Louisiana Museum in Denmark (which has quite an impressive gift shop, incidentally, if you happen to need advice on gift-shopping). Jonathan Franzen, author of novels like The CorrectionsFreedom, and Purity, admits to feeling embarrassment about "giving advice to the young writer," but he still has valuable words for creators in any domain: "The most important advice I have is to have fun, to try to create something that is fun to work on."




And by fun he means fun like you have on a tennis court, where "you're not just messing around, you're not just hitting the ball wherever you want — you are focused on having a game, and once you are in it you are having fun. That's the kind of focused fun I'm talking about, and if you are having that kind of focused fun, there's a good chance that the reader will too."

The range of writers from which Louisiana Museum has sought advice also includes Lydia Davis, whose sensibility may differ from Franzen's but who has garnered an equal (or even greater) degree of respect from her readership. "You learn from models and you analyze them, you study them, you analyze them very closely, one thing at a time," she says, beginning her more expansive advice based on her own method. "You don't just sort of read the paragraph and say, 'Oh, that really flows, you know? That's good.' You say, 'What kind of adjectives? How many? What kind of nouns? How long are the sentences? What's the rhythm?' You know, you pick it apart, and that's very helpful." Her other suggestions include to "be very patient, even patient with chaos" and to keep a notebook ("it takes some of the tension and the worry away, because if you write it down, it may just be a note. It doesn't have to be the beginning of anything").

"Do what you want to do," Davis concludes, "and don't worry if it's a little odd or doesn't fit the market." That bit of guidance seems to have worked for her, and in the great variety of forms it can take seems to have worked for seemingly every other artist. Take Ed Ruscha, for instance, whose canvasses of gas stations, corporate signage, and other icons of American blankness must hardly have seemed geared toward any particular "market" when first he painted them. For the young he has only one piece of advice, received second-hand and briefly delivered: "No one could ever beat this thing that Max Ernst said. They asked him what a young artist should do, and he said, 'cut off an ear.' That's good advice to follow. You can't beat that."

Other artists featured in the video playlist include Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Umberto Eco, Patti Smith & more.

Related Content:

21 Artists Give “Advice to the Young:” Vital Lessons from Laurie Anderson, David Byrne, Umberto Eco, Patti Smith & More

Brian Eno’s Advice for Those Who Want to Do Their Best Creative Work: Don’t Get a Job

To Make Great Films, You Must Read, Read, Read and Write, Write, Write, Say Akira Kurosawa and Werner Herzog

John Cleese’s Advice to Young Artists: “Steal Anything You Think Is Really Good”

Walt Whitman Gives Advice to Aspiring Young Writers: “Don’t Write Poetry” & Other Practical Tips (1888)

Ursula Le Guin Gives Insightful Writing Advice in Her Free Online Workshop

Based in Seoul, Colin Marshall writes and broadcasts on cities, language, and culture. His projects include the book The Stateless City: a Walk through 21st-Century Los Angeles and the video series The City in Cinema. Follow him on Twitter at @colinmarshall or on Facebook.

36 Artists Give Advice to Young Creators: Wim Wenders, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Umberto Eco & More is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

The post 36 Artists Give Advice to Young Creators: Wim Wenders, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Umberto Eco & More appeared first on IACCCE.

The post 36 Artists Give Advice to Young Creators: Wim Wenders, Jonathan Franzen, Lydia Davis, Patti Smith, David Byrne, Umberto Eco & More appeared first on House Of Harmony.