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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist ™

May 2000, No. 1, Sect. 1

Fight when you can
Take flight when you must
Flow like a dream
In the Phoenix we trust!

Table of Contents

Heads Up: Media Exposure, AOL/Digital City Chat and WebMD Q & A: Stress Tips and Techniques for Surviving Basic Training Shrink Rap: Insufficient Arousal - Activation: From Emptiness to Inertia Sect 2: Main Essay: Stressful Contexts for Turning Grief into Depression -- Part II Readers' Submissions: On Cosmo/Hypo Mania and Grief vs. Depression

Heads Up:

1. Media Exposure:

Feel like I hit the Trifecta this week: was informed that I'll be mentioned in an LA Times Syndicate column this Sunday, May 21, and that my writings (including a well organized archive) will be featured in Mental Health/Help Net (their Reading Room; see below). Also will be periodic guest columnist on HRHub.com. (Initial essay is a classic: "The Four Stages of Burnout.") See below for info and links. I want to thank you for helping me cultivate my presence in cyberspace. Thanks again for all your support. To more good adventures.

SubjectOther: media mention Username: joyce lain kennedy UserEmail: jlk@sunfeatures.com

Comments: I mentioned you in my Sunday 5-21 column. LA Times Syndicate. Many papers. No, a list isn't available. But I think your Web site will get some hits. Get off the edge. :) You might fall in.

Joyce Lain Kennedy

[Ed. Note: Ms. Kennedy is a syndicated career columnist with over thirty years experience and has authored several Dummies books on careers: New! Resumes for Dummies, 3rd Edition, New! Job Interviews for Dummies, 2nd Ed, and New! Cover Letters for Dummies, 2nd Ed]

Mark - Thought you'd like to know that you are up on MHN with a link on the home page (down in the reading room; http://mentalhelp.net/stressdoc/articles/index.html ). Tina did a bang-up job with the archives of your past work too. Let me know what you think. [Stress Doc's note: I too think it's great!!] Here is to a productive partnership.

Mark --------------------------------- Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. Director, Mental Health Net (614) 764-0143 - Voice (614) 764-0362 - Fax http://mentalhelp.net/ mark@cmhc.com

Subj: RE: Stress Doc Newsletter: APR 1998 Date: 5/18/00 3:26:24 PM Eastern Daylight Time From: cwoolsey@vertical.net (Christine Woolsey)

Hey Mark, I posted an edited version of the burnout article ("The Four Stages of Burnout") in our features section. I know a couple of other VERT sites are also picking it up.

Here's the direct link. http://www.hrhub.com/content/news/article.asp?DocID={9317C422-2984-11D4-8C3C -009027DE0829}&Bucket=HomeFeaturedArticles

Thanks again. Regards,

Christine Woolsey Managing Editor, HR Hub cwoolsey@vertical.net http://www.hrhub.com http://www.verticalnet.com

2. Chat Groups:

a) Once again, until the webchat technical glitches are worked out, AOL/Digita l City Chat Group has to be limited to AOlers. Stop by my online "Shrink Rap (TM) and Group Chat," Tuesdays, 9:30-11pm EDT <A HREF="aol://2719:3-4759-DC%20Support%20Chat">DC Support Chat</A> . It's a dynamic, lively, at times witty and always warm, thoughtful and supportive problem-solving group. We raise questions and share our ideas, hopes and experiences with each other.

b) The Stress Doc Teams with WebMD.com

The Stress Doc leads his lively, twice/monthly mutually supportive one hour "Practice Safe Stress" Internet Support Group for WebMD.

Next "Shrink Rap/Chat": June 7th at 5pm EDT.

Questions? Email Jon Roig at jroig@webmd.net or call 503.943.3279

Ask the Stress Doc Work Stress Q & A

(This Q & A was initially generated for workforceonline.com)

1) Stress Tips and Techniques for Surviving Basic Training

Q. In the naval life, when a new cadet joins the navy, he is badly stressed. The reasons: new environment, disciplined life vs. undisciplined civilian life, physical fatigue, career questions…These are my observations. What can be recommended to overcome this situation?

A. Your sound observations and vital question provide an opportunity both to reflect upon my former Basic Training experience and to focus on motivational tools and techniques developed as a stress and team building training consultant over the past twenty years. Some of my suggestions are military service tried and true. However, let me start with a few orientation strategies that weren’t in place back in the late ‘60s. Here are: Seven Stress Busting Tips for Cadet Orientation:

1. Small Orientation Groups. How about the new cadets participating in small group rap sessions led by an experienced seaman (who is not that much older than the average cadet; a big brother type). The sessions would have six-ten participants, run sixty to ninety minutes; three or four sessions should suffice. This provides a forum for acknowledging stress, venting about the frustrations of coping with military discipline, etc. which will be tension reducing. Also, it’s supportive to discover that you’re not the only one feeling scared or homesick. Remember, misery doesn’t just like company…it likes miserable company. ;-) You might want to try some emotional sharing-team building exercises as a way of helping the cadets bond and use humor and play as a stress buster. (I’ll append another Q & A that illustrates three exercises which may be useful, though generated for another purpose and setting.)

2. Individual Coaching. Schedule a mandatory orientation one-on-one with an experienced naval officer with counseling skills. Or, better yet, have the cadets meet with an EAP professional or base psychologist. Couch it as a routine chat not a session with the "base shrink." This meeting should provide a forum for cadets reticent in a group setting. Also, a trained counselor will pretty quickly know which new recruits need a stress follow-up. (I know my biggest anxiety in basic was my M-16 marksmanship, or lack thereof. I definitely could have used some individual mental and skills coaching.)

Also, this coaching session, along with the rap group, can answer career questions. Like college frosh, new cadets probably need reassurance that it’s okay not having your entire career path mapped out after four weeks of cadet training.

3. Small Team Rotation. Consider using rotating teams as the cadet goes through the various training classes. The teams should have enough stability for some group cohesion and for allowing individuals to form some one-on-one bonds. Rotation, obviously, facilitates the opportunity for connecting with a wider spectrum of peers in a structured learning setting.

4. Make a Stress Buddy. While this may happen naturally as part of the orientation process, reinforcing the value of a fellow cadet as a stress buddy makes it less stigmatizing to seek out such a partner and to open up. (MASH’s Hawkeye Pierce and BJ Honeycutt come to mind.) The strong silent Rambo or Rambette doesn’t have to be the only or ideal cadet role model.

I was fortunate; my college suite mate and I were next to each other during basic. Not only was it a stress reliever, but I have someone who can tell absurdly funny stories about my army daze.

5. Religious Services and Other Quiet Spaces. I suspect this is already in place. Surely, many cadets will draw on their religious or spiritual faith for strength. Also, just having a place for sitting alone, being quiet with yourself can be stress relieving. And I recall how a bagel and cream cheese breakfast after Jewish services was like being visited by an old friend. These kinds of rituals, back home customs (especially food related) will definitely provide nurturance and support.

Also, having library or online time can be relaxing, rejuvenating and morale-building. Especially, when so much is group oriented, a time for personal retreat is vital. One of most vivid memories is walking in the library the first time and seeing (and hearing) half a dozen guys sleeping and snoring. Which brings up another issue…Try to have your cadets most nights get six hours of sleep. Not only is prolonged sleep deprivation stressful, and exhaustion reduces the effectiveness of the immune system, but recent research shows learning curves and memory retention also falter with less than six hours.

A though about the online reference, which may allow for both individual time and group sharing. Running a variety of online stress chat groups (for AOL, WebMD), I’ve experienced first hand their power as supportive and problem-solving vehicles. Because of its anonymous nature, the chat setting helps folks open up. (Of course, there will be some who just fabricate a story.) The group can encourage a participant to get the real, offline assistance he or she needs.

6. Writing or Emailing. Encourage the cadet to stay connected with friends and family back home. Also, following a home town sports team can be a positive ritual. (For me, tracking the Mets from Fort Jackson, SC in the summer of ’69, the year of "The Miracle," reduced the melancholy of missing Woodstock.)

Also, research shows that writing letters or keeping a journal can be stress reducing. This effect best results when the writer both expresses emotions and thoughtfully analyzes feelings and problem-situations and problem-solving options.

7. Physical Exercise. I’m sure this is a high priority for cadets. Exercise not only toughens their stamina, their cardiovascular functioning and helps cadets lose weight, etc., but aerobic exercise releases endorphins, the body’s natural pain killers and mood enhancers. Not to mention the fact that exercise improves the quality of sleep.

One final thought for your recruiting officers. The smartest thing I did in the second semester of my senior year at college (before entering basic in July) was taking a vigorous physical exercise "gym class." No doubt, the shock to the mind-body system of cadets when they are confronted by a demanding physical regimen creates STRESS! My getting a head start helped me physically and mentally. In fact, a high score on an initial PT test led to my being selected for a special detail (1/7 of a 21 gun salute at a military funeral) and an early weekend pass.

Help cadets or cadet teams earn "Orientation IRAs" – Incentives, Rewards and Advancement opportunities through high scores on PT and other training classes. Definitely will boost motivation and morale.

In closing, integrating these seven strategic suggestions should make the orientation and basic training experience more positive and productive. You will surely help the cadets…Practice Safe Stress! --------------------------------------------------------------

Shrink Rap™: Insufficient Arousal - Activation: From Emptiness to Inertia

In the previous Shrink Rap ™ essay (Stress Doc Newsletter, APR 2000) a not uncommon sequence was noted: a feeling of ennui with the absence of immediate compelling environmental challenge. Then, an unexpected interview by Cosmopolitan Magazine. Suddenly, I’m hyper. Is this my fifteen Andy Warhol minutes? The fame frenzy is not unlike my flight into "romantasy" over that ideal, elusive woman. Cosmo cravings begin a kaleidoscopic reflection on the interaction of cyclothymic (mood swinging or, possibly, bipolar) addictive and/or narcissistic tendencies. A rapid cycle and an "aha!" is a catalyst for a compact 2x3 matrix model of "Six States of Physiological Arousal - Activation." Here are the two basic dimensions -- "Arousal Source" and "Levels of Arousal - Activation" -- and the resultant six boxes.

Six States of Physiological Arousal - Activation

Levels of Arousal - Activation

Insufficient Excessive Optimal Arousal Source

Internal Emptiness- Agitation- Relaxation- Exhaustion Manic Meditation (Biochemical)

(Cognitive-Affective)

(Environmental) Boredom- Phobia- Alertness- External Inertia Panic Animation

 

As previously explained, the "Arousal Source" is a gradient, from the biochemical (Internal Stimuli) to the environmental (External Stimuli). The "Cognitive-Affective" (or "Thinking-Feeling") dimension interacts with, affects and is affected by both biochemical and environmental stimuli. Nature and nurture forge a complex blend. Both sources and arousal-activation states excite or inhibit each other in an ongoing feedback loop. The dimensional interplay influences the ability to: a) manage one’s psychophysiological arousal and resulting emotions, b) process and make sense of past, present and future self-world information, including memories and dreams, goals and visions and c) generate an array of responses to everyday problems and opportunities – from the adaptive or innovative to the dysfunctional or regressive.

Let me begin by defining the six pairs of states. Due to length constraints, the matrix columns will be outlined in the next three newsletters. Today’s focus is on Insufficient Levels x Internal and External Arousal Source: "Emptiness- Exhaustion" and "Boredom-Inertia." Descriptions will draw upon We bster’s Dictionaries (Third World New International and New Universal), Roget’ s International Thesaurus: Fifth Edition, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) IV and personal reflection. The dictionary provides a broader framework for viewing the essence and potentialities of these states. The DSM sharpens the functionality-dysfunctionality focus.

I. Internal Source - Insufficient Level

A. Emptiness-Exhaustion Arousal State

1. Emptiness. Two pillars of the black holes of burnout and depression surely are "emptiness" and "exhaustion." Webster’s and Roget’s provide rich lenses into both terms, especially emptiness. Relevant synonyms to the word "empty,’ for example: ineffective, hungry, dull, vacant, insincere, vain, meaningless, inexpressive, nonexistent, empty-headed (ah, who doesn’t periodically wish for such an obsession-free state?), ignorant, thoughtless, baseless and trivial.

Key dictionary descriptors of "empty" are:

1) the quality or state of: a) lacking or being devoid of content and b) being uninhabited, unfrequented or containing no human beings.

At the extremes of emptiness there’s a profound sense of loss of self, a feeling of being hollow or an impostor. Perhaps on the verge of being swallowed by some psychic black hole. One’s symbolic and (sometimes literal) backbone, one’s bio-psychosocial integrity is in a profound state vulnerability, if not deterioration. Other definitions for emptiness:

2) barrenness, especially lack of imagination or creative ability, 3) lack of something necessary to spiritual growth or sustenance, 4) inanity, foolishness and senselessness, lack of significance or purposefulness.

Webster’s Third uses a line from Aldous Huxley as an illustration: "A life ghastly in its emptiness and sterility."

So emptiness is not simply existing in a void or feeling isolated but conjures being disconnected from one’s inner world of imaginative dreams and visions along with feeling alienated from an outer world of existential meaning and action. Spiritual essence and creative potential appear to be withering away or drying up. No wonder the next definition:

5) hunger: a) a lack of love, warmth or affection and b) marked unhappiness deriving from the loss of something loved.

Emptiness is more disturbing than a state of aloneness. The former not only has you feeling deprived of significant others, but also bereft of caring and reassuring internal voices – past and present – in your actual and psychic landscape and mindscape. Childhood losses and separations, as well as genetic predisposition may contribute to an emptiness that is on the "black hole" or "bottom of a dark barrel" edge.

Personal Vignettes

Here are two "emptiness" examples that must be considered within the historical context of a father's breakdown (diagnosed as manic-depression) and hospitalization and overall family stress when I was 1 1/2 years of age.

At the age of twelve, upon my return from summer camp, I unexpectedly learned about the death of my beloved grandmother. This Polish-Russian immigrant personified "Emotional Intelligence" way before Daniel Goleman developed the term. Grandma was the emotional pillar for our family. Upon the announcement, which I intuited from my mother's body language, tears of loss and loneliness burst forth. (To this day, I wish my parents had taken me out of camp for the funeral.) For a couple of years I was able to talk to Grandma in assembly and still feel connected. But as family, school and peer group life became increasingly stressful – closeted mental illness, mediocre academic performance, bullied and taunted by peers – I became increasingly anxious, phobic and emotionally traumatized, steadily subsuming a false persona. The groundwork was being laid for childhood-adulthood depression. Cut off from most real emotion, I even stopped talking to "Gram." Subconsciously, I likely was angry at her for abandoning me. The emotional void was growing. (Twenty years later in therapy, through deep grieving, I began to recover the inspiring emotional connection with Grams.)

During summer break from college, upon my parents shocking announcement of their separation and my father’s intention of moving out, I broke down. The profound pain, both from fear and my own existential emptiness was overwhelming. I was a 19 year old child without an identity, being stripped of a "save my sanity" false persona; an emotionally stunted adolescent without the cover of an intact "functioning" family.

And it is this overwhelming sense of emptiness that’s ripe for addictive numbing, stuffing or escaping – through eating, drinking, drugs, TV vegging, sexual compulsions, real or virtual, as well as a low self-esteem or egoal-dri ven frenzied quest for fame and vindication.

Yet the semantic glass is not all empty. One more defining line:

6) uninhabited or unknown territory.

Webster’s illustrative quote comes from an individual unknown to me, Green Peyton: "Áppears as a sort of outpost, standing at the edge of emptiness."

So a state of emptiness may also lie on the edge of solitude. Emptiness is a blank canvas; frightening, disorienting, seemingly overwhelming but also a vast frontier waiting to be faced, challenged, explored and personally and communally designed. In hindsight, by temporarily leaving, my father blew up the facade of a functional family structure, and exposed the enmeshed and disconnected ties. This was the first step in the slowly evolving recovery process for all members and for my family as a whole.

What made him break >From our mistake Perhaps we'll never know.

But in the wake Of psychic quake The formula to grow.

The silence cracks Each spouse attacks The couple hardly known.

But on these tracks Of broken backs Emancipation sown!

As the pioneering artist, Pablo Picasso, noted: "Every act of creation is first of all an act of destruction.")

2. Exhaustion. Webster’s provides both a psychological/physical and organic/inorganic perspective on exhaustion. First a broad psychological definition:

1) neurosis following overstrain or over exhaustion.

As I once penned: "If no matter what you do or how you try, Results, Rewards, Recognition and/or Relief are not forthcoming and you can’t mean ‘No' or won’t ‘let go’…trouble awaits. The groundwork is being laid for apathy, callousness and despair." Exhaustion in the burnout tunnel goes beyond common fatigue.

2) fatigue: loss of power resulting from continued work but removable by rest.

Exhaustion may have long-term consequences. Webster’s example: exhaustion in productive power (as of soil). "The Erosive Spiral" moniker for burnout seems prescient.

3) the transitory refractory (non-responsive) state induced in a receptor or motor end organ by continued or repeated stimulation.

For example, having a serious case of the "brain strain." Even better, my vivid definition of burnout: "The gradual process by which a person detaches from work and other significant roles and relationships in response to excessive and prolonged stress and mental, physical and emotional strain. The result is lowered productivity, cynicism and confusion…a feeling of being drained, having nothing more to give."

And it may not be a big jump from burnout exhaustion to generalized mood disorder. Chronic stress seems to be a culprit in receptor dysfunction and the optimal firing of neurotransmitters vital in the operational effectiveness of mood stabilizing chemicals like serotonin or dopamine. Prolonged stress induced exhaustion can literally – biochemically, not just psychologically – culminate in depression!

And finally, Webster’s engineering perspective when read with a flexible mind has much to say for both the inorganic and organic worlds:

4) the tendency of a material (as a metal) to break under repeated cyclic loading at a stress considerably less than the tensile strength in a static test.

Under prolonged stress and exhaustion (especially with sleep deprivation) our psychological defenses are weakened. Cracks develop in the psychic armor. Old painful memories, often revolving around separation trauma and loss, start percolating up from the depths of the unconscious and subconscious. Suddenly, even the smallest slight from a supervisor has the force of an old judgmental sledge hammer or a subtly cutting knife wielded indiscriminately, explosively or manipulatively by a parent, sibling or (ex-)spouse.

II. External Source - Insufficient Level

A. Boredom-Inertia Arousal State

1. Boredom. The result of a decided or prolonged lack of engaging outer stimulation is boredom or ennui. The latter is defined by Webster as follows:

1) a feeling of weariness and dissatisfaction: languor or emptiness.

As we’ve just seen, emptiness is multifaceted and, in the "Six States" Model, it has a decided quality of inner insufficiency, especially biochemical and spiritual, as well as a lack of imagination. The semantic distinctions and similarities between "emptiness" and "boredom" reveal, once again, the fine line and interplay between inner and outer sources of arousal. Of course, these distinctions are sharpened and/or blurred by individual capacity for attention, memory, and cognitive-affective evaluation.

For example, let’s look at boredom in the context of exhaustion from excessive repetition. There’s "The Bjorn Bored Syndrome," named for the late ‘70s to early ‘80s tennis great, Bjorn Borg, who dramatically burned out after a half dozen highly successful years on the pro circuit. Perhaps it was five back to back French and Wimbledon tennis titles or the endless hours of practice (or not being able to beat Mac the Brat at the US Open). The lack of novelty and environmental diversity along with attenuated personal vitality was clear. As was the resultant BBS: When Mastery times Monotony provides an index for Misery!

Continuing our semantic meandering along the border between "Emptiness-Exhaustion" and "Boredom-Inertia" reveals an inner-outer boundary state that is often recognizable by those who have grappled with boredom or burnout.

Apathy

Webster’s defines apathy this way: Without feeling or "a + pathos" (feeling, suffering)

1) release of freedom from passion, excitement or emotion,

By the way did you know that the first dictionary "S"-word for passion is not sex but "suffering," as in the Passion Play sufferings of Jesus or, more generically, the sufferings of a martyr? (Imagine all this time I never realized my Jewish mother was such a passionate woman?)

2) absence or lack of feeling or emotion: unfeelingness or impassiveness and 3) absence or lack of interest or concern – listlessness or indifference.

For me, the message is clear: a whole and vital human being must have some connection to, understanding of and compassion for one’s own and for other’s feelings and sufferings. What’s the biblical aphorism?: "If not for myself, who am I? If only for myself, what am I?" Being able to express pain and passion and to share the same with significant others, while understanding the need for boundaries – e.g., giving of oneself and to oneself – is what allows for healthy and genuine engagement. Dysfunction too often arises when we forget "The Basic Law of Safe Stress": Do know your limits and don’t limit your "No"s!"

Without boundaries, without limits, with emotional bottlenecks choking off or draining away energy and purpose, one loses the capacity for vital motion…one becomes "inert."

2. Inertia. Once again, Webster’s provides some pithy descriptors and physical sciences definitions of "inert" and "inertia" that has analogous psychological-behavioral application. Three dimensions of inertia:

1) indisposition to motion, excitation or action, 2) resistance to change 3) lack of activity; sluggishness.

Now the physical conception of inert:

1) not having or manifesting active properties: not affecting other substances when in contact with them.

The concepts of learned helplessness and situational depression come to mind. A state of being inert not only involves a type of insecurity and immobility but also a self-defeating belief that one’s actions cannot effect any positive consequences upon or rewards from one’s environment. Helplessness and hopelessness (the latter, according to psychiatrist, Jerome Frank, "an inability to imagine a tolerable future") become a paradigm for paralysis.

Webster’s Universal spells out the semantic shift from the physical to the outer-inner environmental and psychological:

2) a person may be inactive from mere lack of incentive, but one who is inert has something in his constitution or his habits which operates like a weight holding him back from exertion.

This description evokes my analogy to an untreated depressive as someone trying to run a hundred yard dash with an invisible 50 pound weight tied to his or her ankle. A final definition expands the range of motion…somewhat:

3) a property of matter by which it remains at rest or in uniform motion in the same straight line unless acted upon by some external force.

The psychological equivalent appears in the rigid or compulsive individual who has little capacity for flexible adaptation. Life becomes black or white, all or none and "one right way." Or, for example, an analytic type may be inflexible or stilted in the realm of emotional communication. These folks remain doggedly and dysfunctionally linear in an organic, rapidly changing and chaos theory-driven universe.

Of course, there are times when taking a firm stand is motivated by integrity and an unwillingness to compromise on principles, ethics or values. But too often hard liners conform more to my closing lyrics from "The Self Righteous Rap" and to a favorite quote from Gide's, The Immoralist:

If life’s a soap opera: "As the Head Swells" No need to be walking on those ego shells. When the righteous start ranting they’re all of a kind The bigger the ego the smaller the mind!

(Email stressdoc@aol.com for the complete lyrics.)

And as French novelist, Andre Gide, sardonically observed: "One must allow others to be right; it consoles them for not being anything else."

Finally, the distinction between rigidity and integrity is sharpened when problem-solving calls for exploration, letting go and risk-taking. These adaptive processes are frequently sacrificed on the alter of false pride, "one right way" perfection, fear of being seen as a "failure" and feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy. A capacity to accept failure as a vital component of learning and growing is a cardinal dimension of psychological integrity.

Let me close with a parable from my early "Stress Brake" radio daze. It captures the dangers of an egotistical or self-righteous attitude. It also reveals the disheartening parallels between an obsessive-compulsive spinning of one's wheels and a (resultant) state of inertia. As a backdrop, let me warn you, years ago I really had a holy (if not somewhat compulsive) attitude about punning. And I was living in the psychic shadows of a still tender post-burnout psyche from a self-defeating "holy grail" dissertation quest. Stress Doc/Farmer Claude…heal thyself:

That Hole-In-One May Not Be Your Ace-In-The Hole

Once there was a farmer named Claude who lived in the country. And Claude was convinced that if he could dig the right hole he would find gold on his land. After several weeks of digging and digging, he began to wonder: "Is this the right hole?" But Farmer Claude plowed his doubts underground. He was going for the gold.

Months passed and Farmer Claude was still digging. His pride and tunnel vision would not let him consider that there might not be gold, or that maybe his hole was misplaced. He was in the pits. Claude grumbled, "What can I do? After all this work there just has to be gold at the end of my tunnel." So he clung to his vision.

When neighbors wondered what Claude was up to, he paid them no mind. "Anyway," thought Claude, "at least I’m not sitting around not knowing where I’m going. And nobody’s going to get me to admit I got myself in this hole." But despite his holier than thou bluster, deep down, Claude really wanted to crawl in is hole.

You might say that Claude had forged a hole in his soul. But there still could be light (if not gold) at the end of his burnout tunnel. Claude need to face his loss and give up his false pride. If Farmer Claude could take an incubation vacation by holing up for a while, he might hatch a new perspective or play a different hand, not just dig another hole. Remember, letting go is not a sign of defeat; it frees you to climb out of your hole.

I wish this tale had a happy ending. But alas, Farmer Claude still felt it was better to dig the wrong hole to an impressive depth than to let go and start over. "At least I’m not a quitter," said Claude. It’s true. No one could accuse Farmer Claude of being less than "hole-hearted."

Next newsletter, we’ll examine the Internal and External Sources and Excessive Levels that yield the following "States of Activation - Arousal": "Agitation-Manic" and "Phobia-Panic." Until next time, of course…Practice Safe Stress!

(c) Mark Gorkin 2000 Shrink Rap™ Productions