Emotions and Behaviors Will Get Better As You Heal.

Punch to the Face

Image by Ninja M. via Flickr

Don’t worry.

When you hear that, don’t you think violent thoughts?  Or how about, “Calm down?”  Got to love that.  I have visuals of my back swing.  Sure.  You might call them hallucinations.  I’ve never actually hit someone but I have pulled into ready position.

Here’s the thing though.  After all this on-and-on about taking care of ourselves, I have found myself saying things that get awfully close and I’m looking out.  Pretty soon I’m afraid I’m going to get it.  (I’ve got my eye on you!  And you!)

Here’s what happened.  Augustina was wondering what to do about her best friend.  They had quarreled and then quarreled again.

Naming someone, “best-ie” sounds pubescent but Augustina was no child.  Her best-ie had been her chosen family (as Jackie Paulson reminded us yesterday)  since she was twelve, fat and leaked.  Kids were laughing.  Future Best-ie wasn’t.  That’s the kind of girl she was.  Safe; a light in a house that she had gone toward naturally and that had not been put out by Augustina’s misty self.  Wet face, stained pants, fat neck and pimples – Future Best-ie wasn’t laughing.  And that’s about all it took.  She was her friend.

Why had Augustina and Best-ie quarrelled these thirty-some years later?  This was am apparent mystery to Augustina.  You know those kind of mysteries, when they belong to only one person while everyone else with the answer key is looking on.  It was almost like she was standing there, twelve-years-old and bewildered.  This time though, Best-ie wasn’t on her side.  Or so she thought.

Truth is, Augustina had been mean.  She was not keeping dates, she argued easily and she was more self-absorbed than the color black.  It had been months now and then they quarreled.  Augustina missed all the prodrome, the warnings, the recommendations from family, other friends and including Best-ie to get insight and help.  To Augustina, this quarrel stood alone and she was being misused and misunderstood.

So what do we do?  Do we discuss Augustina’s behavior?  Do we explain her problems?  Maybe.  But only long enough to help her join our treatment team.  Once she’s in treatment, we wait.  We for reasons of self-preservation won’t say, “Don’t worry,” but we will come close.  Why?  Because we know that many of her problems as perceived by others and herself will disappear when her brain illness heals.  Do you believe that?  Where do you think her emotions and behaviors are coming from?

See blog post, There is Less Space Between Emotions And Science.

Questions:  When have you seen maltreatment from others that feels personal to you appear without provocation?  When have you seen someone you trusted change into someone who is mean, angry, selfish and reject you when they never did before?  Did you see the opposite happen when their brain illness was treated?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care Tip – Calm down.  (Duck!  I see you and I’m outta here!)

In Mass and Individually, We Are Beautiful – Lady Gaga

Someone, who has experience fighting for her emotional and behavioral health, advised me to listen to Lady Gaga – Born This Way.  She said, “Don’t be scared by it!  Just listen!”

So I did.  And then I did again.  Her message is not, “Don’t stress out.  Don’t work hard.  Just be who you are.”  It is rather, “Figure out who you are and embrace that fully.”  By her own example, she tells us to work harder than anything else on embracing that.  Gaga says, love this unique self and respect it openly and privately.  She tells us that we are all beautiful in mass and individually.

So let us know what you think!  Is her message our message here at FriendtoYourself.com?  Are you uncomfortable with loving yourself so well?  Please tell me your story.

If it Matters to You, Even The Hot Shots Say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME

i i i i i i i i i i i i i i i ! i i i i i i

Self-Care Tip #220 – Take your freedom and be good to yourself.

Free-will keeps cropping creeping climbing clambering up with us.  Go figure.  As usual, Carl pushed buttons and inspired me to remember the lovely word “self-government.”  I was so delighted that not only does the term self-government say it so well, but I felt like I was the first to come up with it.  Then I googled around and found Webster, many countries (possibly yours,) and even our own constitution of the United States (“We the people…”) might have wrinkled time and stolen it from me before I even thought of it (See Einstein and the Fabric of Time.)  Can you believe that!

While calming my unappreciated self, I ran across like-minded David Rigoni’s splendid work at the University of Marseille.  (After reading this, I’m sure he will delight in hearing us named, “like-minded.”)  Dr. Rigoni says,

Folk psychology tells us if you feel in control, you perform better.  What is crucial is that these effects are present at a very basic motor level, a deep level of brain activity.

He and his team studied thirty people over different tasks, using different mediums of examination and deduced that it is better to believe.

If we are not free it makes no sense to put effort into actions and to be motivated.

Dr. Rigoni’s work reminded me of the work of MIT neuroscientist Sebastian Seung.  Some time ago, Dr. Seung gave a wonderful TED conference,

I am my connectome.

Dr. Seung tells us the good news that we are more than our genes.  The connections among neurons are where memories and experiences get stored – not in the genome.

My pleasure grew when I read about the collaborative work from a few schools we’ve heard of – see NYU news.  ….Apparently goals and habits show overlapping neurological mechanisms.

This is all very exciting to our self-government.  I’m sure that we the people would hate to find out that all this time we’ve demanded our freedom – it wasn’t even possible.  But it is – even per the hot-shots of the world. The sophisticated and unsophisticated, in paradigms of thought, Time and Timelessness, learning, beliefs and feelings, in my country and in yours – we continue comfortably and with confidence to say, SELF-CARE BEGINS AND ENDS WITH ME.  (See Ghettysburg Address.)

Questions:  When have you found yourself unable to claim your freedom to be friendly with yourself?  How have you managed to cross the barriers you perceived around yourself or others?  What would you like to tell Carl or Carl?  Please tell us your story.

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...

Image via Wikipedia

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

Image via Wikipedia

 

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.

Mr. Rick C. – Blog Jacking #3

Guest Blogger:  Mr. Rick C.

As a gesture of good-will after my recent work stoppage and because “The Dogs”, have asked me to make a statement, I am, once again, taking over the blog.  To begin, “The Dogs” would like to indicate that they are quite happy and realize that running away is just what dogs do… getting caught was their mistake.  Also, they do not like vegetarian dog food and would prefer something coyote flavored.

In response to a recent blog by PDQ (That is short for Princess Dr. Sana Johnson-Quijada and was recently modified after she sent $19.95 to a website and found that she is indeed  Lebanese Royalty), Carl wrote…. “The serenity prayer has never given me any serenity. I have never had this alleged wisdom to know what I can or cannot change but I have developed the ability to know that after I have tried to change something for the 938th time without success some of that wisdom seeps in and it is time to find something else which will trouble me. Huh?”

I like reading Carl’s stuff because he frequently misses the obvious like I do.  Although, I am not a real psychiatrist in this country or many others… I recognize and am able to quickly diagnose issues and problems in others.  This is not really an ability that I have tried to develop and sometimes I even wish I could make it go away.  The ability is based on a principle known as “You Spot It, You Got”.   I did not invent this technique, however, I have much experience using it.  The basic principal is that when I am able to identify an issue in someone else it is usually because I “deal” with that same issue.  The reason I put deal in “”’s (that may be one of the finest uses of punctuation ever) is because I have no choice as to whether I “deal” with an issue I have or not.  I either deal with it by ignoring it, denying that it exist, suppressing it, or acknowledging it and finding a solution for it.  Kind of like that whole gravity thing… regardless of my opinion or mood… I have to deal with it.

Back to fixing my friend Carl… Guys like us tend to over analyze things to the “938th” degree.  When someone like Benjamin Franklin or Thomas Edison tries something over and over expecting different results… they are called geniuses and inventors.  When guys like us do it, it’s called insanity  Perhaps we are just people who tend to over do things like alcohol, drugs, gambling, eating, cigar smoking, and even PERSISTANCE.  I’m thinking that a Persistance Anonymous program might be what we need.  In lieu of that, we have the Serenity Prayer which Carl refers to.

God, Grant me the Serenity

To Accept the things I can not change

To Change the things I can and

the wisdom to know the difference

I think that everyone practices this prayer, to some degree, whether they admit it or not.  Let’s say that I have taken a step up in life and acquired a nice minivan.  (real doctor’s drive them, they must be nice) I am running late but stop at a red light.  I stopped because I accepted that I could not change the light.  By stopping, even if unhappily, there has been a level of acceptance.  While at the red light, I jump out and put a nice “Breast Cancer Awareness” Sticker on my car (I do this for several reasons… because it is a great cause, because I can now drive faster and more erratic and people will understand, and because it looks nice next to my “Support Your Local Police” sticker).  Upon getting back into the mini-van, I pick up the phone and call to let my appointment know that I am running late. Hence, I have changed the things I can and accepted that which I could not change.  For me, it is easy to “talk” about whether I accept things or not; however, my actions are a far better indicator.  I view serenity kind of like heat…. even at the coldest place on earth, there is a bit of heat present.  The total absence of heat would result in a temperature of -459 F (-273 C) or 0 Kelvin.  If, like Carl, we feel that our serenity is the equivalent of a cold spell in Siberia… it’s still there, we just need to warm it up.  By accepting only one thing, I have found that the change in perspective changed my serenity.  What is that one thing?  I am persistent and it’s the way I am wired.  This persistence can get frustrating way before I get to the 938th try, but, it also allows me to come up with solutions for problems that other have given up on.

How have your actions demonstrated acceptance even when your words didn’t?  How much training can two dogs handle?  What other stickers should be on the back of my minivan?  Does anyone own a Flowbee?  Tell me your story.

 

Keep Talking

Day 349 of 365 - Self Care/Friends!

Self-Care Tip #160 – Keep talking.  Be a friend to yourself.

Lingering in the afterglow of what all of you have said in your comments over that past six months, I am distracted in the best of ways.  The comments so often complete the post.  We are a team you know.  I hope that more of you noncommenters will shuck off your shrouded lovely selves and say something to us.  Because it is not true on this blog, that casting your bread upon the water just makes soggy bread.  Nope.  You’ve all been my living examples of this.

Yesterday, Nancy wrote,

“But to associate self-care with freedom actually made me feel free today….”

I could have cried because… I just can’t say all the many reasons why she blew me away with that.  I don’t have enough fingers to point with.

Sarah,

the civil war inside of us.

Mr. Rick C. in his Blog-Jacking #2,

Folks, you have not experienced incomprehensible demoralization until you have had a Flowbee lock onto your head with the full force of a ShopVac behind it.

That one just won’t stop coming back!  The visual itself is an almost permanent gift.

Kevin Blumer keeping things light talking about stress,

I love stress I absolutely love it being busy 10 pizzas to make in 2 mins…

Some days ago, Pattyann wrote,

I think it is much easier to ask for help and receive it when we stop looking at an illness as a personal failure.

Is there any better way of saying that?

Our own articulate CarlDAugostino who shows so much interest and respect to so many of us gave me this,

I have never really heard of this “self -friendship journey” It is a wonderful concept…

Yes, you show me that I matter and that I am not alone and that it turns out, …taking care of myself has been a pretty good idea after all.  You show me that it starts (goes across a few oceans and continents) and ends with “Me.”   Thank you, all of you for that.  There are soooo many things you’ve said, (you know who you are) that have totally rocked me.   Keep talking.

Question:  What shows you that it starts and ends with you?  Please tell me your story.

Self-Care is Freedom, is Democracy, is Because We Are Accountable

authenticsociety.com

Self-Care Tip #159 – Be accountable for and to yourself.

It was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, which in my part of the world is considered hot.  But in Washington D.C., I considered that temperature general anesthesia.  I was breathing it in and trying hard to remain alert.  Just when I thought I could hold out no longer, I saw him.  Big and expressive, the long form of Abraham Lincoln was there, surrounded by loud irreverent people.  My brother and I were wiping sweat out of our eyes trying to keep track of our kids.  We wanted to read the Gettysburg Address for our kids, and found ourselves screaming.  The kids could barely hear the words above the disinterested rabble around us.  Despite all this, I was choking; a weepy, sweaty, nearly anesthetized but free American.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

Just down the corner from Lincoln is a president’s list of sites to see, informers and reminders of who we are and where we came from.  However, none of them were “my Lincoln” experience.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion…

A couple of days ago, writing the post about how stress intersects with medicine, I remembered “my Lincoln.”  It may seem like a stretch at first but take a minute.  Self-care is a way of saying, “I am free.”   In places where life is cheap, almost without value, self-care is not much of an option.  It is because of freedom that we can extricate the meddling fingers, the invasions, and be the keeper of our own private spaces however we choose to.  It is because of freedom that we can tell people that although my brain is ill and although I take medication, I am equal. Saying that is self-care.  Saying that is possible if we take that freedom to keep our own accountability for our own selves.  Accountability is not the same as blame.  Having accountability for our freedom is not the same as being at fault for what came before freedom, nor our current conditions.

—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

If you’re not accountable to your inner self, if you’re only accountable to your actions, or you’re only accountable to what others determine and define about you, than you are not free.  You are blamed.

Accountability is such a tender privilege.  We might lose it if we forget who we are, where we came from and our rights to freedom.  Democracy is self-care.

Question:  How do you see the relationship between self-care and your freedoms?  Please tell me your story.