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The Stress Doc Letter
Cybernotes from the Online Psychohumorist (tm)

September 1998

Dear Readers,

Here is your free Stress Doc Newsletter. Twice a month I include original or favorite essays and articles from my various online and offline writings, including my weekly Humor From the Edge  and AOL/Online Psych <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych</A> columns.

Please forward this letter to interested friends, colleagues and family members, or send along their email addresses. (Also, if you don't wish to receive the newsletter, email me - stressdoc@aol.com .)

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: The Stress Doc and Digital City- Washington Go National: Shrink Rap and Group Chat, the Stress Doc's popular dynamic chat group, moves to a weekly Tuesday format starting Tuesday August 11, from 9-10:30pm EDT. Here are links & announcements: <A HREF="aol://4344:1097.tuechat.25384394.563747919">Tuesday Chats</A> and <A HREF="aol://4344:363.gorkin.5732839.568857121">Dig City Promo - Stress Doc </A> . Hope to see you on Tuesdays.

Well, I'm back from vacation. Have written an overview of the Southwest and California trip that will appear in Humor From the Edge shortly. If you don't get HFTE and would like to, email Jokemeistr@aol.com. Or if you'd just like my essay, email me.

Recently, a number of reader inquiries have surfaced about the nature of clinical depression and the effectiveness of medication. Not being a physician, I can't provide general information in psychopharmacology. What I can share is my personal depression path -- from long-term denial to more recent discovery. And since, I believe, October is National Depression Awareness Month, here's to jump-starting the process. Shortly below is the first three installments. The concluding essays will appear next edition.

Also, scroll past the essays to find information on my speaking and training schedule, the library of articles on my award-winning website -- www.stressdoc.com <A HREF="www.stressdoc.com">STRESSDOC HOMEPAGE</A> - and any fastbreaking developments. And here's my AOL/Online Psych Page <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> and special AOL/Workplace Series <A HREF="aol://4344:972.docwork.1255066.562088752">The Stress Doc Interview @ Online Psych</A>.

Click on these links if you'd like free subscriptions to Humor From the Edge <A HREF="http://members.aol.com/hfte/">HUMOR FROM THE EDGE HomePage</A> and/or to The Death and Dying Newsletter <A HREF="http://www.death-dying.com/"> Welcome To Death & Dying...Where Life Surroun...</A> (See, this newsletter will make you die laughing ;-)

Running On Fifty Back to the Future

In just a matter of days it's "The Big 5-0." Actually, my fiftieth falls on Easter Sunday this year. (And a friend just informed me it's also a full moon. Some pursue a harmonic convergence; I'll settle for a neurotic one.) Will this convergence inspire me to rise above earthly barriers, to craft finally a unique tapestry from the exotic, quixotic and neurotic threads of my life-career? Perhaps I'm ready to discover the woman of my dreams, or is it my delusions (so often it's such a fine line)? Will I nail down a breakthrough book contract...and no longer just be a legend in my own mind??? Will this new decade set precedence or see more decadence? Now does all this mental meandering and wondering seem a bit excessive? Whew, a lot of old psychic stuff and future fantasies can get stirred on a "0" birthday, especially at mid-century.

If Not Eternal Youth, The Fountain of Absurdity

It's weird. In one sense, I feel I have forged some hard-earned wisdom over the years. In another, I still feel like a kid. The horizon still has a mysterious glow. My motto for the future: "I don't know where I'm going...I just think I know how to get there!" I still love being mischievous and slightly outrageous in my workshops and writing. Today, for a lunchtime audience at a federal agency, it was breaking out the Blues Brothers Hat, matching black tambourine and black sunglasses while demonstrating my pioneering work in the field of psychologically humorous rap music. I call it, what else, "Shrink Rap" Productions. Please, no groaning, this is "Aristocratic Rap."

Or, recently, I've been online coaching an aspiring comic and writer in LA (for more info on her gigs at the Improv - Florabell2@aol.com) who is dealing with a stress-related, jaw-related, TMJ condition. I commiserated. You know, people really do want you to feel their pain, especially if you can walk in their blister and corn raising shoes. That's right. The old saw, "Misery loves company," has been updated by social psychology research. Actually, "Misery loves miserable company." So I shared having a repetitive disk problem four years ago brought on by stress (I was still recovering from a year's stint as a stress and violence prevention consultant with the US Postal Service), overuse of Nautilus equipment and an ergonomically incorrect computer chair. Suddenly, an empathic "aha" moment. Maybe her TMJ was basically a repetitive mouth problem. (What a comedian. During today's program, that liner was a definite groaner.) Nonetheless, my mentee resonated with and laughed at my TMJ acronym -- Too Many Jerks! That one got an LOLOLOL! (See, I can be an equal opportunity gender offender.)

This is the key to healing humor: to step back and lampoon ourselves, our afflictions and the "stress carriers" in our midsts. It's the double-edged aphormation. First, a one liner by a psychiatrist and author whose name escapes me: "What was once feared and is now mastered is laughed at." Then, as I discovered years ago, during a summer's confrontation with a thyroid tumor: "What was once feared and is now laughed at is no longer a master." Long live "tumor humor."

The Passionate Edge

But I digress when I want to regress or, at least, reflect on why I still feel kid-like at fifty. Certainly, some of my frisky attitude comes from enjoying what I do. I feel blessed to have been able to create a portable career stage for my wise head and smart mouth, along with my subtle "intelligent derriere" attitude. This stage often feels like my personal sandbox in which I invite over friends. I share my knowledge and experience in, hopefully, a playful and powerful manner through a variety of media and with a range of organizations and audiences. And, today, I get back as much as I give. It was not always so.

Some of my child fire still burns bright because, for the first twenty years or so, I nearly smothered my feeling, spontaneous, aggressive, genuine inner little Mark. From fear, from shame, from being too good, too perfect, too safe...from knowing it wasn't okay to reveal my real self in the family. Never again!

Never again! An expression born out of the Holocaust. I'm reminded of a dream, which erupted nearly twenty years ago, shortly after watching the pioneering television mini-series of the Holocaust. My mother, my maternal uncle and me are part of a tumultuous crowd being herded in a doomsday cattle car. I'm clenching my mother's hand or she's clenching mine. I'm not sure; but we are glued by terror. We're straining to keep up with my uncle who is ahead of us. Out of the corner of my eye, a harrowing sight. My father is slumped over against a station wall, oblivious, helpless, incapable of responding to all that's rushing by.

Maybe such an oedipal memory contributes to my ongoing "passion," as in "Passion Play"; as in pure "suffering," as in the sufferings of Jesus. Maybe it's pure pain that fires the spirit, that enables the spirit to rise and regenerate in phoenix-like fashion. That enables one to be reborn psychologically - in a spiritually universal, not just religiously fundamental, sense.

To Thine Own Self Be True

Well I'm making up for lost time Having fun being center stage But evolution's become a crime Crucified by scorned again rage...

It's a kaleidoscopic nature Blazing my singular path Contradiction confounds the culture And often generates your wrath.

Recovering and nurturing your complex yet pure childlike spirit, sustaining your colorful individuality in a "lean-and-MEAN" world, isn't easy. As the poet wizard, e.e. cummings, observed:

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else - means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.

But the historic and chronic struggle and the ongoing battle not only fires and forges your spirit. Alas, over time, it may burn it out as well. Or, at least, consume your capacity to produce serotonin, a vital neurotransmitter that profoundly affects one's mood state.

So, in the final analysis, the aging process, like most aspects of life, is double-edged. In the battle for recapturing or rejuvenating a youthful spirit, we may erode some of our biochemical vitality, especially if there's genetic vulnerability. I'll share my bio-existential dilemma and strategic experimentation in response to such a maturational challenge next time. Until then...Practice Safe Stress!

The Stress Doc, continuing his post-Big 5-OH reflections, muses on how chronic stress and unexpected loss can drain one's energy and vitality. When you are a stress consultant at the USPS there may be a natural progression - from going Postal to taking Prozac.

Going Postal The Road to Depression and Salvation

In a recent column, I reflected on turning fifty and being energized by the ebb and flow between professional maturity and playing in the fountain of absurdity. However, a challenging life can be double-edged: the youthful spirit burns bright and it can, with shooting star alacrity, burn itself out. Regaining luster and vitality may take more than psychotherapy, especially if the stress has been chronic and there's genetic vulnerability.

"In the Belly of the Beast"

Let me trace my mind-body descent and deliver us to the point of no return (to the outmoded denial of the past). Almost five years ago, a year's stint as a 2-3 day/week stress and violence prevention consultant for the US Postal Service was taking a toll. At a 6,000 person, 24 hour a day, three tour Processing & Distribution Plant, management and labor had devised a unique concept: I would be the friendly stress expert/social worker walking the beat - three workfloors each probably three times the size of a football field. Mine was to be a visible presence; didn't have an office. The hope was that employees and supervisors would talk to me informally if they were feeling stressed or if there was decided tension between a supervisor and an employee or friction within a work team or section. Prevention and, when necessary, intervention was the modus operandi.

Believe me, trust did not come easily. Initially, most folks thought I was a postal inspector or a narcotics agent gathering data on the postal peons. I'll never forget the powerful turning point encounter. It occurred while addressing about seventy-five folks working the LSM (Letter Sorting Machines). Basically, I was trying to convey my background and why I was walking about.

Now I need to provide some context to this scene. This plant was in the Baltimore inner city. Probably 3/4s of the employees were African-American. There definitely was racial division captured in the terminology and demographics between the workspaces: "The Tower" housed a disproportionate number of white (and not just collar) execs, while "The Workfloor" was predominantly blue collar and people of color. The place wasn't called "The Postal Plantation" for nothing. In reality, it was a tremendous pressure cooker for all parties. The damn mail never stops coming. And you think you have a problem with junk mail!

The Colorful Confrontation

Anyway...as I'm addressing the LSM staff, a tall, hard-edged African-American guy suddenly blurts out with attitude, "What makes you think you can relate to all these people of color?" Whew! He got my attention and my adrenalin going. I remember clenching my fists reflexively. But it wasn't till after the confrontation did I realize how hard; the muscles in my arms were actually strained.

While these encounters are stressful, fortunately, they tend to focus and energize my thinking and communication. I pushed back my jacket sleeve, pointed to my arm and said, "You see this skin, it's not black, it's not brown, it's not red or yellow...it's white. And you're right...there's no way I'm going to be able to fully relate to most of you. But I'll say this. I'm a damn good listener. I'm not afraid of dealing with tough feelings, or with anger. And I've worked with all kinds of folks before. Recently, welfare mothers, the majority African-American, in a job prepatory program. The program had trainers of all color. But if you asked most of those women which trainer they worked best with, they would have said me." (I was tempted to add that I'm not into bs; I'm a straight shooter...but I didn't think that analogy was the best one for the postal service.)

Anyway, the electric atmosphere - "High Noon at the OK Postal Corral - was defused. I would be allowed to pursue my mission. And soon enough, just about anywhere on the workfloors, you could hear, "Hey Doc. You got a minute. I'm having problems with my kid." Or, "Hey Doc. Man, we are being squashed by our supervisor. What can we do about it?"

Downsized and Out

It was an amazing year. More wonderful, dedicated folks than jerks. I definitely made a contribution. The pay was good. I was ready to reup despite the mental and physical toll. However, as my year's contract was expiring, there was a shakeup of plant management. And when the acting plant manager was permanently in place, there was no place for the Stress Doc, despite the pleas of the unions and the supervisory association.

On a logical level, being displaced was a blessing. No more weekly 10pm -5am and back at noon tour of duty. My biological clock and body never did adjust to the rigors of the night shift. On a psychological level, however, being let go was a real emotional blow. It still felt like rejection after all the sweat and tears I had shed and shared. (I'm happy to report we had no bloodshed on my tour of duty. Of course, this plant and its satellite facilities were hardly postal paradise regained. For example, I had to counsel: a) a woman raped in the parking lot and also debrief her female colleagues, b) a carrier held up at knife point on a route, c) an employee receiving telephone death threats from a (suspected) jealous employee, d) and lead a group grief session for thirty folks after a popular employee died suddenly of a heart attack on the workfloor. Tour of duty is the right expression.)

What Else!

And just as I was starting to grieve the loss of my wandering with the working wounded Stress Doc role, I was blind-sided by another blow. An uncle with whom I was close, especially as a child, died suddenly of a heart attack in his early 60s on a racquetball court. (I have previously written a poignant piece about Uncle Dave. Email stressdoc@aol.com for the essay.) Now it was crisis time. Money was running down. Being self-employed, I would have to jump start a big new marketing campaign. And where in hell would I find the energy, confidence and willpower?

I would do it somehow. I'd done it before. Absolutely grit my soul, steel and push my mind and body to near desperation and exhaustion and, eventually, blood would trickle, if not flow, from the proverbial stone. Or, at least, a new client or two would emerge on the marketing horizon.

But playing this process in my mind's eye was only blackening my hole darker and deeper. So when my psychiatrist gently asked for the umpteenth time about starting a trial on Prozac...I no longer had the fortitude to fight her. And thus, at the bottom of my black pit, feeling most alone, ashamed and vanquished, I was finally ready to confront some resistances: to gut finally the realities of my family's history of mental illness, my own long-standing depression and fear of exploring medication. I was about to receive techno- spiritual revelation and rejuvenation. And next time, I'll document my Prozac trial - from blunders to wonders, including the rebirth of hope, energy and youthful spirit. Until then, of course...Practice Safe Stress!

The Stress Doc decides to come out of the depression closet and itemize his longstanding resistances to a trial of antidepressant medication. And he also shares a song written in a dark hole period that was prophetically ahead of its time.

Weird Wired: A Family Affair

Recently, I captured the progressively debilitating effect of: a) an exhausting year as a stress, team building and violence prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, b) unexpectedly losing this consulting contract and c) the sudden, unanticipated death of a favorite uncle. Why had I been resisting my resident psychiatrists' entreaties to try the antidepressant, Prozac? With five years of hindsight, in Captain Renault-like fashion (I just knew my dozen or so viewings of the film classic, Casablanca, would one day have a transcendent purpose) it's easy to "round up the usual suspects":

1. Family History. The family tree is littered with some weird wired, genetically hybrid fruit. First, there's my father's so-called manic depressive breakdown and hospitalization when I was 11/2. Not to mention years of maintenance shock therapy which, mercifully, stopped when desperation finally propelled him into mid-life psychotherapy. And dad's mother, who died shortly before I was born, was severely depressed much of her adult life. Apparently, being married to my Russian immigrant, gifted carpenter and craftsman, weekend hard drinking and carousing, strongman competing grandfather, had more than just its moments. (Grandpa would win contests for the most wooden doors carried on one's head. Obviously, my hard head is a survival of the fittest characteristic, clearly a product of Gorkinian natural selection.)

Of course, we must not overlook the other side of the family. We have my mother's brother - a perpetually mischievous and impish character who was probably schizophrenic from birth. Both Rusty and my maternal grandmother lived with us for several years (Gram died when I was twelve) in what I affectionately call my Jewish Tennessee Williams Family period. Her incredibly spiritual, healing presence and Rusty's athleticism kept him intact. Alas, when she died, Rusty, in his early 30s, had his first of several breakdowns and psychiatric hospitalizations.

Me...afraid of acknowledging my family roots???

2. Family and Personal Pride. Naturally, I had internalized my father's oft- spoken commandment, "There shalt be improvement in the generations." So, for me to succumb to medication was to admit another area in my life in which I had failed, and also had fallen short of the patriarchal standard. Clearly, when one's self-image is tied to another's expectations, especially an impatient, hard-driving, judgmental Type A New Yorker's standards...this is a precarious psychological position. At the same time, when my father defied his own script, when a woman with whom he was having a brief, mid-life affair told him he was nuts for continuing the shock therapy, and when he subsequently unplugged the wires and entered psychotherapy, and slugged it out in group therapy for twelve years - a man of his generation - well this guy, not surprisingly, eventually became an heroic role model.

Especially, when I finally found the courage to ask about his breakdown and shock treatment; and when he told me as much as he could about the pain and the terror. And when he allowed me, in my mid-20s, to crawl in his lap as he was talking so purely, so undefended; and then let me cry without stopping. And I could finally say, "Dad, I know those same fears." And when he allowed me to hug him so deeply, with a love that had been blocked for so many years, that we both were so overwhelmed that there just were no words...just this healing energy flowing between us...so that the lurking, generational ghost of mental illness and guilt had finally been exposed by the light of pure loving forgiveness.

While my father had broken out of his box, I was, despite some therapeutic progress, still confined in mine. I had struggled so many times throughout my life and, with the help of counseling beginning in my early 20s, had always pushed through the depressive (albeit, reoccurring) fog. As I recently penned: "I would do it somehow...find the energy, confidence and willpower. I'd done it before. Absolutely grit my soul, steel and push my mind and body to near desperation and exhaustion and, eventually, blood would trickle, if not flow from the proverbial psychic stone." So why could I not seem to do it now in my mid-40s. Maybe, like my father in his mid-40s, I had to jump from my safety ledge.

3. The Anti-Cure. I also feared that antidepressant medication might create the classic situation: "The cure is worse than the disease." One of the reasons I didn't do LSD or other hard drugs in college was because of an underlying, barely conscious suspicion of precipitating a psychotic reaction. And with such a family history who could blame me. This also explains why I rarely drank. My father, paternal grandfather and aforementioned maternal uncle all could have qualified for an AA group. Drinking, I must admit, mostly made Rusty more playfully mischievous. However, he did once pull a knife on my mother when my folks were driving him back to the psychiatric hospital after a weekend leave. No doubt about it, Charlie Chaplin was right: "A paradoxical thing about making comedy is that it is precisely the tragic which arouses the funny...We have to laugh due to our helplessness in the face of natural forces and in order not to go crazy." This family was an incredible laboratory for becoming the Stress Doc and an Online Psychohumorist (TM).

4. Dread of Losing My Edge. And the final preoccupation was that medication would somehow dull or mute my existential angst, dry up the primal pool of emptiness that often was the wellspring for passion and primary process. Family dynamics, genetics, extensive and intensive training and therapy, along with an acute sensitivity to abandonment, rage, terror and humiliation helped make me a highly intuitive and empathic therapist. My identity in this role was solid; the real neurotic fear was that all my blood, sweat and tears in developing and nurturing my artistic persona - from on the edge writer to evolving performing artist-humorist - would somehow be aborted by a pill.

To borrow from Johns Hopkins University psychologist, Kay Redfield Jamison's book, subtitled, "Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament," when immersed in the creative process I was, "Touched with Fire." My pattern was to use writing to make sense of and harness the clashing and clanging psychic elements, to pursue the art of designing disorder. I was compelled to give my depression a higher calling. There had to be some greater purpose to my eruptions of pain. And if I could take the plunge, overcome my fear of unattainable performance expectations, eventually, an affirming process and product would emerge. (This statement evokes a smile. I recall how my mental meandering as a doctoral student prompted this eloquent challenge from a faculty member: "Remember, Mark, the noun that goes with the adverb "productive" is product! Thanks Dr. McBride for helping me become prolific. In fact, "I no longer have a life...I have a memoir.")

For example, here's a "touched with fire" work that sprung from a primal black hole moment in time. My younger brother had recently moved to town. He was a successful research psychologist, earning a lot more money. (Larry obtained his PhD.; I had to drop out of my doctoral program.) Envy, if not competitive jealousy, was being stirred. I also was about to confront my computer phobia; issues of shame related to math and science were surfacing. It took about a week to see some light in the writer's cave. But once I did the sparks were flying. And, in hindsight, this piece was also prophetic. Six months before the fateful and gentle confrontation by my psychiatrist, I gave birth to Double-Edged Depression:

Waves of sadness, raging river of fear/Whirlpooling madness till I disappear Into the depths of primal pain...Then again, no pain, no gain.

Depression, depression...Is it chemistry or confession? Depression, depression/Dark side of perfection!

Climbing icy spires, dancing at the ledge/The phoenix only rises on the jagged edge In a world of highs and lows...Hey the cosmos ebbs and flows.

Depression, depression...It's electrifried obsession High flying depression/Exalted regression?

So I'm pumping iron and Prozac, too/What else can a real man do? In a life of muted dreams...How about a primal SCREAM?

Depression, depression...Even inner child rejection Depression, depression/Hallelujah for creative expression!

(c) Shrink Rap Productions 1994

Like the Berlin Wall, my walls of resistance were eroding from within and would soon come crashing down. And I'll share the dramatic trial by Prozac and road to recovery in the next newsletter. Until then...Practice Safe Stress!

"The Stress Doc Letter" features and functions:

1. Psychohumor Writings. To provide you the best of my past and current online and offline writngs, including Humor From the Edge columns and America On Line/Online Psych special topical essays, e.g, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.docwork.1255066.562088752">The Stress Doc Interview @ Online Psych</A> and <A HREF="aol://4344:972.olpny3.1264502.565460680">Make Your Resolution A Habit With Help From Online Psych!</A>. For those not on AOL, if you'd like a copy of these popular series, just email - stressdoc@aol.com. Or check out my website - www.stressdoc.com - or my AOL/Online Psych Page - Keyword: Stress Doc, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A>.

My writings now appear twice/month in Perspectives, the electronic magazine of Mental Health Net. MHN is a not-for-profit organization devoted to mental health information and education resources online. They are located at: www.cmhc.com/

2. Online/Special Projects. Online groups, conferences and new or special projects that are flying around or about to be (or have been) launched:

a) Come on by for my weekly"Shrink Rap and Group Chat" on AOL/Digital City - Washington, Tuesdays, from 9-10:30pm EDT. It's an online stress support group. It's a free wheeling discussion, with some Stress Doc direction about your personal concerns on stress and wellness, relationship and family issues, loss and grief, career transition, creativity and psychological growth, etc. Here's the link: <A HREF="aol://4344:363.gorkin.5732839.568857121"> </A>D <A HREF="aol://4344:363.gorkin.5732839.568857121">ig City Promo - Stress Doc </A>

This group replaces the Frequent Sighers Club which never quite got off the ground. (I still like the name.)

b) To promote my Coaching for Consultants and Entrepreneurs Program:

Special Announcement: I am starting a Multi-Media Coaching for Consultants Program:

** developing, delivering, marketing workshop programs online & offline ** humor/speech writing services and website design with the Cyber Doc ** online consultation and participation in chat group

For information on the products and instructional services, email me at Stress Doc@aol.com. With questions, call (202) 232-8662 or mail me at:

Mark Gorkin Stress Doc Enterprises 1616 18th Street, NW #312 Washington, DC 20009-2530

3. Ongoing Training and Consultation Programs.

a)Team Building Series for Aeronautical Charting and Cartography/Dept. of Commerce commenced on June 5th and continues in high gear. A number of peer facilitated groups have been launched. This follows two highly successful Stress and Conflict Management all day workshops. For more info, call Melissa Hartman, Special Projects Manager, (202) 482-3026.

b) Overcoming Stress, Loss and Change; Managing Anger and Conflict - continuing series for Fairfax County Government, VA, Metro-Area Re-employment Project: for Displaced Federal Employees. For more info, call: Marilyn Manno, (703) 324-7390.

c) Stress, Communication and Team Building Skills Training - series of programs for Food and Drug Administration, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH). For more info., call Michelle Hudson, Deputy Director, (301) 594-4585.

d) Work Environment Intervention and Team Building - ongoing consultation and training for a department in Naval Sea Systems Command, HQ. For more info., call Sally Johnston, Program Manager, Civilian EAP, (703) 413-0755.

4. Award-Winning Website. To remind you that there is a lot more material on my award winning, USA Today Online "Hot Site" website. It's also just been acclaimed a 4 Star, top-rated site, by Mental Health Net, the largest review guide of mental health, psychology and psychiatry resources online today. Go to www.stressdoc.com or <A HREF="http://www.stressdoc.com/">STRESS DOC HOMEPAGE</A> . Also, check out my AOL/Online Psych Page, <A HREF="aol://4344:972.doc.1264535.556723207">The Stress Doc @ Online Psych </A> or Keyword: Stress Doc. Over 100 articles are arranged in 15 different categories:

Stress Doc Bio and Philosophy Stress and Burnout Managing Anger with Authority Power Struggles: Dyads-Systems Depression/Teens, Parents... Cyberaddicts Anonymous Good Grief Searching for Love Career Transition Humor: Art and Science Creativity Unbound Achieving Peak Performance Spiritual Exploration Readers' Submissions

5. Readers' Platform. Please submit questions, comments, criticisms, cutting edge information as well as stories about how you've used humor to help relieve a client's, family member's or your own stress. I will gladly print your offering and credit you completely. (And thank you for using your spellchecker.)

Mark Gorkin, "The Stress Doc," Licensed Clinical Social Worker, is a nationally recognized speaker, workshop leader and author on stress, reorganizational change, anger, team building, creativity and humor. He is also the internet's and the nation's leading "Psychohumorist." The Stress Doc is a columnist for the popular cyber-newsletter, Humor From The Edge -- HUMOR FROM THE EDGE HOME PAGE . Mark is also the "Online Psychohumorist" for the major AOL mental health resource network, Online Psych -- ONLINE PSYCH: THE STRESS DOC and Financial Services Journal Online. And he is an offline writer for two mental health/substance abuse publications -- Treatment Today and Paradigm Magazine. His motto: Have Stress? Will Travel: A Smart Mouth for Hire! Reach "The Doc" at (202) 232-8662, email: Stress Doc@aol.com, or check out his "Hot Site" website: http://www.stressdoc.com or click STRESS DOC HOMEPAGE. (The site was selected as a USA Today Online "Hot Site" and designated a four-star, top- rated site by Mental Health Net.)

Mark Gorkin 1998 Shrink Rap Productions