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Tips, Tricks, Tweaks! And Cartoons!

Legal Wellness Presentation for the NASA Office of General Counsel
Thriving through Life’s Challenges

You can ask your questions in the comments
or send them to me at

Thank you for checking out Reply All cartoons and
for listening to me talk to lawyers (snoooooooze).


  • A correction that needs to be made with regard to Ketamine. Infusions of Ketamine were NOT covered by most insurance providers for most mental health conditions when I had it. My treatment was not covered. And it was expensive. I submitted receipts to my insurer and received some fairly small reimbursement. But Esketamine (nasal spray) and other forms of Ketamine are covered by insurance for certain conditions. You can research it pretty easily online. If you need help, ping me and I can walk you through the process.



Want to change your mind?


A list of distractions for those in need. Always have a few distractions ready for when you need to avoid or escape a thought, obsession, urge or impulse. Or work.

  1. Read cartoons. Obv.
  2. Stand up if you are sitting down. Sit down if you are standing up. Do that ten times slow. Ten more if you didn’t feel it.
  3. Go to another room and give it an hour of attention.
  4. Look at the Top Billboard Hits for the year you were born. Do you know the songs? Try to remember when and how you came to know the songs. Listen to them online.Do the next ten or fifteen years. It’s really cool. And a good journaling opportunity.
  5. Text a heart or a smile or something really wild to a new friend. Then hope you didn’t really mess up.
  6. Do the same to an old friend. One you’ve already messed up on before so now it’s okay to mess up.
  7. Know – and notate – that messing up is always okay when texting a heart or a smile.
  8. Remember something specific you did with your grandparents, aunts and uncles. Try to nail down the year, the place, the people who were there.
  9. Jump rope (with or without a rope) for 60 seconds. Or march in place. Or jumping jacks. 60 seconds or count to 100. Do it a few times.
  10. Watch or listen to something that makes you laugh for an hour. Longer if you can. Shorter if you don’t have time. At least ten minutes of laughing.
  11. Use a timer for everything. Think about how that could change your life. Or not.
  12. Take a walk. Walk with purpose so your muscles know you’re awake.
  13. Look up your Social Security retirement options.
  14. Do a family tree. And a friend’s tree. And a family friend’s tree.
  15. Cast the movie of your life.
  16. Is the movie of your life a comedy or a drama? Decide the title.
  17. If your life was a documentary, what would be the hook?
  18. List the songs you heard in the car when you first started driving. Now THAT is a fun distraction! Men with big lapels!
  19. Describe your dream date.
  20. Your dream menu! What is your dream menu?
  21. Plan the next five breakfasts, lunches, dinners, mini-meals, noshes, grazings, whatever. Plan some upcoming food!
  22. How many times have you been in love? (Salacious details required) List please.
  23. Walk around the block.
  24. Change your passwords to make them more secure.
  25. Answer unanswered emails.
  26. Soduko!
  27. Make Mac ‘n cheese or something else with cheese.
  28. Put a load of clothes in the washer (set a timer for the transition-to-dryer)
  29. Find a ball. Dribble it, throw it, toss it, roll it. Play with the ball(s).
  30. Clean out one closet.
  31. Divide the big box of Cheerios into single serving bags.
  32. Walk the other way around the block
  33. Read your version of celebrity gossip.
  34. Check up on somebody.
  35. Check in with somebody.
  36. Hydrate.
  37. Look up the popular or award winning (or shoulda won) movies from when you grew up. Try to remember who you watched the movie with.
  38. Look up the popular or award winning (or shoulda won) movies from when you were out there just or still messing around. Try to remember who you watched the movie with. Careful this one doesn’t cause a fight.
  39. Boil eggs.
  40. Clean one bathroom’s counters, mirrors and handles.
  41. Look up some make up tutorials and put on a happy face. Or a runway face.
  42. Cosplay! Do it! Or at least check it out.
  43. Mani-pedi!
  44. List the people you love. And the people you love “that way.”
  45. List the cars you’ve driven.
  46. Name two things you can recite by heart.
  47. Recite one of the two things you named by heart.
  48. Look through pictures anywhere, phone, computer, albums, anywhere.
  49. Watch a show from when you were in high school and talk back to the tv.
  50. Shag. Marry. Kill. The guys from the Brady Bunch. Or the girls. Or a combination.
  51. Rehydrate with something inspiring or seasonal.
  52. Moisturize your cuticles.
  53. List the classes you even remember taking in college. List them. Now.
  54. Do a Personalized Alphabet of your own.

    A is for Affirm Your Interest
    B is for Bella going Bike Riding at the Beach

    C is for Cheerios
    D is for Distraction
    E is for Engage
    F is for Feelings

    G is for a New Gym!
    H is for Hummus Hummus Everywhere

    I is for Insanity
    J is for January

    K is for OK!……

  55. Light a candle or two.
  56. Eat some hummus. But THIS time try it a different way. Yum.
  57. Write a note to someone and mail it at the mailbox.
  58. Walk to your nearest mailbox.
  59. Play with your dog the way your dog likes to play for an hour. NOT. Ten minutes.
  60. Did you save pages in any app or browser? Scroll through your saved pages at a relaxing pace. It’s like a theater of your favorites! It actually IS a theater of your favorites. You can watch your saves instead of just searching from saves. .
  61. Speaking of which, take screenshots. Let your screenshots talk to you. If you screenshot throughout the day or week, you can scroll through at the end and be entertained. Or scared. I guess it depends what screenshots you grab.
  62. Take a bath. With bubbles. Of course.
  63. Do anything involving Pop Tarts.
  64. Watch the MasterClass videos or Oprah’s Super Soul series, etc. For hearing from the person, as opposed to the podcast interview format.
  65. Do puzzles. Any puzzles. Yes. That will work. Yes. Anything you are doing, do more. Now.
  66. Are you distracted yet?
  67. List your favorite movies, favorites books, favorite shows, favorite YouTube, etc.
  68. List things you want to leave back in the old year.
  69. List promises you want to make to yourself and maybe to others in private.
  70. List the basic plots of the movies you would write with me if we could find the time to do it.
  71. List the clothes you need to pack for the beach. Or the clothes you need to change into for the gym. Or the clothes you need to donate because you are finished with them. Something is going on with your clothes. List that situation and figure it out.
  72. Go back to 68. You do me and I owe you one. That’s why 68 is better than 69.
  73. Laugh at something again. Twice.

Hope your Saturday is good or maybe even great at some point.
Stay warm and dry.
xoxo, d, and ruff ruff, Bella

Miswiring and neuroplasticity

Try out the back seat.

Check out Andrew Huberman’s Episode #AMA 16 – a question and answer episode. The segment on OCD is a great explanation and summary of where OCD is at now – in terms of being understood so we can hopefully hack the crap out of it.  I’m sure this content isn’t supposed to be shared since it’s behind a paywall. But I would love AH to come after me. I hope he does. : )

Seriously, as usual, Mr. Huberman has the most down-to-earth, understandable grouping of words ever in all I have heard and read on OCD. So he would want me to share this with you, I am sure.

This bit is at (00:26:58) Getting Closer to Unraveling OCD

QUESTION:  Are we any closer to finding the cause of OCD?

Well, I think we know what causes OCD. I think it’s pretty clear that OCD is some form of miswiring in the basal ganglia. The structures of the brain that are involved in go action and no go, withholding, action type behaviors.

And some malwiring of those structures to the dopamine reward system because here’s what’s interesting about OCD. OCD involves obsessions obviously. That’s the O in OCD. Compulsions, the actions. That’s the C in OCD. But in a kind of weird twist of the neurology, OCD is a situation where the compulsion does not remove the obsession. Rather, it exacerbates it, OK? The compulsion does not remove the obsession. It exacerbates it.

So unlike an itch that you scratch, with OCD, the scratching of the itch makes it worse, which is actually what we experience when we have a mosquito bite, which by the way, I absolutely loathe mosquito bites. It’s one of my least favorite things in life. I have about 3,600 and counting pet peeves. That’s definitely high on the list of those.

The obsessive compulsive disorder is one that really needs to be treated, frankly, neurologically. It’s one for which there are behavioral interventions, but it’s clear that adjusting the pharmacology of the neural circuits involved in OCD really can help. Again, there are behavioral treatments. But for severe cases of OCD, it’s just very, very clear that interventions, which include SSRIs, which have been demonized. A lot of people say, oh, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are terrible. Blah, blah, blah, blah. You know, the serotonin hypothesis of depression isn’t true.

Well, listen, the reality is this that all treatments for depression that are effective, which include SSRIs, in some cases, cognitive behavioral treatments, all of these sorts of things, which are shown efficacy, are all about what? They’re not about serotonin. They’re about neuroplasticity.

That’s why some antidepressants center on dopamine and norepinephrine. Others center on serotonin. They’re about neuroplasticity. They’re about changing neural networks. They’re not about neurochemical per se. But the neuromodulators such as serotonin allow an access point. They are a wedge into the neuroplasticity process.

Now with OCD, in order to overcome these malwirings, it’s very important to get plasticity. How do you get plasticity? Well, in my belief, you work with an excellent psychiatrist who can prescribe the appropriate dose of drug to release the appropriate amount of neuromodulator. Then, and this is really key, you have opened up the window for plasticity, but then it’s really important that the proper behaviors are engaged in.

And when I did an episode on OCD, I talked about what some of these are. For instance, the person is exposed to the stimulus that causes the obsession, or maybe the obsession arises spontaneously. They feel the impulse to complete the compulsion, the behavior, and they resist with the support of a therapist, but they’re doing this in the context of having elevated levels of serotonin or some other neuromodulator that then allows fewer trials of resistance.

Fewer times of needing to withhold the behavior that this person so badly wants to perform because it’s coming from within. It’s this compulsion literally. Then they are able to achieve plasticity more quickly. Perhaps also transcranial magnetic stimulation. So a conjunction of correct behavior, the withholding behavior, maybe a replacement behavior that’s often used. Use a replacement behavior with the appropriate neurochemical milieu is the solution to OCD.

Here’s some info about Andrew Huberman, if you don’t know him. Here’s the link to the podcast episode I stole the above passages from. It is the February 28, 2024 episode AMA #16: Sleep, Vertigo, TBI, OCD, Tips for Travelers, Gut-Brain Axis & More.

And more of AH on OCD. Plus articles. Right here.


Thank you to Andrew Huberman for making science make sense.

Thank you #scientists #doctors #research #neuroplasticity

xoxo, d and ruff ruff, bella


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