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

Three Capetian French scholars consulting an a...

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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.

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.