Hey Yall (Passengers), WELCOME aboard the train today. As you know, each week we take a stroll back to the good Doctor’s car and lay back on her couch for a spell. This week I just decided to talk to the Doc about no one particular subject, just some “STUFF” I had on my mind. So, take a look as I share some thoughts from the mind of a MAD man…your conductor.
Chuckie: My beloved Doctor Dee! What’s up Sister Gurl, Doctor Gurl? Before we get started with today’s discussion what’s going on in your world? Do you need to have a turn on the couch? Dr.Dee: Nah, I’m cool, Chuckie! Life is good. God is great.
Chuckie: Doc, today I thought we would start something new and different. Periodically I would just like to do a brain dump of stuff I think about (and others) which may not be subject specific, but just kinda freestyling and picking your brain. Almost like word association but, rather subject association. For example, here’s my first question.
Chuckie: If someone came to you and said “lately I’m coming to think that I might just really be broken and there is a hole in my soul that cannot be filled”. How would you respond to that? DrDee: Well, I would want to know what that looks like in the person’s life. What is it that feels broken? Is it their ability to have relationships? To love? To think clearly? To commune with God? We often toss those kinds of phrases around about being broken and having a “hole” inside, but it looks different, feels different for every individual. I would want to know what the person asking me the question is actually experiencing, and what they think is missing. Sometimes we know exactly what the hole is, but are afraid to face it. Other times we have no idea at all, and we need someone to help us figure it out. I would also want to know if the person just wants me to listen, or are they looking for some real answers. Many times its just a desire to have someone “hear” them. We can be amazingly self-healing, when we get out of our own way.
Chuckie: Can a Bad Love Break-Up or divorce Cause Mental Illness? DrDee? Wow. I really am more about what we can do for and within ourselves, with the help of God, rather than what we can blame stuff on! I think there are those of us with some biological predispositions toward mental illness, and I think that stressful situations can sometimes combine with that predisposition, and end up contributing to mental illness. But if you look at my website, you will find that I firmly believe that its not the situation that causes us to have emotional reactions that sometimes include mental illness, but what we TELL ourselves about that situation that causes the problem. If I have a “bad love break-up”, I COULD tell myself that this breakup means I am worthless and useless, and that I will NEVER find another love again, that because I failed this time, I will never be successful at love, that what this one person thinks of me MUST be true. Now if I am thinking those things, I would feel pretty awful. Depressed. Anxious. Maybe even suicidal. But then again, I could tell myself…”ooookie dokie. That didnt work out so well. There is always another man or woman out there, and next time, I will do things differently. This one didn’t work out, but that doesn’t mean the next one wont be better. What can I learn from this so I wont repeat it again?” Now in that case, I might feel bad that it ended, but I wont be ready to commit suicide or swear off relationships forever. It has a great deal to do with what story I tell myself about what happened. So yes, if a person tells themselves some really awful and usually untrue stories about what that breakup means, sure, if they are predisposed to mental illness, it can come. But that same person, if they think better thoughts, tell themselves a more rational story about what happened, a true story about what happened, they can avoid serious mental illness.
Chuckie: Do you agree with the notion that mental health care is hindered by an individuals cultural bias? DrDee: I think it certainly can be. For instance, male culture makes it a “crime” to seek mental health assistance. So many men just wont come for help because they think their friends will look down on them. Black folks in general often prefer to go to the pastor or to their close friends than to a mental health professional. And for some things, that’s fine. But for others, a trained mental health practitioner is a better choice. Most pastor’s simply are not trained to deal with mental health issues, and praying more is not always the answer, although it can be part of a solution. And we know most of our friends are doing the best they can to manage their own lives. They mean us well, but may not be able to help us with serious mental health issues. Sometimes you need therapy, sometimes you need medication.
Chuckie: Doc, I read recently that New research is discovering that black men are overdiagnosed with schizophrenia and that this is a trend that has been in place for the last 50 years. DrDee: Black people in general tend to be diagnosed more with mental illness than others. Little black boys are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD, too. There is a whole political topic around the idea that mental health labels are often used by the majority culture to subjugate the minority cultures. Its a shame, but it does happen. Also, we tend to pathologize that which is unfamiliar to us. And the other thing is that black people can be a lot more expressive, and so sometimes what seems realistic within our culture, looks…psychotic to the majority culture. Of course there are other theories as to why blacks may actually HAVE higher incidences of some disorder than others…but…I will leave that to the wiser heads to discuss!!
Chuckie: If a teenager came to you and said the following: “I’m a 16 year old girl who is having a really hard time. I had a pretty bad episode of depression last month and since then I suffer from severe mood swings.I can be happy for a few minutes and totally depressed after some time and even when I’m happy it doesn’t last long as I start getting irritated because of the way I feel.I cry almost everyday (I’m most comfortable when I cry). I’ve tried to kill myself four times and sometimes overdose on drugs just to get sick. Others describe me as being cold and distant. I don’t have any friends and I get very uncomfortable when others try to get close to me but sometimes I wish I had someone to talk to. Doc, how should a non-professional handle that question? And what would you say to her if she were to ask you that question? DrDee: Well sounds like this teen has a whole lot going on. I would want to know if that was the first episode of depression (the really bad one last month), and what was going on before that. I would want to know, quite frankly, if the girl was taking the depo provera shot or other hormonal birth control, because I have seen my share of teen girls on depo who suddenly develop depressive symptoms. But when you get to a point where the girl is telling you she has a history of suicide attempts, I would then gently try to steer her to a mental health practitioner, and if she wont go, even if you offer to go with her, I would ask her to at least see her doctor. Its clear she has something serious going on, could be depression, could be bipolar disorder, could be post trauma stuff, but medication management could be helpful, as could having that someone to talk to, she sometimes wants. You could offer to listen to her, but let her know that some of what she may say may be more than you can handle by yourself, and that at that point, you would want her to let you share with a professional who could help her out. better than you could. Just be a reliable friend, but let her know that you cant keep secrets for her if they involve her wanting to kill herself or if they involve information that she is being hurt. Let her know you care about her enough to get help for her.
Chuckie: Well Doc that’s it for this week. I would axe for a hug but, I know what you would say. So let me say, we need to get you some counseling for your inability to show public display of affection! Dr.Dee: lol! Well, you can have one of those “air hugs”!! lol! Otherwise I will have too much explaining to do!! Have a great week!
Chuckie: Ok Doc, you know I got one for you. DrDee: NO!
Chuckie: Come on Doc?
Dr. Dee:Â Will you leave afterwards!?!
Chuckie: Yes, I promise… Dr.Dee: GO!
Chuckie: Ok, I am a Rabbit in a Westinghouse Refrigerator. Ask me what I am doing. Dr.Dee: Sigh…What are you doing WABBIT?
MERRY MONDAY! Hey kick off the mood (music vid below) and read on!
Hey LifeTrain passengers, This is the beginning of a new week. Even though it’s Monday (Merry Monday for us LifeTrain riders) remember, you have been given this week to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today (and this week) is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind…let it be something good.”
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
Here’s a secret that only you guys here on the Train are privy to. But, first kick off the mood music selected today for this post…
Sometimes when I blog, it’s stuff I am dealing with! Things I need my Mother back here on earth to sit before me and fuss at me about…LOL. I told a friend yesterday that I had an epiphany! I am not perfect, nor do I suspect I ever will be so…Eyes free! Free from trying to be…perfect. Now, that doesn’t mean that the Japanese TQM (Total Quality Management) term KAIZEN doesn’t apply in my life. Oh, just in case, Kaizen means 1/10 of 1% continuous improvement.
Anyway I find that we often swim in a sea of objects every day. Malls, websites, projects, friends, and family all deliver to our doors entire catalogs of new and used — stuff. We accumulate things we need and things we don’t. Over time, our homes become showcases of surplus and we just let the stockpiling continue. But freedom from the stresses of too much can be found in just one simple goal: become a zero-accumulation person! I just know that our mental space will grow as we become clutter-free. So, here’s my promise. Over the next few Tuesday Tip days here on the train I will share my efforts on becoming a more zero-accumulation earthling! Or at least i will tell you the stuff I will try to employ! …Like here’s one:
I’m going to be more “immediate!”.
For example when I bring something new into my home, it’s on a kind of ‘trial period’ as I adjust to it, fit it into my routine, or simply remember I own it. After the adjustment period ends, the item for me has either become integrated into my life, or it’s been rejected. Maybe that new pair of shoes makes my arches sore, or are just plain taking to long to break in…UGH! Or the new bike is slightly too small and uncomfortable. Typically, I keep the items around anyway, in some constant hopeful state that the reality will change — the shoes will correct themselves, I’ll shrink to fit the bike, etc. Meanwhile, I buy a more comfortable pair of shoes, a bigger bike, and my personal inventories grow.
But what if we operated under no such delusions? When it was clear the shoes were torture devices, we returned them if we could, sold them on eBay, or donated them to charity? What if the bike was promptly put on Craigslist? What if we were ruthless and immediate in refusing to own anything that we couldn’t use? What would our homes look like then? …More next Tuesday.
Hey passengers, “Merry Monday!”. How bout we start this week with a spirit of giving. Wait! Don’t hop off the train, I’m not asking for me. I have a thought that I’d like to share. We become beautiful people when we give whatever we can give: a smile, a handshake, a kiss, an embrace, a word of love, a present, a part of our life…all of our life. It is sad that, in our highly competitive and greedy world, we have lost touch with the joy of giving. We often live as if our happiness depended on having. But I don’t know anyone who is really happy because of what he or she has. True joy, happiness and inner peace come from giving of ourselves to others. A happy life is a life for others. Remind you of anyone…hint (J E S U S). Not a sermon, just a thought.
So, let me start things off by giving a little something myself to you guys, some of my most favorite people, my fellow passengers here on the LifeTrain. Check this story out along with the musical accompaniment. Like wine to a good meal, a good song for a story…Njoy!
It was a busy morning, about 8:30, when an elderly gentleman in his 80’s arrived to have stitches removed from his thumb. He said he was in a hurry as he had an appointment at 9:00 am. I took his vital signs and had him take a seat, knowing it would be over an hour before someone would to able to see him. I saw him looking at his watch and decided, since I was not busy with another patient, I would evaluate his wound. On exam, it was well healed, so I talked to one of the doctors, got the needed supplies to remove his stitches and redress his wound.
While taking care of his wound, I asked him if he had another doctor’s appointment this morning as he was in such a hurry.
The gentleman told me no, that he needed to go to the nursing home to eat breakfast with his wife. I inquired as to her health. He told me that she had been there for a while and that she was a victim of Alzheimer’s Disease.
As we talked, I asked if she would be upset if he was a bit late. He replied that she no longer knew who he was, that she had not recognized him in five years now.
I was surprised, and asked him, ‘And you still go every morning, even though she doesn’t know who you are?’ He smiled as he patted my hand and said, ‘She doesn’t know me, but I still know who she is.’
I had to hold back tears as he left, I had goose bumps on my arm, and thought, ‘That is the kind of love I want in my life.’ True love is neither physical, nor romantic. True love is an acceptance of all that is, has been, will be, and will not be.
With all the jokes and fun that are in e-mails, sometimes there is one that comes along that has an important message. This one I thought I could share with you. The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the best of everything they have I hope you share this with someone you care about. I just did.
‘Life isn’t about how to survive the storm, but how to dance in the rain.’
A world renowned theologian once wrote – In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.
I’m sure from time to time we passengers on this here LiFeTrain don’t often think about the effect that our words have upon others. Our words do have power and everything that we say has a positive or negative impact on others around us.
There is an old story that is told about an army* of frogs that went leaping through the forest one day when two of the frogs suddenly fell into a deep pit. All of the other frogs gathered around the hole to look down on their two fallen comrades. They all began to sadly shake their heads and to croak out dismal warnings. “It’s too deep!” croaked one frog. Another croaked that there was no way that they would ever be able to get out of that pitalive.
The two fallen frogs began to continuously jump as they tried to get out of the pit, but the frogs that were watching kept croaking louder at them that they might as well stop because they were as good as dead and just wasting their time. One of the two frogs finally gave up and heeded the pessimistic advice of the frogs at the top. He quit jumping and literally “croaked” and died.
The other frog just kept right on jumping and leaping harder than ever in spite of all the loud croaks of disapproval from the frogs that were watching around the top of the hole. They kept croaking shouts at him to quit jumping and save himself from all the pain and suffering he was incurring as he leaped and fell back down to the bottom of the pit over and over again.
Finally, he leaped even harder than ever and to the surprise of all the other frogs he jumped right out of the deep pit. The other frogs asked him, “Why did you keep leaping even though we yelled and croaked at you to stop?” It was then that the frog explained to them that he was deaf and he had thought they were cheering for him and yelling words of encouragement to him the entire time!
A little encouragement can go a long way and as Babe Ruth once said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”
So my fellow passengers, I’m sure I am not telling you anything you don’t know, but let me remind you anyway, our words do have the power to hurt or to heal. What kind of frog are you? Are you a croaker or a leaper?