Be Willing to Stick Your Toe In The Water of Self-Care – Just Start.

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Self-Care Tip #204 – Be willing to stick your toe in the water of self-care – just start.

I’m not interested in medications.

I used to really wonder why anyone would come to me and say this.  Sometimes we would both realized that they didn’t know what a psychiatrist was.  My degrees seemed transparent as they hung so quietly on the wall.

My girlfriend, who’s an Ophthalmologist, loves it when her patients homogenize her work with what optometrists do.   And it wasn’t until I read Madeleine L’Engle did I understand more of the differences between astrology and astronomy by understanding their similarities first.

For the magi, astronomy and astrology were one science, and it is probably a very sad thing that they ever became separated. That is yet another schism which looks for healing…

Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas.

In those cases when my patients don’t know who they came to see, I have tried to bridge the awkwardness with something to put them at ease.

Don’t run for the door.  There’s no cage.  See, the doors unlocked.  There’s no implication that you have to take medication just because you came to see a psychiatrist instead of a psychologist.

But I’m not interested in medication.

Then there are those who know who they came to see.  But they may not know the connection between behaviors, emotions and their brain health.  (Of course there are other reasons to see an MD I’m not covering here.)

I’m not interested in medication.

Who wouldn’t wonder?  Now I realize an MD is good for more than just prescribing, if she wants to be.  I know.  Wild and outrageous idea, right?  So before I educate anyone on my enormous fund of knowledge or my stealth abilities to diagnose and treat, I think about what it is that this someone thought they might get from coming to see me.

(Enters Fatima:)  Fatima came in this way.

I’m not interested in medication.

Fatima wasn’t feeling good.  Her emotions were corrupting her behaviors and quality of life and she was trying to help herself, stretching her toe into the pool of science, slowly.  She had never been a person to jump in and splash.

After speaking with Fatima for some time, we were able to come up with what she felt she needed help with, what she thought might be medical, what she might be willing to try – for now that meant engaging in psychotherapy, starting omega 3’s and vit D, working on her sleep hygiene, trying to get more aerobic exercise in (like a pill) and doing a mood chart.  We decided together that she would see how this goes for her over the next two to four months.  After that, if she wasn’t doing better or better enough, we’d consider a medical intervention.  We’ll see if she’s interested in medication.  Maybe not.  She can choose when she believes she’s making the right choice.

Questions:   What helped you take the plunge into medication therapy?  What held you back?  Or in someone you know?  Please tell me your story.

Take Care of Yourself Better by Knowing What That Means.

Self-care tip #203 – Take care of yourself better by knowing what that means.

What is self-care?

Starting with the responsibility of our own persons needs, not necessarily for selfish reasons or self-less reasons – although it may be.  Self-care may also be starting with our own selves is not so simply because it is the shortest route to doing anything we want in life.  Pick something, anything.  Community service.  Parenting.  Science research.  Evangelism.  Rock-in-roll.  Name it.  Self-care gets you there more effectively and efficiently.

Self-care is not alone-care.  Self-care is a connecting force between Me and Me, Me and you, Me and all Life and Me and God.

What is self-care?

mbti, getting things done, productivity, technology

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Insight.  Insight to our needs.  Insight to our feelings.  Insight to our body function.  Insight to the needs around us and how we intersect with them.  Insight into our behaviors.

Self-care is insight into our own temperaments and pursuing the natural desires, talents, interests of our own design.
Personality Types.

Choices.  Choices to align ourselves with the constructive/positive efforts of our conscious and subconscious selves.  Choices to respond to the insight and own our role implied by the insight.  Choices to take care of our body, concretely – eat well, sleep well, exercise, drink water, take our vitamins and medications as prescribed.  Choices to Love and be Loved.  Choices to connect with others and relinquish the pride that drives our isolation.  Choices to be as healthy as possible as a gift to yourself and to those you love.

Self-care is letting go of our history.

Self-care is grabbing responsibility for now and our future.

Self-care is knowing that no one is responsible for how I feel, behave, think or function, except Me.

Question:  What is self-care for you?  Please tell me your story.

Be Aware of Your Feelings and Your Body Function When Getting Friendly With Yourself

Self-Care Tip #202 – Be aware of your feelings and your body.

symptoms and signs

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Wordsmith SuziCate commented to our post three days ago on finding depression in those of us who appear “fine.”

It can be more apparent in what is not said…. When I was depressed it was the absolute last thing I wanted to talk about. I evaded the subject, and if forced to talk it was about anything but what “I” was feeling.

Yet again, the comment completing the post.  It was on my mind and in my face somehow over these sum of days.  When I would start thinking about something else, a patient would nearly quote SuziCate and I wondered if you all have met behind my back on some other blog site with intent to trip me out.  (Grandiose delusions….)

Margo said yesterday in clinic, with hands moving, eyes wide and leaning in,

When I was really down, I just quieted down, stayed low, did my thing.  The last thing I wanted to talk about were my feelings.  I felt afraid of the Nothing that waited there.

She was talking more quietly now and her whole body receded a little.

You aren’t interested or interesting to anyone.  You don’t have anything to say.

We were both quiet for a bit.

These flattening-of-the-spirit symptoms used to be called “Pseudodementia” because they resembled dementia so much.  A muting of the mental and physical function.  A disease progression slowing the nerves and body.  We now refer to them as “Neurovegetative Symptoms.” **

When thinking about getting friendly with ourselves, we can’t forget about what we don’t say or feel emotionally.  We remember also, that the brain is connected to the rest of our body.  Brain is sick, the rest of us is sick too.  This can be a good check point once we start realizing that something is wrong either by insight or by comments from others.

It can be more apparent in what is not said….

Hear more than words.

Not all depressions are these muting processes.  Some of them are activating and agitating types leading to anger and irritability.  Those are hurtful too.

All types of depression are dangerous when left untreated.  The reason isn’t only the risk of suicide or the distance it creates from others.  The reason also includes the less familiar brain changes that it causes on the brain function.  The sooner we are able to pull out of a depression, heal and return to ourselves, the better health our brains will have the long term.  The longer a depression is left untreated, the more damage is caused to the brain’s health.

Questions:  How did you figure out you were depressed now or then? Or that someone else was depressed?  Please tell me your story.

**Neurovegetative Symptoms are the things about affective disorders that most of us don’t know about.  We think about emotions – depressed, sad, happy, angry and calm when we think about mood or anxiety.  We don’t think about the body.  We don’t think about cognition, concentration, memory and what SuziCate or Margo described so well.

It can be more apparent in what is not said….

Neurovegetative symptoms are called “neurovegetative” because they are caused by the changes in the nervous system and they limit our ability to function.

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

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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.

Using The Force – I Am An Emotions Jedi Diagnosing In Those Who Function “Fine”

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Self-Care Tip #200 – Use your emotions to sense the emotions around you or in your own self to detect depression.

Teracina came in initially for some sleeping pills.  She didn’t come to tell me about her personal life.  She just wanted the pills.  It’s understandable.  What a pain really to unveil on cue, like planned sex it was too impersonal to get personal.  She was in the category of people who weren’t pining for diagnosis, for a hearing ear or connection.  She wasn’t even actively thinking about those things.  Pushing them at her turned her stomach.  Foreign foods and smells to her, a girl who liked home.

Hearing what she is coming in for is the first part of anyone’s exam.

So what brought you in today?

What can I do by you?

What are your druthers?

In Teracina’s case, I got an answer of what she perceived she needed.  It’s my job to see if I can get more than that first answer, the patient’s chief complaint.  So we negotiated as we chatted.  Pills for history.  Only enough pills to get her in to her next appointment in a week when we can talk further.  She’ll come back ready to let me take a history or she won’t.

We talked a little more while I was writing out her secure-prescription for what she came in expecting to get, Zolpidem.  It turns out that her neighbor shared some with her a few weeks ago and it “worked.”

I was watching her too, while I wrote, while we talked.  She didn’t have much expression on her face and her voice lacked inflection.  She gave off this aura that the ground was about to open up and suck us both under.

This is a short-cut I learned early in my psychiatry residency training.  I also had extra credit because I was already hard-wired to listen to my internal emotional milieu.  I call myself the “Emotion’s Jedi.”  (Go ahead and laugh.  With these powers, I see right through you.)  When we are with someone and feel like the ground is going to open up and swallow us, we have a ladder-chute to diagnosis –> depression.

Depression is sneaky; an ebb out of our unsuspecting selves it takes bits of our personality away.  More often, many of us don’t know that we have been changed.  We are doing well enough at work, or school or the daily chores of a care-giver’s work-load.

I’m fine.  Nothing’s changed.

Colloquially we call this, “functional depression.”  Doing well on paper but inside fading, body changing, sleep changing, interest and motivation – changing.

No.  I never have thoughts of wanting to die.  I’m fine.

(Insert famous swooshing sound of my lightsaber.  You can add music too if you like.)

But who cares if Teracina doesn’t come back next week to see me?  I’m not fighting her.  No I’m not.  And that’s why I care.

None of us are fighting each other.  We are fighting these diseases, here to be tools to be used by each other and by ourselves for each others sake.  Flip it back again.  For our own sakes.  We fight that dark melancholy and are not worth much more than our posture if we don’t.

Question:  What has helped you to detect depression in those functioning around you?  Or yourself, when “everything was fine?”

Bring Your Separate Selves Together – Personal Journey

National Museum, Czartoryski Collection

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Self-Care Tip #199 – Bring together what you are naturally inclined to do with what you spend your energies on.

When we do what we like to do, what is congruent with our hard-wiring, what is naturally inspiring, fatigue becomes part of our pleasure in my life.  Cliché,

Enjoy the burn,

…is common for a reason.  There are times when pain, fatigue, difficulty and hard-surfaced days are bits of what make life journey one of richness, rather than diminished.  I was reminded by Jaclyn Rae’s Blog-post today, that when we can say,

I’ve learned that I’m tired but still want to do what I do,

…we are paddling the same river our life is floating down.  When we by mental illness, misfortune, choice or neglect, don’t – we are more observant of our lives rather than participants to them.  We find being present in the process difficult.  It’s not something everyone can do in all aspects.

However, we don’t have to be defined by those particulars, choosing instead to do the hard work of processing our choices, our energy and where it comes from, our emotions and see how they weave into our constitution.  Then, some time when breathing hard, limping and spent, we will remember this and reconnect the experience with the choice and the emotion a little quicker.  We will less often separate from the water our life is traveling.  Not become observers but participate more often, more actively, more tangibly with that kernel in us that stays, our essence.  (See blog post, My Essence.)

In the marvelous work, “His Dark Materials” trilogy, Philip Pullman describes us as split persons, a body and a spirit (“demon”) that might be parted by neglect, carelessness, abuse, or other disasters.  But when it is separated, the body suffers and is disconnected from it’s life purpose, what brings pleasure and presence in the world around.  (See blog post, Soul and Body.)

There are medical illnesses that do this, as mentioned above, and in those cases, perhaps all to do is get medical care, heal, treat and get on with life.  Other times, it might be that we forgot ourselves in the midst of caring for children, a demanding job, an opinion that victim-hood defines our life possibilities or what not.  We have options.

As Jjen reminded us some days ago,

The bad doesn’t disappear but it is not a qualifier for the rest of life’s potential.

Questions:  How have you reconnected to your life journey?  Your essence?  What is constant about you in your changing self?  Please tell me your story.

So Many Choices, So Little Time …For Self-Care

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Self-Care Tip #198 – Being a friend to yourself might be saying,

No.

Our culture is brimming.  Brimming with…, well take your pick; walking the dogs, turning in a take-home test, watching The King’s Speech, writing a journal entry, making pancakes or reading Savvy – we have options.

However, today and often, options are stalkers we think difficult to restrain.  …More difficult, say than filing a restraining order against your husband.

Walter filed for divorce with his unhappy wife.  Vengefully, his wife turned around and filed a restraining order on him and just like that, he was unable to see his kid for over two months.  That was easy.  All she had to do was file it.

And when we have these many options, all we need to do is say, “Yes,” to one and to the rest,

No.

I love it when my four year-old son is rocking carelessly on my outstretched legs, flopping about, a happy-drunk bird-on-a-wire, and predictably although unintentionally falls.  Crumpled on the floor, he flicks his bangs back and says rather coolly,

I was okay, Mommy.  I was okaaaay.

I had tried to rest on the couch and type, doing my self-care thing after doing Mommy-stuff with the kids for a large chunk of the day.  But telling him to stop doing that really cute thing he does was not so easy.

According to The Economic and Social Research Council,

Having older siblings is not related to children’s happiness with their family, but having younger siblings in the household is associated with lower levels of satisfaction and this effect is greater the more younger siblings present in the household.

It turns out that children feel more happiness in their homes when there are fewer younger children.  They perceive that there is less energy available for them from their parents with each born child.  And I’m here to say, there is.  With my son on the floor, flicking his hair and going,

I was okaaay…,

my middle daughter kissing my shoulder and burrowing into my arm like an ear-wig, my eldest daughter came back to ask for the sixth time if I would play jump rope with her – I remembered this study.  So true.  I don’t need more options, i.e. more children who ask and I say,

No.

With these many wonderful options, choosing Me, is not always easy.  (See post, “‘You’ Are the Best Gift.”)

Now throw in a little inappropriate guilt, some ruminating thoughts, self-loathing, bad sleep, some low motivation and energy and choosing Me becomes the hardest thing anyone has come up against.

Questions: How do you choose you when you could pick so many other great options?  How has this helped quality of life for you and others in your life?  Please tell me your story.

Blog-Jacking By Dogtor Timothy Q (Alias Mr. Rick C.)

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Guest Blogger:  Dogtor Timothy Q.


For some time “The Queen”, as we like to refer to her, has asked me to help out with her fine blog.  Technically, she may have never asked directly.  However, I think “Stay in the gosh darn yard before I go bazookas” could be translated into our language as “Please write my blog for me”.  I would like to begin by introducing myself.  My name is Timothy and I am a dog that lives in a magical floating house that is at the top of the bottom of a hill.  (This confuses me, also.  I just go with what I am told.)  As you may have guessed… Our Queen is none other than the very “I’m gifted”, “I’m talented”,  and “shucks I am so fat” … Dr. Q.  This description is not my own, but rather, what she repeats each morning as she looks into the mirror before chasing the fine young prince and princesses around the house as the one we like to call “The Knight” pets us and escapes.

I have worked on this for the last month.  Not because I have a lack of things I would like to say, but because paws and keyboards do not go well together.  This is just one of the many discriminations that we as dogs face.  I am proud to say that, rather than make excuses or bark endlessly about my problems (I tried that once and endured something called mad neighbor with a water hose), I have learned to use my nose.  My tongue worked better but seemed to create issues with the computer.

I grew up with all the comforts a Labradoodle could hope for… Gourmet meals, attendants, a plush customized mini van, grooming at the finest spas.  Yet, I have always felt like I have missed something.  Recently, I discovered a loose patch of grass right next to the fence.  The sign could have been no clearer.  It said to me, “Dig!, Dig!, Dig!… your time to explore the world has come”.  That is just what I did.

I have made many friends during my adventures through the neighborhood.  I have also learned that there are many out there that will lead you astray.  Being a stray is not a bad thing and can happen to the best of dogs.  I have quite a few friends that fit into this classification, even.  Many dogs are born stray, such as the ones they call coyotes.  As my grandfather once told me, Labradoodle translates into “Feared by every single coyote that has ever even come close to us”.  With this in mind, I reached out a paw to the yotes and found out that they’re not so bad.  We have a lot in common… We all dislike cats and agree that they do taste a lot like chicken.  Trust me… after hitching a ride on a banana truck back from Tijuana, I will never ever listen to a cat as long as I live.

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Interestingly, people seem to let their guard down when they think that it’s just us dogs watching.  Aside from enduring the occasional really bad rendition of Barbra Streisand, we pick up some pretty interesting information.  Gets kind of complicated sometimes.  Too much of this, not enough of that, need to change,blah, blah, blah, blah, woof.  Believe it or not…. most of the stuff we see and hear as dogs doesn’t change what we have for people that feed us and pet us…. unconditional love.

How has your dog been rewarded today?  What bad things have cats done to you?  Do you know any sweet young female dogs (censorship!) that are looking for a good time?  How does your dog see you and do you really have to dance while you sing the same gosh darn song every single morning?

Go Towards Your Pain to Relieve It

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Self-Care #197 – Go where your pain is to prepare for what happens badly in life.

Yesterday we talked about the power of loss, grief and pain not being one that can take away the potential of life.

Carl appreciated the idea that “scripted cue cards” with platitudes on them to read off for ourselves or for others when something bad happens – “Good comes out of bad,” “I know what you feel like,” and so on – is nothing anyone wants.  His comment included, in true Carl-style, a great question:

But what else can we say to show respectful empathy?

Goodness.  For crying out loud, we aren’t a bunch of calloused puff heads who don’t care or who don’t have a clue when someone is suffering!  We’ve all asked this question and wanted to help.  We’ve wanted to connect, to serve, to answer Carl’s question when we are in or come into the presence of pain.

In self-care, we can’t help others if we don’t help ourselves first.  We can’t give what we don’t have.  Airplane crashing, put your oxygen on before your babies.  Can’t withdraw if the bank account is empty….  We take care of ourselves and find that we can serve others more as a result.  It’s the same way in grief.  If we don’t go where our own pain is in life, if we aren’t present with our life journey, if we don’t fight hard for who we are, it is very hard to know how to answer this question.

There’s something to say about doing the work before the trouble comes and then when it comes, use it to prepare for more.  I love Ecclesiastes 12 which tells us in Solomon’s depressed and yet feisty words,

Remember your Creator
in the days of your youth,
before the days of trouble come
and the years approach when you will say,
“I find no pleasure in them”—

Solomon was talking about self-care here.  Holding us responsible at the elemental level to use the time we have before trouble comes, so that when it comes, we have a way of answering.

Carl gave his own answer,

…live life on life’s terms like it or not.  If we allow Jesus to embrace us and comfort us it will fortify us through life’s unfortunate tragedies.

Question:  What is your answer to Carl’s question?  Please tell me your story.

Pain Doesn’t Define Life’s Potential

Close-jen-grieve

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Self-Care Tip #196 – When you are hurting, remember the pain doesn’t define life’s potential.  Be a friend to yourself.

Yesterday we talked about giving and getting bad news without fear.  This was received in a spectrum of ways by you, ranging from – no way is bad news something not to be scared of, to, bad news might be something we could face knowing we might find something good in the end.  No one slammed the hammer down, dinging red at bad news equals good all around – except my dogs who don’t listen anyway and are pretty much always happy.

Jjen was brave, saying,

I would have to also agree that in some cases bad news can bring family members, or even friends together that have been estranged. This has personally happened to me. Kind of a bittersweet thing; good in result of something bad and mending a broken relationship.

“Good comes out of bad.”  Not everyone agrees and I don’t blame them.  Some bad things are better left alone to rot and stink out of our lives entirely.  It even sounds patronizing when someone is hurting to say this.  This kind of discovery should be made by the parties involved, without the rest of us holding scripted cue cards for them.

It is also something that is received easier from another who has been in, or is in their own catastrophe(s), losses, abuse or grief – say Jesus for starters.  I could hear this from Him without wanting to vomit all over the place.  He’s been there, hurt bad, and has been blessed through and by it in ways I will be learning about even after Time unhinges.

When my nine year-old adored niece suddenly died, I didn’t see that.  It’s taken almost six years to see anything good come “from” this unbelievable loss we grieve every moment.  The bad doesn’t disappear for me, but as Jjen said, it is not a qualifier for the rest of life’s potential.

Question:  What has come “from” the bad in your life – more bad or what?  Please tell us your story.

Getting or Giving Bad News Without Fear

Slalom skier

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I was reading an article on awareness of obesity the other day telling us that many times, people don’t know they are obese until they are told by someone else.  Ouch.  Pass the Band-Aides.  But it aired our need to stay connected, speak up, and listen.  It also prompted me to reflect on mental illness.  How often I’ve sat with someone’s emotions-history in my hands, looked at them and realized they didn’t know.  They were there, emotions bleeding all over the place but didn’t grasp their injury.

Um, excuse me ma’am.  Let’s apply some pressure on that and get you some help.

Bloody news like this reminds me of my friend Jack.  He was waterskiing with my brother and I when we were college’ish-age.  Jack was not so capable on the water, although he wasn’t afraid.  As you probably know, three is the perfect number for waterskiing – one to drive, one to hold the flag when the skier is setting himself up, and then of course the skier.  Any more and there are way too many polite smiles and way too much advice for the bobbing body in the water.  Jack was working on his slalom moves, thrilled with his progress and after about the third fall, was still ready for another go.

Hit it!

Our boat, Rosewater, eased him out of the water and he was up.  Jack has a way of celebrating like no other.  He whoops and yells and his whole body joins in.  And so he was in his happy place, up on a single ski, unconcerned with the world at large.  It was lovely.  Until the wake of that other huge boat threw him down and his face slammed into his spectacular single ski.  Up he came and we just looked at him, quietly at first.  Jack paddled up to the boat and wondered if he should try again.

Um, sorry Jack.  Let’s apply some pressure on that and get you some help.

Jack had a huge gash, copiously bleeding all over his face and he had no idea.  He was wet already, cold from the water and didn’t feel a thing.  I still feel the creepies skittering up my arms and chest thinking about it.

When we told Jack, he was a little unbelieving.

Are you sure?  Is it bad?  I think I’m alright.  It’ll wash out and I can try again….

Oh there wasn’t much pleasure in telling him the bloody news.  Generally there isn’t that much pleasure in telling someone they are fat or suffering from mental illness either.  It’s the follow-up to that statement where the fun comes in.  The hope that we link the first punch-line to.  Good news is, …along comes the second punch-line.  Hope.  And presence.  Being with someone where they are at, as they are, and with patience doesn’t mean leaving him in the dark, bleeding out.

The reverse is true of course as well.  If we don’t stay connected with others, we may lose the opportunity to see ourselves through their eyes.  It is an opportunity.  When we are with someone we trust, respect and think see’s us as the precious thing that we are, it is.

Self-Care Tip #195 – Stay connected with others and listen without fear – something good is coming.  Be a friend to yourself.

Questions:  How do you deliver “bad news?”  What is the best way you’ve ever been given “bad news?”  Please tell me your story.