Saturday, December 29, 2012

It's Not the Number of Breaths We Take...

This was written by the comedian, George Carlin. It places in perspective, what are the most important things in life.

"The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.
We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too  fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.
We've learned how to make a living, but not a life. We've added years to life not life to years. We've been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We've done larger things, but not better things.
We've cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We've conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We've learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.
These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom. 
Remember to spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.
Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.
Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it  doesn't cost a cent.
Remember, to say, 'I love you' to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.
Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.
Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.
And always remember, life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by those moments that take our breath away."

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy and joyous 2013.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dealing With Grief at the Holidays

We, as a nation, are recovering this year from a series of painful and tragic events. Some may also be experiencing their own personal losses. The holidays  may also magnify those that are lacking or suffering therefore triggering guilt in people. These feelings of grief might inhibit the joyful expectations and excitement for the holidays making it more difficult to cope.

The Grief Process is a combination of several emotions such as Denial, Anger, Regret, Guilt, and Sadness. How we experience grief is due to many factors such as amount of time, affiliation/connection to the loss, religious beliefs, and cultural issues. Here are some suggestions of ways to cope that might be helpful :

 - Treat yourself with 'TLC' (tender loving care). Don't overextend yourself or become overwhelmed. Ask others to help with preparations and tasks. 

- Graciously limit or turn down invitations from people or situations that may cause heartbreak.

- Respectfully communicate your needs to others.

- Allow yourself to leave any situation that triggers painful feelings.
- Some people start a new tradition to honor the memory of a loved one and allow for the expression of loving feelings.

- Employ self-care through relaxation and stress reduction techniques as in exercising, hot baths, listening to soothing music, reading a favorite book, tending to a garden, getting a massage, sipping a cup of hot tea, getting plenty of rest and eating healthy meals.

- Refrain from the overuse of food, alcohol, sleep medications, sugar and sweets as they may make you feel depressed and fragile.

- Seek out the comfort of your support system or attend therapy or grief support groups. 

- Give yourself the gift of self-acceptance – your body, mind, mistakes, needs/wants, decisions and feelings.

It is true that, with time and the employment of healthy coping skills, healing will occur. As they say, it is no accident that the first 4 letters in Health are Heal.            

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Mental Illness That Effects Us All

'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother'

This heartbreaking article illustrates the gap in the Mental Health system. This boy in the article is now of the age where his mother has no legal control. (That is for the people who acknowledge their child has a problem with mental illness. I worked in Special Education where many parents refused to accept their child was mentally ill even after the teachers and schools tried to tell them they had problems. There is also a lack of and a vague understanding of what constitutes mental illness and what is being odd, peculiar and eccentric.) 

After 18 years old, he does not have to comply if he does not want to... include being made to go to a psychiatrist/therapy, take or comply to medication, and go to and remain in a facility due to 'patient's rights'. Therapy does not cure severe mental illness. Patients Rights were established that gave all the power of care to the patient. The only way he can be held is if he commits a crime. He is legally able to go 'AMA' (against medical advice). Then there is the 'who pays for it' problem. The States closed the residential mental hospitals down. Mental hospitals will only keep them on a temporary basis as insurance does not cover long-term care. If they have no insurance, they are out there floating around. We are not always talking mentally deficient people, we are talking very bright people who can 'look' and 'talk' like they are sane to hide it. Look at the UniBomber and the Batman shooter in CO. This is the 'Mental Health gap'. What we see in all of these from the Senator shooter through this latest, I believe is Schizophrenia, a personality disorder and state of psychosis that can be genetic or induced by drugs. Symptoms tend to increase in late teens/early twenties. This is why taking guns away does not solve the bigger problem. The Unibomber used bombs. I hope this does not upset you as that is not my intention. This is just my opinion on the matter as a Mental Health provider in the trenches.

'I Am Adam Lanza's Mother'
Written by Liza Long, republished from The Blue Review Friday's horrific national tragedy -- the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut -- has ignited a new discussion on violence in America.