The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™
Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we
Table of Contents
Shrink Rap: A
Country Under Pressure and Who Knows War?
More Rap: The Death-Birth-and-Rebirth of a Literary Notion
Heads Up: Dallas Morning News & The Hartford Courant
Readers: The Mind of Steven Wright; 15 Pieces of Advice
Offerings: Training Kit; R&R CD; Safe Stress & Anger E-Books; AOL
Main Essay: Disarming a Critical Aggressor: Part II
Notes from the Urban
Recently I received an email from an Israeli woman, a manager of an IT call
center. For an upcoming training program, she inquired about articles on
communication skills for dealing with difficult customers, as I recall. In the
course of our correspondence, the obvious hit me: when it comes to the
phenomenon of stress, this individual, alas, has an urban battlefront
perspective. I asked if she would write her impressions of the incessant
tensions and the unpredictable horrors; her picture of life in the belly of the
terrorist beast. (Clearly, a Palestinian citizen would likely have his or her
own traumatic perspective. And equal time is offered. Alas, the list of
countries living under the harrowing climate of climate grows. But the sense of
tragic vulnerability surely increases as geographical land mass decreases,
especially when physical boundaries between warring states hardly exist.)
My frontline correspondent specifically stated she would only share her personal
and social-psychological perspective -- not a political one. I think you'll
agree the piece is not only heart wrenching, but with spare, poetic-like prose,
it captures the nightmarish impact of terrorism on all facets of life -- from
the individual to the familial, from the cultural to the societal.
"Who Knows War?," my own late-90s poetic reflection written when the U.S. was
again on the brink of war with Iraq, follows. But back to the painful and
poignant reflection of (to quote my mother upon hearing this piece) "an
articulate and courageous woman." Shalom!
A Country Under Pressure
By Naomi from Israel
What is the meaning of everyday pressure for a citizen of a country where Terror
rules for three years?
Pressure is not allowing our children to go by bus (if possible) because buses
Pressure is not driving your car too close to a Bus, because it can explode
Pressure is living from one newscast to the next and always listening to the
news in some way or another.
Pressure is having all members of the family carry a cell phone so you can
immediately make a round of calls to hear that everyone is OK.
Pressure is the collapse of the cell phone system after a terrorist attack
Pressure is developing emotional self-preservation to keep you sane from one
explosion to another.
Pressure is repressing most terrorist attacks because one cannot deal with the
horror of them all.
Pressure is Remembering -- every one has his own traumatic personal events that
trembled his soul the most:
Children losing both parents
Losing five members of the family Kernel out of nine.
Pressure is having your purse searched and your privacy invaded every public
place you enter. (Malls, supermarkets, shows, libraries etc…)
Pressure is having less cultural events. Art exhibitions are no longer brought
from other countries, and artists from overseas cancel their performances.
And I haven't even mentioned the economy that has deteriorated, the investments
that are no longer there and the world recession that has its marks.
And I haven't even mentioned the broken up families, the psychological
treatments needed, the nonstop efforts to give a boost to the nation's morale so
the Israelis can continue surviving the everyday life, and it goes on and on…
All the above does not represent any political opinion or was it written for any
personal benefit. The above is the opinion of one citizen, and should be read as
The Winds of War
by Mark Gorkin
The winds of war stir up remembrances of encounters on the edge of war...and
ones tragically over the edge. Whether this current terrorist/military crisis is
Known or simply known, the Stress Doc sets the scene and shares some stress
survival tips, especially for those at home.
Who KNOWS War?
I have not KNOWN war; I have only known war.
I have not KNOWN the blaze of live machine gun fire pounding, screeching,
whizzing overhead with mortar shells, the random blasts of crazed fun house
terror. No time for the fireworks flaring, gazing in the blackest night above
when you're eating dirt, crawling on all fours, cradling your baby M-16, mind
numb save for the point 100 yards ahead that must be reached. But I have known
I have not KNOWN the fear of being smoke bombed and tear gassed in troop
formation. Blinding smoky clouds, not knowing where the men in front, behind and
to the sides have disappeared in a choking shroud of muffled coughs and cries
and teary eyed. Paralysis, for an instant, before madly reaching for the
protective mask. ("And remember, soldier, it's not a gas mask!") But I have
I have not KNOWN the haunting, screaming, cold sweat post-traumatic nightmares
of an Air Force Pilot so enraged and deadened by endless sorties of secret
killing in the Vietnam jungle. Yet, inflicting terror and drugs is all he knows
to stay alive. And still, ten years later, every night, he's condemned to replay
the battle scene. I have not KNOWN this, but a client has.
I have not KNOWN the heroic highs and lifeless lows of the desperate fight to
halt the surprise tank invasion of a Mid East enemy. Outnumbered ten to one.
Somehow repulsing, somehow surviving despite the loss of most of your buddies in
their finest hour. Nor the unspoken guilt for having done so. And this communal
guilt only topped by the personal shame of the crash of a jeep you were driving
while bleary eyed and bloodied: you survive and two mates die. I have not KNOWN
this, but a client has.
Nor have I KNOWN the silent, anxious, weepy wait of a wandering wondering mother
each day and night if "The Knock" will come. The knock at the dreaded door. The
dreaded door no longer a protection against "The Visit"; against the lonely
visitor declaring the end of a son's patriotic duty. I have not KNOWN this, but
a friend has.
Nor have I KNOWN my childhood friend, a Hollywood handsome, athletic Adonis,
back from Nam, a bloated shadow speaking gibberish until, tiring of his own
impostor self on the streets of Flushing, his winning, flashing smile and
innocent boyish spirit frolicking in a Killing Field. Not able to comprehend the
division within; nor stand it...So jumps to his death to end the madness. But,
this alas, I have known.
War is hell for all who KNOW it and it's damn stressful for those who just know
More Shrink Rap:
The Death-Birth-and-Rebirth of a Literary Notion
In the midst of contemplating hell, if not living it, some flowers can still
bloom. And for me, this one is a long time in coming. More precisely, I have
likened my publication quest as being pregnant for about a dozen years, with all
manner of disruptions. Believe me, I've been ready to drop.
Actually, Practice Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress,
Burnout & Depression was to have been published as a trade paperback in late
2000 or early 2001 by AdviceZone.com. Unfortunately, this .com, like so many
other IT and telecommunications ventures, had a total meltdown by the late
Spring of 2001. And the finish line for my baby and me evaporated.
It took almost a year to get over my shock and grief, with 9/11, of course,
added to the boiling mix. Once I did, and once I began reconnecting with the
manuscript, I was reminded of my very mixed feelings working with the assigned
editor. As a new author, I acquiesced to often regarding editorial shaping and
book direction. (She had worked on a stress book in the Dummies series.
I should have known there would be a struggle: my goal was the "thoughtful pop
psychology" genre.) While we did work well together on occasion, I finally put
my foot down when she wanted to change the wording of my poetic insight on the
regenerative potential of grief:
Whether the loss is a key person, a desired position or a powerful illusion each
deserves the respect of a mourning. The pit in the stomach, the clenched fist
and quivering jaw, the anguished sobs prove catalytic in time. In mystical
fashion, like spring upon winter, the seeds of dissolution bear fruitful
Anyway, most of the battle scars have faded. The last couple of years have
allowed enabled me to put my own stamp and style on the work. (Those added
years of pregnancy seem to have fostered a big baby; it's a 370-page book. I
wasn't much heavier at 5lbs, 7ozs.) Ladies and gentleman, without further ado,
the book you've all been waiting for. (Okay, the book that I've been longing
for…) Practice Safe Stress, a joint production of Stress Doc Enterprises
and 1stBooksLibrary. (See the link directly below for ordering both the trade
paperback and e-book versions. Shortly you will also be able to order the book
from my website --
So seek the higher power of Stress Doc humor: May the Farce Be with You!
Congratulations! Your book has gone "live" and is now available for sale on the
http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/15676 ! Your book will soon be available
for sale through thousands of retailers nationwide! A courtesy copy of your
book, Practice Safe Stress, is being mailed to you.
1. Quoted in, "Enough to Make Your Head Spin," The Dallas Morning
News/Texas Living, Jan 13, 2004, by Michael Precker; about the stress of
not being able to find a job after a layoff.
2. Quoted in, "Hate for the Holidays," The Hartford Courant/Life,
Dec 22, 2003, by Greg Morago; about why holding a grudge, or at least honestly
acknowledging the same, may not be such a bad thing.
3. Quoted in, "The Barbarian
Invasions," The Hartford Courant/Life, Jan 11, 2004, by Greg
Morago; why "bon mots have given way to the humor of cruelty."
I like these lines of mine (such a narcissist): "A good humorist doesn't want
to kill the prey, just capture it. Or give it a little bit of a wound and let
it go," said syndicated humorist Mark Gorkin. "The point is, I think we lost
that capacity for discrimination. Humor can certainly have its edge. But
instead of a scalpel, today's humorists are using an ax."
Gorkin said another reason for the growth in heartless humor is that we're a
society that reads less and relies heavily on visuals (the immediate processing
of movies, TV, video games and computers). Our minds, he said, aren't
conditioned to conjure the literary references or make the analogies that clever
"Society is moving at such a fast pace, who has the time to do the mental
gymnastics? We're going for the cheapest shots, the easiest shots," he said.
"We're not doing the mental integration and looking at things for the larger
picture. We're seeing the obvious target and bombing it."
Wit requires reflection, Gorkin said, something we just don't do much these
days. "There will always be a segment of the population that will appreciate
the thoughtful witticisms," he said. But as society becomes more and more fast
paced, the way we process information is more superficial and immediate."
Hmmm...I think Greg helped me sound good! ;-)
Subj: THE MIND OF
If you're not familiar with the work of Steven Wright, he's the famous scientist
who once said: "I woke up one morning and all of my stuff had been stolen...and
replaced by exact duplicates."
His mind sees things differently than we do, to our amazement and amusement.
Here are more of his gems:
I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.
Borrow money from pessimists -- they don't expect it back.
Half the people you know are below average.
99% of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
42.7% of all statistics are made up on the spot.
A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good.
A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.
If you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.
All those who believe in psycho-kinesis, raise my hand.
The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I almost had a psychic girlfriend but she left me before we met.
OK, so what's the speed of dark?
How do you tell when you're out of invisible ink?
If everything seems to be going well, you have obviously overlooked something.
Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.
When everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.
Ambition is a poor excuse for not having enough sense to be lazy.
Hard work pays off in the future, laziness pays off now.
I intend to live forever -- so far, so good.
If Barbie is so popular, why do you have to buy her friends?
Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.
What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn
Why do psychics have to ask you for your name?
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
A conclusion is the place where you got tired of thinking.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.
The colder the x-ray table, the more of your body is required to be on it.
Everyone has a photographic memory, some just don't have film!
15 Pieces of Advice!
1. Don't imagine you can change a man -- unless he's in diapers.
2. What do you do if your boyfriend walks out? You shut the door.
3. If they put a man on the moon -- they should be able to put them all up
4. Never let your man's mind wander -- it's too little to be out alone.
5. Go for the younger man. You might as well - they never mature anyway.
6. Men are all the same - they just have different faces so you can tell them
7. Definition of a bachelor: a man who has missed the opportunity to make some
8. Women don't make fools of men -- most of them are the do-it-yourself types.
9. Best way to get a man to do something is to suggest he is too old for it.
10. Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.
11. If you want a committed man, look in a mental hospital.
12. The children of Israel wandered around the desert for 40 years. Even in
Biblical times, men wouldn't ask for directions.
13. If he asks what sort of books you're interested in, tell him checkbooks.
14. Remember a sense of humor does not mean that you tell him jokes, it means
that you laugh at his.
15. Sadly, all men are created equal.
1. Training/Marketing Kit:
Want to strengthen your ability to lead or market a stress workshop or any kind
of speaking/training program? Consider the Stress Doc Training/Marketing Kit,
which includes both "how to" manual, 20-minute highlights video, and articles,
as well as the opportunity for phone coaching. For more info:
Training/Marketing Kit http://stressdoc.com/kitbook.htm or email.
2. "R & R" (Rap & Relaxation) CD:
(a) Relaxation-Visualization CD (10-minutes); with three Shrink Raps™ and two of
the Stress Doc's classic articles: "The Four Stags of Burnout" and "The Stress
Doc's 'Top Ten' Stress Tips." (Total time: 55-minutes.)
3. Stress Doc Books:
a) E-BOOK: Really Hot: The Paperback Version is "live":
Practicing Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing in the Face of Stress, Burnout, &
Depression, 2004, Doc Enterprises
Congratulations! Your book has gone "live" and is now available for sale on the
http://www.1stbooks.com/bookview/15676 ! Your book will soon be available
for sale through thousands of retailers nationwide!
Also: Hot off the Adobe File; Ready for Download;
The Stress Doc's Store Front
Practice Safe Stress tackles the "Toxic-Traumatic Trio" -- stress, burnout, and
depression. Learn practical and playful, inspiring and insightful strategies
for transforming these toxins into life-affirming energy, creative focus, and
goal-achievement. The book is alive with imaginative language and memorable
"how to" ideas for:
§ Understanding the "Four Stages of Burnout," the "Erosive Spiral"
§ Rebuilding your fire and developing "Natural SPEED"
§ Achieving liberation through "Emancipation Procrastination"
§ Becoming an "organizational psychohumorist" ™
There are satirical essays on "lean-and-MEAN" managers and on mismanaged
downsizings. Learn to "laugh in the face of layoffs" and ponder the possibility
of "Van Gogh, Prozac, and Creativity." The Stress Doc also shares his his own
trials, errors, and triumphs in battling the "Toxic Trio."
Safe Stress provides many discrete "Top Ten" lists and "strategic tips" essays
useful as educational/informational handouts. To quote the Internet
Newsroom: Your Guide to the World of Electronic Factgathering: "The most
outstanding feature…is his 'psychohumor' essays. Always witty,
thought-provoking, and helpful." With this easy-to-follow, fast-paced, and fun
health and wellness guide, you'll return often to Practice Safe Stress.
Published: 2004; Pages: 50
b) The Four Faces of Anger: Model and Method
Transforming Anger, Rage and Conflict Into Inspiring Attitude and Behavior
The "Four Faces of Anger" presents an elegantly simple yet intellectually
powerful model that will challenge your beliefs about anger -- both regarding
its range of emotion and its potential for positive communication. The book is
a dynamic blend of popular psychohumor articles, essays, case examples and short
vignettes, as well as Stress Doc Q & As and even "Shrink Rap" ™ lyrics. You
will gain ideas and tools, skills and techniques for personal control, playful
intervention and conflict mastery. Learn to:
Ø Identify self-defeating styles of anger and violence-prone personalities
Ø Transform hostility and rage into assertion and passion
Ø Confront directly or disarm outrageously critics and (passive) aggressors
Ø Bust the guilt not burst a gut
Ø Prevent emails from becoming e-missiles
And finally, his years as a multimedia psychotherapist and as a Stress and
Violence Prevention Consultant for the US Postal Service yield a survival and
spiritual mantra at the heart of the "Four Faces of Anger":
Seek the higher power of Stress Doc humor…May the Farce Be With You!
Published: 2004; Pages: 114
c) Hard Copy Book -- Truly on the Cutting Edge
From Stress Brakes and Shrink Rap to Safe Stress and Cool Moon Cats:
The Wit and Wisdom of the Stress Doc, Stress Doc Enterprises, 1995
A 90 page compilation of my former syndicated radio essays, pioneering songs in
the field of psychologically humorous rap music -- "Shrink Rap" Productions
- a creative visualization poem and other humorous lyrics/poems. "Stress
Brake" radio essays are short (300 words), fast-paced and witty, covering
such topics as stress, burnout, anger and conflict resolution, time management,
creativity, men's and women's issues, romantic relationships, codependency, etc.
(They make excellent fillers for newsletters.)
Price: $20 (which covers priority postage and handling)
To purchase books and/or tape, make check payable to: Mark Gorkin
Send check to:
Stress Doc Enterprises
1616 18th Street, NW #312
Washington, DC 20009-2542
Questions? Call 202-232-8662
4. Chat Group:
Stop by my AOL/Digital City Shrink Rap (TM) and Group Chat
DC Debate Tuesdays, 9:30-11pm EST DC Support Chat (Alas, only for AOL
Mark Gorkin, LICSW, "The Stress Doc" ™, an international/Celebrity Cruise
Lines speaker, training consultant, psychotherapist, syndicated writer, and
upcoming author of Practice Safe Stress: Healing and Laughing in the Face of
Stress, Burnout & Depression. Mark, recently interviewed by BBC Radio, has
USA Today Online "HotSite"
www.stressdoc.com -- cited as workplace resource in a National Public Radio
feature. As AOL's "Online Psychohumorist," ™ Mark runs his weekly Shrink Rap
and Group Chat. Email for his monthly newsletter recently showcased on
List-a-Day.com.For more info on the Doc's "Practice Safe Stress" programs, email
email@example.com or call 202-232-8662.
(c) Mark Gorkin 2004
Shrink Rap Productions