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Mental Health and Astronomy

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#26 tcifani

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:15 PM

After a rough day at work, nothing beats setting up a scope or even just grabbing binoculars (and a beer or two) and getting lost in the sky. No plans. Just looking. For me, the night sky contains a history lesson of sorts. I love to think about how long it takes for light to travel from various objects to us, sometimes quickly (Jupiter ~35-40 mins), sometimes a bit longer (Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 mil. years). Maybe my boss yelled at me when the reflected light from the sun left Jupiter, but he sure wasn't around when the light left the Andromeda Galaxy!


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#27 FlyingV74

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:41 PM

Looking into the heavens is incredible and amazing!

Trying to determine what eyepiece/gear to purchase kicks my OCD into high gear! Of course it is better for my OCD to be focused on something constructive rather than something destructive.

And trying trying to figure out how to reduce the light pollution in my suburban culdesac........this is a loosing battle. So hopefully retirement will find me in the middle of nowhere with dark skies. I find it totally relaxing to lay on my back and look up into the night sky. In dark skies, it is amazing what can be seen with the naked eye!
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#28 Meterman

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:41 PM

I suffer from diagnosed depression from time to time. Astronomy definitely gives a "pick me up" when feeling down. I've recently quelled aperture fever and find myself with a renewed interest in something I've been drawn to. Every time I take the scope out I pick a couple new objects to find along with old favorites. I frequently get the "wow" factor and find peace with the universe.

Edited by Meterman, 12 October 2021 - 07:42 PM.

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#29 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 07:46 PM

Some psychiatrists have a saying, "The difference between me and my patients is that I have a certificate stating that I (the psychiatrist) am sane".

 

What is Sane vs insanity? If you are lucid enough to know that something is seriously wrong with you and you seek help and get help, than this is the start of your path to, hopefully, eventual recovery. Or at the very least, to feeling somewhat better.

 

Don't give up! Seek help and if prescribed medication, take it and stay on it! Use your love and passion for Astronomy as part of your recovery process or at least to help you feel better. If you feel the need to, you are more than welcome to reach out to me. If this is allowed, I will do what I can to help and keep everything confidential. Trust me, there are things that even I find uncomfortable to talk about.

 

I think every CNer values their emotional and mental health and well being. Never be ashamed or embarrased to ask for help. It's the first step to feeling better and maybe eventual recovery. And keep looking up, it can invoke a sense of calm and serenity, which we all need.

 

There are a lot more of us than you know, including myself. RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#30 Henry Decker

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 08:53 PM

I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember, at least since before I was ten. I also suffer from loneliness quite frequently. I have found that stargazing and even the frustrating hobby that is astrophotography can help. Does it get rid of those feelings permanently? No, of course it doesn't. But its something I enjoy and it gives me something to look forward to and get excited about  every time I see clear skies on the forecast or a lack of clouds throughout the day.


Edited by Henry Decker, 12 October 2021 - 08:54 PM.

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#31 csrlice12

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Posted 12 October 2021 - 11:47 PM

I think the whole world is crazy except you and me....and sometimes I got my doubts about you.....grin.gif


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#32 Rickycardo

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 06:50 AM

OTOH, I will tell you that I have extreme arachnophobia. I can't even look at a picture of a spider in a book. So being out at night also brings its share of anxiety. I've often said my worst fear at night is walking into a spider web. Strangely though scorpions don't seems to bother my phobia. interesting. Anyway I had a chance to visit Arches NP in Utah and photograph at night there. I know what 8-legged creatures exist out there but even so once I stepped out of the car under that blanket of stars those fears soon melted away. I had a wonderful night without a care. I'm sure I'll run into one out there but I feel its worth it.


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#33 RalphMeisterTigerMan

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 07:48 AM

Dear Rickycardo, a phobia is still a form of Mental Health issue, anything which makes you so uncomfortable to the point where you cannot function "normally or rationally" means that you, like me, are mentally and emotionally compromised. Again, this is nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Remember the 1960's song, "I don't like spiders and snakes but that aint what it takes to love you, like I wanna be loved by you."

 

Any kind of Mental impairment is still a Mental impairment. Where it is, severe Depression, severe Anxiety disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Agoraphobia, Scitzophrenic Paranioia, Manic Depressive, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Bi-polar Disorder, they are all a form of mental illness and can be treated by the right Doctor and Medications.

 

Including the dreaded Internalrevenoaudatietious. That's the fear of being audited by the dreaded I.R.S. LOL. You, see..I'm lucky. I "only" have to deal with the Canada Revenue Agency which in some ways actually has a pleasant, non-threatening type of name. LOL.

 

Like I said, any form of Mental State of mind which causes you such discomfort as to cause any kind of impairment of your daily routine and keeps you performing your job properly is a form of Mental Illness which absolutely MUST be treated as quickly as possible. Do not be afraid to ask for help! What-ever may be keeping you from living life to the fullest must be looked after and taken care-of. Please, do not suffer in silence!

 

Let's all be more compassionate and understanding...and keep looking up!

RalphMeisterTigerMan


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#34 rhetfield

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 08:37 AM

Some psychiatrists have a saying, "The difference between me and my patients is that I have a certificate stating that I (the psychiatrist) am sane".

 

I had one tell me that there was no difference between her and her patients - she was no more sane than they were.  She was young, but probably on course to be one of the better psych people out there.



#35 Rickycardo

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 09:07 AM

HAHA. I have no desire to waste the time, effort and money to resolve my spider phobia. I just don't go looking for them and they don't come looking for me. When it does happen I let my anger issues take over. My inner Hulk solves the problem. Let the two demons fight each other while I move on. My point was that being out under the stars and the relaxation it gives me completely removes any irrational fear I have. The sky is my therapy.

BTW, I'm never uncomfortable talking about any issues I might have or think I have. There are no lines to cross for me.


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#36 csa/montana

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 09:28 AM

 

I have no desire to waste the time, effort and money to resolve my spider phobia. I just don't go looking for them and they don't come looking for me.

waytogo.gif   Same with me and snakes.  I've lived with this "phobia" my entire life, and have no desire to "resolve" it.  I'm just very careful outside.
 


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#37 justfred

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 10:03 AM

Vera - I agree. One glance at a starry sky and a big grin appears on my face. For a short while I’m a kid again without a care.

 

Carol - I agree that “Avoidance Therapy” works best for all spiders, all snakes, and some people.

 

Fred


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#38 alphatripleplus

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 10:58 AM

For me I think part of the reason  I'm able to relax when observing or taking pictures of the night sky is that I go out with modest expectations. I might have a list of targets, but it's okay if I don't get through many of them. If things go wrong in terms of equipment, I'll try to understand what happened and move on. I've learned it's actually possible to have fun even when things go wrong - assuming you don't destroy your equipment smile.gif .



#39 Rickycardo

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 11:40 AM

That's a big point with me too. This is a hobby, I don't make a living at it so having a night where everything goes wrong is still better than being at work or vegging on the couch in front of the TV. I really enjoy the cerebral challenges of doing AP. It is both focused and relaxing at the same time. For example, I'm going out this weekend, knowing its almost a full Moon, driving 2 hours each way to a dark site to set up and image. I know I won't be getting my best images but I just can't resist the siren song of the stars. I'll work on polar alignment, focus, tracking, power consumption and in the end I'll have an enjoyable evening.


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#40 CRAZYeye29325

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 12:54 PM

Since I've been getting into telescopes a few months ago, it has been the ONLY thing has ever taken my mind off work. I attribute the STEEP learning curve!


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#41 aorion314

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Posted 13 October 2021 - 12:58 PM

aorion314 here, as a health care professional (ICU RN), many renal dialysis facilities have placed relatively large aquariums in the center of the dialysis area, Well documented reduction in systolic BP, in addition many report increased relaxation, peacefulness, sense of serenity, calmness. As a long term user of telescopes I would venture (for me) the same types of responses plus a better understanding my place in the universe. Respectfully submitted


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#42 Bigal1817

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 03:40 PM

To be humbled by friends, family, neighbors, or community, can create the anxiety you speak of. To be humbled by stargazing, cures it, if only for a moment.

Edited by Bigal1817, 14 October 2021 - 03:40 PM.

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#43 72Nova

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Posted 14 October 2021 - 03:57 PM

Before astronomy, my stress relief was a weekly round of golf and practicing at the range. But when my wife was diagnosed with rectal cancer in late 2019, she had to quit working and I needed a distraction that I could do from home so I could keep an eye on her….then covid hit.  I always had an interest in astronomy so i purchased an 8” dob.

Like golf, astronomy connects me to nature, it is challenging, and requires complete focus, which for me is the best way to take my mind away from troubles.  I went from an 8” dob to astrophotography…all from my backyard and I am hooked.

I haven’t picked up a golf club in two years and my wife is now cancer free and doing great!


Edited by 72Nova, 14 October 2021 - 04:13 PM.

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#44 dave253

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 04:56 PM

It is most definitely therapeutic for me. 
My job involves me having to interact with a lot of people from many walks of life; and sometimes entertain them.
I often feel that I’m actually an ‘actor’… not in the classical sense, but perhaps more like a magician.

I’m normally quite a private person, so I sometimes struggle with this ‘forced extroversion’.
Escaping into the cosmos with a few close friends just feels like reconnecting with nature on the grandest of scales.
Often, the next day is strange as we watch people going about their humdrum every day activities, discussing the latest TV show or whatever and think ‘last night I was looking at photons which started their journey while there were still dinosaurs roaming around!!’.

Of course I don’t ever judge anyone for finding their own happy place however they can. 


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#45 esd726

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Posted 15 October 2021 - 05:28 PM

 Definitely  relaxing when/if you get to get out under the stars. When you are off, the exact opposite happens when you CAN’T.

  I go back to work tomorrow, had the last 12 off, clouds and or rain EVERY DAY. bangbang.gif 

 Now, of course, Sunday/Monday look to be nice nights (except for Moon) 

  Get away from people, stress, etc. it is SOOO nice to get out there in the yard and have peace and quiet and also get the calming of star hopping and observing snoopy2.gif


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#46 Sam Danigelis

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 04:37 AM

Me and another astro friend call it "astrotherapy."
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#47 Pelayo

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 06:19 AM

In my experience, it gives you perspective of our real position and importance. It is overwhelming and could make you believe we are insignificant. I think it is a positive feeling, but it is also true that sometimes "it hurts". I don't know how to explain it properly, to be honest. In addition, I think it helps to be more emphatic to others and to measure correctly our problems, or so called problems.

 

Overall I would say it helps. A lot. But it also has some danger which shall be addressed properly: it not handled with care, it can make you to isolate yourself. 


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#48 csrlice12

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Posted 16 October 2021 - 10:13 AM

We spend lots of money on gear to go sit outside in bitter cold or to provide the mosquitos a buffet.  We will even drive there to do it.  If we don't do that, we buy a lot of gear to be able to sit at home and complain about the weather and post on CN.....and then there's the eyepiece forum......nah, we're not crazy......we're astronomers!grin.gif


Edited by csrlice12, 16 October 2021 - 10:15 AM.

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#49 dave253

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Posted 17 October 2021 - 03:31 AM

We spend lots of money on gear to go sit outside in bitter cold or to provide the mosquitos a buffet.  We will even drive there to do it.  If we don't do that, we buy a lot of gear to be able to sit at home and complain about the weather and post on CN.....and then there's the eyepiece forum......nah, we're not crazy......we're astronomers!grin.gif

The money factor is never on my mind! 
Same as my music gear, the price is long forgotten versus the enjoyment of the privilege of using it. 



#50 GeneT

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Posted 18 October 2021 - 07:42 PM

A good night of viewing charged up my batteries, reduced my life's stresses, and got me off to a good next day at work. 


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