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A Psychologist's Thoughts on Clinical Practice, Behavior, and Life

The Lessons From The Netflix Documentary "I Am A Killer"

The extraordinary Netflix documentary, "I Am A Killer," evidences several truths: the powerful effect of childhood experience on adult behavior which can later go awry with tragic consequences; the critical importance of having good legal counsel; the destructiveness of alcohol and drug use; and the great power of the unconscious over behavior, particularly when substance abuse affects self-control.
The criminal behavior that sent these interviewed prisoners to Death Row may be said to be as heinous as the childhood ordeals which predetermined their commission.

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The Surprising Benefit of Panic Attack

Panic Attack is the experience of extreme anxiety when the normal symptoms of anxiety are misinterpreted as a deadly medical event. Feeling unbearable, it causes many people to frantically drive to an Emergency Room fearing their lethal cardiac event though forty-to-sixty percent are suffering only anxiety. Yet like all psychological symptoms Panic Attack has the value of motivating a change of behavior before real bodily damage occurs. Thus an overly-stressed person who had resisted changing their life-style may do so after suffering this distress and later realize what caused it: over-work; loneliness; or the yearning for intimacy which had been nearly forgotten but became aroused during a chance encounter.

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The False But Seductive Attraction of Suicide

Because of the innate biological imperative to live, suicide can be difficult to understand. Yet its occurrence with even highly successful people, as the former Miss USA Cheslie Krystal, who was also a lawyer, and the widely applauded CEO of the Atlanta rail transportation system, Jeffrey Parker, can be puzzling without visualizing the psychology of despair.
Obsessed with a tunnel vision of their suffering, the suicidal person sees no other ending for it, and in a manner that appears fitting though illogical to others. Krystal leapt from a skyscraper and Parker jumped in front of a moving train.
While the symbolization of the self-destructive means is irrelevant, the prior turning inward of the personal world is significant though there are gradations of this experience since virtually all consider suicide at some point in their life.Perhaps after receiving a serious medical diagnosis or during a particularly stressful work situation. Yet relatively few do, the proverbial needle in the haystack being an accurate metaphor for this act. And as has been said, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem, even that of long term distress.

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Coping With Life's Regrets

Every thoughtful person, when considering their life, must regret things they did and said and feelings they left unsaid. Being human, we inevitably make mistakes.
Accepting this truism isn't easy whether concerning a past, potentially great love (for there can be no certainly how a relationship would have progressed), child-rearing errors that created a child's emotional problems, or resentments which kept one from the critical understanding that occurred only after their hated relative died.
Even for those who experience a fortunate upbringing, life can be hard and the justified forgiveness of oneself and others be wanting. Unfortunately.

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