No One is Choosing For You – Know Your Choices For Health

Yesterday we asked some pithy questions re: Why Psychiatry?  Your responses were received with gratitude and humility.  It takes courage to understand our connection with psychiatry considering ongoing stigma.  Today we’re reviewing that some and taking it one bit further.

When referred to a psychiatrist for medical care, we can feel confused.

Why is my physician sending me away?  Does this mean I’m at my last resort?  Does this mean I’m that sick?, or,

Does he think I’m crazy?  I’m not insane!, or personalizing with,

Does my physician not want to work with me?  I’m that bad of a patient?  Cast off?

Our expectations when we first see our psychiatrist are often also similarly reactive.  Maybe,

I’ll give this one chance but if she doesn’t fix whatever it is that’s going on, I’m out of here. 

I am not going to be dependent on medications!

I do not want to be made into a zombie!

Are we looking for a cure?

Also, we might be confused by the amount of time that she spent with us the first appointment as compared to our follow-up appointments.

I need to talk about my problems!  I need time!

There’s a lot to take in.

Unfortunately, when we are referred to a specialist, often our referring physician hasn’t effectively communicated as to why we are being sent there.  This is for many possible reasons, including Me not hearing him.  Many other reasons are also understandable with insight but we aren’t always given the opportunity to hear the inside story of why our physician does what he does.  That doesn’t mean we have to accept it.  But if we do, we did and it’s our choice.

Choice

Image by Scarygami via Flickr

We have choices.  Before accepting the referral, we can ask, Why?  Keep asking why until we are satisfied with our level of understanding.  Schedule a follow-up appointment with the referring physician if necessary to gain more time if we think we need it.  Sometimes, despite our physicians best efforts, we won’t understand as well as we’d like and we have to make our choice with the information we have.  We can read up on our symptoms ourselves.  I read in Twitter from @NathanBransford,

The 11th Commandment: Thou shalt not ask someone a question thy could easily Google thyself.

That’s ridiculous although I cracked up.  The World Wide Web comprehensively and including Google or any other source within that World Wide Web are not designed to practice medicine.  When we read something, we need to ask for qualifications behind the author of the print, references and so forth.  The Internet is a tool worth our attention but you decide how far you are willing to take what you read before you consult with your own physician.  I think if Doctor Seuss were alive today, he’d write a book (or many) about health care; Oh The Tools We Can Use!  (Maybe Carl and Thysleroux will do a series or a post on this?  Should be fun.  – Asking, “Why?”  Becoming our own friend.  Connection.  Going towards shame, pain, anxiety.  Growing bank – and more.)

And so that brings us to today’s questions:  What choices do you perceive you have in referrals like these?  In your continuing medical care?  In your ability to collaborate with your physician?  In obtaining an understanding of your illness(es)?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Grow your understanding of your choices for your health and medical care.

Related Articles:

  1. Stay Connected For Your Sake and For Theirs
  2. Connecting To Others Is a Condition of Freedom
  3. Safety in Connections

Stigma Can Hack At Us, But We Don’t Have To Lose Our Heads Over It

City of Canterbury budget 2010−2011 072a

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A few days ago we wrote a blog-post entitled “Be A Tall Poppy.”  I had more than one person ask in comments and in person, what the —-! did that mean!

Why a poppy?  Why discriminate against the many other lovely but apparently unapplauded flora of the world?

What does it mean to “be a tall poppy?”

This referenced the “Tall Poppy Syndrome” of Anglosphere nations.  It tells us that culturally people who wear their accomplishments openly and indiscreetly invoke jealousy in others who then correctively cut the “tall poppy’s” down.

No offense to other buds around the globe, but when we say, “Be a tall poppy,” we say be yourself without the “discretion” of hiding your beauty – flaws and desired traits included.

We probably can’t change cultural opinion much if we don’t work with our own feelings of possible social rejection of making these changes in ourselves.  Being a tall poppy means that we will not be reduced by stigma and other forces; we stand tall and live.

In our blog-post Paging A Testimony, Nancy told us about her discomfort with the response of others to the way her improving health demonstrates itself and changes the dynamics of their relationship.  The balance of energy, power and involvement between her and others is in flux.  Her courage of prevailing through can be coined with, “Nancy is a tall poppy.”

Way to go Nancy!  Stand.  Cowing to those negative emotions is the same as cutting the poppy’s head off and stem left short.  Feel the tension, but stand.  Be present with your emotional responses.  Stand tall.

Self-Care Tip #279 – Be present with your emotional responses.  Stand tall.

We Are Unique

Waiting room of Nanjing railway station

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We are unique, but it is not our suffering that makes us unique.

You Might Find That You Are A Genius

Did I do the right choice !?

Questions:  What do you do when you are avoiding something?  When you have a job waiting under your nose, what is it that you find yourself using to procrastinate with?

If you see a pattern in what you use to self-sooth with, to avoid with, to divert with and to ease the pain of doing what you don’t want to do, write it down somewhere else.  It’s already written on your heart.  This, with some introspection and purposeful hard work, might be your genius, your natural place of interest and where you are able to feel pleasure and quality of life.  This is an activity, (now hold on – even resting is an activity, so put your hand down,) that is consistent with your hard-wiring – your genes.  Get it?  Genes.  Genius.  That’s why we need to know ourselves to get friendly with ourselves.  Our self-care isn’t too friendly fighting our biology – our temperament.

I noticed this tonight as I was perusing and writing emails when I have to finish up a talk I’m giving tomorrow for the Rotary.  I noticed this when I turned to write my post on this blog before working on that talk I’m giving tomorrow for Rotary.  It’s 8:15 pm.

This post is not glorifying the act of procrastination, avoidance or shirking responsibility.  (Shame on me.  Don’t remember this.  Don’t let this imprint on your minds.)  This post is simply saying, if you are, take a few to use what you’re doing for your self-care.  In the future, you could then choose more actively to do those things that you discovered come so naturally to you.  You might find that you are a Genius!  Wouldn’t that be fun?

Self-Care Tip # 210 – Use whatever comes your way, including procrastination, to teach you about becoming a better friend to yourself.

When You Can’t Control This, Emote Empathically

Self-Care Tip #172 – When you can’t control this, emote empathically.  Be a friend to yourself.

A couple of days ago I wrote about being transparent with ourselves and others when we are not in control of things.  (Say, “I Can’t Control This” When You Can’t.)

This road sign image is in the public domain a...

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It got mixed responses but all worth thinking about.

Jennifer responded on Facebook,

The 3 C’s help me all the time; I didn’t cause it, I can’t control it, I can’t change and or cure it!

Isn’t that wonderful?!

  1. Cause
  2. Control
  3. Change

And it’s helpful to remember that claiming these 3C’s still may not remove us from the stressor.  We are however more present with ourselves and others despite the stressor.

Another reader BeeBlu’s, brought up that famous “fine line,”

I agree that it’s healthy to have this attitude to certain things in our lives, but as you say, it is also no excuse for bad behaviour and letting emotions go into free fall at the expense of others. I think there is a very fine line between the two. bb

…And her signature, “bb,” – awesome.

A line that is thin implies insecurity, danger and something precarious that may end up all wrong.  I wonder about that line.

On one side we have the 3 C’s:  cause, control, change.  On the other side of the line we have responsibility for the boundaries of others.  I wonder if there really is a dividing line after all or if it is just bad lighting.  If there wasn’t, there would be no need to thicken the line, to defend, or to pick sides.

Emotional health makes shadowy lines disappear.  It takes someone who has emotional health to be able to say their 3 C’s and still consider the internal and external milieu of others.  It takes someone who has done their self-care and put money in the bank; someone who has reserve built up that spills over into empathy.  We can’t emote empathically so well when we aren’t emotionally healthy.  The less of that, the more real the line becomes.  The less of that, the more precarious we are.

Gaining emotional health may take medication, exercise, sunlight, granola, grandma’s kisses and all sorts of things.  Each of us has to figure it out for our own selves and just do it.

Questions:  What do you think about this business of shadows, lines, and living cautiously?  When you have been healthiest, how have you been able to embrace both the 3 C’s and emote empathically at the same time?  Please tell me your story.

Connecting to Others is a Condition of Freedom Rather Than Loss of It.

Sitting on this land, fenced and gated I felt small.  It was different from my home.  Here I lost my connection to beyond the fence.  The string that attached me wasn’t long enough.  At my home, without thinking about it, I thought my self was bigger.  Small yet as large as the large connection I had to all the life that stretched out.  I hadn’t been in that place for a long time.

In the distance I saw the strange mountains, snow-covered, scoops of freedom and thought, “I must get there before I disappear.”

That’s what internet, (blogging, Facebook, Twitter) has done for me.  Taken me there.  No fences, no neighborhoods or zoning.  Suddenly my home became the great outdoors again and although I became smaller in it’s largeness, I became bigger by connection.  I had died a little in my isolation.  Designed in temperament and by human nature to get my energy from connections, I was weakening and alone.

I did not know.  I did now know a name for my condition.  I did not know the nature of my weakness.  I did not know what would happen when I took it down.  And I was afraid.

Tomorrow I’ll talk a little more about what conditions us to disconnect.  But for today I only share the openness around me with you.  It surprised me and wasn’t my conscious goal originally when I set out writing FriendtoYourself.  But as all true gifts come, It came to me from Love, not bought by labor or coin.

My land has changed.

Self-Care Tip #142 – Use the internet as a way to connect with others to be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What have been the connecting forces in your life?  Please tell me your story!