The Stonehenge Image


I received an email this morning from a reader across the ocean:

I was impressed (hailing from England) that you have a picture of Stonehenge on your page at

Do you see Stonehenge as a image of tranquility, wellness?

By the way I stumbled across your work, researching Bi-Polar disorder at Psychlinks Self-Help & Mental Health Support Forum



I have always been fascinated by the early history of the British Isles. especially of the Celtic tribes and the history preceding the Roman conquest and following the collapse of the Roman empire. I’ve also always been aware of the emotional power of Stonehenge for me personally. But I confess I’ve never really stopped to consider why I thought it so fitting as a symbol for the Psychlinks web sites. This morning, after receiving Patrick’s email, I did just that.

Here is my response to him:

Good morning from Canada, Patrick: I see the Stonehenge image as many things, actually…

  • A link for individuals between the past, the present, and the future
  • A symbol of strength, endurance, and resilience: the ability to weather the storms of life and time and survive
  • A symbol of stoic tranquility, wisdom, and solid grounding
  • A link between the physical, the spiritual, and the mystical
  • A link across generations
  • Not necessarily a symbol of current wellness but the ability to persevere and to find strength to locate and retrieve what is healthy within you

And incidentally, my family is also from England. I was born in London and still have several family members and relatives in England and Scotland.

The image was cropped from a photograph taken a few years ago by my son, Daniel, a copy of which hangs in my office.

Dr. David J. Baxter, C.Psych.

It is also a personal reminder that adding the image to this blog is still on my to-do list…

What About Me? A Book for Men Helping Female Partners Deal with Childhood Sexual Abuse

What About Me? A Book for Men Helping Female Partners Deal with Childhood Sexual Abuse
by Grant Cameron
Revised and reissued 2013

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What About Me? is for men who are helping female partners recover from the trauma of childhood sexual abuse. The book is unique because it’s the end result of the traumatic and trying times Grant Cameron encountered while helping his wife, Liz, deal with her abusive past. If you are a partner of someone who was abused as a child, you will find this book enlightening. It takes you into the world of a child sexual abuse survivor and explains in laymen’s terms how to help, deal and cope with the survivor’s anger, grief and pain. Grant covers important subjects like the inner child, the necessity for breaks and how to be a support.

Click here if you have any questions about the book.

From the author
I am the husband of a partner who was sexually abused as a child, so I have first-hand experience of many of the difficulties that spouses face as they attempt to help their wives heal from the torment and trauma of abuse.

Partners of childhood sexual abuse survivors will find this book enlightening as it explains in layman’s terms how to help a survivor cope and deal with her anger and pain. I draw on my personal experiences as a husband and supporter of a childhood sexual abuse survivor. I talk openly about subjects like trust and anger, suicide, sex, nightmares and the child within. I try to educate and dispel myths and misconceptions. I also offer advice on coping, releasing rage and whether a partner of a survivor should stay or go.

The book is called What About Me? It is not meant in any way to take the place of a good counselor. However, my hope is that the book will help men who are partners of childhood sexual abuse survivors understand what the survivor is going through in order that they may be a help rather than hindrance to her healing.

The book was originally published in 1994 by Creative Bound Inc. and sold in most major bookstore chains and through The book received rave reviews and five editions were published before the publisher retired. I decided to update and publish the book as a downloadable file so it can be accessed more quickly by partners of survivors.

The book can be downloaded from a website at

Over the years, many partners and survivors of childhood sexual abuse have written to me, thanking me for writing the book and noting that it helped them get through the healing process because it explained the situation more clearly and thoroughly to partners.

I came across this book when it was first published. It is indeed a remarkable book and, at the time, entirely unique. There have been a few books subsequently published with a similar them but this one remains my favorite for its simplicity and calrity of presentation and for the beautiful support it describes from an initially puzzled and bewildered man to his beloved wife, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Unfortunately, the book has been out of print for some time now, so it is with pleasure that I announce its current availability in a new form.

The cost is $15.95. If you are the spouse of a survivor of childhood sexual abuse or if you are a survivor who would like your spouse to understand some of what you are going through, I highly recommend this book.

Lying in young children: Errors of anthroporphism

From a recent post on the blog of the British Psychological Association:

Lying is common at age two, becomes the norm by three
by Christian Jarrett, BPS research Digest
February 22, 2013

They’re too young to need to fib about lipstick on their collar or even their unfinished homework but a new study finds the majority of three-year-olds are already practising liars. Deception in very young children has been documented before, but this is the first time it has been systematically tested in a laboratory.

Angela Evans and Kang Lee tested 65 two- and three-year-olds (28 girls) individually in a quiet room, part of which involved them being told not to peek at a toy. Despite this instruction, 80 per cent of the kids sneaked a peek. And when they were asked afterwards if they’d looked, around a quarter of two-year-olds lied about it, rising to 90 per cent of those aged over 43 months.

Although lying was rife among these young children, most of them weren’t very adept at it. When asked what the toy was, 76 per cent of the liars blurted out the answer, exposing their dishonesty.

The researchers also put the toddlers through a series of mental tests to see if any particular skills went hand-in-hand with lying. One of these was a kiddies’ version of the Stroop test that involved pointing to small pictures of fruits, while ignoring bigger versions. Like the adult Stroop, success at this task is thought to require a mix of inhibitory control and working memory. Evans and Lee found that the children who excelled at the kiddies’ Stroop were more likely to lie, which supports the idea that the development of lying depends on a mix of inhibitory ability and remembering the desired answer.

An important implication of this last point, the researchers said, is that the greater honesty of the younger children isn’t a mark of their moral purity, but simply a side-effect of their “fragile executive functioning skills.”

A weakness of the study is that it doesn’t look at different types of lies or tell us anything about the children’s motivation for lying.

Evans, A., and Lee, K. (2013). Emergence of Lying in Very Young Children. Developmental Psychology DOI: 10.1037/a0031409

In my opinion, the authors have totally missed the point in their conclusions to this study.

To digress for a moment, when my daughter was a toddler, perhaps 2 or 3 or thereabouts, I came downstairs one day to find her, crayons in hand, creating some artwork on the wall just outside of the kitchen.

I said, “Elizabeth! What are you doing? You know you’re not supposed to crayon on the walls!”

What followed could/should have been in slow motion. She looked at me with a startled and confused look on her face. Then she looked at the wall. Then she looked at the crayon in her hand. Back to me. Back to the wall. Back to the crayon.

And finally back up at me. “I didn’t do it”, she said.

Her thought process in those moments was almost broadcast aloud as I watched the different expressions cross her face before she replied.

“Oh yeah. I’m not supposed to do this.”

“Oh no. I wish I hadn’t done this.”

“Oh I know. I DIDN’T do this!”

My point is it wasn’t a lie in the adult sense. Or even in the sense of an older child.

The process was clearly a transformation of reality which led to a conclusion where no one would be upset with her. She convinced herself. And then she conveyed the resolution of her dilemma to me.

To me, the flaw in the logic of the authors of this study was basically the sin of anthropomorphism. That literally means assuming human motives or emotions or cognitions from the behavior of other species without supportive evidence, or interpreting the behavior of another species in human terms.

Children are not adults. One cannot accurately interpret their behavior in anything beyond the context of childhood. The same applies to adolescents.

It is not lying. It is a cognitive distortion of objective reality, certainly, something we all do at times throughout the lifespan. But for very young children, it is a distortion that allows them to feel better about who they are and to “avoid” having disappointed their significant others, i.e., their parents. In a way, it’s the perfect solution for a child of that age. It’s clearly not the perfect solution for an adult but that merely underscores why we should not attempt to interpret the behavior of children from the viewpoint of an adult.

Canadian Internet Forum sponsored by CIRA February 2013

Canadian Internet Forum – Save the date and Report of Findings

ciraThe Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) will be holding the third annual Canadian Internet Forum (CIF) national event in Ottawa on February 28, 2013. You will receive a more detailed invitation within the few weeks which will provide you with all the information you need to attend the national event, whether in person or via webcast. Until then, make sure you save the date!

2012 CIF White Paper
CIRA recently released the results of the findings from the 2012 CIF in a white paper titled Challenges and Opportunities for the Internet in Canada. Key findings highlighted in the paper include the challenges that Canadians face when it comes to successful use of the Internet, in particular regarding Internet security, accessibility, costs, Canadian digital sovereignty and digital literacy. The paper provides a synthesis of the conversations Canadians were having about the challenges facing Internet in Canada in 2012 through the online forum culminated with the CIF national event in Ottawa.

As Canada’s voice in the international Internet community, the paper was presented by Byron Holland, CIRA’s President and CEO at the International Governance Forum (IGF) in Baku, Azerbaijan in November. The IGF is a multi-stakeholder forum that serves to bring individuals together from various stakeholder groups to share views and exchange ideas on public policy issues relating to the Internet.

As a .CA Member with a vested interest in build a strong Canadian presence on the Internet, we encourage you to read the paper with the complete findings and participate in the upcoming event in February.

About CIRA
CIRA was incorporated in December 1998 and became the official .CA registry on December 1, 2000. We have a 12-person Board of Directors and three Board Advisors. The 12 Board of Directors are elected by .CA Members and three are Board Advisors with non-voting positions. The Board Advisors include CIRA’s President and CEO, a representative of the Government of Canada, and John Demco, who helped establish the .CA domain and CIRA.

Who was responsible for registering a .CA domain before CIRA?
From 1987 to November 2000, .CA domain names were assigned and registered by a .CA volunteer organization headed by John Demco, former Computing Facilities Manager for the Department of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia (UBC). UBC provided the technical and administrative resources to house and operate the registry.

The Framework for the administration of the .CA domain name system laid the foundation for the transition of the .CA registry from UBC and the creation of CIRA.

On November 22, 2012, CIRA reached two million registered .CA domain names.

More information on CIRA

Products Behaving Badly: Acronis True Image 2012

I recently bought and installed Acronis True Image 2012.

I realized within a couple of days that this would not do what I wanted on my laptop so I uninstalled it, thinking perhaps I might use it on my desktop. When I did so, Windows 7 warned me that Windows Backup was not running. Now during installation, Acronis had by default checked an option called “Integrate True Image into Windows” – an innocuous sounding option which seemed like a good idea. What is NOT made clear is that this disables and replaces Windows built-in Backup and Restore utility. Bad enough – but okay… not too difficult to turn Windows Backup on in Control Panel.

But now comes the horror story:

A few days later I had an issue with my Windows laptop and wanted to do a quick System Restore to an earlier checkpoint. To my utter astonishment, I discovered that Acronis had disabled this feature in Windows 7: There were no Restore points available at all!

In time, I was able to fix the issue manually, turn System Restore back on, and create a restore point.

But I am still outraged. At no point during the installation was I given a choice or warned by Acronis that their installation would turn off System Restore.

This is in my opinion totally and completely unacceptable behavior on the part of ANY product installer.

A huge THUMBS DOWN to Acronis. I would issue a strong warning to everyone to stay away from any and all Acronis products. Ever.


It actually gets worse: I’ve now discovered that since installing and uninstalling this product none of my USB thumbnail drives are accessible. I still don’t have a fix for this.

This product should not be purchased or installed by anyone.

Update 2:

Fixed the USB thumbnail drive problem finally,

See ATIH 2012 uninstalled – now cannot access any USB thumbnail drives | Knowledge Base

The uninstaller left behind a LOT of garbage including drivers. The cleanup utility referenced in that support thread also left behind a lot of registry entries.

Once I tracked down and deleted ALL of them, I rebooted, plugged in my USB thumbnail drive, it indicated that it was installing required drivers, and this time – finally – it succeeded.

Tom Wootton: How I Found Ecstasy In Depression

Editorial comment: This is on one level a moving first-person account of the experience of living a life with bipolar disorder. But on a larger level it is a remarkable testament to the power and determination of the human spirit. Regardless of your clinical or scientific orientation, it is well worth the read. ~ David Baxter

How I Found Ecstasy In Depression
by Tom Wootton, Bipolar Advantage
July 30, 2012

Depression can help us to find beauty in every moment.

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I have been meditating for over 50 years. I started when I was five years old when I became fascinated with watching my breath go in and out. I intuitively knew that this and other meditative practices would bring me to a state of ecstasy. It didn’t take long before pursuing that state became the most important thing in my life.Although I got incredibly close through my efforts in meditation, it wasn’t until I looked for ecstasy in depression that I truly found it. Once I found ecstasy in depression I found it everywhere. My hope is that sharing my experience might help others to find the same insights that I have.

As I watched my breath go in and out I found some dramatic changes in my state of consciousness. I would detach from my body and find myself floating above and looking down at myself sitting there. It was a very pleasurable state, but also very profound in how I viewed the world. I believed that part of me was untouched by the physical world; the part that I now call my soul.

It wasn’t long before my soul separations started encroaching on my waking states. I would often find myself turning the corner and suddenly being in a long tunnel with a light at the end of it. During those experiences time would stand still or at least slow down dramatically. I interpreted these experiences as seeing God.

By the time I was in my teens I knew that there were others who had experienced some of the same things. They called such moments ecstasy, bliss, Nirvana, Samadhi, superconsciousness, equanimity, “oneness with God,” and many other names. Although I recognized that there are many ways to reach such states, I started practicing Yoga since it was the most attractive to me of all of the different approaches to finding them. I was much less interested in the philosophies than how to experience ecstasy directly and Yoga offered a path that was geared toward direct experience.

In my twenties I realized that there were people who were experiencing things far beyond what I had and seemed to have a much deeper understanding of them than I. I met with as many as I could find and spent most of my time studying the lives of saints. This search for meaning dominated my thoughts as my meditation practices deepened.

By the time I was thirty I was living in a monastery and meditating anywhere from 8 to 24 hours a day. I had found a community of people who valued such experiences as much as myself and for the first time I felt completely at home. We meditated for hours together, but when the meditation ended I would keep at it because I thought that my next breath was going to be the one that gave me permanent bliss. By then I was able to travel down the tunnel and bask in the light at the end for what felt like a timeless eternity. I appeared to be so good at generating higher states of consciousness that fellow monks called me “Samadhi Tom.”

Right about the time that I thought I was about to reach the final realization of permanent ecstasy I fell into an incredibly deep depression that lasted several months. I had been depressed many times before, but nothing like this one. I was so debilitated that they had to move me into the building with the kitchen because I was unable to even walk across the courtyard to eat. I laid in bed crying all day and couldn’t even attend the meditations or practice in my room.

This was my first truly debilitating depression and it had extreme consequences. It took away the most important thing in my life. At the time I thought I had lost everything and life was devoid of all meaning. I left the monastery and floundered for several years.

I spent my forties lost in turmoil. I pursued a life of no purpose and allowed myself to become a person that I really hated. I made a lot of money, but said that I had rented my soul to the devil while allowing myself to stray the furthest I ever had from the only thing that really mattered.

The depressions and manias became much more frequent during this time. When they had gotten to the point that I was completely nonfunctional, I finally got diagnosed as Depressed and then more accurately as Bipolar. I saw it as a kind of a death sentence combined with a an explanation for so many of the things that happened throughout my life. I realized that my first full on manic episode happened when I was nine years old, for example, and that depression was at least a yearly occurrence.

Because of the diagnosis and the prevalence of delusional thinking being a part of it, I looked upon all of the experiences of my life as a sign of my mental illness instead of a sign that I was seeing God. I was devastated by the implications of it. My next “tunnel” experience left me crying in despair that I had been so foolish to think that such experiences meant anything other than that I was crazy.

In deep despair of having no meaningful existence whatsoever, I attempted suicide. Fortunately, I failed and subsequently set out to find meaning through my bipolar condition instead of trying to make it go away. At the time, and even today for most people, the idea is blasphemous to the paradigm that says it is impossible and one would be delusional to even try.

My fifties have been a time of great renewal. It is when my whole life started to make sense and everything came together. I wrote The Depression Advantage as an exploration of how others throughout history had gone through some of the same turmoils and achieved the goal I was seeking. I wrote chapters about the lives of saints who had experienced at least parts of my physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pains and how they ultimately found that the goal they sought was actually within those experiences.

I was especially taken with the story of St. Teresa of Avila. Although she found her “oneness with God” through her experience of physical pain, I saw in her experience many insights that applied to my own battles with depression. For most of her life she assumed that she would not find her “oneness with God” unless she removed her physical pain, yet eventually found it in the pain itself.

Since I was searching for the same thing as St. Teresa through my depressive experiences, I found great meaning in her life. Once Teresa found her “oneness with God,” she tried to help others to achieve the same goal. She helped many people through her writings, but also found it hard to communicate her truth with those who could not fathom the apparent contradiction in saying pain could be blissful. One of the things she said in trying to explain it was, “The pain is still there. It bothers me so little now that I feel my soul is served by it.”

I was so moved by this statement that I found myself repeating it over and over again throughout the day. I found it so compelling that I continued repeating it no matter what I was outwardly doing. After two months of repeating Teresa’s quote I became very upset with her. I thought, “How can she say it bothered her so little when she was bedridden by the pain?” I now smile and think of her when people get upset with what I say.

Yet, motivated by my desire to figure out how she had found permanent ecstasy and why I had not, I kept repeating the phrase for many more months. In the meantime, I was experiencing the deepest depression I ever had. I was bedridden and in extreme pain: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Although I had the tools to make it go away and was in no danger of another suicide attempt, I allowed it to happen because I knew that the insight I was seeking was in my depression as it was in Teresa’s physical pain.

It finally dawned on me after about 10 months of repeating the quote and enduring the pain. When Teresa said, “It bothers me so little… ” she didn’t mean her body, but that part of her that I had touched in myself so long ago – her soul. In that moment I found the ecstasy that I had been seeking my entire life. This direct experience is completely different than the intellectual understanding that I had. It is real instead of imagined.

My life changed from that moment on. Like Teresa, I had been avoiding the very thing that would give me the ecstasy that I was looking for. Having found ecstasy in my depression, I realized that my failed attempts in my previous efforts were because I didn’t really understand what it truly meant to be in a state of bliss. I was mistaking the pleasurable feelings of highs for real equanimity which is beyond the likes and dislikes, pleasures and pains, or any of the dualities of life.

Now that I found ecstasy, I see it in every moment of my life no matter what the circumstance or state of mind. I prefer to call it equanimity instead of the other terms because that better describes it for me: All states are equally blissful and there is no need to change any of them to be in permanent equanimity. In equanimity I can see that depression is part of the bliss just as much as pleasure, happiness, and all other conditions. Equanimity is the essence of Yoga as described in the Bhagavad-Gita: “Be steadfast in yoga, devotee. Perform your duty without attachment, remaining equal to success or failure. Such equanimity of mind is called Yoga.” (Yogananda, Paramahansa, The Bhavagad Gita, translation, 2003 Self-Realization Fellowship, CA, 2:48)

Although I would never discount the power of meditation as I see what it did to prepare me for such a state, I realize now that many people pursue ecstasy thinking that it can only be found in the right conditions. My experience taught me that unless you can find it in all conditions you are deluding yourself into thinking that highs are the same thing as equanimity.

I would have never learned this critical lesson without the help of my extremely deep depressions. Nor would I have found it without the help of those who had already found equanimity in their own struggles.