Thursday, December 26, 2013

Yahoo!: The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of Senator Miriam (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of Senator Miriam
by Randy Dellosa

For Miriam Defensor-Santiago to add another feather to her cap is “ho-hum” news. It’s not surprising to know that of all 24 senators, she was the one who churned out the highest number of bills and resolutions for 2013.  Being the workhorse that she is, that would have been completely expected.  The real shocker however is that Senator Miriam accomplished her feat despite being afflicted with the debilitating disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

To give you a feel of what chronic fatigue syndrome is like, just imagine yourself feeling physically weakened, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained.  And then imagine having to stay in this wasted condition for weeks, months, or years!

As the name implies, chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by long-term fatigue. It is a debilitating disorder since it disrupts one’s social life, work life, and family life. For Senator Miriam to have this disorder, it would mean that she experienced most, if not all of the following symptoms:
  • Extreme tiredness after minimal exertion
  • Extreme tiredness which persists despite enough rest
  • Medically unexplained body weakness, muscular aches, joint pains, and headaches
  • Insomnia or unrestful sleep
  • Forgetfulness and/or poor concentration
  • Sore throat and lymph nodes in the neck and/or armpits
  • Other respiratory, cardiac, and/or digestive problems.

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown.  Medical doctors think that it may be due to a viral infection, hormonal imbalance, or a problem with the immune system.  Some psychiatrists have a tendency to think that it might be a variant of major depression, hypochondriasis, or burnout from prolonged and intense stress.  As for Senator Miriam, her chronic fatigue syndrome was reportedly traced to a vitamin D deficiency. 

The treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome usually consists of
  • Symptomatic treatment for the body aches and pains
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Nutritional supplementation
  • Health coaching
  • Stress reduction
  • Wellness therapies such as meditation, gentle exercise, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, cranio-sacral therapy, massage, and other mind-body therapies.

Having had a first-hand experience of the condition, Senator Miriam filed Senate Bill 3195 which aims to increase public awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome. This campaign is important since many patients who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome don’t even know what their sickness is and what they can do about it. 

Clearly, Senator Miriam should serve as an inspiration to many. If she can be a top notch senator despite being afflicted by chronic fatigue syndrome, it boggles our mind just to imagine what Senator Miriam can accomplish if she didn’t have that dreaded disorder to bog her down!  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Commercialization of Christmas: In Which Mall would Christ Do his Christmas Shopping?

The Commercialization of Christmas:
In Which Mall would Christ Do his Christmas Shopping?
(Or Would Christ Even Celebrate Christmas?)
by Randy Dellosa

Filipinos pride themselves in having one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world. And this year, the season got even longer. As early as August, Christmas tunes had already been playing in some malls. This is clear proof of how commercialized the Filipino Christmas season has become.

In the movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown’s friend, Lucy, describes Christmas as “one big commercial racket!” And while hers is a cynical remark, no one can deny the truth of it. Businessmen know that their last chance at earning big bucks lies in the last quarter of the year. Of course, the only remaining strategy for raking up sales is to exploit Christmas by hyping it up as the “season for (buying and) giving.”

Christmas commercialism has become somewhat like a new religion. In this religion, Santa Claus replaces Jesus as the “reason for the season.” If we are honest about it, Jesus' birth is used as the “excuse” for celebrating a season marked by materialism, commercialization, and hedonism. The truth is, except for a few random thoughts about Jesus, we hardly think about him during the holidays. Instead, our energies are focused on buying exchange gifts for Kris Kringle, decorating our homes and offices with parols and Christmas trees, and practicing “nae nae” as a dance number for Christmas parties.

In Santa’s religion, we, as his devout followers, flock not to church but to shopping malls and parties. Spiritual activities get replaced by compulsive shopping, gift giving, food bingeing, and revelry. And despite Christianity’s strong condemnation of the “seven deadly sins,” at least two of those deadly sins, namely, avarice (greed) and gluttony are most blatantly practiced during the Christmas celebrations!  Whether we accept it or not, Christmas has devolved into the most un-Christian of seasons.

Those who are observant will also notice the slow and subtle “secularization” of Christmas. This simply means that the religious elements of Christmas are getting “phased out.” Take for instance the following developments:

  • Traditional images of Jesus' birth are now regarded as old-fashioned, boring, or too churchy. While Christmas can exist without images of the baby Jesus, today’s Christmas can never be complete without images of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and candy canes. 
  • So as not to offend people of other faiths, the “Merry Christmas!”greeting is now getting replaced with more "politically-correct" and non-religious forms of greeting such as “Happy Holidays!” or “Season’s greetings!” 
  • In narrating the story of Christ’s birth, undue emphasis is given to the three magis/kings who gave Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Focusing on this portion of the Christmas story is the real culprit behind Christmas materialism. 
It is not the three magis but Jesus' parents who are the real heroes of the Christmas story. You can, for instance, imagine Mary's ordeal, as she suffered labor pains all throughout her trip to Bethlehem, up until she gave birth to her child in an unsanitary animal house!

And so, if we go by the trend, we see that Jesus is sneakily getting shoved to the sidelines. For all we know, Jesus himself may one day get eradicated from the very season dedicated to him! And with Santa’s materialistic values lording over the holidays, “Christ-mas” should more aptly be renamed “Santa Claus-mas!”

In discussing the secularization and commercialism of Christmas, this is not to suggest that we become ascetic and shun all manner of materialism and fun during the holidays. After all, gifts can be used as a tangible way of showing our affection to family and friends. And as for having fun during Christmas holidays, it is the natural way to de-stress and recharge at year’s end.

What this article does suggest is that amidst the noise and chaos of the Christmas holidays, perhaps we can momentarily retreat from our worldly concerns and give ourselves the much-needed gift of some quiet soul-searching. In spiritual solitude, we can reflect on the following questions:

  • What struggles did I face this year, and what was God teaching me through them?
  • How could I have handled those struggles in a more mature way?
  • What is God teaching me to accept? 
  • What is God teaching me to let go of? 
  • What should I be grateful for in this year that passed? 
  • What can aid me in my on-going journey towards spiritual growth and maturity? 
  • How can I translate my spirituality into action? 
  • In reviewing the Christmas story, what is Christ's personal message to me, so that I can make the coming new year a better one for me?

From the Christmas story, let us draw inspiration from Joseph and Mary who, through their strength of spirit, overcame the difficult circumstances surrounding their child’s birth. 

And more importantly, let us draw hope from the story of Jesus’ birth, which speaks of God’s fervent desire to be present among us and be intimately involved in our lives.

Holy CHRISTmas everyone!  You can still choose to make Christ the true reason for this season! :D

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yahoo!: Anne Curtis’ Slapping Frenzy: The Booze Made Her Do It!

Anne Curtis' Slapping Frenzy:  
The Booze Made Her Do It!
by Randy Dellosa

Just like the super typhoon that wreaked havoc on anything that crossed its path, Anne Curtis reportedly brewed up a storm by slapping three innocent people and verbally attacking others.  Witnesses to the commotion instinctively wondered whether she was high on “something,” and indeed, she was.  By her own admission, she was high on alcohol and such intoxication transformed the charming red-lipped lass into an incredible hulk of a drunk. 

In getting herself drunk, Anne Curtis passed through these stages of intoxication: 

  • The Euphoria Phase.  In this phase, Anne’s drinking made her feel chill- that is, pleasantly relaxed, sociable, and talkative. 
  • The Excitement Phase.  As Anne continued to drink, she progressively became less logical, more emotional, and more impulsive.  Most likely, it was in this excitement phase of drunkenness that the scandalous slapping incident took place. 
  • The Confusion Phase.  If ever Anne reached this phase, her mood would have become highly unpredictable and changeable. Her muscular balance would have gotten severely impaired, and she would have just passed out. 
  • The Coma and Death Phase.  Thankfully, Anne was far from this phase.  A drinker in this extreme level of intoxication would experience loss of consciousness and possible death from respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.   

We all know that people get drunk in their own unique ways.  Commonly, people feel sleepy; some get giggly; others become weepy; and many act silly.  But in Anne’s case, her drunkenness made her go ballistic!  Just what is it that makes some drunk people go berserk and violent?  

In my clinical encounters with alcoholics, there are four common types of people who I consider prone to becoming aggressive or violent when drunk.  They are the following:
  • Naturally hot-headed people.  These are people who are naturally short-tempered even when sober.  For them, to gulp down alcohol is like pouring gasoline on a small fire.  A raging wildfire is the inevitable result!
  • People who suppress their negative emotions.  Alcohol intoxication has the effect of dissolving our defense mechanisms.  With nothing to hold down or suppress the negative emotions, the drunk person just goes mega-nega and explodes with the full fury of the volatile emotions!
  • Naturally impulsive people.  These are people who live in-the-moment and who never think about the consequences of their actions.  They have poor impulse control and when they drink alcohol, it gets them even more excited to engage in reckless behaviours. 
  • People with odd reactions to alcohol.  Some people ingest small amounts of alcohol but the resulting behavioral reactions are extreme.  They become paranoid, disoriented, psychotic, violent, or even suicidal simply because the alcohol doesn’t mix well with their body system. 

In Anne Curtis’ case, she did mention that she just came off a 3-day cleansing juice diet which really could have made her extra-sensitive to the intoxicating effects of alcohol.  The high level of alcohol could have “short-circuited” Anne Curtis’ brain, thereby making her experience what psychiatrists call a ‘blackout.” A blackout is a period of temporary amnesia in which drunk people become unaware of what they are saying or doing, and have no memory of what happened.  

If there is any good that resulted from Anne Curtis’ drunken behaviour, it is the reminder to us all that alcohol is no simple and harmless beverage. The truth is that alcohol is a powerful mind-altering substance which can make us lose our self-control and bring out the beast in us.  Perhaps, we should emulate Anne Curtis' resolution to "drink in moderation," or better still, not drink at all!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Yahoo!: Why People Donate to Disaster Victims (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Why People Donate to Disaster Victims
by Randy Dellosa

Super typhoon Yolanda wreaked havoc as she rampaged through the Philippines. The violent pouring of rain, the furious blasting of wind, and the torrential surging of flood waters pitifully soaked Tacloban and its surrounding areas into a lamentable state of calamity. 

When disasters of this magnitude happen, those who are directly unaffected by the disaster often display an overwhelming desire to help the victims. They may not necessarily go to the calamity area, but one way they offer help is through the donation of cash and kind. 

The word “donation” refers to the generous gesture of sharing to the needy. Donating time and effort, cash or kind to disaster victims is a charitable act. However, those who donate differ in their underlying motivations and reasons for doing so. 

What factors might influence people to donate to disaster victims?

  • Compassion. Many people donate out of true compassion. They empathize with the harrowing experience of the disaster victims and sincerely want to help them in their sufferings. These compassionate people feel the fear, grief, shock, and sense of vulnerability which disaster victims go through. Compassionate people know that another person's ordeal could have been their own so they are willing to go an extra mile in comforting those in need.  

  • Regional affiliation. Some people donate only due to regional affiliation or connection. For instance, a person from Tacloban who resides in Manila would obviously be concerned about the safety of his relatives and townsfolk in Tacloban. Had the calamity happened elsewhere, he might have cared less or not at all. 

  • Sense of accomplishment. Some people belong to socio-civic or advocacy groups and actually enjoy doing noble projects that uplift the lot of the people. For them, it is a joy to donate their time, money, and efforts for the benefit of the less fortunate. 

  • Guilt feelings. Some people donate out of guilt feelings. They feel a sense of shame as they bask in the comfort and luxury of their own homes while some countrymen of theirs are homeless, hungry, and drenched in the rain. Hence, to appease themselves of their emotional discomfort, they give donations to the victims.

  •  Sense of obligation. Some people donate simply because they’re expected to do so by their school, church, organization, or society. 

  • Image enhancement. Some people donate to earn so-called “pogi” points and gain press mileage. Actors, actresses, and politicians are notoriously known for this. They are deemed dubious and self-serving because they display their charitable acts for all to see.

  • Excess wealth. Some people donate from their excess wealth. They simply have too much luxury and the little bit that they give to the disaster victims is really inconsequential to them.

When we Filipinos act from a true spirit of compassion, it is not merely time and effort, cash or material kind that we donate. When we are truly compassionate, whatever we give to others is a sharing not only from ourselves, but also from deep within us.

Giving donations and doing charitable acts for disaster victims prove that our core values of bayanihan and damayan are still alive and not yet out-moded. We need to show the disaster victims that our pagkakaisa is not limited just to backing up our beauty contestants in international pageants or cheering for our boxers who compete in title fights.  In sharing to the disaster victims what we can give, we help to keep their hopes and spirit alive as we journey with them through thick and thin.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Yahoo!: Pinoy Men Raped by Women (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Pinoy Men Raped by Women
by Randy Dellosa

We all know that males can rape other males. Stories abound, for instance, of male inmates geting anally raped by co-prisoners. Every now and then, we also read tabloid news about straight guys getting sexually molested by unscrupulous gay men. And ever since the influx of Pinoy OFWs to countries in the Middle East, we’ve heard countless tales of male Middle Easterners using Pinoy men as a favorite outlet for their sexual urges.

But how about men getting raped by women? Can such incidents actually happen? I never gave these questions a thought until some male clients consulted me for psychotherapy after having suffered such an ordeal.

Jerome (not his real name) was one of those guys. Being a Dean’s Lister and varsity player in an elite school, this teen heartthrob always had girls madly swooning over him. At a party one night, he was given a drug-laced drink that made him black out. When he regained consciousness, he shockingly realized that he was tied to the bedposts with an unknown young lady straddling atop his naked body. He knew that he had an erection at that time but didn’t want to have one. Still woozy from the drink, he felt utterly weak and helpless and didn’t even have the strength to tell the lady to stop whatever she was doing. He again lost consciousness and when he woke up in the early morning, he was alone, untied, and still naked under a bed sheet. He rushed home feeling extremely angry, humiliated, violated, and puzzled about what had happened. Keeping the shameful experience to himself, this young man sank into a deep depression and lost all zest for living. 

Female-to-male rape happens in a condition wherein the male is rendered weak, unconscious, or unable to resist the sexual victimization. The easiest way for this to happen is for the woman to get the guy dead drunk, intoxicated with some mind-altering substance, or knocked-out by a tranquilizer or sleeping pill. Another common way is for the woman to use emotional blackmail in coercing the man to sexually penetrate her with his erect penis. Emotional blackmail can take the form of suicidal threats, threats to divulge the guy’s secrets, or threats to ruin his reputation, career, or existing relationships. A third way is to physically threaten the guy at gun- or knife-point. And lastly, especially for Amazonian women trained in martial arts, they could simply use brute strength to subdue the guy and tie him up.

Many people do not believe that female-to-male rape can happen. The main reason for this disbelief is that guys are generally the stronger sex and should therefore be capable of warding off unwanted advances by women. Secondly, guys are stereotyped to be sex machines that crave for sex all the time and should even welcome the "lucky" opportunity to be raped by a woman.  Thirdly, if an erection and/or ejaculation occurred during the rape, people quickly jump to the conclusion that the guy must have consented and enjoyed the sexual act.

The truth is that erections and ejaculations can occur outside of sexual pleasure. Medically, it can happen during sleep, in epileptic attacks, or from asphyxiation due to hanging. Even males who are quadriplegic can have them. And for some guys, their genitals are just so extremely sensitive that even the slightest non-sexual touch would immediately get them rock-hard. The bottom line is that erections and ejaculations are not evidence that raped guys consent to having sex.

So why do women rape? Some are nymphomaniacs a.k.a. female sex addicts who want sex by whatever means. Some harbor anger towards guys and retaliate through rape. Some want to get pregnant by a guy whom they like but who wouldn’t want to have sex with them. And finally, some are sexual sadists who take their dominatrix roles too an extreme by emasculating innocent men through forced sex.

As for the effects of rape, male survivors commonly develop low self-esteem, relationship problems, major depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, erectile dysfunction, psychosomatic illnesses, or addiction. Some men become hypersexual and engage in promiscuous sex with women as a subconscious attempt to prove that they are not gay or male weaklings.

Sex is an intimate act of love between two consenting adults. Rape however is a horrific experience because it is the forceful infliction of an act which is supposed to be beautiful, enjoyable, and intimate. If you are a male survivor of female-to-male rape or of any type of sexual molestation for that matter, you don’t need to suffer in silence. Through intensive and compassionate psychotherapy, you can get the help you need to regain your lost sense of masculinity and dignity.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Yahoo!: So is Freddie Aguilar a Cradle Snatcher? Understanding the Dynamics of their May-December Affair (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

A psychologist’s view: why Freddie Aguilar fell for a very young girl

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Mon, Oct 21, 2013 9:03 AM PHT

“6” seems to be the magic number in the latest showbiz controversy involving Freddie Aguilar. The 60-year old veteran folk singer admitted to being in love with 16-year old Jovi Gatdula in a relationship now going on its 6th month. With an age difference of almost half a century between them, their May-December affair should more aptly be called a January-December affair.

Philippine showbiz has had its share of May-December relationships, the more famous pairs being Dolphy and Zsazsa Padilla, Vic Sotto and Pauleen Luna, Vicky Belo and Hayden Kho, and the unforgettable tandem of Kris Aquino and James Yap. But if May-December affairs are a common occurence in showbiz, why is senior citizen Freddie getting flak for his relationship with Jovi? In social media websites, netizens have tagged him as a dirty old man, cradle snatcher, or even worse, a pedophile. Jovi, on the other hand, is perceived as a wild chick and gold-digger.

In reality, it is common and natural for older men to get attracted to younger ladies. A case in point is when husbands go philandering, they usually hunt for flings or get mistresses younger than their wives. In terms of evolution, males are biologically wired to select younger females for two reasons: (1) younger women have greater child-bearing potential than older females and (2) younger women have a greater chance of producing healthier offspring which ensures continuance of the human race. Hence, for Ka Freddie to choose a youngster, he was just functioning according to the dictates of his biological wiring.

Of course, Ka Freddie gets psychological perks from this May-December relationship, too. In real life, the possibility for a senior citizen to catch a frisky young thing is rather slim and almost nil. So for Ka Freddie to actually win Jovi’s heart is not only an achievement, it is short of miraculous! Ka Freddie has proven to himself that he still has the “mojo” to win a trophy girlfriend. What other guys just dream of, Ka Freddie has actually attained!

As for Jovi falling in love with an older man, there too is a psychological explanation for such behaviour. Scientific studies point out that teenage girls are more emotionally mature than their male peers by 2 years. It also is common for girls to gravitate towards “father figures.” And so, if teenage girls want to have an emotionally satisfying relationship, their tendency is to look for more mature boys with a fatherly streak in them. For Jovi then, it was a simple case of “overkill.” The boy of her dreams turned out to be more mature than anyone ever expected. She didn't just choose someone fatherly, she chose someone grandfatherly.

So the question remains, is Ka Freddie Aguilar really a dirty old man, cradle snatcher, or pedophile? The categorical answer is “no!” In an interview on television, Ka Freddie explained that he spotted Jovi at a campaign sortie and fell in love with her at first sight. He also revealed that Jovi looked physically mature for her age and “...was already my girlfriend when I found out she was only 16.” It wasn’t like Ka Freddie was intentionally prowling for vulnerable and virginal schoolgirls. He fell in love with an adult-looking young lady who unfortunately was of juvenile age. It was an honest mistake.

Because their relationship defies cultural convention, it is understandable that people would feel squeamish at the thought of their love affair. Nevertheless, we still need to respect the couple instead of bashing them. Who knows? Theirs could be true and lasting love after all.

Although Freddie and Jovi’s May-December relationship proves that love and passion are ageless, the fact remains that Jovi is still a pubertal lass. Their relationship therefore has to be under the strict supervision of Jovi's parents.

Personally, I do not endorse May-December affairs especially between seniors and minors, but since theirs is already existing with the consent of Jovi's parents, what more worthy advice could I give Ka Freddie except to go slow on passion and focus instead on building the solid foundations of their friendship. We also hope that Freddie guides Jovi into prioritizing her family and studies over anything else, and that he inspires her to become the mature and responsible adult that she ought to be.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Yahoo!: The Near-Death Experience: True-to-Life Resurrection of the Dead (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

by Randy Dellosa - Yahoo

Ironic, isn't it? Everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die. 

Some people though have had the actual experience of being deemed clinically dead or close to dying, and then going to heaven (or hell), and coming back to life to tell about it! This is what we call a near-death experience, a resurrection, or the Lazarus syndrome.

Resurrection from the dead is a spiritual concept whereby the dead return to life. 

Medically, resurrection is known as the Lazarus Syndrome, based on the biblical character Lazarus whom Jesus raised from the dead. In the Lazarus Syndrome, people who have been pronounced clinically dead after failed attempts at cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) spontaneously come back to life. 

The phenomenon is more popularly called a near-death experience.

The near-death experience is described as a physical, psychological, and spiritual event. Although no two experiences are alike, the near-death experience generally proceeds through the following phases:

  1. Clinical death, or being at the throes of death.
  2. Separation of the person’s soul from the body. The soul may become aware that it is hovering over its physical body.
  3. Entering the Darkness and moving through a dark tunnel.
  4. Seeing the Light and entering it
  5. Being in an otherwordly spiritual realm of existence, either in a heavenly or hellish dimension
  6. Returning to the physical body on earth
  7. Being revived to life. 

While clinically dead and in heaven, people commonly experienced being in a state of profound peace, intense joy, and deep unconditional love. Some people met their loved ones who had passed away ahead of them. Another common experience was being in the presence of “beings of light.” These spiritual beings were usually recognized to be spiritual figures consistent with the person's personal religious belief system.

People who had a near-death experience commonly underwent a “life review.” The life review consisted of a stream of consciousness about the life that they had just lived. As their life flashed before them, they experienced for themselves all the good and bad feelings which they had made the people in their lifetime feel. Together with the beings of light, they assessed whether the purposes of their recent life had been successfully attained. 

Those who have returned from a near-death experience describe it as a spiritually powerful, deeply life-changing experience. They never became the same again. They stopped fearing death. Their life became more meaningful and purposeful. They became more spiritually-minded and compassionate towards others. Some developed natural psychic and healing abilities. 

Unfortunately, not all near-death experiences were reported to be positive events. Some people had hell-like experiences consisting of tormenting images and agonizing feelings of despair, terror, and guilt. These traumatic feelings were unforgettable and haunted the person throughout his "second chance" at life. 

Medical researchers think that the near-death experience is caused by oxygen deprivation, abnormal electrical surges in the brain, REM brain waves, and a release of “feel-good” or “feel-bad” chemicals in the dying brain. 

Scientific research on near-death experiences reveal the following findings:

  • Blind people who underwent a near-death experience had a normal sense of sight during their stay in the spiritual realm. 
  • Majority of non-religious people, agnostics, atheists, and even those who attempted suicide reported having “heavenly” experiences rather than “hellish” ones.
  • Many atheists who survived a near-death experience started believing in the existence of a Higher Power.
  • Those who were mentally or emotionally distressed on their deathbed seemed to be at greater risk of experiencing hell. 

So what do near-death experiences teach us? They remind us of the following:
  • that there is an afterlife,
  • that there is a Higher Power,
  • that ultimately, we are spiritual beings,
  • that the reason for our life on earth is to cultivate spiritual virtues and nurture our spiritual nature, and 
  • that the people who we think will go to hell might surprisingly end up in heaven (or vice versa). 

No, we don’t need to wait for a near-death experience to transform our lives. Now is the time for us to take stock of our lives from a spiritual perspective. After all, as pilgrims on this earth, life is fleeting and we’re just passing by.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Yahoo!: The Psychology of Aswangs! (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

Ordinary by day, beastly at night

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Tue, Oct 29, 2013 11:25 AM PHT

Many people brush off the aswang as a mere figment of the imagination. But when night time comes, people somehow lose their rationality. The deepening darkness of the night seems to have a strange power over people to make their imagination run wild.

When people, for instance, wake up in the dead silence of the night to the high-pitched “tiktik” sounds heard outside their windows, the instant belief is that an aswang is trying to come into their room to prey on them.

Historically, the belief about aswangs is known to have existed among tribal Filipinos as early as the 1200s. The word “aswang” is presumed to be a shortened version of “aso-wang” since aswangs could shape-shift into various animals such as dogs. When Spanish missionaries began colonizing the Philippines, their immediate task was to convert Filipinos to Catholicism. To extinguish the existing tribal religions, a strategy they used was to accuse babaylans (tribal healers and spiritual leaders) of being aswangs.

In modern times, Filipinos use the word “aswang” in general reference to anyone they don’t like, such as their husband’s mistress perhaps, or a terror boss, or any bitchy person for that matter.

To understand the psychology of the aswang, we first have to differentiate it from its western counterpart- the vampire. The vampire is mythically depicted as an un-dead person who “sleeps” in a coffin by day, wakes up at the stroke of midnight, and whose nocturnal activities consists of sucking the blood of human prey so that they continue to survive as the living dead.

On the other hand, the aswang of Filipino folklore is portrayed as a simple and ordinary person by day who transforms into a nightmarish creature at night. Aswangs usually come in two forms:

  • As a demonoid, the aswang is typically a male creature with a long slithering tongue. The tongue can be used for siphoning foetuses, in the same way that a person would use a straw to suck up bubble tea. Their tongue can also be used for snaring a foetus out of a pregnant woman’s vagina, after which the aswang would eat the foetus in the same manner people would eat balut. 
  • The manananggal is typically female and divides itself at the level of the torso. Night time is "thriller” time as a horrifying transformation takes place. The manananggal's upper body starts to grow giant bat-like wings, leaving its lower torso on the ground and its upper torso flying off to eat the hearts and livers of their human prey. 

Psychologically speaking, the aswang as a manananggal is symbolic of a severely disturbed person. It is an individual tormented by a multitude of inner conflicts:

  • The ordinary person it is by day represents innocence, while the aswang it becomes at night symbolizes evil. 
  • The ordinary person represents integration or wholeness, while the manananggal cut in half symbolizes brokeness and disintegration. 
  • The ordinary person it is by day can also represent contentment, while the hungry manananggal at night symbolizes greed and craving. 
  • The lower torso represents groundedness or stability of being, while the upper torso represents a flightiness or wildness of character. 
  • With its guts all exposed and spilled out, the lower torso represents vulnerability, while the upper torso symbolizes predatorship as it searches for human prey.

According to the myth, the manananggal separates its body at the middle of its body where its guts are located. The aswang therefore is an individual who is violently ripped apart at the very core of its own being. And as an emotionally-torn individual, the manananggal feeds on the emotional centers (the heart and liver) of their prey, thus draining the life energy out of them.

True, the aswang is a mythical creature of Filipino folklore. But a psychological analysis of the aswang beckons us to ask the question, who are the symbolic aswangs among us? And lest we exempt ourselves, the more important question to ask is, how are we an aswang to others, preying on other people's vulnerabilities out of our own brokeness and greed?

Yahoo!: Yes, Real Life Vampires, Werewolves, and Zombies Do Exist! (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, quezon city, manila, philippines)

A psychiatrist's face-to-face encounter with the 'undead'

By Dr. Randy Dellosa, Your Online Shrink | Yahoo SHE – Mon, Oct 28, 2013 9:35 AM PHT

Vampires, werewolves, and zombies are known to be mythical characters and most people get to see them only on two occasions: in the movies or in costume parties on Halloween.

Psychiatrists like me however get the real deal- a face-to-face encounter with these “creatures” in the clinic. Yes, true-to-life vampires, werewolves, and zombies do exist and they actually consult psychiatrists!

Real life vampires are people with the psychiatric condition known as Renfield Syndrome or Clinical Vampirism. Renfield Syndrome refers to the obsessive desire to taste or drink blood. Some people with Renfield Syndrome believe that they strengthen their “life force” by consuming blood.

The few vampires I’ve met are adolescent or young adult “self-cutters” who lap up their own blood after cutting themselves. For some of these vampires, the act of lapping up or drinking blood is done with an intimate partner and is associated with sexual arousal.

In extreme cases, real life vampires are known to level up in their vampiric activities. From self-cutting, they advance to more complicated acts such as acquiring blood from butchers and blood banks, engaging in vampiric rituals, or committing hideous crimes which involve the murder of animals and even human beings for their blood.

Some psychologists in fact have raised serious concern on how modern vampire movies glamorize vampirism thus influencing adolescents to join dangerous “vampire cults.”

Real life werewolves are people afflicted with the psychiatric disorder known as Clinical Lycanthropy. “Lycanthrope” is the greek word for “wolf-man” and lycanthropy refers to the delusional belief that one has become a wolf or can transform into a wolf. Real life werewolves expectedly behave as wolves do and commonly howl at the moon, particularly when it is full. A popular example of a person with Clinical Lycanthropy is King Nebuchadnezzar of the Bible who lost his mind and lived in the wilds, behaving like an animal. Lycanthropy is usually a manifestation of schizophrenia.

As for real life zombies, they are people who suffer from Cotard’s Syndrome or the Walking Corpse Syndrome. People with Cotard’s Syndrome have the delusional belief that they are already dead, or decaying, or have lost their internal organs. One real life zombie patient of mine, for instance, had the belief that he didn’t have any organs inside him and therefore had a hollow body. Cotard’s Syndrome may be caused by schizophrenia, neurological disorders, and surprisingly, the antiviral medication called Acyclovir.

Vampires, werewolves, or zombies on the celluloid screen are mercilessly annihilated through silver bullets, stakes driven through their heart, or through exhumation.

Clinical vampires, werewolves, and zombies, on the other hand, are real life human beings who need compassionate understanding and psychiatric treatment in the forms of medication and psychotherapy.