depression disability mental health mental illness self esteem stigma Uncategorized


Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.

Albert Einstein

Second Life in Research

Sleeping on the job 🙂
Festival of lights

I first started using second life 14 years ago when I found out my fiancé had cheated on me (I made him move out), I had no car (long story which we will get into later), and due to a friendly football game I caught my foot in a gopher hole making me pretty much incapacitated for 9 months. I had to have two screws and two pins inserted into my Lisfranc joint with bone from my ankle plugged in there to fuse. It was so painful. What was also painful was the lack of support I had at my disposal. I remember trying to walk with my crutches and boot to my podiatrist appointment and some kind soul stopped and gave me a ride. My mom found out about my surgery (original injury November 2006) date of surgery January 7th 2007, and flew home instead of staying two extra days to be with me/give me a ride to surgery. (My family dynamics are another topic we can get into later, but lets just say I am not the golden child but the loathed scapegoat).

Anyway Second Life became my only social outlet and kept me entertained and sane. So when I was offered a Research Assistant position on a study for physically disabled women to be facilitated in Second Life I couldn’t believe my luck. I had just moved from California to Montana (my foot was finally healed) and they happened to need someone with all the skills I had acquired during one of the bleakest periods of my life. All things happen for a reason.

Here is a synopsis of that particular study:

Self-Esteem in Second Life: An inWorld Group Intervention for Women with Disabilities

Margaret A. NosekBaylor College of Medicine
Susan Robinson WhelenBaylor College of Medicine
Rosemary B. HughesUniversity of Montana – MissoulaFollow
Erin PorcherUniversity of Montana – Missoula
Giselle Davidson
Thomas M. NosekCase Western Reserve University

Document Type


Publication Title

Journal of Virtual Worlds Research


University of Texas at Austin

Publication Date



We are developing and investigating the feasibility of a self-esteem enhancement intervention in Second Life for women with physical disabilities. We adapted the curriculum of a previously tested workshop intervention to include features unique to this environment. Results of the beta test were very positive. Everyone involved showed considerable enthusiasm for exploring the new world of SL. The group leaders were challenged to resolve technical problems on every occasion, but these diminished and were perceived as manageable as the intervention progressed. Beta testers gave positive ratings to the information presented, organization, and usefulness of the intervention and found it very enjoyable although fatigue and stress limited the participation of some. They appreciated the use of Internet technology as an accommodation to their disability, in place of requiring transportation and additional energy expenditure to attend face-to-face meetings. Research issues related to engagement, measurement, and participant safety, as well as future research directions, are discussed. We conclude that SL has great potential for delivering health promotion interventions to women with physical disabilities.


©2011 The Journal of Virtual Worlds Research

Creative Commons License

Since then I have consulted on a new Second Life study just this year involving self-esteem and women with severe spinal cord injury with TIRR Memorial Hermann, and University of Montana, Rural Institute. The women I work with are amazing and being able to work on something that I know works and teach others the many possibilities of both Second Life and the Research program is hands down the best most meaningful “job” I could hope for. I will tell you about some other awesome projects I have worked on in due course, but wanted to share the Second Life post now because with Covid lockdowns maybe, just maybe, you might take a look and decide to join this virtual world where millions of people login daily. No this is not a paid endorsement and I don’t have any other motive than to perhaps help even one person experiencing depression, anxiety, loneliness or despair. Please check it out, it is free to join!


Conspiracy Theories

I got an email today from Psych Central detailing the main traits of people who believe in conspiracy theories, namely:

“… personality traits such as openness to experience, distrust, low agreeability, and Machiavellianism are associated with conspiracy belief.”*

“In terms of cognitive processes, people with stronger conspiracy beliefs are more likely to overestimate the likelihood of co-occurring events, to attribute intentionality where it is unlikely to exist, and to have lower levels of analytic thinking.”*

*Lantian et al. (2017)

Now here is my problem with these assertions, first there is no need to add the word “conspiracy” to a THEORY. This is pure psychological smoke and mirrors. It’s quite brilliant, you see. To discredit someone’s opinion or THEORY all one has to do is tack on “conspiracy” and it immediately discredits the assertion made. Secondly, I would like to say that in my experience most people interested in so-called conspiracy theories are quite intelligent and have higher than average analytical thinking skills. The article goes on to name some major catastrophic events that people have questioned. My mind immediately goes to 9/11, the Boston marathon bomber, and the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting. Here is the deal, sometimes when you start pulling at a thread you soon realize that as official reports start completely unravelling you have gone too far to sew that thread back in. All you have now is a mound of something quite closer to the truth but also something that causes you major cognitive dissonance. You want to go back and leave that thread alone sometimes!

In conclusion, whether you believe a theory or not is up to you. But the label “conspiracy theory” was a major coup de tat psyops operation to discredit/invalidate without any further discussion needed on the matter. Like I said, it is quite brilliant but dangerously destructive.

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Mermaids and Mermen Unite😍

When life takes you for a ride…paddle as fast as you can!!

Mermaid’s Delight

disability mental health mental illness self care self efficiency self esteem stigma Uncategorized

“Crazy” is Tenacious

Insane?? Me?? What is a 5150?  Why do people automatically assume I am “crazy” just because I am ill??  I find it both amusing and a bit disheartening that the general public has no sensitivity towards mental illness, nor are they interested in learning more about this silent epidemic.  If you met me on the street you would never know I was sick!  I blend in fairly well with the rest of the world, however I have to frequently take breaks from you people!!  I have always been fairly creative, smart, and while not the most gregarious of people, have interacted with people on a normal level.  I have had panic attacks since I was twelve, however, I was only diagnosed with Dissociative Disorder NOS, and PTSD when I turned twenty five!  I couldn’t believe it!  I was damn independent, had an education, and could foresee a semi-bright future.  I became really depressed out of nowhere when I turned twenty five.  I had been depressed before, but this was the blackest despair I could ever imagine.  I avoided everyone, and everything because my morose behavior would have sent off warning bells to my family or friends.  Then while crying my eyes out, I glimpsed something moving in my peripheral vision.  My eyes darted anxiously to the window, and a pale, version of death stared back at me.  The silence in my soul, was also broken as voices began talking to me out of nowhere!  Keep in mind I had never done mind altering drugs, because often it sounds like an acid trip might be similar to a psychotic episode (sounds scary, but really the name is misleading!).  At this point in time, I freaked out!  I was already feeling that suicide might be an actual option, and this just blew my mind.  What the hell was wrong with me??  I was scared to tell anyone, scared to death not to tell anyone, and plain scared that my world was not the same place anymore.  Talk about a fish out of water!  Anyway, if you would like to know more, please read my blog by clicking the link at the top of the page.  You would be surprised how many people you know have a mental illness, and are terrified you might judge them.  Since I am so open about it, I guess people feel more comfortable confiding in me.  I cannot tell you how many times I have been approached by frightened people.  In their confessions, I almost always hear the phrase, “please do not tell anyone.  I can’t let BLANK know.”  Of course I would never betray someone like that, but it’s just plain sad that we feel the need to keep hiding from “normal” society.  Your world would be so boring without our little idiosyncracies, our strange behavior (perhaps), or even some odd quirks here and there.  Please keep your mind open and you will be amazed out how the world appears to someone a little “different” from yourself!