Just Go To Sleep

Sleep

Image via Wikipedia

A multitude of sins would be forgiven, pills would be forgotten, pain would be diminished, hope would be restored, brain would be healthy if we would but go to sleep.

Questions:  What keeps you from self-indulging when it is time to go to bed but you’d rather not?  What helps you get your restorative brain rest?  Have you noticed that everything is better with sleep?  Would you describe it to us?

Self-Care Tip – Get solid restful sleep.  Be a friend to yourself.

Sleep Does Not Lose As Gracefully As He Lets Us Think

Cougar sleep

Image via Wikipedia

Self-Care Tip #244 – Sleep when the day is over, and play another time.  Be a friend to yourself.

Sometimes it is hard to let the day end.  Michael told me that he was having trouble sleeping.  I asked him to tell me more and heard him describe fun-filled hours of movies, computer, phone-calls and late-night snacks that were disturbing his sleep-initiation.  Just listening to him, I felt a yearning catch spark in me to have the freedom to be spontaneous again.  You might know what I mean.

The opportunities to be spontaneous have shrunken up as our choices have brought us expanding fillers for time, attention, money, energy, emotion, personal resources and magic.  It is no wonder that letting the day end meets reluctance.  Those last few hours that sleep called shot-gun for are ours with less fist than big brother used to stage.  Sleep doesn’t put up much fight …at first.  At first, it concedes to us.  It lifts it’s chin casually until given turn.  However, much like the loan shark, sleep will never go unpaid.  It will take it’s due.  Maybe just not tonight.  Maybe you won’t hear about it until later.  And there are no promises that it won’t take by force, from one part or another of our body, our brain, our beauty, our emotions – debts are not forgotten here.

Michael says, as if he were the victim here,

It takes most people about thirty minutes to fall asleep.  But me!  It takes me hours to.  

We started talking about sleep hygiene and Michael just wasn’t interested.  I asked him to simply read about it and just see what he thought he might be able to start with.  One change maybe that he thought was tolerable.

These negotiations are sometimes best when the patient feels like they came up with the idea.  Michael is going to read about this and hopefully become his own advocate.  He will hopefully “sell” it to himself with the information both from facts but also from experience.  It’s no accident that Costco sets up samples at ever turn of their superstore.  Nor that we can never seem to leave without spending at least $100 in cash – not credit!  Cash!  (Argh.)  Maybe Michael will sample and decide to sleep rather than play at night.  He might have to “taste it” to believe and choose for himself.

Spontaneity will always lure us, dangle her jangly jewelry, give her side-ways glance and make us long for those midnight hours to open up in playful company.  However, sleep is not as gracious as it seems.  Don’t be fooled.

Question:  Do you consider sleep hygiene important to self-care and why?  How do you see it related to you being a friend to yourself?  Please tell me your story.

Your Pain is Not Special. It Is Normal.

Self-Care Tip #243 – See yourself as special rather than your pain and know that you will find your normal again.

What is your normal?

When we were kids, we all had a perspective of what normal was.  Let’s say it was “here.”  Let’s imagine we were lovely then, nurtured and emotionally bonded.  We struggled through peer conflicts, social anxiety and rivalry.  We wanted a bike.

Two Sisters

Image via Wikipedia

Then we got a little older.  Maybe our parents divorced.  Maybe, a sibling died.  Maybe we were abused or in an accident and damaged.  Damage changes normal.  What we never would have thought would be acceptable in our lives became acceptable.  We suffered.  We lived.  Life was indiscriminate and ignored our status.  We think there must be a mistake.

What is our normal at one point, filtered through remaining hopes, grew into regenerating fantasies, through real potential and it moved again.  We are older now and more suffering comes.

Where is our normal?  We survive our child, our own dear perfect boy, hanging from a tree.  Normal?  No dear God!  No!  And we continue to live.

Two years.  Two years are what it takes for our biology to catch up to the shock.  Two years are what it takes for us to begin to accept and realize that in this new normal we care again.  We choose it in fact.

People don’t remember his name or talk about him and we can’t remember his eyes.  We are ashamed and lose our breath from panic just trying to see them.  We want to bang our head because we know there is something wrong about feeling normal! Ever! Again! after that.  But we do.

Our normal mutates over financial ruin, abandonment and a growing healthy list of disfiguring illnesses.  We accept them and say yes please.  Live.  We want to live.  This is acceptable.  This is normal.  Our friends die.  Our memory.  We can’t find our teeth.  Our heart stops.  We die and the world finds normal.  The world chooses just like we did.

What we don’t think will ever be allowed to happen while we brush hair, clip our nails and microwave food, happens. We endure these changes.  We find normal again.

What is your normal?

My brother, Vance Johnson MD, is a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist.  He said that during his residency, close to 100% of spinal cord injury paralysis survivors he worked with wanted to die after their injury.  Many of them would beg him to let them die.  They would cuss at him for keeping them alive.

I leaned very heavily on the studies and data during those times.  It was very hard.

Vance said that what kept him faithful to his task was knowing that close to 100% of them after two years would be glad they were kept alive.

Even the ones who were basically breathing through a straw and that’s all that moved on them; even they wanted to live.  These people found a new normal.

Where is our normal?  We will want it.  We will adapt.  Biology will catch up to our reality.

Remember that your pain is not special.  You are special.  Not your pain.  Pain is normal.

Question:  When this happened to you, how did normal find you despite the rubble?  How does this concept feel to you, that your pain is not special?  Does it make you angry or what?  Please tell me your story.

It’s Time To Grow Up

 

 

 

Fragile Annie writes a blog called, “It’s Time To Get Over How Fragile You Are.”  Isn’t that a great name?  She own’s her frailty, own’s that it has affected her life, and own’s what it’s time to do now.  All in a name and a title.

When I was in psychotherapy, talking on about injustices suffered, my feelings, the rightness of my condition – my therapist said, “It’s time to grow up Sana.”  I still feel the punch in my stomach and the quiet immediately following.  I couldn’t breath for a bit.  Just nodded my head.  “Ok.”  …I said, “Ok” a few times.  I don’t remember much else of what he told me but I don’t think I’ll ever forget that.  He’d be satisfied with his work with me if he knew.

After all, it’s not such a small thing to grow up, or “get over” our frailty.  It’s not such a small thing to see our need.  It’s not so little to act on it.  These are things that champions do.  These are things any coach, parent, therapist, teacher would be proud to be a part of.  These are the things that make the difference between falling victim to your history, or claiming the rights to your now and to your future.

Think about what is upsetting you the most.  What seems to keep at you and trip you and keep you back and keep you right where it left you last?  It’s time to grow up.

Self-Care Tip #106 – In Fragile Annie’s own words, “It’s time to get over how fragile you are.”  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What has knocked your breath out in a good way, sending you off towards growth?  Please tell me your story.

Escape Self-Loathing

happinessinthisworld.com

Self-Care Tip #91 – Put the fight down and take 2 steps back.  Be a friend to yourself.

He came in looking really good.  Chris had seen me for many years and he hasn’t always looked this way.  I said

You look great!

Chris shrugged and told me he had just had a long messy argument with his partner and somehow still felt alright.  In the past, after they fought and the self-loathing set in, he might have hurt himself – like using alcohol or cutting on himself to

…just feel something different.

I was ready to move past the story as he sounded like he was ok with it.  We talked past each other.  Me asking about his sleep, and Chris telling me clips and phrases from the argument.

But amazingly I’m fine!  If he wanted me out today, I’d be out of there, no problem.  He just needs to say the word!

Chris was sitting back in his chair, relaxed until then.  His hands came up and took control of his space, thrusting as he spoke.

Being a psychiatrist, my expertise kicked in and I realized I should turn back.  Chris wasn’t ready to talk about sleep.  You see what all those years of school can do.  Not everyone knows how to pick up on such subtleties.

Chris, maybe you aren’t so happy you argued.

We talked more about his energy, appetite and motivation.  Then we came back to his argument.

It’s none of his f—— business where I am during the day!  I’m not his child.  I’m his partner!  I told him…!

And so on.  Chris still looked better than when he was in the grip of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, or when he was catatonic.  But he didn’t sit comfortably with himself.  And I thought, Chris has fought so hard for himself, why can’t he handle what I want to say?  And I did.  And he did.  Beautifully.  He was a brave knight on a black steed holding his wounded sides.  Life had been a battle for him, but he was making choices to fight less and live more.

“Ok.  Yes.  You’re right.  I will next time.  That makes sense.”

When you’re about to engage in something that in the end will make you loath yourself, choose not to.  That’s friendly to you and your other.  Say something like,

When I was gone you felt jealous?

Give over stage and anger and open windows and breath.  Just choose not to hurt yourself.  Winning or losing the argument, in the end, you hurt by your own choice.

Biologically and probably spiritually Chris wouldn’t have known what to do with that years ago.  But he did now.  I saw him relax again and put his hands away.  I knew Chris had a love for Love and this clicked for him.

I can’t describe how happy I was/am.  Being a part of his journey is a great honor.

Question:  How have you escaped self-loathing and your mean self in the heat of the moment?  Please tell me your story.

Calcium as a Supplement – Corrections and Retractions!

Thoracic aorta

Image via Wikipedia

Hello Readers,

My good friend, cardiologist Helme Silvet MD, alerted me to research published 7/29/10 in the British Journal of Medicine stating that Calcium may increase risk of myocardial infarction – i.e. heart attack.

What is already known on this topic

Calcium supplements are commonly taken by older people for skeletal health
A randomised placebo controlled trial suggested calcium supplements might increase the risk of myocardial infarction and cardiovascularevents

What this study adds

A meta-analysis of trials totalling 12 000 participants found that calcium supplements increase the risk of myocardial infarction by about 30%
Given the modest benefits of calcium supplements on bone density and fracture prevention, a reassessment of the role of calcium supplementsin the management of osteoporosis is warranted

BMJ 2010;341:c3691

Pretty big deal so please take that off of our recipe to being a friend to yourself.

Onward and upward my friends!  Be a friend to yourself!