Rosa Parks Protesting From the Tower of Babel On The West Coast – We Have Choices in Self-Care

Photograph of Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luthe...

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Self-Care Tip #201 – Make a choice that takes care of your inner self and your quality of life.

Dear Sarah McGaugh alerted me yesterday to the #2 emailed article from the New York Time‘s besmirching the intentions of medication prescribing psychiatrists.  Funny thing is, it’s quoting psychiatrists bemoaning their own prescribing practices, victims to managed care and the force of the mighty money mongrel pharma agencies.  You who’ve been reading this blog already know my thoughts on that and might be able to take these boys aside for me and quietly help them learn about self-care.  Politely without whining you know.  You might not get in the New York Times doing it, nor photographed with a furrowed brow.  I’m sorry about that.  Self-care has never been glamorous.

I definitely know where these physicians are coming from when they complain about these qualities in their practices.  The good news is that they don’t have to practice that way if they don’t want to.  Yes they’ll earn less or they won’t.  I don’t know how it will pan out for them.  But they do have choices.  I know many physicians who feel the same way these men do and many others who enjoy working mainly with medication therapy.  It is their choice.

When I was studying on the East Coast, I saw more psychiatrists still using their “couch” skills in psychotherapy.  There were those that viewed West Coast practitioners as the Babelers who were responsible for the fall of the tower that would have should have led them to heaven.  They spoke of the culture of the West Coast psychiatrist.  They questioned periodicals authored by them and wondered if they ever read Kreplin.

Now WHO is this exactly who wrote this?  Never read something without first knowing who wrote it.  What authority do they have on this topic?

Not a bad thing to do as there are a lot of posers out and about, quill fast at work.

I remember my patient Dorinda, divorcing a meany who wouldn’t leave their home.  They had other places they could move out and into, smaller than the one they were in, but neither of them would go.  They both had their reasons.  In our popular New York Time’s article, the psychiatrist explains that he wouldn’t want a cut in pay and asks, “Who would?”  Dorinda and her meany husband would answer, “Not me.”  I would too and agree that probably, so would all of you.  But we do have choices.  I told Dorinda so much and quickly got on her “Meany-list.”  She was nice about it though.

My children learned about Rosa Parks in school a year ago.  They still bring her up at random times,

Mommy, she was a COURAGEOUS woman!  She changed how all the black people were treated.

My five-year old told me Rosa’s age when she started her

Redback and victim

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work leading to desegregation and how long Rosa struggled before she and others were allowed to finally ride public transportation with whites.  She even described how these people protested; united together, refusing to ride public transportation at all until the law changed.  My kids have pretty great teachers at River Springs Charter School.

Maybe, if it’s alright with you, my daughters and their teachers could join you when you talk to these boys about self-care.

Questions:  How do you empower yourself when you feel caught in a web and victimized?  How have you seen others do it?  What do you think about this NYT article?  Please tell me your story.

24 thoughts on “Rosa Parks Protesting From the Tower of Babel On The West Coast – We Have Choices in Self-Care

  1. I’ve got my light saber and I’m headed east. Wait until they see what I do on their paper. Off to defend our Queen and her legions!

  2. Elizabeth Eckford, Little Rock high school, 1957 very moving story Gustavus Vassa Middle Passage good too and of course Frederick Douglass. The “I stood alone” bravery of African American citizens throughout US history is beyond the courage of most of us.

  3. I’m not very good at empowering myself. I get bogged down in the details. From what I’ve seen of other people, I think much of it depends on temperament. Some people just “naturally” find their way to novel solutions instead of getting caught in the web. People without that energetic, positive temperament, or people who have been repeatedly victimized in the past, have a really hard time of it. Although I’ve known some who have learned how to empower themselves through cognitive therapy or spiritual practice or whatever, so it is possible for the rest of us. I just need to put aside my skepticism and my fear.

  4. An intelligent response from an intelligent person. I love to see how you engaged with this article, Sana. It is still holding strong on the “most e-mailed” list, so it is apparently part of our cultural dialogue the past few days.

    What I find interesting was your point about the East Coast vs. West Coast psychiatrists. Immediately my mind went to the East Coast vs. West Coast differences among rap stars in the rap genre (not at all a favorite of mine, but I am a nut about music history and trivia of all musical genres). Funny that psychiatrists have a similar dichotomy—wouldn’t have guessed! 🙂

  5. I am from the East Coast so, until this year, all I have known has been the East Coast variety of psychiatric help. My first experience with psychiatry was with a male psychiatrist who spent no time working with me about medications and who spent most of his time TELLING me things about MY life rather than listening or asking questions. He didn’t last long. I left him FAST!!!

    Fifteen years later I started with a female psychologist, but, by the time I got to her I was so messed up that, although she professed to not believing in medications as the “be all and end all” of psychiatry, she had me seeing a psychopharmachologist immediately. Problem there was he was so excited about all of the new medications coming out at that time (and I was so sick and, therefore so needy) that I became, essentially, his guinea pig. I don’t think, now that I know more about medications, that I ever had a chance to adjust to one medication. If it didn’t appear to be working, he had me off it and onto another within a week or two. Granted, I reacted to several and had to be hospitalized to get through the reactions and to start new meds, but I wonder now how many of those “reactions” were serious enough to cause the amount of time I spent in a psychiatric ward…or, worse yet, on a floor in the hospital where noone understood depression or anxiety or hysterics or…. It was a terrifying time for me, and, because the psychopharmachologist I was going to had no ties to the hospital he put me in, I was, then, seeing another who often didn’t agree with the first one. Once I got well enough to know at least who I was, I gave up both and my general physician has been willing to work with me with my medications. He remains in contact with my therapist who has really tried, over the last almost 18 years, with talk therapy, Focusing, and a variety of other techniques which worked or didn’t depending on my physical condition.

    And that’s the thing…my physical condition. I’m on the West Coast now and seeing a psychiatrist here who has helped me to understand that getting my body healed is the first step in getting my whole self healed…guiding me to better sleep, exercize, a good diet, supplements for a variety of age-related (and weight related) medical problems. Not much talk therapy, yet. Maybe never. Just enough to understand where I’m coming from. Good thing is that my physician at home is on board with it all, so when I go back home, I’m going to be much more okay than I was when I came out here. The other good thing is that I intend to be out here more often.

    So, my answer to one of the questions, after this way-too-long comment…..I keep looking, I keep trying, I keep hoping, I keep praying, and all of that becomes empowerment. Giving up isn’t an option – for me or for my incredibly patient family!

  6. I really wish people knew more about Rosa Parks, especially children. Today, I see all role models being fictional i.e. I wanna grow up and be like Spiderman. Children in America need real role models like Rosa Parks or Nelson Mendela and not Charlie Sheens and Britney Spears.

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