Posts Tagged depression

Letter to My Hypothalamus

Dear Hypothalamus

Hypothalamus, can I just call you Thal? Great! Well, Thal, we have been constant companions for a long time. You have always had my back when a crocodile is chasing me or kept me out of the way of stampeding bulls. I would like to thank you for that. But Thal, like any friend we need to have some boundaries. Sure I need you when I am truly in trouble. You give me that kick that helps me to either fight off an attacker or get the heck out of the there. When I am truly in real trouble I need you by my side.

But, Thal, frankly I do not need you as my constant companion. I do not need you protecting me from everything that may make me feel uncomfortable. I do not need you always hovering over me just in case someone may ask me a question I do not have an immediate answer. I do not need you when someone challenges my beliefs or acts contrary to my expectations. I do not need you when someone asks me to do something that I either do not want to do or avert me from something that currently has my attention.

Thal, to be brutally honest. You are just a dumb brute. You are part of my brain that has no connection to my higher brain such as intellect, reason, logic, compassion, empathy, wisdom or any of the higher faculties that set us apart from animals with brains the size of an acorn.

When you kick in, I lose my connection to higher brain functions and lose all ability to apply reason and logic and run almost entirely on basic survival instincts. You make me appeal to my emotions instead of my intellect.

Yes, Thal, you make me as dumb as you are. You make me dysfunctional and stressed out you make me easy prey for manipulation and control by others.

Since we are co-dependent, the parting will be difficult. Both you and I will resist the changes required to put you in your place. There will be times we will run back to each other, but we both will be healthier when you keep to your intended purpose.

So, if you come for a visit, I will no longer feed you. I will no longer respond by either fighting or fleeing. I will simply invite the one thing that you cannot exist in a room at the same time, and that is my higher brain function. We will call him Funk. Yes, Thal you and Funk cannot operate at the same time. Funk and I will have to ease into it because you are cunning and like a petulant child you will use tricks to be fed and get what you want. We will have to use our own tricks to combat you. Things that use our higher intellect when you come knocking. Things as simple as doing a word puzzle or think of random numbers or count backward. Anything that invites Funk in to get you out.

So instead of retreating to some imaginary safe-space that only functions to feed and enable you I will go to the only true safe-space that exists wherever I happen to be and use my mind instead of reacting to you and my environment.

Don’t despair; we are still friends. When I truly need it, you are welcome, and I will be happy to feed you when we are truly in danger.


Ken Bingham

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The Gathering Storm

“The year 1929 reached almost the end of its third quarter under the promise and appearance of increased prosperity, particularly in the United States. Extraordinary optimism sustained an orgy of speculation. Books were written to prove that economic crisis was a phase which expanding business organization and science had at last mastered. “We are apparently finished and done with economic cycles as we have known them,” said the President of the New York Stock Exchange in September. But in October a sudden and violent tempest swept over Wall Street. The intervention of the most powerful agencies failed to stem the tide of panic sales. A group of leading banks constituted a milliard-dollar pool to maintain and stabilize the market. All was vain.

“The whole wealth so swiftly gathered in the paper values of previous years vanished. The prosperity of millions of American homes had grown upon a gigantic structure of inflated credit, now suddenly proved phantom. Apart from the nationwide speculation in shares which even the most famous banks had encouraged by easy loans, a vast system of purchase by installment of houses, furniture, cars, and numberless kinds of household conveniences and indulgences had gown up. All now fell together. The mighty production plants were thrown into confusion and paralysis. But yesterday there had been the urgent question of parking the motor-cars in which thousands of artisans and craftsmen were beginning to travel to their daily work. To-day the grievous pangs of falling wages and rising unemployment afflicted the whole community, engaged till this moment in the most active creation of all kinds of desirable articles for the enjoyment of millions. The American banking system was far less concentrated and solidly based than the British. Twenty thousand local banks suspended payment. The means of exchange of goods and services between man and man was smitten to the ground, and the crash on Wall Street reverberated in modest and rich households alike.

“It should not however be supposed that the fair vision of far greater wealth and comfort ever more widely shared which had entranced the people of the United States had nothing behind it but delusion and market frenzy. Never before had such immense quantities of goods of all kinds been produced, shared, and exchanged in any society. There is in fact no limit to the benefits which human beings may bestow upon one another by the highest exertion of their diligence and skill. This splendid manifestation had been shattered and cast down by vain imaginative processes and greed of gain which far outstripped the great achievements itself. In the wake of the collapse of the stock market came during the years 1929 and 1932 an unrelenting fall in prices and consequent cuts in production causing widespread unemployment. ” Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm, pp. 31-32, Houghton Mifflin, 1945.


Submitted by Ed Firmage, Samuel D. Thurman Professor of Law, emeritus, University of Utah College of Law.

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