Just Go To Sleep

Sleep

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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.

Emotions and Behaviors Will Get Better As You Heal.

Punch to the Face

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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!)

Why Psychiatry?

An American Lady butterfly against a cloud-fil...

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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.

Give Because You Want To, Not Because You Are a Victim To Their Taking

Giving

Self-Care Tip – Give to others because you want to and have so much to give.

People who live in chaos, generally do because they want it. They are the ones who think you are the best one day and are screaming you down in the next. They pit team-members against each other. Without the team-members knowing what happened they are now distrustful of people they used to trust, feeling suspicious and defensive. The people who live in chaos have their own gravitational force for extremes. Extreme behavior finds them. They are suffering. No doubt, but at the same time, they thrive on this in some way. They choose it. Even so, they don’t know their choices and are ever the victim in any crime scene.

I have seen a few amazing life-stories unfold where these habits were reorganized into friendly behavior. It took years but every time I see these people, knowing where they came from, my mouth is open, my soul lays in splayed humility and I have new hope in the Love that heals us.

Clara was one such as this. I’m not going to tell you all of her story but let you know that now she has woven a net of support around her, people she spends time with, peer groups she attends. She takes her medications and doesn’t change the doses without discussing them first with me. She feels pleasure without having to be at an extreme.

Clara still has some people in her life who haven’t done this for themselves. Who haven’t worked on themselves and become their own friend and she has been tempted to “save” them at times. Clara just told me the other day,

I am not responsible for the fact that she doesn’t have any one else but me.

Clara has been tempted to stop investing in herself to invest more time caring for those who don’t care for themselves. But she didn’t. She maintains her health and investing in herself and she is still living. She gives to others because she has so much to give. Not because she is a victim to their taking. Clara continues to fight for herself and I respect her. I am learning still about doing this for myself and hope you are too. Out.

Questions: Have you ever seen these kinds of miracles in people’s lives around or in you? What was it like? Please tell me your story.

Reworking Choices With Your Physician as Part of Your Team

What do you want? 

It is one of my challenges as a physician when someone comes to see me for reasons I’m not able to accommodate.  I can’t validate them.  I can’t tell them what they want to hear.

What can I do?  Help them “realize” that they came to see me for another reason.  Another way to say it is to help them “choose” another agenda.  A part of them realizes their need for help; they came.  A part of them believes I am a person that can help; they came.  A part of them.  A part that I and the patient are responsible to find and shift agendas deliberately or by any wiles possible.

Hands touching

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We are an unusual team in this.  How often do you find another so awkwardly paired?  Yet these are some of my best patient-doctor relationships.

What do you want?

When there is a meeting up, a connection and everyone is working for the same “want,” both presence and movement are natural responses.  It’s like we’re standing still in the moment, senses taking it in, and moving all the while.  The process of moving itself brings pleasure and healing.  It is not always about arriving.  It is not always what we think we want.

Self-Care Tip – Enjoy your re-choices and what you will get from them.

Questions:  Have you every found yourself being “helped” to have a different agenda that improved your presence and movement in your personal journey?  Please tell us your story.

What Must I Do To Be Happy?

Today, I can’t get my thoughts away from the frolic in temperament-land.

Teacher, what must I do to be happy? 

Who hasn’t asked this?  I remember Nicodemus who asked Jesus,

Teacher, what must I do to be saved? 

A Certified Fresh logo.

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I bet he was wondering, too, about happiness.

I’m not equating happiness with salvation or morality.  I am saying this might have been a parcel of his question.  Happiness is an emotion per our language and cultural definition.  And we have enjoyed our path of discovery in seeing how emotions are tools we use to interpret the world around us.  They are not universal or constant between us.

After I read,

Individualism, a stronger predictor of well-being than wealth,

in R. Fischer, PhD’s Meta-Analysis of Well-Being, I followed my thoughts toward the Jungian Typology of Temperaments.  Remember our pasture and barn people?  The Jungian Typology of Temperaments is our playground where we have a wish-basket equipped with supplies to become any variation we might choose of what our design requests.  Read the article and you might follow a similar path of thought.  Or not.

In case you’re wondering, and per Dr. Q (who is a poor statistician so take this for what it’s worth,) a meta-analysis is a study of studies.  A meta-analysis brings together a number of studies that reflect a population of people and a methodology that is as objective as we can find.  We compare them and through the tools statistics and logic offer, we make a summary conclusion.

If you are familiar with the tomatometer on RottenTomatoes.com, you already have a sense of what a meta-analysis does.  (I love rottentomatoes.com.)  There is more power in the indexed findings of many studies than in just one study.  There is also more power in a fresh tomato than a rotten one.

Questions:

  1. Do you see happiness as something that reflects your condition of spirituality and/or your condition of brain health?  Why?
  2. What do you perceive brings you happiness?  Please tell me your story.

Our Embrace With Our Powerlessness Stabilizes More Than Our Power

In our growing familiarity with our fears about medication therapies, we are getting to know about control and identity.  Separate those in hopes that will help us bring them together later.

            I don’t want to lose control of my choices to the control of medication.

sugar_frosted

Image by sillydog via Flickr

Jane had pocks on her face from childhood acne.  Kids had bullied her.  She learned to fight.  Jane’s mother had a boyfriend who victimized Jane.  She fought harder.  Not against her mom or her mother’s boyfriend, but against kids.  Jane left her mother’s home when she was fourteen and lived between friend’s houses.  Her story continued to develop.  Jane learned to really fight.  She bloodied herself to get control and she still had her teeth.

Jane had sold marijuana for five years when I saw her.  She had used one to two bowls a day since she was twelve.  It was one of the first things that had given her a sense of control.  Emotions sparking, nerves peeled back and exposed, dilated eyes, afraid and shaking; Marijuana took the peaks and filled in the valleys.

And what brought Jane in to my clinic?  This scraping, scratching survivor?  Weeping, Jane’s pocks folded as her face scrunched up.  Thirty-one years old and she was not in control.  Jane was suspicious of everyone who crossed her path, she couldn’t concentrate and just suffered an at fault motor-vehicle accident when she was ticketed for carrying marijuana.  Jane awaited her trial.

Reader, you see the push-me pull-me in the room.  Was Jane ever in control?  Are any of us?  Our embrace with our powerlessness stabilizes us more than our power.  This was the time in Jane’s life where she was available for help.  This was one of the best times of her life, even if she didn’t know it.  It is the surrender of all that we are, controlled and uncontrolled, to our Higher Power that stabilizes us.  Control comes from the outside in.

But being a friend to ourself isn’t about control.  It is about putting ourselves immediately and ultimately in the care of Love.   What does Love want for us?  To be good to ourselves.

We offer medication therapy (and sobriety) not to put us in control or to take away control.  Assuredly some of our goals will happen.  But still, we offer medication therapy when the benefits outweigh the risks to “Me.”  When it is friendly.  Not to erode us.  See blog-post, Self-Care Works You, Pushes You, Tires You Out Until You Are Happily Spent On Your Friend – You.

Over the past two days, we have asked a lot of questions and gotten insightful, perceptive, inspired and intuitive answers with power to connect us and point toward healing.  We will continue to explore these questions and these answers, as they will continue to influence our relationship with and ability to befriend “Me.”  For today, however, I will bank these Q & A pages and pause Jane’s story.  I send you into blog-post, Are Your Meds Safe?