A few thoughts and words shaken together

Shake Well

Shake Well Before Use

I was thinking, what if I was a an alien, disguised as a psychiatrist planted to search for earthlings with special abilities?  What would I hope to find?  I would like to find people who could put their thoughts into other people’s minds.  People who could receive special messages from the television, radio or newspaper.  Who saw hidden codes in otherwise common experiences, such as, stranger’s dress.

Maybe I’d meed a girl named, Alena, who had received a garden of psychotropics without benefit.  She, despite her sensory differences from the human norm, remained high functioning and whose mind, as she aged, didn’t break, deteriorate or diminish as others with schizophrenia did.  Her thoughts followed from point A to B, much like the arrow of time.

I’m reading, From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time, by Sean Carroll.  Seriously cool.  Not me.  The book, and I suppose this Carroll guy too.  Don’t let this fool you though.  I’m as bad as the rest of you, quoting big smart books that effectively hide all the rest of the reading I’m too embarrassed to disclose.  So now that that’s done…, I’m happy to also say that I’ve garnered vocabulary and concepts to grow my fantasies.  Yummy!  Things like there’s always the inverse to consider, like black holes as opposed to white holes.  The reason we remember the past is because there is a future, because entropy increases and because time never exists without space.  Life itself depends on the arrow of time.  Time and space cannot be separate.  The future is much longer than the past.  And rather than the Big Bang, “Maybe the Universe comes out of a Universal Chicken.” I don’t like anyone calling God a chicken but this made me smile.

Well, “No one’s going to take a wrong turn into yesterday,” except us, right?  Or… maybe Alena did.

My thoughts play tonight.  I wonder about Time and our friendship with Me.  No tips tonight.  Just thoughts to exchange.  Do you have any to bring out to play?

Why Psychiatry?

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If we have ever seen a psychiatrist, then there has been some point in our lives when someone told us to go or we told ourselves.  I have some questions for you.

How did you hear about psychiatry?

What are your thoughts?

What did/do you understand?

Please tell me your story!

Self-Care Tip – Explore your connection with psychiatry.

Who Are The Sick? From Here to The Moon.

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Self-Care Tip #162 – Know your need for self-care.

Question:  In FriendToYourself.com, am I writing to people who are sick?

I was speaking with Beth Jusino the other night, when she asked me this.  I thought I’d ask you in turn.  You readers might be interested in commenting.

What is mental illness?  Are you writing to people who are sick?

Beth is smart.  She’s heard of Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia and such.  She didn’t ask me this question so I could read her the DSM IV-TR.  She was asking how far mental illness is allowed to go before it gets named.  And how about the space beyond?  Are there bits that aren’t named?  Does it drift along an arch between Crispy Health and Completely Ill?

What do you think?

One reason I like to write #mentalillness hashtags on @Twitter is because I have a theory that people who have allowed themselves to be named, who have accepted to any degree a need for help, who have released their history and claimed their future over and over again – well I have a theory about these people that explains why I write to them.

These people are more able to hear the knocking sounds of wanting.  These people are more available to grow.  These people accept the gift of health and any space between here and there where they find themselves, all the while pressing; a courageous forward effort to freedoms.  These people care about self-care and they know they are accountable for it.

I remember this,

It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

It makes sense.  However, it isn’t as easy as calling a spade a spade, and not because I’m lacking honesty and directness.

I heard a variation of this analogy years ago and I don’t know who said it first.

If you ask me to compete in a slam dunk contest with Michael Jordan, competition would be over before it began.  I’d trip, travel, and carry my way to the net and not get air.  But move the basketball net to the moon, ask us to dunk and the competition is just as over.  The space of air between my shoes and the earth is not much different from the space between Mr. Jordan’s shoes and the earth when we are both shooting for a basketball hoop on the moon.

Maybe you get where I’m going with this.

What do you think?  What do you say to Beth or anyone on this?

Intent and Context Matter

 

A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar

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Self-care is selfless, but doing things for yourself is not always self-care.

A reader commented, “I believe that if I’m NOT taking care of myself and feeling joy, then that IS self-centered….”  Too eloquent.  Love it.

Some of our confusion comes from the changing scenarios of self care.  The intent sometimes gets blurry.  The intent is hard to tease apart.  Sometimes what feels like taking care of ourselves is in fact, selfish.  For example, let’s say “hypothetically,” my husband, who is a palliative care specialist, chooses to work on twitter #hpm, play chess, or play guitar.  This is potentially positive and friendly to the self.  However, it depends on intent.  Sometimes we don’t know our own intent though.

There is also the context of what is happening.  Let’s say we were all fighting, and then my husband goes off to read Oscar Wilde.   Is this self-care or a way of abandoning and taking himself out of the present?  Self-care puts us into the present.  Whereas selfishness takes us out.

In another context, taking yourself out of the present is necessary to ultimately put yourself back in.  Doing this requires thought processes that can abstract and empathize (connect emotional content).

I rely a lot on intent! (Ahem!)

There is a mind disease called schizophrenia.  This disease is famous for hallucinations, hearing voices that other people don’t hear, seeing things that other people don’t see.  However the core symptom of schizophrenia is less famous.  It is the thought form, concrete and disconnected.

Concrete thinking is named well, unlike many other medical conditions.  (Think diabetes!  Who would know what that has anything to do with!?)  But concrete thinking is plain, hard, and flat like my sidewalk.  For example, if I asked what does the parable mean, “A bird in the hand is worth more than two in the bush?”

  1. Concrete thinkers might say, “Birds make a mess so we don’t want a lot of them.”
  2. Further, if their thoughts are also not connected, they might say, “Birds migrate in the winter and the bush is wet.”
  3. Contrast this to connected thought that abstracts, being able to answer, “If I have an opportunity to take something good, it’s better to take it than gamble for what I might not be able to keep in the end.”

Different emotional illnesses have trouble abstracting, but fewer have disconnected thoughts like schizophrenia.

If you are in a relationship with someone who has trouble abstracting (traumatic brain injury) and/or connecting emotional content (ADHD for example,) you might misinterpret his or her behaviors as selfish.  Being able to empathize after all is part of most Disney fairy-tail romances.  What more do any of us want?  Right?

Wrong.  The capacity to empathize doesn’t matter much if the intent is missing.

Wrong.  The ability to abstract doesn’t connect if the intent to connect us is not there.  The knowledge does not matter.  It is the context.

In the film, A Beautiful Mind, Russel Crowe plays a character that suffers from schizophrenia.  The woman who loves him, struggles to understand the way he loves her back.  His disease steals his attention.  His disease takes his time.  He seems selfish.  Their love survives when she discovers his intent in context.  He stays present in the relationship, despite all his limited capacity to relate.  Further, agreeing to the treatments of his generation, limited that they are, he is doing selfless self-care.

At the end of the day, I’m a grateful piece of dirt who means well.  Saying that up front immediately lets you get very familiar with me.  (I could have said “grateful piece of sh–,” but that would have been selfish.  The s-bomb is just playing with the word to have fun!)  Part of why I believe in God is because I know He goes for the losers.  He goes for the piece of craps out there.  That’s what the beatitudes are about.  He pours it on. (Intent and context, baby!)  At the end of the day, we are neither angel nor beast.  We are just human to Him.

Self-Care Tip #78 – Keep self-care selfless.  Be a friend to yourself. 😉

Question:  What do you think?  Please tell me your thoughts.  Please tell me your story.

Between Me and Thee, Don’t Believe it

He felt blamed by his daughter.  It is one thing to perceive it.  Believing what we perceive might be separate.

There is a disease process named obsessive compulsive disorder.  In this illness, we perceive things that at some level we understand are not likely nor true. These fears are called “egodystonic,” when we can tell that our fears don’t make sense.  For example, it may preoccupy my thoughts that I fear I just ran over a pedestrian with my car, even though at some level I know I didn’t.  Not driving back and forth on the street to look for the victim where I fear the accident happened for hours is therefore terrifying to my core.  If asked outright if any of it made any sense, I’d say no.  We all have features of this disorder but don’t necessary to the full extent.  And that is where we got terms like “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.”

It goes to reason that fears consistent with our inner selves are “egosyntonic.”  In its diseased states, we see this in disconnected thought form disorders such as schizophrenia.  The healthier examples are much easier for most of us to understand and relate to.  I fear if I speed, I will get a ticket.  Healthy and connected fear.

Now what was going on with the man I mentioned above?  Did his daughter ever say she blamed him?  Was he trusting his feelings?  His Jedi-intuition?  Was this egodystonic or egosyntonic?

Egodystonic fears in a much milder form include simple personalizations.  Making something about us that isn’t.  Your girlfriend makes jokes about you being irresponsible.  A friend doesn’t return your calls.  Your daughter is moving away.  You can see the potential fears building up.  Will we believe them?

Believing our perceptions depends on different paradigms.  There are our biological illnesses that predispose our perceptions (major depressive disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, etc…).  We have our temperaments to answer to.  Some of us are wired to be more suspicious v. trusting.  There are adjustment issues, related to stressors around us.  We have our own coping skills.  And how about poor self-care such as poor sleep hygiene and little exercise?  All of that will play on what we are going to do with our perceptions.

Truth is, generally very little of what we hear has anything to do with us.  Now there is the other extreme of course.  A personality disorder who has little insight into the way they are influencing the world around them and take little responsibility.  But that is the exception.  More often, we walk around licking wounds that came from a series of misperceptions and personalizations.  It takes up a lot of time and is a disconnecting force between me and thee and thee and thee.

Self Care Tip #72 – The best way to keep the space between us open, honest, healthy, connected – is take care of our own selves.  Be a friend to yourself.

Question:  What has happened in the space between you and the ones you love?  Please tell me your story.