mamamusings: January 9, 2004

elizabeth lane lawley's thoughts on technology, academia, family, and tangential topics

Friday, 9 January 2004

misconceptions about antidepressants

Much as I love Halley, posts like this one really frustrate me.

Antidepressants aren’t “happiness pills,” any more than diabetic insulin treatments are “eat more sugar” pills, or blood pressure or ulcer medications are “stress management pills.” I’m sure most of the people being treated for diabetes would prefer not to have to take medication; the fact that someone “doesn’t like taking pills” is not necessarily relevant to whether medical treatment for a condition is warranted.

I’ve written before about my experiences with depression and anti-depressants. Do I—did I—like taking pills? No. But for me, at one time, it was the best solution to a difficult problem.

There is a huge difference between being unhappy and being clinically depressed. Anybody who has ever gone through a clinical depression, and then been rescued from it by medical treatment, knows this. Is medication the only way out of clinical depression? Not always. But antibiotics aren’t the only way to survive bacterial infections, either. The fact that people live through those without taking pills doesn’t mean that people who choose treatment are somehow taking the easy way out.

Posted at 10:28 AM | Permalink | Comments (24) | TrackBack (0)
more like this: curmudgeonly

on love and flight

Cary Tennis,’s “Since you asked…” advice columnist, has a really lovely piece today called “Can love be willed?

If you could not will flight but had to wait for it to occur like a meteor across the sky, it would elude the calculations of aeronautical engineers and the step-by-step catechisms of how-to publishers and come to reside solely in the world of dreams and epiphany. Airline schedules would be even harder to keep than they are today.

But that is the place love occupies. It is not a mineral to be mined or a physical process to be flowcharted and then refined for yearly productivity increases. It is a sudden unexpected taking to the air, as miraculous and as unfathomable.

On the other hand, that doesn’t mean that you can have no human relationships of enduring power and depth. It doesn’t mean you can’t love. In fact, if you look down, you may find that you are flying right now, just not as high off the ground as you expected.

There’s lots I could say about varying altitudes in my own relationships. But right now I’m avoiding a lot of work here in my office, so I’m off to focus on that.

Posted at 11:49 AM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
more like this: big ideas

css/xhtml formatting oddity

A student emailed me last night, frustrated because adding an XHTML doctype to his document had caused it to stop formatting the way he wanted it to.

He had a content div in the center of the page, and he wanted it to display at 100% of the browser window. He had properly set the height of the body element to 100%, and then set the content div to 100%, but it wouldn’t work when the doctype was there; it defaulted to height:auto.

I played with it for a while, and finally got it to work by adding position:absolute and top:0px properties to the content div style.

Anybody know why the height:100% property only works when the element is being absolutely positioned?

Posted at 2:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (6) | TrackBack (0)
more like this: technology

sxsw roommate

I’m going to be at SXSW Interactive in Austin this March, and plan on staying at the conference headquarter hotle, the new Hilton. Would be great if I could find a woman to room with there. Let me know if you’re interested.

Posted at 7:02 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)
more like this: conferences
Liz sipping melange at Cafe Central in Vienna