Posted in Personal Interest, the USA, Turkey

COVID-19 Pandemic Could Be the Final Blow for Generation Z

Being a proud member of generation Y, I loved what the three past decades had taught me. First and foremost, being a child during 80s was fantastic. Watching so many cool cartoons on TV, accidentally recording your voice on Michael Jackson tapes, getting scared with Gremlins, E.T., or A Nightmare on Elm Street highlight beauty of those times. Then came the colorful 90s! It was a perfect time to be a teenager: Walking around with your Walkman, watching The Fresh Prince of Bel Air every day, and thankfully the previous decade’s horrible fashion was gone. Yes, there was AIDS, Lady Diana’s death, the collapse of both USSR and the Berlin Wall. But growing up, we didn’t really go through a global trauma like Generation Z did, not even close.

How about I give you a chance to see the world from Generation Z perspective? Let’s say you were born in 1995. When you were six years old, you saw the biggest terrorist attack in the human history on TV, live. While you were playing with play doughs, you saw two planes hit World Trade Center. You couldn’t understand what was going on quite yet, as you were very little. But your parents seemed upset, like, all the time. Everyone was talking about this horrible event, scared. A few months later the words “bombing,” “war,” “Iraq,” echoed wherever you turned. At school, at home, the annoyingly sad tension was hanging in the air like a fog.

CNN brought this Generation Z group who lost their father during 9/11 attacks.

Then, the day you turned 13, your father apologized and said he couldn’t afford to buy you a birthday gift. That was your first time hearing the word “Bankruptcy.” Family trips that you were excited about were all canceled. You could hear your mom secretly crying at night in the bathroom. To make matters worse, your best friends’ family had to move since they couldn’t afford to live in that city anymore.

Just two years later, you saw Arab spring on the news. With the rebellious teenage blood running through your veins, you were supportive of this movement. Freedom and democracy for everyone! But you had no idea about ISIS until a few years later, when you were a freshman in college. Their brutal attacks were all over the news, causing the 9/11 trauma to resurface. You heard a night club shooting in Turkey, an airport shooting in Belgium, multiple attacks in France and more.

Year 2019. Congratulations! You got your master’s degree! You were so ready to go in the business life and kill it. Lucky you, you got a job offer quickly and with your first paycheck you bought a big screen TV. You entered the new year with high hopes and enthusiasm. 2020 was going to be your year!

Well, that did not happen. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, you were laid off. You had to move back in with your parents. Now, there are no new jobs out there and if there are, with record 40+ million people unemployed, job market is really competitive. You have rent to pay and your monthly loan payment is coming up. So, what now?

Last blow to Generation Z: COVID-19 Pandemic which cost their jobs (‘Getty Images)

This COVID-19 pandemic might be the final blow for Generation Z. In workforce, this generation will be now even more extremely cautious and anxious than ever. Although their self-reliant and realistic nature help them do their best in survival mode, the constant ups and downs, turns and twists are blurring their vision for their future.

Being the most educated and one and only tech native generation so far, at work, they will have higher expectations than previous generations, such as additional perks, bonuses and development opportunities. Because of the unknown, and clearly visible competition out there, they feel the urge to constantly build skills for their resume. Knowing the fact that what they have today can be gone tomorrow, this generation will face commitment issues. They might be afraid to build rooted relationships with their companies or colleagues so as not to suffer a separation later.

Let’s look on the bright side now. Generation Z has a good tendency to save money, as well. With the infinite online resources out there, they constantly learn about so many different things which allows them to compare and contrast products, companies, communicate with people and do networking, and learn about strategies online. With the commitment problem, the eagerness to grow and earn more, Generation Z might create many great young entrepreneurs. However, starting a business means getting out of your comfort zone. In order to do that, they will have to learn how to tackle their fears about their future first.

Hoscakalin,

Ece Gurler

Posted in Personal Interest

Anxiety and Its Treatment By CBT

Pandemic has been affecting all of us negatively. But if you are among 600 Million people who suffer from anxiety in general, these days must be extra difficult for you. I have always been interested in Psychology and finally, last fall semester, during my master class, I was able ti study Cognitive Psychology in depth. In my final literature review paper, I dig deep into what anxiety is, what are the causes for it, whether it is hereditary or not and what the best treatment method is. Turns out that CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) seems like the most effective treatment method although it faces its own challenges as well. Maybe this time my blog post is in a different format, a little harder to read or follow, but please trust me. I wouldn’t have shared it if I didn’t believe that people would benefit from it. I certainly did!

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy’s Success in Treating Anxiety

Ece Gurler

University of Massachusetts Boston

COGNITIVE BEHAVIORAL THERAPY’S SUCCESS IN TREATING ANXIETY

            According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 globally suffers from anxiety. The WHO reports that anxiety disorders are the most common mental disorders worldwide with specific phobia, major depressive disorder and social phobia being the most common anxiety disorders (Baxter et al., 2013). As far as the treatment methods are concerned, Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been proven to be the most effective treatment method in treating anxiety disorders.

            This literature review will discuss the methodology of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in treating anxiety disorders and its success. Moreover, herein it will be discussed what has been working and what needs improvement in practicing CBT. This study will conclude with suggestions for future research.

Anxiety

            In the US alone, about 40 million adults are suffering from clinical levels of anxiety (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.2). The word ‘anxiety’ originates from the ancient Greek word ‘angh’ meaning ‘to press tight’, ‘to strangle’ or ‘to be weighed down with grief’. It also means ‘load’ ‘burden’ or ‘trouble’ (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.2). There have been many attempts to define ‘anxiety’ but none of them are truly complete yet. However, we have to be able to define the problem, as well as the causes to it, so that we can propose treatment methods.

Definition

            The DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), which is compiled by the American Psychiatric Association, gives below definition (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.11):

‘The apprehensive anticipation of future danger or misfortune accompanied by an unpleasant feeling or somatic feelings of tension. The focus of anticipated danger may be internal or external.’

As any other emotion, anxiety occurs normally and regularly. It can be observed in all human beings from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds as well as in many animal species (Wiedemann, 2015, p.560). According to DSM, there are 5 anxiety disorders: panic attacks and panic disorder, phobias, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder. PTSD and OCD, of which the anxiety remains as a relevant dimension, are no longer considered among the anxiety disorders (Wiedemann, 2015, p.560).

Causes

            Many people with anxiety wonders why they are feeling the way they do. According to Wiedemann (2015, p.805), anxiety has complex roots including genetic, biological, social and psychological events and influences. The most significant factors affecting anxiety are listed as genetic and biological disposition, acute stressors and traumatic experiences that challenge the person to adapt to both new changes and the developmental and environmental impacts on the individual.

Approaches

            There have been 4 main perspectives proposed to explain the origins of anxiety since the end of the 19th century: psychoanalytic, behavioral, cognitive and neurobiological (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.14).

In Psychoanalytic approach, Freud claims ‘At the root of every neurotic anxiety is the fear of an external danger.’ He introduced the term “Anxiety Neurosis” (Angstneurose) which must be distinguished from other forms of nervous illnesses (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.15).

In Behavioral Approach, anxiety is a learned response. John Broadus Watson and his followers explain our behavior in one simple sentence: We learn it. Watson and Rosalie Rayner introduced the term ‘conditioning’ which is a process of learning to fear an innocuous random object or situation after associating it with another event which is frightening. Watson and Rayner suggest that all fears are learned in our childhood as a result of conditioning nature (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.19). CBT has its insight from this approach unhelpful thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are learned. Therefore, they can be unlearned with a help of a therapist (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.22).

In Cognitive Approach, appraisal or interpretation of a situation creates anxiety and this doesn’t always take place as a conscious process, it usually shows itself as an ‘intuition’. According to this approach, if the thinking process can be changed, so can emotions. Ingrained preconceptions, ideas or habitual thought processes, or as Aaron T. Beck defines as ‘schematic beliefs’, affect our lives negatively by causing us to adapt ‘safety behaviors’ which aims to avoid the occurrence of whatever we fear of (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, pp.22-26).

In Neurobiological Approach, It has been claimed that the two components of the amygdala in our brain, central nucleus of the amygdala and the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis indicate a high degree of connectivity and they play a key role in producing negative emotions such as fear or anxiety once stimulated by an environmental or conditioned stimuli (Johansen et al., 2011). Thus, amygdala is involved in appraisal of emotional meaning. However, it is more complex than that since there is an interplay of multiple regions of brain such as frontal lobes, the hippocampus and insula which creates awareness for internal feelings and the neurochemicals such as Corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH releases stress hormones when amygdala detects danger) and Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA calms us down when we are anxious) (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.32). Besides all, the monoamine transmitters, serotonin and noradrenalin and neuropeptides such as CRF play a significant role in regulating anxiety and fear (Kent et al., 1998 & Sullivan et al., 1999). Therefore, this approach suggests that people with anxiety disorder might have: an overactive amygdala and/or insufficiently active frontal lobes and/or a hippocampus which cannot locate exactly what factors in an incident on the basis of past experience signal danger, causing an unnecessary anxious reaction.

Nature or Nurture?

            Heritability of anxiety has been studied extensively and yet there are so many questions remained unanswered. Researchers indicate that, with a 20%-40% probability, anxiety disorders are moderately heritable. This affirms that 40% of the differences in levels or neuroticism across the population are likely to have genetic roots although we don’t know which genes are responsible for it. The most prominent theory is the ‘polygenic theory’ in which many different genes are in play in generation and maintenance of anxiety (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.37).    In addition, neurogenesis, genetic and epigenetic factors may have the power to regulate proliferation, survival and integration of cells into the hippocampus. This is particularly important since hippocampus is in charge of information processing of fearful events (Kheirbek et al., 2012).

            If we consider the fact that genetics’ contribution to anxiety is 40%, then it leaves 60% to the environmental factors. The main environmental factors that researchers thought of were: 1, Traumatic or other upsetting events; 2. Parenting and attachment styles during childhood and adolescence years (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, pp.38-44). Under acute and chronic stress, an imbalance of neural circuitries creates changes in the amygdala and prefrontal cortex due to their structural plasticity. In short term, the effects maybe adaptive. However, despite the fact that dangerous situation no longer exists if the changes in neural circuitries persist, anxiety disorder may form (McEwen et al., 2012). Besides abusive and neglecting parents, the overprotective and controlling ones also might contribute to their children’s future anxiety problems. As far as the attachment styles are concerned, psychologists discovered that babies who displayed anxious/resistant attachment with separation anxiety and stranger anxiety combined, are more likely to develop anxiety problems (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, pp.41-43).

Treatment

            In treating the anxiety disorders, the best results have been received with the application of CBT. Researchers believe the reason why it works as the best solution is that CBT aims to question the accuracy of beliefs and anxiety occurs when a person ‘believes’ a situation or object is threatening. In this paper, CBT process and benefits in treating anxiety will be discussed in great detail.

Although with CBT, the gains are much greater and they last longer and CBT has no side effects, medication is still considered as another form of treatment. SSRIs, which increase the amount of serotonin in the brain, Benzodiazepines, which produce a sense of relaxation, and Beta-blockers which quickly prevent many of the anxiety symptoms are among the most commonly prescribed ones to treat anxiety symptoms. Although they are helpful in short term, without therapy they don’t provide a long-lasting solution (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, pp.111-117).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Originally developed by Aaron Beck to treat depression, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a complex and rich treatment model that aims to identify and assess negative thoughts, feelings and resulting unhelpful behaviors (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.117). CBT not only does work in a wide range of psychological disorders, especially in treating anxiety, but also is considered as an evidence-based approach to psychotherapy (Wenzel et al., 2016, p.6). The main idea of CBT is that fear is a result of an interpretation process. People are in fear not because there is a threatening situation right now, because they believe it will happen in the future. CBT includes testing this interpretation by exposing oneself to the situations that they fear, without using any safety behaviors that the person adopted. This way, CBT proves that the beliefs are misplaced (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.118).

Method

            A standard CBT session structure is described as follows, by Wenzel et al. (2016, p.44): “1. A brief mood check; 2. Bridge from the previous session; 3. Agenda setting; 4. Discussion of the agenda items including the review of previous homework; 5. Development of new homework; 6. Final summary and feedback.” Although this is a typical structure, depending on the client needs, the order can be changed by the therapist. All these steps play a crucial role, however, there is a great importance of homework in CBT. The ‘Homework’ term refers to the work the clients do in between sessions to practice what they already discussed in session in a real-life experience (Wenzel et. al, 2016, p.51). As in education, the more attentive and complete assignment one submits, the more benefit they gain in CBT. Most clients consider homework as the key to their treatment and they openly express its necessity in their healing process (Wenzel et. al, 2016, p.51). Kazantzis et. al (2010) claims in their meta-analysis of 46 studies that 62% of clients show improvement when their therapy included homework whereas the success rate went down to 38% in clients who chose therapy without homework. The client’s failure to do the homework also plays a critically important role as this way the therapists can analyze what caused them to fail in terms of their environmental and interpersonal variables.

Behavioral Strategies

            Therapists follow behavioral strategies during CBT in order to help their clients to change their ways in their daily lives. These behaviors might include but not limited to increasing their engagement with rewarding activities, overcoming their avoidance behavior for the activities that feel overwhelming for them, or helping them adopt healthy behaviors so that they can focus on their self-care better (Wenzel et. al, 2016, p.54). There are two main strategies that CBT therapists use: Behavioral Activation includes the most effective set of methodologies to treat depression. It aims to help clients reengage in activities which will rebuild their confidence and sense of accomplishment. This will also give them the feeling of satisfaction and pleasure (Wenzel et. al, 2016, p.55). The second strategy, Exposure is the main component in CBT while treating anxiety, Obsessive-compulsive-related, and trauma- and stressor- related disorders (Olatunji, Cisler, & Deacon, 2010). Basically, Exposure is a well-structured, well-ordered, prolonged contact with the stimuli or the situations that the client fears (Wenzel et. al, 2016, p.62). One important recent advancement in exposure strategy is that the effectiveness of it is maximized when the therapists make the ‘fear tolerance’ their focus, instead of ‘fear reduction’ (Craske et al., 2014). Learning the coping skills for uncertainty and risk is necessary not only for clients who have anxiety problems but also for all human beings.

Difficulties in CBT

            Despite the fact that CBT works wonders for many psychological disorders, there is comparatively only a tiny fraction of clients who suffer from anxiety receive the treatment. For example, in comparison to 34% of clients who receive some sort of therapy and medication for their phobias, there is only 11% who receives CBT. Another example is while 15% people with generalized anxiety disorder take some kind of medication and therapy, only 3% is treated with CBT (66% doesn’t even seek treatment) (Freeman & Freeman, 2012, p.114). The reason has been explained as there are not being enough well-trained CBT practitioners yet.

Another problem CBT is facing is that there is still a considerably high number of clients who fail to complete the treatment. Therapists face problems such as resistance, poor or non-existent homework performance and dropouts. There are also issues such as clients who rejects the therapy all together or those who suffer from relapses or residual symptoms (Federici et al., 2010, p.11).

There are many factors which can lead to negative treatment outcome. One of them is Client-Related Factors; If the client holds positive opinions about their symptoms, they will tend to resist treatment more. Also, clients who don’t have high hopes about getting better, who disagree with the treatment structure won’t go very far in healing process. Therapist Related Factors include poor alliance which is associated with no or little warmth towards the clients (Foa, Steketee, Grayson & Doppelt, 1983), lack of confidence (Hedley, Thornes, Larsen & Friis, 2006), lack of therapist skill, poorly timed interventions, not setting therapeutic goals, setting unrealistic expectations, etc. (Federici et al., 2010, p.13). According to Hadley & Strupp (1976), the negative results received in treatments often are because of therapist related factors. Among the Diagnosis Related Factors, there are the situations when the severity of the disorder is really high and the comorbid situations such as comorbid mood disorders, substance use, autism, and intellectual limitations affect the treatment outcome negatively (Anderson & Morris, 2006; Chambless, Tran, & Glass, 1997). About the intelligence level, it has been proven that the higher the fluid intelligence, the greater improvement the clients will show for depression and anxiety (Double day, King & Papageorgiou, 2002).  

A CBT session as an example

Proposed Solutions

            There have been many studies suggesting different approaches to solve the problems CBT is currently facing. In this paper, in order not to lose focus, only few of them will be mentioned.

Integrating SMAD (Self-wound Model for Anxiety Disorders) with CBT: Wolfe (2005, 2006) suggests that self-wounds are products of the interplay between traumatic life experiences and both cognitive and emotional coping strategies that the patient created for themselves. In other words, the clients’ anxious symptoms are due to the unconscious fear they feel towards the exposure of painful, intolerable views of themselves. The latter one manifests itself as the fear of a disaster about to happen to them physically and/or psychologically (Alladin, 2015, p.2). Alladin (2013b, 2014b) has integrated hypnotherapy into Wolfe’s integrative psychotherapy for anxiety disorders and that created Cognitive Hypnotherapy (CH), which is essentially the combination of CBT with hypnotherapy. In this approach, what is different from mainstream CBT methodology is: First, hypnotherapy that is used to uncover and heal self-wounds. Second is a third-wave addition to the therapy: the promotion of mindfulness, gratitude and acceptance (Alladin, 2014a; Wolde & Sigl, 1998).

Promotion of Positive Emotions Approach: Taylor et al. (2017) proves that during CBT therapy, by focusing on positive traits instead of negative emotions, the anxiety symptoms during and after treatment can be reduced significantly. Mention of positive traits had regulatory and calming physiological effects on patients during stressful thought-challenging exercises. Additionally, distress tolerance is proven to allow clients to engage in treatment fully and a previous study has already shown the positive correlation between people’s emotional and physical distress, and positive emotions (Simons & Gaher, 2005). The neuroscientific study by Yoshimura et al. (2017) demonstrated that MPFC-ACC had increased connectivity causing depression during self-referential judgment of negative words of emotions and increased connectivity after CBT. They proposed that CBT might be suppressing this MPFC-ACC coupling, diminishing depression. If we make the connection with Simons & Gaher’s (2005) study, we can claim that there might be an interaction between positive emotional words and the MPFC-ACC connectivity decreasing, which needs to be studied further.

Watch an excerpt from a CBT session treating anxiety

Future Focus

            Although CBT is still considered as the most successful therapy for anxiety disorders, there needs to be more work done in terms of future research to make CBT more efficient. The effects of Motivational Interviewing (MI), which helps with treatment resistance (Miller & Rollnik, 2002), the positive influence of ‘Acceptance and mindfulness-based interventions’ in CBT practice (Federici et al., 2010, p.21), the ways in which the positive emotions affect the distress tolerance, the answer to the question: ‘Is fear tolerance or dear reduction better?’, the limitations of SMAD or CH and the functional connectivity in brain from pretreatment to post treatment need to be studied further.

Conclusion

            Treating anxiety can be challenging as there are many variations of this disorder, each of which might require different treatment strategies. Until this day, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has kept its fame as being the most fruitful treatment method in treating anxiety. However, the research indicated that despite the high demand for CBT trained therapists, there aren’t enough of them in the field. In addition, new approaches that are mentioned in this paper need to be considered, further studied and implemented in order to prevent the failure of the treatment due to incidents such as ambivalence, drop outs, re-lapses and residual symptoms. Once these factors are carefully considered and necessary steps are taken, the future of CBT in treating anxiety will definitely be brighter.

References

Alladin, A. (2013b). Healing the wounded self: Combining hypnotherapy with ego state therapy. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 56, 3– 22.

Alladin, A. (2014b). The wounded self: A new approach to understanding and treating anxiety disorders. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 56 (4), 368– 388.

Alladin, A.  (2014a). Mindfulness‐based hypnosis: Blending science, beliefs, and wisdoms to catalyze healing. American Journal of Clinical Hypnosis, 56 (3), 285– 302.

Alladin, A.  (2015). Chapter 2: Integrated Therapy for Anxiety Disorders. Integrative CBT for Anxiety Disorders. An Evidence-Based Approach to Enhancing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Mindfulness and Hypnotherapy (pp. 14-53). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Anderson, S., Morris, J. (2006). Cognitive behavior therapy for people with Asperger Syndrome. Behavioral and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 34, 293-303.

Baxter, A., Scott, K., Vos, T., & Whiteford, H. (2013). Global prevalence of anxiety disorders: A systematic review and meta-regression. Psychological Medicine, 43(5), 897-910.

Chambless, D.L., Tran, G.Q., Glass, C.R. (1997). Predictors of response to cognitive-behavioral group therapy for social phobia. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 11, 221-240.

Craske, M.G., Treanor, M., Conway, C.C., Zbozinek, T., Vervliet, B. (2014). Maximizing exposure therapy: an inhibitory learning approach. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 58, 10-23.

Doubleday, E.K., King, P., Papageorgiou, C. (2002). Relationship between fluid intelligence and ability to benefit from cognitive-behavioral therapy in older adults: A preliminary investigation. British Journal of Psychology, 41, 423-428.

Federici, A., Rowa, K., Antony, M.M., (2010). Adjusting treatment for partial or nonresponse to contemporary cognitive-behavioral therapy. In McKay, D., Abramowitz, J.S., Taylor, S. (Eds.), Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Refractory Cases: Turning failure into success. (pp. 11-37). Washington, DC: APA.

Foa, E.B., Steketee, G., Grayson, J.B., & Doppelt, H.G. (1983). Treatment of obsessive-compulsives: When do we fail? In E.B. Foa and P.M.G. Emmelkamp (Eds.), Failures in behavior therapy (pp. 10-34). New York: Wiley.

Freeman D., Freeman J., (2012). Anxiety: A Very short introduction. Oxford, the UK: Oxford University Press.

Hadley, S.W., Strupp, H.H., (1976). Contemporary views of negative effects in psychotherapy: An integrated account. Archives of General Psychiatry, 33, 1291-1302.

Hedley, L.M., Thornes, K., Larsen, S.M., Friis, S. (2006). Therapists’ emotional reactions to patients as a mediator in cognitive behavioural treatment of panic disorder with agoraphobia. Cognitive therapy and research, 35, 174-182.

Johansen, J.P., Cain, C.K., Ostroff, L.E., LeDoux, J.E., (2011). Molecular mechanisms of fear learning and memory. Cell 147, 509-524.

Kazantzis, N., Reinecke, M.A., Freeman, A. (2010). Cognitive and behavior theories in clinical practice. New York: Guilford.

Kent, J.M., Gorman, J.M., Coplan, J.D., 1998. Clinical utility of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in the spectrum of anxiety. Biological Psychiatry 44, 812-824.

Kheirbek, M.A., Klemenhagen, K.C., Sahay, A., Hen, R., 2012. Nature Neuroscience 15 (12). 1613 – 1620.

McEwen, B.S., Eiland,L., Hunter, R.G., Miller, M.M, 2012. Stress and anxiety: Structural plasticity and epigenetic regulation as a consequence of stress. Neuropharmacology 62, 3-12.

Miller, W.R., Rollnick, S. (2002). Motivational Interviewing: Preparing people for change (2nd Ed.) New York: Guilford Press.

Olatunji, B.O., Cisler, J..M, Deacon, B.J., (2010). Efficacy of cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety disorders: a review of meta-analytic findings. The Psychiatric clinics of North America 33(3), 557-577.

Simons, J.S., Gaher, R.M., (2005). The distress tolerance scale: Development and validation of a self-report measure. Motivation and Emotion, 29 (2), 83-102.

Sullivan, G.M., Coplan, J.D., Kent, J.M., Gorman, J.M., 1999. The noradrenergic system in pathological anxiety: a focus on panic with relevance to generalized anxiety and phobias. Biological Psychiatry 46, 1205-1218.

Taylor, C.T, Knapp, S.E., Bomyea, J.A., Ramsawh, H.J., Paulus, M.P., Stein, M.B., (2017). Behavior Research and Therapy, 93, pp. 6-12.

Wenzel, A., Dobson, K.S., Hays, P.A. (2016). Chapter 2: Session structure and behavioral strategies (pp. 43-66). Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques and Strategies. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Wiedemann, K. (2015). Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences (2nd Ed.) Vol.1, 560-567.

Wolfe, B. E., & Sigl, P. (1998). Experiential psychotherapy of the anxiety disorders. In L. S. Greenberg, J. C. Watson, & G. Lietaer (Eds.), Handbook of experiential psychotherapy (pp. 272– 294). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Wolfe, B. E. (2005). Understanding and treating anxiety disorders: An integrative approach to healing the wounded self. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Wolfe, B. E. (2006). An integrative perspective on the anxiety disorders. In G. Stricker & J. Gold (Ed.), A casebook of psychotherapy integration (pp. 65– 77). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Yoshimura, S., Okamoto, Y., Matsunaga, M., Onoda, K., Okada, G., Kunisato, Y., Yoshino, A., Ueda, K., Suzuki, S. Yamawaki, S. (2017). Cognitive behavioral therapy changes functional connectivity between medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. Journal of Affective Disorders, 208, 610-614.

Posted in Personal Interest, the USA, Turkey

COVID-19, Monkeys, Gods and Toilet Paper

We have been living in strange times. Most of us have never experienced a pandemic like this before. So, for us, this feels like a horror movie became a reality. Not knowing when this is all going to end, how far it will go, and how this is going to affect our business, our family, and our health is a huge psychological strain on all of us. For the past 16 days my boyfriend and I have been self-quarantining ourselves. We are one of the lucky ones that has the opportunity to work from home. At least for now… We are also facing the chance of losing our jobs if this affects our customer numbers terribly which is not unlikely at this point. Yet, we still keep our heads high up and try to stay positive! I wanted to share with you the lessons I have learned during this pandemic mania. Of course, we are still all learning. This, for sure, has been one hell of an experience for all of us.

  1. Nature revives as humans retreat. In addition to decrease in air pollution and having clearer skies now, there is also another thing took affect: Our office space in our apartment has two wide windows. I sit just next to one of them and I hear all the time the neighborhood kids playing, the rain falling, UPS car driving by with loud music, etc. After a week or so of the quarantine in Massachusetts, I started to hear something else by my window: the nature. The birds and the bugs that I have never heard before were all over the place like an orchestra! They were all singing as if they were celebrating the absence of humans, saying, “Finally! we can share this space too.” The photos of monkeys invading the streets in Thailand, deer walking around in Japan, peacocks exploring streets of Madrid show what life would look like in human deprived cities.

2. The times of crisis are the most important times that we need leadership. Yes, we have control over our lives, and our daily actions. But we don’t have control over others’. In cases like this, when others’ actions also affect us and our loved ones’ health, we can’t help but feel helpless. That’s why we desperately want someone to take an authoritarian action. This has worked well in China and Germany. But has failed miserably in the USA and Italy. President Trump ignored all the news coming from China and all the advice he got from the healthcare providers in the US before the hell broke loose. This was March 9th:

And the tweet below was from yesterday, after 135,328 confirmed cases and 2,381 deaths in just 2 weeks:

This CAREACT could have been created 2 weeks ago

Even now, people are still outside, partying, going to restaurants or organizing house parties, flights are still happening, people are still gathering at churches, and all of this is because there is no unified authority to shut them down.

3. People are weird. No additional comments needed.

4. Culture speaks for itself. The fact that China, Japan and Korea have done a much better job at containing the virus than the US, Italy and Spain, was because of their long-term thinking and planning cultural trait. Also, the western countries’ individualism showed itself when all the white and blue collar emptied the shelves in the markets, leaving nothing to old and poor who barely live on a daily income. Many homeless shelters closed down, leaving the most vulnerable even more vulnerable.

5. Apparently, toilet paper is important in our lives. Who would have thought? Together with bread, pasta, rice and flour, toilet paper was the first one to disappear from the shelves. People were fighting over it (see below) and also over-buying it, again not thinking someone else might need it too. Some even have the decency to make a throne and declare themselves as toilet paper queen.

toilet paper throne australia coronavirus panic buying

Click here to see the fight between the supermarket customers over toilet paper.

I want to add an interesting note here as well. When I went to grocery store a few weeks ago, the aisle for the toilet paper was empty – which is not shocking, I know – But also I saw people riding their carts by the aisle and looking frustrated about this and leave. However, right across the toilet paper shelves, there were paper towels and the shelves were full… So, why not become resourceful and use them as toilet papers, people? Like below??

kağıt havluyu ikiye bölüp tuvalet kağıdı yapmak - uludağ sözlük

6. People deal with stress in different ways. Some of us sleep less, some of us sleep more. Some of us lost appetite, and some of us eat way more than normally what we would eat. We get agitated more easily, especially in traffic or to customer service people. We are more suspicious of each other, so not being able to trust one another creates this weird angry feeling. Some of us keep checking the news, refreshing the pages to see the latest updates, some refuse to check the news for their own sanity. Even the grocery shopping has become such a hassle as we wipe everything down, wash ourselves before we place them in our homes. We miss seeing our family, having happy hour with friends, grabbing a Pike Place roast from Starbucks, going to a pub to enjoy a beer, eating our favorite dish at a restaurant. But we all carry the responsibility for one another, and this has a strain on our body, too, as it does on our minds. It is normal to feel neck, shoulder and back pain due to stress. Also, I have lost so much hair… Even some of us show flu like symptoms although we are not sick. All these psychological effects are normal but in order to minimize them, we need to meditate, exercise, focus on our hobbies and work, spend time with our loved ones on the phone and try to stay positive.

7. We are not as powerful as we think. We are not Gods. We need to stop acting like one. Nature rules.

We cut trees, we burn forests to build cities, we feel powerful.

We raise animals, then cut open and eat them, we feel powerful.

We feed pets, take care of them like our babies, we feel powerful.

We swim in the ocean, spill our oil in it, leave garbage on the beaches as we please, we feel powerful.

But then… An earthquake shakes, we die, thousands of us. Storms and floods sweep streets together with their economies, we cry, thousands of us. A virus spreads so fast and so fatally, we die again, millions of us. Each and every time nature reminds us who we are. We are not the ultimate power. We are not actually in control. Frankly, we are just one meteorite away from eternity.

This is why we need to keep in mind how powerless we are and stop acting like we are the kings and queens of the universe. This is the only way we can get our acts together.

– Hoscakalin!

Ece Gurler

3.29.2020

Posted in Personal Interest

Let’s Talk About Beer

A summer night, hot and humid… You are together with friends, catching up, laughing and talking non-stop. Then the sip of that ice cold beer you just took touches your lips then fills your mouth with joy. As it travels down to your stomach, you don’t feel the disturbing heat anymore. The ice cold beer had just made your joyful night even more perfect.

This is how I see beer; such a great drink when it is consumed in the just right amount at the right time with the right people. Among all those types of beer out there: stouts, porters, pilsners, lagers, sour ales, pale ales, red ales, brown ales; my absolute favorites are India and American Pale Ales. This blog post is dedicated to best IPAs I have tried so far. All the tastings I did was just for you all, so that you would know what to try next time when you order an IPA. Mind you though, the USA is an IPA land, there are so many breweries that I haven’t tried yet. But I tried many through the years and finally I can share with you what I experienced.

THE IPAs THAT I LOVED

9. Lord Hobo Boom Sauce ( Massachusetts )

Let’s start from Number 9. I’m not big fan of double IPAs although I enjoy grapefruity ones once in a while. Boom Sauce is a good transition between double IPA and IPA. It is very hoppy but not too bitter. Leaves a nice non-metallic taste in the end. Slight notes of citrusy sweetness is present in the second wave after you take a sip. Golden, slightly hazy.

Alcohol: ABV: 7.80%  IBU (bitterness scale 1-120): 78

8. Brooklyn Defender IPA (New York)

This hoppy, golden IPA has strong notes of tropical fruit, well-adjusted hop bitterness, and an incredibly dry finish. This would be perfect with barbecue, vegetables and spicy food.

Alcohol by Volume: 5.5% IBU: 59

7. Revolution Anti Hero IPA (Illinois)

This iconic ale features a blend of four hop varieties which creates a crisp bitterness and imparts massive floral and citrus aromas. So, it is flavorful but also beware of the bitterness!

6. Harpoon IPA ( Massachusetts & Vermont)

Harpoon has a bitter hoppy start but it is in overall smooth to drink. It is medium bodied, the bitterness hangs for a while. The only thing I didn’t like about Harpoon is that it has low carbonation. Sweet citrus, resin, syrup & caramel aroma.

ABV: 5.9% IBU:42

5. Night Shift Brewing – Santilli IPA ( Massachusetts )

Really hoppy, flavorful beer on the bitter side. Two full layers of hoppiness quickly fades. It is very similar to Harpoon but I would say this one is more flavorful. It could be paired with fries, pizza or sharp cheeses! Bronze Medal Winner in the 2016 World Beer Cup American IPA category.

ABV: 6.00%  IBU: No IBU

4. Lagunitas IPA (California)

Lagunitas IPA has a strong full start and smooth finish. It leaves a bitter taste but it doesn’t last more than 4 seconds.  This IPA is full of flavor with notes of spice, roasted malts, caramel, and citrus fruit. Perfect for drinking out with friends.

ABV: 6.20%  IBU: 45.6

3. Sierra Nevada – Hazy Little Thing IPA (California)

This super mild IPA is easy to drink, very citrusy, still hoppy, no bitterness at all, closer to a wheat beer. Its after taste is sweet tones of tropical fruit aroma like mango and overripe grapefruit. The after taste dissolves quickly. The color is quite hazy.

6.7 percent ABV  IBU:35

2. Wormtown Be Hoppy ( Massachusetts )

This really hoppy and citrusy beer doesn’t resemble in taste to Harpoon or Santilli. Three notes takes place in the order of: sweet, bitter, then citrusy sweet. Reddish-gold hazy unfiltered brew. Pungent aroma of citrus, floral spice, and grapefruit. A real IPA taste without bitterness ruining it.

ABV: 6.5% IBU: 70

1. Bell’s Brewery-Two Hearted Ale (Michigan)

Here comes my favorite! this IPA is bursting with hop aromas ranging from pine to grapefruit from massive hop additions. Great with any occasion, perfect when paired with steak or kebabs. It has a hoppy start but fills your mouth with a full taste. Bitter finish doesn’t last long. With its high quality taste, surprisingly it is on the cheaper side.

ABV: 7.0% IBU: 55

THE ONES THAT I ABSOLUTELY DIDN’T LIKE

Brooklyn Brewery – The Stone Wall Inn IPA (New York)

Sour, low alcohol, more lager tasting than IPA. It is too citrusy and sour for me, giving some metallic sweet under tones. bright gold with a fizzy white head. Tastes like biscuit malt, lime, pine hops, very smooth. Light body and low carbonation. Smells like biscuit malt, lime, and pine hops.

ABV: 4.8% IBU: –

Founders All Day IPA (Michigan)

I know this beer has a lot of fans, and I don’t want to offend anybody. It is just ‘meh’ for me. It has this sweat-like smell that I can’t overlook. It has mild bitterness, and low carbonation. Its metallic plus cirtusy taste is not something I look forward to.

ABV: 4.7% IBU:42

Stone Brewery – The Stone IPA (California)

Don’t get fooled by my smiling face in the photo, this beer has a terrible after taste. Deep golden- orange beer. Taste starts sweet malty becoming bitter grapefruit, pine at the back of tongue and lingering there on the swallow. 
Medium body with nice carbonation and persistent bitterness – super hoppy IPA.

ABV: 6.9% IBU:77

Everyone has their own taste for sure, but after this beer tasting adventure I realized I like not too bitter (IBU 45-65), high alcohol,high carbonation, flavorful and smooth IPAs.

What is your favorite?

-Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

The Case Against Adnan Syed

I have just finished the docu-series “The Case Against Adnan Syed” on HBO. If you are a loyal reader of my blog, you will remember my quite long and detailed post about Hae Min Lee murder in 1999. I’m sure it was too long for some of you to read until the end but this show proved a lot of points of my theory to be true. There are so many new things that I learned in this show. If you want to read my post about this murder first, just click here.

1. Jay Confessed That He Lied on Stand to His Ex-wife, on the Phone

This is actually an awkwardly uncomfortable scene in which Jay’s ex-wife just picks up the phone and asks him “We have a child together. What they are telling about you, are those true?”

And Jay basically says that none of them were true and he just wanted to stay out of jail because the police had been onto him. Apparently they told him if he lied on stand and support their theory, he would be out of trouble. As long as possible. I don’t know how credible the audience will find this but for me it looked natural.

Jay’s Wife Talking to Him on the Stairs in Episode 3 of The Case Against Adnan Syed Documentary on HBO

2. Diamond Shapes on Hae’s Shoulders are Explained

If you read my previous post about Hae, you will see towards the end of my blog, I discussed the weird diamond-shaped marks on her shoulders. These were pressure marks that shaped during the lividity: Livor mortis or lividity is the gravitational pooling of blood in the dependent parts of the body, both externally in the skin capillaries and venules but also in the internal organs. Its onset is variable but it is usually most evident about 2 hours after death, although it is stated to occur as soon as 15 minutes after death (Clark et al., 1997).  Livor Mortis starts to develop 2-4 hours after death, becomes non-fixed or blanchable up to 8-12 hours after death and fixed or non-blanchable after 8-12 hours from the time of death (Chemistry for Liberal Studies – Forensic Academy / Dr. Stephanie R. Dillon)

In the new documentary, the private investigators on this case had a possible object which caused this on Hae’s body:

Diamond Shaped Marks on Hae’s shoulders after lividity settles – The Case Against Adnan Syed Documentary on HBO

It is called ‘concrete shoe’ which used in grinding concrete. My theory in my previous post is much weaker in comparison to this one. Whoever found this out, good job!

I want to combine this new finding with my old theory in my previous post. When I did the tire print analysis, I figured the tire prints in the crime scene belonged to a large pick up or a jeep; a big car. I think the killer is doing construction/concrete jobs on the side. After he killed Hae, he put her in his trunk or in the back of his truck until the ice and snow melted so that he could go and bury her in Leakin Park. The fact that her shoes and other belongings are missing shows that she wasn’t killed in the park, at her burial site.

3. They Asked Adnan to Accept the Guilty Plea and Serve 4 More Years Then Get Out. Adnan Said “No” Because He Said He Was Not Guilty.

This part breaks my heart because when he denied this offer it was 2018 and in 2019, he was denied a new trial. His trust in justice system was once more had failed him. Think about it: If you were guilty, wouldn’t you take this deal? He had been already in prison for 20 years. Four more years would have been nothing. He simply just didn’t want to admit a crime that he did not commit. And yet his request for a new trial was denied.

4. Don and Mr. S are the Other Possible Suspects

Mr. S found Hae’s body in the woods. To begin with, He walked more than 127 feet to urinate, which is super odd to me. Then he realized a body is buried in the ground. Can you see a body in this photo below? Barely visible. Let’s say his story is true. He drives a big car like my tire theory suggested, he is in concrete business. Also, he has a drinking problem (he was drinking on his way to work, that’s why he needed to pee he said) and there was an empty bottle next to Hae’s body, which was never tested. He was a streaker, exposing his nude body to people in the streets. It is possible that streaking, in psychological terms, exhibitionism, can turn into dangerous sexual offense. Depending on the victim’s reaction to the indecent exposure, the streaker might get violent, for example, if the victim laughs or makes fun of him. Lastly, it is not uncommon that the murderers inject themselves into investigations either by helping them as a witness or a search help or they interview with the media about the victim. There are many examples of this. Besides, at that time, he lived so close to Woodlawn High School. All these circumstantial evidence make him a strong suspect.

Hae’s buried body as Mr. S (Alonzo Sellers) found her. – The Case Against Adnan Syed Documentary on HBO y
Alonzo Sellers (AKA Mr.S) – The Case Against Adnan Syed Documentary on HBO
Alonzo Sellers lived really close to Woodlawn High School – The Case Against Adnan Syed Documentary on HBO

The other suspect Don actually was the person Hae was going to see that day after she picked up her cousin. But the investigators and Undisclosed podcast found out that him working on a Wednesday at where he said was working at was out of the ordinary. His mom was his manager at that time and it looked like the shift card might have been tempered with if the password of the employee was also known by his mother. It is very possible that his mother might have created a phantom time card for that day, Also, one of his colleagues at Landcrafters store shares an important piece of information in this docu-series in the last episode: “I remember we were on a smoke break and Don said that his girlfriend was missing. And I remember his arms were covered with scratches and bandages.”

Is it possible that those were the scratches that Hae gave him while she was trying to defend herself? I guess we will never know.

Don then and now.

I just can’t think of a motive when it comes to Don. I would just leave it there.

My Theory Still Stands

I still stand behind my theory about Roy Sharonnie Davis III being the major suspect in this case. Although they ran the finger prints from Hae’s car in the system and it didn’t bring any results, they still did not run all the DNA collected from the scene. I would love to hear the results of that.

Why do I think that it could be him?

  1. Both victims are about the same age. Hae was 17 (18 some records) and Jada was 18 (19 some records) when they died.
  2. They were both fully clothed when they were found. BUT Hae was missing shoes and Jada was missing an underwear. (Also, interestingly, the autopsy report doesn’t include Hae’s underwear, but the general evidence inventory does (in some other place you can see it as noted ‘Beige panties and it was tested negative for semen results’).
panties
This is from the evidence inventory, apparently panties are included in the other clothing items.
autopsy
This is from the autopsy report of Hae. Very detailed description doesn’t include ‘panties’.
laboratory report
underwear

They were both found by a stream, partially concealed. Jada’s head and part of her frontal torso was submerged in water and most importantly, her blue jean jacket was left on her back (please see the  article below). Hae was partially covered in dirt and leaves. 

warm

They were both missing their wallets. Hae also didn’t have her keys and pager on her. They both had a trauma to the head. Hae had on the right side (two blunt force trauma, one of them towards the back) and Jada had it on the left. They were both strangled. They both were found with an empty bottle of alcohol near them. I wonder if the bottle in Jada’s case was a Brandy bottle like in Hae’s crime scene. That would be a very compelling coincidence.

alcohol
Evidence found near Jada Lambert
bottle
Evidence found near Hae Min Lee

8. They were both transported to the burial site by a vehicle. Thinking that Jada didn’t have her car with her, she must have been transported there with Davis’ car.

9. The autopsy report for both show abrasions which indicate ‘dragging of the body’. The abrasions were on Hae’s back whereas they were on Jada’s chest, abdomen and upper thighs.

10. Difference between two cases is that in Jada’s anal and vaginal swabs, there were some spermotozoa with and without tail. Since she was found just a day after her murder, spermotozoa hadn’t degenerated yet. However, this was impossible to trace on Hae’s swabs after weeks past. This could be why all the tests came back negative.

So, Roy Davis’ MO (The particular way of the killer is doing things) fits to the killer of Hae Min Lee’s MO.

There are many other interesting new findings are mentioned in ‘The Case Against Adnan Syed’ Docu-series. The car evidence was one of them. The area where Hae’s car was found was in such a location that the residents of the area say there is no way they wouldn’t recognize and report an abandoned car for 45 days. Also the grass below Hae’s car looked too fresh to be shadowed by the car for 45 days. Please watch the docuseries for more of that.

Some people critisize the show by saying that it is biased. Well, I think everyone is so ready to blame Adnan because he is already convicted. We trust in our justice system but there are many big holes in there. I feel like there are too many wrongful convictions out there and if a defensive documentary can bring this to the attention of the public, I don’t have a problem with that. Honestly, watching a documentary on the defense side doesn’t affect my opinion at all if I’m convinced what I believe is right. People need to know if there were any direct evidence that linked Adnan to the case or if there were enough evidence to raise the ‘reasonable doubt’ among the jury. Adnan didn’t get a fair trial and this investigation stinks. Can you disagree with that?

-Hoscakalin,

Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

Most Memorable Scenes of Game of Thrones

One of the most successful series of all times… Most love it, some never watched it. As a GOT fan myself, I like the acting, the medieval feeling of the series, the costumes, sounds effects and how ruthless the characters get.

I have to warn you that this post (for obvious reasons) contains spoilers. So, if you are not up to date on the series or you want to watch this series later, you might want to stop reading now. But thank you for stopping by!

When I look back, there have been great episodes. Most of the memorable moments are of course death-related ones. Some really brutal death scenes are ingrained in our memories and we will be probably talking about them even years after the GOT finishes. I have picked my favorite scenes. But there can be many others, really. What was your favorite scene so far? Maybe it is in my list.

1. THE RED WEDDING

One of the most traumatic episodes of the whole series.  It was so heart-wrenching, so cruel that some audience said “I can’t take this anymore”  and they stopped watching the GOT after this episode. In this episode 9 of season 3, Robb Stark attends Walder Frey’s wedding ceremony together with his mother Catelyn Stark and his pregnant wife, Talisa Stark. Because Robb didn’t follow his promise to marry one of Frey’s daughters, he was already not happy about the Starks. Tywin Lannister persuaded Roose Bolton and Walder Frey to break their allegiance to Robb.  That is how the massaccre plan emerged.

2. FREY PIE

Speaking of Walder Frey, he gets what he deserves in season 6, Episode 10 when Arya takes her family’s revenge by killing all his sons and feeding Frey with a pie that is made from their meat. Pretty gross, isn’t it? I believe this was the first time the audience understood the power and determination of Arya.

3. KING JOFFREY’S DEATH

We all questioned our humanity when we got so happy about someone’s death this much. Joffrey was the most hated character in the series, by all means. Our happiness didn’t last that long though when they arrested Tyrion Lannister for the murder and Sansa Stark was accused of being his accomplice. Many episodes later we were going to learn that it was the bride Margaery Tyrell’s grandmother Olenna Tyrell who poisoned King Joffrey.

4. DEATH OF NED STARK

Nobody saw it coming. We were all new to GOT so we didn’t know what to expect. Suddenly The King in the North, caring father and husband, a noble man Ned Stark gets executed for confessing treason that he never committed. This starts a war that would last 7 more seasons. It was a totally shocking scene. I still remember the terror in Sansa’s and even in Cersei eyes. This made it obvious that Cersei was powerless when it came to Joffrey. The only positive thing I can remember in this episode was Yoren was able to keep Arya from seeing her father’s execution and he was able to take her out of there safely.

5. DEATH and REBIRTH OF JOHN SNOW

It was so cruel of you David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to end a season like that! In Season 5 finale, John Snow was stabbed to death by his own ‘brothers’ on the Night’s Watch. Being one of the most popular and beloved characters in the show, his death paralized the audience like… for a year? No one could accept the fact that he could be dead. A lot of fans aid they wouldn’t watch the show anymore if he really died. Interestingly, the book ends here, when John Snow dies on the pure white snow. The rest of the series was written by the scenarists.

Well… He came back from the other side thanks to Melisandre, AKA Red Woman. In the beginning we all hated her: The way he manipulated Stannis Baratheon, how she burned his daughter alive made us al really, really angry. But then after Baratheon’s death, something changed and she started helping our favorite people. She brought John back to life and in Season 8 Episode 3, she helped the army of living tremendously to defeat the death. So, I guess we all forgave her?

6. THE BIRTH OF THE DRAGONS

We can also call this scene: The birth of Khaleesi. After losing her husband and child to black magic, Daenerys Targaryen sets her death husband on fire and walks into the fire while Dothrakis were watching her with curious eyes.Until that moment, she was feeling defeated, alone and misunderstood. Dothraki was not seeing her as their queen. But when the sun came up and the fire was out. There she was with all her beauty and determination rising from the ashes, holding three baby dragons. The scene that Dothrakis kneel down before her with awe was definitely worth watching.

7. DEATH OF TYWIN LANNISTER and SHAE

One of the strongest characters of the show, the father of the Lannisters, Tywin Lannister was murdered by his own son, Tyrion… On a toilet… This was a particularly interesting episode because we saw the humorous, kind-hearted, smart Tyrion turn into a ruthless and cold blooded killer. The things we do under the name of love and revenge…

8. JOHN SNOW: “THE KING IN THE NORTH!”

Such a moving scene that I wanted to share the video of it instead of showing you the photos of the scene. It will make you feel sad when you saw Lyanna Mormont speaking here. At least knowing that she died in a heroic way, as she always wanted makes me feel a little better.

In the video, John Snow is trying to convince the lords and ladies of the North to join forces with wildlings and others. His aim was not to be called the King at all. You can see the surprise in his face when the meeting takes a different turn.

9. DEATH OF OBERYN MARTELL

In season 4 Episode 8, after Tyrion was arrested with Joffrey’s murder, he asked for a combat, because that was the only way out for him. Oberyn Martell, who had his personal beef with Lannisters saw this as a great opportunity to take his revenge and he said he would fight for Tyrion in a combat. Well, what happened? Mountain happened… Cersei’s little (!) puppy Mountain was losing in the beginning. but Martell got happy too quickly, lost his attention and then… BOOM! Head exploded! That was a gross scene and I refuse to put that fully-blown image here. It was really nerve wracking to see him lose that way.

10. EPIC TYRION SPEECH AT TRIAL

Well… After hearing the love of his life Shae lying on the stand and his own father trying to execute him for a crime that he didn’t commit, Tyrion loses it. Very rightfully so…

11. DEATH OF THE NIGHT KING

We knew that Arya wasn’t preparing herself for nothing. She literally saved the living by killing the Night King. For a split second, we thought he was going to kill her but she feinted and he bought it. In your face, Night King! Or should I say, in your belly?!

12. CERSEI MAKING A HARD DECISION

When it is war, in the moment of no hope, you might have to decide if you choose to be imprisoned and tortured or choose death. When in Season 2 Episode 9, Stannis Baratheon’s forces were taking over King’s Landing, Cersei sat on the Iron Throne with his son Tommen, holding a poison in her hand. I think this was the only time we saw cersei that hopeless and vulnerable. We even almost felt sorry for her.

13. CERSEI’S REVENGE

After being forced to take the shame walk, Cersei was never the same. Her vengeful personality was not going to let this go. In season 6, episode 10, by blowing up the trial, she killed two birds with one stone: High Sparrow and Margaery, who threatened her throne.

These are the moments that left an impact on me. What about you? Please share your comments and enjoy tonight’s episode on HBO!

-Hoscakalin

Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

My KETO Journey

Who likes dieting? Yeah, right. Of course… NO ONE.

But for some of us, it is a must. Because we love food, we are social people and our metabolism is not working as generously as it does for others.

I’m now 36 years old and I have tried any kind of diet possible out there, on and off, since I was 16. And let me tell you… Nothing worked like KETO did.

I want to talk to you about my KETO journey. What you SHOULD do and what you SHOULDN’T do, based on my own experience. I will give you some recipes, some links to help you prepare you for Keto and also will give you some #hashtags to follow on Instagram.

I have lost 16 pounds (~7 kg) in 2.5 months. I lost 10 pounds of it during the first week. If you stick to the rules religiously, you will get results. But KETO is a difficult diet to do for a lot of people.

Why Some People Think Keto is Difficult?

  1. You need to weigh your food. Why? Look at number 2.
  2. You need to count your macros. You need to know how many calories, how much carbs, protein and fat you are eating every day. There are many apps for that including Mymacros and Fitnesspal. Internet has pretty much has nutrition facts for all kinds of food. We need to make sure we are getting enough fat and protein, getting no more than 20g carb and not going above your calorie limit.
  3. You need to do meal prep. Otherwise, you will fail. Because of number 1 and number 2, eating out is not a great option.
  4. No Cheat meal allowed in KETO.
  5. Absolutely NO alcohol.
  6. Absolutely NO sugar.
  7. If you are a fruit lover, sorry. Only berries are allowed (And Avacado!)
  8. Well… No fruit rule of course comes with no fruit juice rule.
  9. No Soda.
  10. It is an expensive diet. On top of buying meat, cheese, organic vegetables, almond flour and nuts, you also will need to buy some nutritional supplements.

Why KETO is good then??

  1. Rapid weight loss gives you motivation. The first week, if you are doing everything right, you will lose 3-10 pounds, which is the water weight. Even though it is not the fat burn, it still makes you feel better and focus on your diet.
  2. The food is delicious. In comparison to other diets that I have tried, Keto has a lot of options. Steak, wings, eggs, bacon, cheese, butter, peanuts, almonds, these are all Keto friendly. Tell you this; anything with butter and cheese on them eventually tastes good.
  3. You feel full very quickly, even when you don’t eat much. In other diets I tried, this was my biggest problem. Half of the time, I was hungry. But on KETO, I never feel hungry. Never.
  4. You feel more energetic, the heavy feeling that carbs give you disappears. I had bloating and gas problems, they are all gone. It also balances your blood sugar levels. It also improved my stomach and sleeping problems. My skin got smoother healthier (see pphotos below, no filter in either! My dark wrinkles disappeared and my skin got smoother-PS. Can’t believe I’m sharing my ridiculous photos with you, haha).

Who SHOULDN’T Do Keto Diet?

  • People with High cholesterol
  • Growing Kids
  • People with Thyroid problem
  • Breastfeeding mothers
  • People with Type 2 Diabetes (KETO is good for Type 1 diabetes. My dad has it and KETO worked on him so well. He lost 10 pounds in a month and he used to get 38 units of insulin a day, in a month he took maybe 65 units in total!)
  • People with no gallbladder
  • Although there is a myth that KETO might affect kidneys in a bad way since it increases the acidity in urine, doctors are conflicted about this. As long as protein intake is moderate, keto diet is safe they say.

So, what is KETO diet anyway?

This is what http://www.ruled.me says:

When you eat something high in carbs, your body will produce glucose and insulin.

  • Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.
  • Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

Photo from KETOGEEK

The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. We don’t do this through starvation of calories but starvation of carbohydrates.

Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. 

How Do I Know my Daily Calorie Intake and Macros?

There are many ways to calculate your daily calorie intake. It depends also on how much activity you have in your life. The more active you are the more easily you are going to burn fat. If you give a 500 calories deficit a day, you should be able to lose 1-2 pounds every week. Here is the link I recommend to calculate your macros: https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator For example, tight now, when I enter my info these are the macros that are calculated:

How Do You Track Your Macros?

This is a screenshot from the app that I use. If you are not technology friendly, you can use an excel sheet instead.

Once you create an entry in your app and save it, next time when you eat it, it will be already there for you.

One thing that you should not forget about your macros:

Only count Net Carbs! Net carbs means that you need to substract any fiber or sugar alcohol (not sugar!) from the total amount of carbs, that is the net carb. Keto only cares about the net carbs.

Common Mistakes in KETO

  • Eating not enough fat: “Fat is bad!” is ingrained in our brains so much that we fear the fat. But fat is the only source your body can use to make energy during Keto. You need to give it the fat it wants. This is why having set macros in the beginning is important. Don’t hesitate to put an extra splash of olive oil in your salad, or have extra butter in your eggs.
  • Eating too much protein: When people deprive themselves from the fat, they tend to turn to protein instead. However, eating too much protein is neither healthy nor helpful for weight loss.
  • Not counting calories: The dilemma is we need fat, but high fat foods have usually high calories. So the ‘amount’ of food is important.
  • Not drinking enough water: It is super important that you drink a LOT OF WATER during the day because KETO makes you lose a lot of water. Water molecules clinges on carbs in your cells and if there is no carb, then they are set free. You need to hydrate your body, otherwise you cannot function (And yes, you go to bathroom a lot during KETO :D)
  • Not taking nutritional supplements: Fruits have electrolytes that are necessary for our bodies and during KETO we are deprived of them. So, we need to get electrolyte supplements.
  • Forgetting about gut health: Try to stay away from sweeteners and try to use bone broth in your cooking. More information can be found here:https://drjockers.com/keto-diet-bad-microbiome/

What Are the Side Effects?

There are some side effects that I experienced.

  1. Keto Flu: During the adaptation phase, people commonly feel brain fog, fatigue, dizziness, intense hunger, irritability, and depression. It lasted 3 days or so for me. I was going to bed at 9:00 PM and I was getting mad at unnecessary things!
  2. Bad Breath: I did Keto twice. In the first one, I had bad breath and in the second one, I did not. I learned that bad breath is normal because Ketosis occurs when your body breaks down fat for energy. Fatty acids are then converted into ketones, which are natural chemicals your body produces when you burn fat for energy. These include beta hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. That is why it smells bad.
  3. Leg Cramps: Low carb diets causes rapid water loss, that is why your electolides such as Zinc, Magnesium and Potassium get washed out of your body. If you do not replace them, you get cramps. Especially because I was working out, I got a lot of cramps in the beginning until I figured out what the problem was. After starting the take supplements, cramps disappeared.
  4. Hair Loss: This one is going to scare a lot of people, I know. It scared the hell out of me too, believe me. It can be due to many things but I suspect that mine was the stress that my body underwent during the rapid weight loss. I lost 1/3 of my hair. I will be honest, it was scary but I see that new hairs coming out and the doctors say the hair will come back in 3-6 months. I take Biotin and electrolide supplements. So I will keep you updated on that later. You can see my sad hair loss in the below picture (Also consider that I had a hair cut).

Where to Start?

  • First, read more about Keto from here, and calculate your macros and calorie goal here. Write it somewhere.
  • Take pictures of yourself in a way that you can see the change later from the front, side and the rear view.
  • Follow all the #keto accounts on Instagram. My favorite accounts are: ‘@thejoeduff’ for amazing dessert recipes and ‘@stay_snatched’ and ‘@flavcity’ or ‘@keto.meal’ for Keto meals in general.
  • Make a weekly meal plan and do shopping. Sundays are the best days for cooking marathon for me.
  • While cooking, add your meal logs in your macros app. What are the macros per each serving?
  • Start your diet not TOMORROW but TODAY. If you want to decide on ‘when is the best time to start a diet’ please check the beginning of my other post here: When to start dieting
  • Weigh yourself every Saturday, in the morning, naked and after you use the restroom, on an empty stomach. Record this weight in your macros app. Take a photo of your body from each side, every Saturday. The first week, you will start losing way on your third day.
  • Please please please remember to drink lots of water. Carry a bottle with you everywhere.
  • Compare your weight and photos every week.
  • Do not forget to recalculate your macros once you start losing weight. Because the lighter you get, the less calorie intake you need to lose weight.

What to cook?

I have tried a variety of different recipes, mostly from basic Google search or Instagram search. I have already told you my favorite accounts on instagram. You can also follow me ‘@eceketo’ on Instagram. Definitely follow instagram for motivation and recipe ideas 🙂 . I gathered my favorite recipes here: KETO_Cookbook_EceGurler

Also, you can look at the meals I cooked before and have an idea:

I sticked with the rules and I got results. The first week will be tough, but then you will get used to it and it will get easier, fun and you will feel much better. Just don’t forget to count your macros, get your supplements and drink your water!

You can do this!!!!

-Hoscakalin

Ece

Posted in Personal Interest

How to Keep Your Weight After Diet

I have always been curvy. Sometimes I got fatter, sometimes thinner. I always tried different diets and my body always have had good days and bad days.

ben1Ben2After trying Keto for 6 weeks and getting great results this year, I realized low carb diets are the best for me. Quick fat loss and delicious food. Plus, you don’t get hungry. Of course, there were side effects such as leg cramps, bad breath and hair loss. But the purpose of this blog is actually different than explaining Keto diet, which I will do in the future in detail. But it is more about why we fail the diets. Meaning, why do we gain the weight we lost after we finish dieting?

It is all in your head: your psychology. In other words, your thought process and your habits.

After we finish our diet with success, we are so happy and we gave ourselves a promise that, now, we will eat healthy, we will keep exercising, and we won’t make the same mistakes. But then what happens? 85% of all dieters regain their weight. Some of them even gain more than before!

It seems easy for some people to stay healthy and everyone seems to have an opinion:

“Oh, just stay away from flour, sugar and salt, you will lose weight, you don’t need a diet”

“My friend of a friend of a friend became vegan and now she looks so healthy”

“You should try gluten free”

“Just don’t eat that second slice of pizza!”

“I run every morning for an hour and I eat everything I want, just start running!”

“It is just calorie intake. Lower it, then you will lose weight! That’s it”

Well, That is not it.

I tried everything (except being vegan, against my nature): I tried fasting, I tried lowering my calorie intake and increasing exercise, I tried cutting flour, sugar and salt, I tried low fat, I tried low carb. Trust me, I tried EVERYTHING. Only diet seems to be working on me was Keto (A kind of low carb diet) and I got great results. However, afterwards, I slowly started to gain the weight back. While I was going through this process, I assessed my psychological swings. There were so many ups and downs. This blog is the story of the feelings I had and the battles I won and I lost with my consciousness.

Before I go through these dangerous psychological battles, I have a few pieces of advice about dieting:

  1. Timing is important: If your birthday or anniversary is coming up, if holiday season is at the door, don’t even bother start dieting. There is a 99% chance that you will fail. Also, if you are changing your routine, let’s say you are moving somewhere or changing jobs, getting a divorce, etc. it is not the best time to do a diet, either.
  2. Absolutely no alcohol during the weight loss process: Trust me on this. It slows down your weight loss process so much that it is a huge demotivator and it is not worth it.
  3. Who you hang out with is important: Peer pressure is real. When your friends are celebrating they want you to drink alcohol or eat shitty food with them. If you don’t, they start to make fun of you or they judge you”  ‘Oh, eat today, you can diet again tomorrow! haha” (As if it is really funny? No, I already started, thank you!) “You are not drinking? C’mon! This is why we came here!” (So are you saying that I have no business being here? So you accept me because I repeat what you do? Well, thanks, good to know!) “You are being boring” (Thanks for the motivation. If I say “I’m diabetic” or “I’ve food allergy” or “I’m pregnant” you would be so understanding though, and suddenly, I wouldn’t be boring, would I??)
  4. Exercise: It can be 30 min walk every day, you don’t have to run. Or you can do aerobics, you can do slow-medium speed biking. Or you can choose to do weight lifting. Just whatever you choose, light or intense, please ‘move’ your body. Some people don’t exercise thinking that light exercise doesn’t make a change. IT REALLY DOES. But, when you do it consistently. Consistency is the key.
  5. Count your calories and macros: Most people hate counting nutritional values. But in order to have a successful diet, you have to. At least you have to calculate and add your daily calorie intake. Afterall, you don’t want to fall below your daily calorie limit, either. Because then your body will think that you are starving and it will start storing fat.There are many apps that can help you count your calories and macros, such as MyMacros and Fitnesspal. But you can simply look at the nutrition label of your meal ingredients and calculate it yourself. Trust me, it is not rocket science 🙂
  6. Try to find delicous and relatively healthy recipes!: Cauliflower pizza, zucchini enchiladas, oven baked parmesan garlic broccoli, stew, salad with feta cheese, arugula, cherry tomatoes, avacado and pomegranate sauce. These were my favorite healthy recipes on Keto and my mouth was watering each time I made them.

 

Now… Let’s talk about the dangerous thoughts that cross your mind after you finish your diet.

  1. Now I want pizza, beer and wings and fries! I deserved it!

This is the first thought you will have after ending your diet. Although you can have these and you definitely deserved the food you missed, you need to be logical. Plan ahead: In the same week, are you going to eat out again? Celebrate something? Is there a possibility that you will have a happy hour after work? If one of these is the case, maybe you should delay your feast to one of these days. Don’t cross the line (meaning take more unhealthy calories than normally you  burn) more than once a week. If you have a deficit of 3500 calories in 1 week, you will lose 1 pound (~0.45 kg) but the reverse is also true. Those fries, beers and burgers can become the fat on your hips after the week ends.

2. I lost weight once, I can lose again. 

So, I will eat now whatever I want. Rachel Berman, R.D. says “It’s encouraging to see results fast and a restrictive diet may lead to more rapid weight loss,” she explains. “However, being on too much of a restrictive diet and losing weight quickly impacts your hunger hormones.” So, the second time you do the diet, you might not get the same results. Also, think about this: Where is this cycle going to end? Will continue forever? You can do better than this. Once this thought appears, just tell yourself that you want something stable and permanent. You don’t have the energy to go through the same diet again.

3. She is skinny/He is fit and they are eating all those mac and cheese and burgers! Therefore, so can I.

This is your amygdala speaking, the pleasure and reward center of your brain wants that cheesy bread or chocolate cake in your mouth. The scientists suggest the high-sugar and fat diet was actually impairing the ability of the brain to block food cravings. You need to silence that thought immediately.

You don’t know that skinny girl or the fit guy. Her situation might be genetic. Her metabolism might be working faster. I knew this skinny colleague of mine, eating Burger King everyday and she never gained a pound over the years. But I don’t know how her liver or cardiovascular system looks like now of course. Also that fit man might be exercising 2-3 hours a day. Are you? If your answer is no, then you need to forget this thought, as well.

4. I will eat those hot dogs now, I will eat healthy tomorrow and exercise

Well, what if you can’t? It is true that moderation and balancing things out is important. If you ate more than your daily calories today, it makes sense to fall below the next day to balance. So it is important that when you really say this, you actually mean it and do it the next day. If you are not sure, then, don’t trust your own word. Try not to go overboard.

5. I have already eaten a lot of bad food. Now there is no turning back.

Well, there is. Right at this very moment. Go back to healthier eating habits and you will be fine. Unfortunately, our psychology is weird in the sense that once we pass the treshold on something, we feel like we can’t stop. But it is all in our heads. You can stop doing anything, anytime you want. You need to take control of your brain, you shouldn’t run it on automatic and let it take control of you.

6. These people in movies are drinking alcohol and eating bar food all the time and they look fabulous.

In the movies, yes. Not in real life. Jennifer Anniston chugging down the beer in ‘Friends’ but in real life she exercises twice a day and she is on a secret diet. Show business is her job, she needs to stay healthy, this is what she is paid for. James Bond drinks his whisky daily, but he has the best body! Miracle, right? Winchester brothers in Supernatural literally feed on fast food and beer everyday in episodes. And yet their bodies have zero fat (I have attention to detail, that’s all). Magic! Well, not really guys… What I’m saying is, all American TV shows and movies are full of scenes with diners, bars, parties and fit guys and girls. In real life, if you eat like them, you won’t look like them. Your brain is tricking you by making an association between how they look and how they live. Even though you know that this is not real life.

 

After fighting these thoughts, your battle is still not over. In order not to gain the weight back, you need to have a plan. Most of the time people have an awesome diet plan and they do more or less a good job sticking to it. However, they forget to make a plan for afterwards, which is even more important. Your plan should include these elements:

  1. Daily calorie limit: Have a target and stay at that target. Here you can calculate the daily calorie intake you need: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html
  2. Nutrition balance: Make sure that you are getting enough protein, carbs and fat. Also make sure you are getting the vitamins and electrolites that your body needs.
  3. Emergency plan (travelling, moving, etc. change of routine): How are you going to eat healthy during this change period? Are there any restaurants that you can order from that serve relatively healthy food?
  4. Cheat meals: Which day of the week do you want to allow yourself to eat the cheat meal? What is it going to include?
  5. Exercise: 3-5 days of the week, what kind of exercises can you do?
  6. Be careful about offerings: I work at a school. Everyday students offer me food or snacks. Every staff meeting there are donuts and pizzas. It is already hard to say no to food, when it is free, it is almost impossible. Well, try your best to say no. Because you are gaining extra calories for a pleasure that will not last more than 5 minutes and it will cost you 30 minutes of running. It is like the question you ask to yourself when you are shopping on a short budget: “Do I really need this? or do I just want it?” If you can’t afford it, leave it.
  7. Do not confuse hunger with thirst: Do you sometimes feel hungry just a couple of hours after eating? It might be just that you are thirsty. Our brain confuses hunger with thirst sometimes. Drink a glass of water and see if that will get rid of the craving.
  8. When you go out, try to be reasonable: As a social person, it is my big problem that I found myself hanging out a lot. I tried to find ways to be more reasonable. For example, instead of 2 beers, I order 1 glass of red wine. Because I drink it more slowly. I usually drink 2 beers in 1 hour, it takes the same amount of time for me to finish 1 glass of wine. Less calories. If I ate bar food that night, I try chips or fries instead of full meal. And next day, I eat salad for lunch and soup for dinner, etc.

I’m going on a diet again on January 2nd. I know that once I’m done with it I will feel and look great. I want to keep that though, that’s why I will try to follow my own advice here. It is all about how we look at the food, how we approach feeding and how we fight with our brain’s reward system. We don’t have to deprive ourselves from everything, or starve ourselves, diet shouldn’t mean suffering. But we need to learn moderation and how to take control of our eating habits. I will keep you updated on my adventure!

Hoscakalin,

-Ece

 

Posted in Must See Videos, Personal Interest

TV Series Recommendations

When it comes to TV Shows/Series, everyone looks into different things. In my opinion, a good series must:

  • Be believeable: The actors and actresses need to act so well that we should forget that we are watching TV and we should be able to find ourselves in their world as if it was the reality: We need to feel what the characters are feeling. This happens only when: 1. The scenarists write a good script with realistic conversations and consistent story lines 2. When the actors and actresses do an amazing job. The audience is smart; whenever they see a mistake in decor, an inconsistency in storyline or a cheap quality in filming, they notice it right away. They immediately stop watching the show. Let’s not forget, the lost audience is gone forever. But, in my opinion, the reverse is also true: Once you get the audience hooked, they will be with you forever.
  • Include the element of surprise: The more the series get predictable, the less you want to watch them. A main character dies, or a war breaks, or an accident happens. Someone cheats, or becomes a murderer, or loses their mind. Someone decides to quit the team, or commits suicide. These type of surprises keep the series live.
  • Have a cliff hanger: It doesn’t necessarily have to happen at the end of all episodes but maybe 85%of them must finish with a cliff hanger. We are human beings, we like to be intrigued!
  • Be original: The writers of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Star Wars’ might have influenced each other, and the creators of ‘the 100’ might seem like a fan of ‘Battlestar Galactica’. One can also claim that the creators of the ‘Stranger Things’ might have grown up watching ‘the Goonies’. So, it is OK to have some similar elements, as long as you also provide something unique and original. However, if the series is ‘too similar’ to another series, then they will lose their audience.

I have prepared my own list of the ‘Best TV Series of all times’ or maybe, in more modest words, some shows that shaped the years they were aired in. So, I highly recommend that  these TV Series must be in your watch list.

Blogger’s Note: For the each Headline here I chose a font that I think suits the best to the series’ character.

GOT

This promotional image of the ensemble cast of the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones features only one actor of color: Jason Momoa who played Khal Drogo.

What’s happening?

It’s the depiction of two powerful families – kings and queens, knights and renegades, liars and honest men – playing a deadly game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and to sit atop the Iron Throne. The series is filmed in Northern Ireland and Malta.

Definitely watch if: You like surprises, history, scenic visual effects, medieval, fantasy, war, politics and drama.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like fantasy and if you can’t handle bloody and nude scenes.

What is best about this Series: I’m sure everyone would agree that this series has the best visual effects and the costumes so far. However, I think the ‘best thing’ about this series is the characters that grow with the Series. There are many characters in the show that anyone can relate to them so easily. For example, my favorite character is Tyrion Lannister, who is witty, fair, brave and smart. But underneath it all, he is very delicate and naive.

What could have been different: They changed the Mountain character 3 times- 3 different actors… As I said, we notice these things and that takes away ‘the real’ feeling to it. Just saying.

come at me bring it GIF by Game of Thrones

game of thrones knight GIF

Bsg

Image result for battlestar galactica

What is happening?

What’s left of humankind struggles for survival against the robot Cylons, who have killed millions. The Galactica, led by William Adama, protects a patched-together fleet of civilians – led by de facto president Laura Roslin – in search of a mythical planet called Earth.

Definitely watch if: You like surprises, space, visual effects, sci-fi, war, politics, romance and drama.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like sci-fi.

What is best about this Series: Definitely the wisely written script. Every episode is so exciting that you can’t stop after watching one episode: You just want to keep going! Definitely this show has a lot of cliff hangers. Besides, the series has the best music!

What could have been different: Baltar’s situation, in general his role in the whole series is a little confusing. At the end of the series, it would have been nice to connect some dots.

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sherlock

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What is happening?

In this contemporary version of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s detective stories, Dr. John Watson is a war vet just home from Afghanistan. He meets the brilliant but eccentric Holmes when the latter, who serves as a consultant to Scotland Yard, advertises for a flatmate. Almost as soon as Watson moves into the Baker Street flat, they are embroiled in mysteries, and Sherlock’s nemesis, Moriarty, appears to have a hand in the crimes.

Definitely watch if: You like criminal-detective shows, Britain or British accents, action.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like fast-paced TV shows.

What is best about this Series: Definitely the beautiful mind of Sherlock Holmes. Watching him connecting the dots so quickly and wisely is absolutely fun and breathtaking.

What could have been different: The series is too short and their Christmas special was terrible.

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lost

Image result for lost tv series

What is happening?

The survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 were 1,000 miles off course when they crashed on a lush, mysterious island. Each person possesses a shocking secret, but they’ve got nothing on the island itself, which harbors a monstrous security system, a series of underground bunkers and a group of violent survivalists hidden in the shadows.

Definitely watch if: You like suspense, fantasy, action.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like mystery. You won’t get answers to your questions right away.

What is best about this Series: Definitely the mysterious nature of the island and the mysterious background of each character.

What could have been different: The ending, man… Why? It could have been so much better!!! Ugh…

STRANGER THINGS

Stranger Things

What is happening?

When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

Definitely watch if: You like suspense, fantasy, period series (80s), sci-fi and action.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like movies involving kids. The main characters are kids.

What is best about this Series: The director gives the 80s feeling in a perfect way. Also, the friendship between the main characters is so fun to watch. But the best part of the movie is each character is a heroic one in themselves. Every character in this series is equally strong.

What could have been different: I really didn’t find it natural when the they kissed at the prom. I would definitely change that.

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house

Image result for house md

What is happening?

At fictional Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital in New Jersey, prickly genius Dr. Gregory House tackles health mysteries as would a medical Sherlock Holmes, all the while playing mind games with colleagues that include his best friend, oncologist James Wilson. House, an acerbic infectious disease specialist, solves medical puzzles with the help of a team of young diagnosticians. Flawless instincts and unconventional thinking help earn House great respect, despite his brutal honesty and antisocial tendencies.

Definitely watch if: You like mystery, real life drama, medical themes, comedy.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like series with annoying (even though smart) characters.

What is best about this Series: The Dr. House character: funny, agitated and annoying, but lonely and fragile. While he saves patients’ lives, his team saves his.

What could have been different: Like every other medical series, it gets repetitive and predictive.

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gilmore

Image result for gilmore girls

What is happening?

Set in a storybook Connecticut town populated by an eclectic mix of dreamers, artists and everyday folk, this multigenerational drama about family and friendship centres around Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter, Rory. Lorelai owns the town’s bed-and-breakfast, the Dragonfly Inn, with best friend/chef Sookie, and contends with weekly dinners with eccentric, well-off parents Richard and Emily Gilmore (who always have something to say about their daughter’s life). After high school, Rory attends university but frequently returns to Stars Hollow to visit her mom.

Definitely watch if: You like heart warming comedy-drama, family theme, ‘small town’ theme and if you believe in power of coffee and/or books.

Don’t watch if: You don’t like series with no action.

What is best about this Series: The friendship between Lorelai (the mother) and Rory (the daughter). I lost my mother in 2004 to an illness. Maybe that’s why this series has a special place in my heart. Also, I have always wanted to be a mother like Lorelai.

What could have been different: I did not like how the series ended. I guess I had had higher epectations from that character who made a big confession (Trying hard not to give a spoiler here haha).

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walking dead

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What is happening?

Based on the comic book series written by Robert Kirkman, this gritty drama portrays life in the months and years that follow a zombie apocalypse. Led by former police officer Rick Grimes, his family and a group of other survivors find themselves constantly on the move in search of a safe and secure home. But the pressure each day to stay alive sends many in the group to the deepest depths of human cruelty, and Rick discovers that the overwhelming fear of the survivors can be more deadly than the zombies walking among them.

Definitely watch if: You like suspense, action and drama.

Don’t watch if: You can’t stomach gross-looking zombies.

What is best about this Series: The mystery of not knowing what is going to happen next. A lot of people ‘turn’ in this series. I mean… A LOT. Also, the acting talent of zombies will blow your mind! So realistic.

What could have been different: I haven’t finished the series yet. The final season is still airing. However, I will be very disappointed if they don’t tell us what the way is to get out of this hell and/or why this happened in the first place.

The Walking Dead Darly Dixon GIF

big bang

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What is happening?

Mensa-fied best friends and roommates Leonard and Sheldon, physicists who work at the California Institute of Technology, may be able to tell everybody more than they want to know about quantum physics, but getting through most basic social situations, especially ones involving women, totally baffles them. How lucky, then, that babe-alicious waitress/aspiring actress Penny moves in next door. Frequently seen hanging out with Leonard and Sheldon are friends and fellow Caltech scientists Wolowitz and Koothrappali. Will worlds collide? Does Einstein theorize in the woods?

Definitely watch if: You like comedy, sarcasm, sit-coms and science.

Don’t watch if: You can’t stand annoying smart characters (Like in Sherlock and Dr. House, Sheldon is an annoying genius).

PS. Sheldon is my favorite character 🙂

What is best about this Series: The length of the each episode is a perfect dose for a good laugh. And the best part about it for me is that they are all (almost all) scientists!! <insert heart here>

What could have been different: As in any sit-com, there are ups and downs in terms of quality of the jokes. Some episodes are hilarious whereas some of them are just… meh.

The Big Bang Theory Laugh GIF

south park

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What is happening?

The animated series is not for children. In fact, its goal seems to be to offend as many as possible as it presents the adventures of Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman. The show has taken on Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, politicians of every stripe and self-important celebrities. Oh, and Kenny is killed in many episodes.

Definitely watch if: You like comedy, sarcasm and current political issues.

Don’t watch if: You are not following current events or if you can’t handle bad language. Some people find this show really offensive.

What is best about this Series: The humor and the creativity. Have you ever played Cards Against Humanity? Sometimes I think the creators of that game and the South Park series could be the same.

What could have been different: Some episodes have inside jokes, with references to American culture  and history that I don’t understand. But that is my fault, not theirs.

super sick south park gifs jumping over homeless guy on skateboard

Special Thanks to…

Friends

For their heart-warming and funny friendship and romance. They were the first of their kind. Definitely opened up Hollywood doors for Jennifer Aniston (Yay!).

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Criminal Minds

FBI profiling at its best, I really enjoyed this true crime series very much! (Of course, Dr. Reid was my favorite)

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CSI NY

Nope, not just ‘CSI’ or ‘CSI Miami’, my all time favorite Crime Scene Investigation series was CSI NY with its awesome cast!

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Dexter

This show definitely has become a phenomenon. This show’s popularity made a lot of people worried since Dexter Morgan is a serial killer. I’m a big fa, as well: I have watched the whole show twice already 😀

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Hope you enjoyed this list and I hope you try some of them during the holiday!

Hoscakalin!

Ece

Posted in Must See Videos, Personal Interest

Movie Recommendations

I’m very well aware of the fact that everyone has different tastes in movies and TV shows as they do in music and art in general. We have different ideas, cultures, traditions and interests that separate us. But, there are certain movies and TV shows out there that you wish people would know about them and put in their bucket list (Or Netflix Queue).

This is a blog with a list of my favorite movies of all times. Of course, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me on this list. However, if you are looking for some movies to watch these days and you haven’t seen any or some of these, maybe you can pick one to watch today!

PS. This is only about movies and my next blog will be only about TV Shows.

  1. The Man from Earth (2007)

One of the best movies I have ever seen. You will either hate it or love it. It begins really slow but after about 20 mins, it picks up and sucks you in the story. The setting of the story is a house in 2007. man-from-earth

This History professor, John Oldman, hosts this farewell gathering at his place to which he invites his friends from the faculty. There is a biology, anthropology, psychology and art professor (who is quite conservative) present in this party. After John claims that he is actually 10,000 years old, they all start questioning him, trying to find some logical answers. Especially the part about religion is absolutely mind blowing. If you are interested in science and history like me, you will love this movie!

2. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Brad Pitt at his best. Quantin Tarantino is at his best. The storyline is simple, but story telling is simply fantastic: In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner’s vengeful plans for the same (IMDB)

There are really funny moments, but also there are many scary moments that will shock you and shake you up. It has the suspense, it has the history, it has the humor. Like every other Tarantino movie, it is bloody, as well. But, let’s be honest, it is hard to cover the  World War II period in your movie and not include any blood.

3. 3 Idiots (2009)

If you have time (because the movie is almost 3 hour-long) and you want to put yourself in a very happy mood, watch this movie! Being a Bollywood movie and all, with lots of catchy songs and dancing, and sometimes with overkill with the dramatic acting, in overall it is one of the best movies I have ever watched. Especially considering the messages given throughout the movie, such as the problems in educational system and the importance of friendship.

Two friends are searching for their long lost companion, Rancho. They revisit their college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them “idiots”. On their journey to find him, they learn a huge secret about him.

4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

This film is considered as one of the best movies of all times, and trust me, there is a reason for that. Both Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are at their bests. This movie touches very important issues such as wrong imprisonment, toughness of the prison life and the importance of keeping hope. These two inmates’ friendship will warm up your hearts.

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5. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

This Steven Spielberg directed movie is Tom Hanks’ one of the best movies in terms of his acting performance. The traumatic experience and drama of warfare are very well explained in this movie. Based on a true story, this movie is an emotional roller coaster.

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Spielberg directed Saving Private Ryan as a tribute to his father, Arnold Spielberg, who served in the U.S. Army and Signal Corps, and fought in Burma during World War II as a radio operator in a B-25 squad. Arnold also helped a young Steven to direct his first movies as a teenager, both of which involved plots that took place during World War II.

6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

This movie is based on the true story of famous mathematician, John Nash. At the top of his career, he struggles with the unexpected and his companion will be his greatest support. From the beginning of the movie, you understand that Nash is different, and this movie really succeeds in putting you in John Nash’s beautiful mind. Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly were awesome picks for this movie, if you ask me.

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From the heights of notoriety to the depths of depravity, John Forbes Nash, Jr. experienced it all. A mathematical genius, he made an astonishing discovery early in his career and stood on the brink of international acclaim. But the handsome and arrogant Nash soon found himself on a painful and harrowing journey of self-discovery. After many years of struggle, he eventually triumphed over his tragedy, and finally – late in life – received the Nobel Prize (source: IMDB).

7. Ice Age (2002 – 2016)

When I first watched Ice Age, it was dubbed in Turkish. I don’t know if it made a difference or not, but I laughed SO hard! I usually watch comedies with a constant smile or grin, but I seldom laugh hard. I remember laughing a lot watching Ice Age, especially Sid and Scrat would crack me up. Considering I’m a geologist, maybe I also had special love for this series. It definitely gives important messages about the environment, history, animals and friendship, as well.

PS. If you are interested in Pixar movies and Ice Age is not to your taste, please try ‘UP’ or ‘INSIDE OUT’. you will definitely love one of them!

Here is a funny scene from Ice Age with Turkish dubbing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhZhEsXJY5M

8. The Hangover (2009)

If you want to have a good laugh today, watch this movie! As a foreigner, I don’t get American inside jokes or cultural clues very much in comedies, or I don’t find them funny to be honest, no offense. This is why I couldn’t enjoy the movies like ‘The Big Lebowski’ or ‘American Pie’ etc. But this movie will give you a good laugh, no matter where you are from!

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9. The Lord of the Rings (2001, 2002, 2003)

Hmm… Where to start?… This trilogy will blow your mind away… Especially the first (The Fellowship of the Ring)  and the third one (The Return of the King). The second one was also cool, especially the battle scenes. If you enjoy fantasy films, this will be on top of your list.

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Full of special effects, This movie not only does give a visual feast but also it gives many important messages to the audience: Such as greed is not good, team work is important, real friendhips are invaluable, and you need to make sacrifices for your loved ones.

PS. While everyone’s favorite duo was Arwen and Aragorn, mine was Frodo and Sam 🙂

10. Star Wars (1977 – 2017)

I can see you roll your eyes and hear you saying “Of course, you had to…”. Well, sorry guys if you don’t enjoy sci-fi, but you are really missing out. This series is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!! The technology they used back in 1977 will blow your mind.

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It has breathtaking special effects, yes. But also the storyline, the continuous fight between the good and the evil (The force and the dark side) will take you into the story so quickly. Different creatures from all around the galaxy will make the movie seem magical. Yoda’s wisdom, Obi-Wan Kenobi’s moral, Anakin Skywalker’s passion, R2-D2 and C3PO’s loyalty, Padme’s purity will make you want to even watch more. All these emotions and characters are all well blended in this Sci-fi action drama.

My all time winner: Back to the Future (1985, 1989, 1990)

Back to the Future trilogy has a special place in my heart. If you were born in the 80s, this movie must be special for you, too. It was the first of its kind, after ‘E.T’, with a quite different storyline. Michael J. Fox (Marty), Christopher Lloyd (Dr. Emmett Brown) travel in time. By doing this, they realize it is not OK to change the past, hence it affects the future. But how about if you change the future? What happens then? You will figure it out!

Special thanks to: Titanic (1997), Kill Bill (2003, 2004)  and Alien (1992)

It would be cruel not to mention these movies here. Yet again, they were the masterpiece, one of their kinds when they first hit the theatres! A Big applause! James Cameron’s ‘Titanic’, David Fincher’s ‘Alien’ and Quantin Tarantino’s ‘Kill Bill’ (series). Such masterpieces!

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I will see you  with the list of my favorite TV Shows of all times soon!

Until then, hoscakalin!

-Ece