A Time To Celebrate

The new Stephen is a year old now. Let’s back up a few years.

Since about the year 2000 I have beens struggling with some form of depression. It started out as SAD. Almost like clockwork, I would fall into a depressive state about the time of coming off of Daylight Savings. My life would start picking back up about the same time as light returned to our world, about the beginning of Daylight Savings Time.

One year, I missed the cycle. By the time January came around, The depressive cycle had cleared. I felt “cured”! I celebrated!

Unfortunately, the celebration turned out to be short lived. By the time August rolled around, I found myself right smack dap in the beginning of another depressive cycle. So much for the short term freedom That I had felt. With that, my depressions had gone from seasonly related to episodic, meaning my depressive cycles now came from time to time.

Through the years, I had tried almost everything. I started out with OTC’s like St. John’s and Sam-e, switched to prescriptive concoctions, some not working, other some what, still others working turning to not working, years of talking about my problems with licensed counselors. I felt like being on a full on roller coaster ride.

As you can probably imagine, years and years of this became tiring. I had to try something new.

In the fall of 2010, I started to see a psychologist. After some initial getting to know each other sessions, he introduced me to David D. Burns, a world renowned author/doctor on Cognitive Behavior Therapy, or CBT. David’s work with CBT predates the work on the new age of anti-depressants. Additionally, his studies have shown that CBT is a more effective treatment than antidepressants, both in the short term and long term in regards to depression.

The idea behind CBT is that the thought process is broken. Too often people like me are ruled by our negative thought processes. In encountering a positive thought about myself, it would take me seconds to countered that positive thought in multiple ways before I ever had a chance to get comfortable with that thought.

I started working the program “around the edges” and immediately started to see results. It seemed too easy and too good to be true. I crashed a couple a months later after the basic method began to fail me.

Little did I know i had only began to scratch the surface of CBT. In the book, When Panic Attacks, Dr. Burns outlines forty different methods to counter the wrong thinking that many of us encounter in our lives. (Side note: in researching the book, I found a succinct review,”Great book. Bad Title.” I whole heartedly agree with that review. )

The book explores how methods work great for some people and may not work at all for another person. Also, no method is to work for every situation. Good thing there are forty methods to try. One is bound to work. Dr. Burns gives methodologies of what methods work for what situations. His studies show a directed use of 5 methods are usually enough to counter most broken thought processes.

By the time May rolled around, I had done enough work with CBT to handle life on my own, without the assistance of my psychologist. For the first time in a very long time, I felt hope about life in general.

Okay, I admit, I’m a crazy scientist at heart. Things have got to be measured to have a better understanding of them. That’s why I have a weather station at my house, to better track my little neck of the woods. Additionally from 2009, I have been doing a daily track on how I thought my day went.

Since employing CBT, the results have been astounding for me. What use to be my highs reached a handful of times throughout the years of my tracking are now how I feel on an average day!

Dr.  Burns talks about getting better versus being better. Getting better is the point where the negative thoughts no longer rule the mind. Reaching the point of being better is when one feels capable to handle whatever comes their way. I am so thankful that I have reached the point of not only getting better, but also the point of being better.

Do, I follow perfectly using CBT? Not even close. Though, my slips are shorter because I am better able to calm the broken voices in my head. And if need be, I can fall back to the forty methods that Dr. David D. Burns has outlined in his book.

So, In closing, do you feel negative thoughts rule your mind? Tried everything and nothing seems to help? Take a look at Cognitive Behavior Therapy. It has made a world of difference for me.

Good Luck-F*ceBo*k new Statement of Rights and Responsibilities

I find this kind of funny. F*ceBo*ok is asserting the rights to its trademarked words in there Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/facebook-asserts-trademark-on-word-book-in-new-user-agreement.ars. That means people of F*ceBo*k will me asked to not to used F*cebo*k’s Trademarked words. That means F*cebo*k uses will be asked to not use some of the following words: f*ce, bo*k, p*ke (that’s and O), w*ll (that’s an A), and l*ke (that’s an i).

 

Gotta say, Good luck!

The Choice is Your: Guilt or Shame

I watched Brené Brown’s TED Talk, Listening to Shame, a couple of days ago.

It dealt with many aspects of shame. One thing she talked about is the difference between guilt and shame. I paraphrase her here: Guilt is I did bad. Shame is I am bad.

Is it any wonder that children raised to value themselves as the gift to the world that they are, can stay away from shame. They learn just because they did bad doesn’t make them bad.

On the other hand, children raised to not value themselves, the jump from doing bad to being bad is so much easier to bridge. For them, it has been ingrained in their mind that they are bad, That doing something bad almost automatically triggers being bad. It’s what they know.

For those of us who fall in the second group, we are faced with an ongoing challenge; guilt or shame. Falling into the I am awful, horrible, bad, whatever negative is so easy to do. It is what I learned growing up. When I do I am snared in the trap of shame.

Just like any trap, the longer the time spend in the trap, the more damage that is done. The trick is to find a fast escape from the trap. How can that be done?

Just as I have learned to have a hair trigger reaction from doing to being bad, I can also teach myself to go the other way. When I fall in the trap of being bad, I challenge the thought. I ask myself why that is true? What happened to make me bad? I know I am a creature of God and worthy of being good. This feeling bad must be a ruse. I ask myself why I am feeling that way?

Most often it can be traced back to recent events. It is not hard to find where I haven’t lived up to my or some one else’s expectations. When I have done wrong, bad or maybe something worse. It is usually as plain as the nose on my face. That pathway has got turned around. It has gone from me doing wrong  to me being wrong, worthless, good for nothing, a loser.

I am left with the choice, guilt or shame. Do I stew in this horrible feeling or do I challenge it? If I stew in it, I choose shame. If I challenge it, challenge those feelings that have been a part of me since my youth. those beliefs that just because I made a mistake  makes me a mistake, I choose guilt and i am better off for that choice. I am closer to being that creature worthy of love that God wants me to be.

Believe me, that choice is not easy, Forty some years of learning is difficult to challenge. But, challenge it I must if I am to be one of God’s creatures, one worthy of love, not creature absent of love that has been too much a part of my life for to long.

PS. As a finish this, a realize that Catholic guilt, and any religious guilt for that matter, isn’t really  is guilt, but shame. It is most often a manipulation to make use feel bad. So don’t get the two confused.

The liberating movement art of Parkour

I noticed Stephen Maglardy’s“Five Finger” shoes and asked if he is familiar with Parkour. He was not. Until now. The good people at Parkour Visions have been birthing and nurturing the baby of this non-profit movement gym and outreach venture for six years or so. Our son, now almost twenty, has benefited greatly. One high school year, he and a Parkour Visions coach taught a weekly class at an inner city space for homeless youth in Seattle.

Start moving when you are young, keep moving, anywhere any time. Move over, around, and through obstacles. Develop the “vision” to see a “path” through obstacles. Parkour can look like cross-country running in an urban environment, except traceurs (people who do parkour) would vault over railings and other obstacles rather than go around them. Having an indoor gym for this movement art is rare in this country and also liberating to the hundreds of kids who need it.

Making Your Passwords Secure

This article is a republish from my Biznik.com account, originally published on March 8, 2012.

I got a little scare this morning. Checking the strength of my passwords, I found my American Express password could be broken by a desktop PC in about 3 hours! Now in defense of myself, at one time American Express forced passwords to  be shorter than 9 character. That’s not very secure.

Do you wonder how secure your passwords are? There is no reason not to know. Check out howsecureismypassword.net. There, passwords can be entered and relative strengths of passwords can be determined. Don’t worry, this page runs as a javascript app and there is no communication between the webpage and their server once the webpage is loaded.

Want some ideas how to make a stronger, yet more memorable password?

Consider a passphrase instead of a password. Consider “Peter Piper picked a peck” compared to  “bfhewbbjkk”. Which is easier to crack? The Peter Piper pass phase can be cracked in, oh about 2 nonillion years, where the “bfhewbbjkk” can be cracked in about 6 days. Now tell me, which is easier to remember? Which is easier to type?

Consider special characters. While there isn’t much difference between “bfhewbbjkk” and “bfhewbbjk!”, they are the same length. The relative security on the second password shots up to a year. From 6 days to crack to a year just by making one letter a special character. That is a relatively big change.

Consider a password vault program. I use 1Password. This stores all your passwords in a secure file. The passwords can easily be recalled from just about any web browser for easy use. By the way, make that password super secure. My passcode for my password vault can be broken in about 1 trillion years. Additionally, with this, passwords don’t have to be written down all over the place. Would you get a sinking feeling it your day planner accidentally got left in a cab or someplace else? What passwords would you be giving away?

Some sites have bad password policies. 8 character passwords are pretty much useless. Some limit special characters. Some sites would not allow the Peter Piper pass phrase but by removing the spaces “PeterPiperpickedapeck”, the passcode still is secure for about 137 quintillion years. If they have overly restrictive passcode policies, consider how valuable is the information you enter on that site. I would never use a financial institution that did not allow for 16 character passwords.

Use different passwords. If someone gets one of your bank account pass codes somehow, would they be able to access all of your accounts? Even worse. If they got your Facebook password, would they be able to get into bank accounts? Even large corporations like Sony get caught with their pants down. Their servers got cracked and passwords were stored unencrypted. If a user had the same password in their Sony account as their bank account, it would be just a matter of finding the right institution and their account could be drained.

Avoid passwords found on any top list. Password crackers are going to start off searching for low hanging fruit. They are first going to try the top used passwords. If your password is on one of those list, your password will be cracked more quickly that a blink of an eye. howsecureismypassword.net will inform you if you are using a common password.

You may be saying, “Those are some pretty big numbers”, Stephen, “My password doesn’t need to be that secure.” Consider this. If someone is trying to steal your password, they are not going to be using one computer but thousands of computers. That makes for much shorter work. Here is a variation on my mantra,

“Only securely protect the information that is valuable to you.”

By the way, My new American Express password can now be broken in oh, about 47 trillion years. It would have been even longer, but American Express limits passwords to 20 characters.

Stephen Magladry, your iTechieGuy

Oh, The Places you’ll Go!

Can you imagine what it would be like to have Dr. Suess deliver a graduation speech? What would he say to mostly young, eager minds with there lifes out in front of them?

Well, wonder no more! Oh the Places You’ll Go!

I love this book, this poem! It is amazing to me how this writer of children’s books is able to boil down life to such a simple and elegant poem.

He talks of the highs.

You’ll join the high fliers
who soar to high heights.

 How many of us haven’t been there before? I know I have. Oh what a place to be! What a high. Nothing seems to go wrong. If it does, it is just another challenge in life and you move on. Life seems to be laid out just for your success.

You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.

I been there, too. For too much of my life. This part of life sucks on so many different levels. It is a horrible place to be. It is not a fun place to be. It literally sucks the essence from the very being.

You can get so confused
that you’ll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles cross weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

 For me, the easiest way to fall into the waiting game is by falling into the roll of a victim. Woa, is me! I can’t do anything right! No body loves me. Those are all way of saying, “I can’t wait until life is right”. My advice to you? STOP! Waiting for life to be right; it is too long of a wait! Make life right, today! That’s the real challenge.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,
that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.

 Unfortunately,  I been there, too. Who hasn’t? Life becomes over whelming. There seems to be no way out. The only or best solution at that time seems to be to give up. But DON”T. Find away through it. Life has to many great adventures waiting for you!

So…
be your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O’Shea,
You’re off the Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahv_1IS7SiE

 

Stephen Magladry, your iTechieGuy

Dot to Dot

“You can not connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that some how the dots will connect in your future. You have to trust in something: your gut, destiny, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road, will give you the confidence to follow your heart. even when it leads you off the well worn path. And that will make all the difference.”

Steve Jobs

 

I have spent too many years of my life looking back at the dots I have left behind.

For the first time in my life, I am following my heart, that I will find my dots down the road. I recognize that I am straying off a well known worn; that is a known because I am a solperrneur. Few people really  succeed down that path. But I believe in myself! I trust in myself! And that will make all the difference.

 

Stephen Magladry, Your iTechieGuy

Holy Carp (sic)!

Dated: Febuary 21, 2012

My mind is spinning! Spinning! Spinning! Who would have thunk!

After nearly a year and a half of fits and starts, I started iTechieGuy.com on October, 13, 2011. I had this grand vision with all the new found masses of people getting the “Apple Religion”, that I could use all my knowledge of the scrolls and present it in a way that would have customers beating down the preverbial door.

Read on!