These stories are distressing. Watching the news can disturb your well-being, well at least mine. In every story is the possibility of further stress. These are three sets of practices to cope with bad news, but I can tell you from personal experience that mental health is a day-to-day conflict; I don’t remember what exactly transpired on former days. As Christ said, the worries of today are sufficient. I can do a mental check–yes, I remember that–but the gravity of that day does not equal the gravity of today. There is not a great sense of self when you are struggling. Just the opposite.
Been having headaches, difficulty walking, and occasional nausea. Doc has asked for an MRI and did some blood tests. Had some anemia, which was weird.
I’m trying not to be negative, but I made the mistake of looking at online medical resources and now worry about this or that. Doctor said don’t jump to conclusions.
This brings up the question I asked at the men’s group this morning. Friends there say not to speak things in affirmation, but how do I ask for prayer if I don’t mention what it is.
Anyway. I need peace, will have to relax a bit more in the sun today.
Finally got back to finishing two books tonight.
The first was from Joseph Prince on Psalm 119 called The Prayer of Protection: Living Fearlessly in Dangerous Times. It’s more than a verse-by-verse, offering anecdotes as well as comments on the Hebrew. It’s *not* a scholarly work by any means, but it was uplifting.
The other was Brain Energy: A Revolutionary Breakthrough in Understanding Mental Health–and Improving Treatment for Anxiety, Depression, OCD, PTSD, and More. Christopher Palmer advocates research on the cells’ mitochondrial factories as intensely involved in the metabolic processes. He suggests that along with contemporary treatments (drugs, therapy), metabolic regimens, diet, exercise, and social and personal changes should form a rounded-out set of treatments for everything from depression to manic depression to schizophrenia to substance abuse. He closes with a request for readers to take up arms to promote his findings and beliefs.
It’s easy to be cynical when reviewing books like this last one because there’s always someone trying to say they’ve found the true secret to mental health. But I commend him for making mention in the closing chapters that his discoveries are not to be taken in isolation, but as one among a group of tried and tested methods as well.
You know the drill. You go to your primary care doctor and indirectly talk into an Electronic Health Record system. The doctor gives some bare attention as the nurse or assistant records the essentials. The doctor’s time is spent on paperwork and not on his/her judgment and diagnostic feeling; the patient just data. Worse yet, you may have a phone or video appointment (sometimes from silly vaccine mandates). The human is taken out.
As the late Charles Krauthammer wrote, EHR government mandates present you with just billing, legal documents, and degraded medicine. He pointed out that (in 2015) the supposed savings for the government with the move to EHR–$27 billion–was gone already. Unfortunately, EHR also made it easier for fraud with Medicare. Ease of use for the EHR system allowed cutting and pasting of data into data fields. Billing could be inflated.
At XiFin, I supported the company in the marketing department. Along with HIPAA compliance, we enabled form-fill features. Billing was simplified and waste rooted out. Still, there is still some waste, impersonal service, and the reflex to drug prescription.
As Krauthammer suggested, some tort reforms could improve the industry: No limits on a plaintiff’s lost earnings, a reasonable cap on pain and suffering ($250K), a similar cap on punitive damages, and serious penalties for frivolous lawsuits. These are tall orders, but he had the right idea.
He summed up with these suggested avenues for improvement: changes in public policy, malpractice reform in which loser pays all, separating routine treatments from major ones, and “allowing old age to take place.” (I don’t completely get this last one.)
Beyond the lack of personal care due to legal requirements, there is also the specter of Big Pharma. (Psychiatrists are one of the specialties in the prescription racket.) My views on healthcare have changed much from 30 years ago fresh out of college. I used to think that research and development were responsible for escalating drug costs, but the apparent collaboration in selling and prescribing is eye-opening.
In the U.K., my nan, uncle and aunt, sister and brother all of course get national healthcare. While I know my grandmother and stepgrandfather had various problems with scheduling visits and surgeries(!), I think my uncle, aunt, and siblings have had good services. My brother’s recent birth of his son was completely covered, my sister-in-law had in-home visits from maternity, and my uncle had successful hip work. I know the British are proud of their healthcare (they had dancing medical professionals in Olympic ceremonies), but I do wonder about more critical health needs. Some Europeans come to the top American clinics for advanced cancer care among other fields.
While I appreciate the advances here, I do feel a certain disconnect from a doctor looking down at a screen during an appointment that I had set up three months in advance. I think a redo is needed.
Went out with four of my prayer buddies today and an Indian man came in and started to debate incessantly. I was asking him questions to see where he was, but the guys cut it short. Turns out this was the same man who sat next to my mother once in church and just kept bringing up objections.
I later realized that my questions were pretty much pointless in this case.
Spiritual discernment can be difficult. Your worldview affects (mental illness affects even more). But the spiritual things are foolishness to the world. Questioning can add nothing if the hearer does not want faith.
Still thought I could have some positive effect. Am I being too much in the flesh?
You can also speak with knowledge, but be ignored if you don’t have confidence. Outer strength shows inner strength to the listener. Fake it til you make it.
Respect comes to the confident. Recognition to respect.
How many great minds and hearts are unrecognized because they doubt themselves? Perhaps in writing one can show confidence and be read. If you meet the author, sublime text can be lost on you.
OK, so the world can be unkind. So with my other thoughts on spirit versus flesh, the spirit can give you that confidence that you lack. You will have listeners, at least some. You can know when it’s pointless to argue (pearls to swine).
Why does the knowledge of human behavior suffer for those with fractured or dissociated apprehension? That’s perhaps an incorrect assumption. Are all those in mental turmoil unable to understand their fellow man? It’s we who are on the outside observing the man and making assumptions of the person we are looking at.
Evaluating oneself continually is not promoting health. I have to refer this back to the scripture “do not depend on your own understanding.” For me, this came into my spirit as to self-reflection. “The over-examined life is not worth living.”
I’ve found that there is great wisdom in this text. Trying to determine why I feel a certain way or going back in personal memory to repeatedly ask for forgiveness does not promote tranquility of mind.
At this point, I will refer to medicine, but also “mindfulness” may be helpful here. I never looked at that as a serious practice; just some hokum.
My brother saved my life twice. I can’t remember either my drowning at age 3 or car crash at 18. It’s said that we have a tendency to remember the negative–but I can’t remember either of those events. Something so traumatic shouldn’t I?
This idea of a virtual life is tenacious. Smelling fire…
It’s easy to blame the pandemic for everything, but there was a 45% increase in self-injury and suicide cases among 5- to 17-year-olds in the first half of 2021. We can blame social media, and we’d be right to, but it’s not all due to that either.
Now I don’t have children, but my interactions with friends’ kids and my nephews have made me realize that there is intense need for understanding and importance in our youth at those ages. Then in college, young adults are trying to grasp their meaning and place in the world through a career. Both of these times are critical in self development–but the last thing they needed was a pandemic shutdown (imho).
Larger than life.
At the Royal Bermuda Yacht club, Charles lifted his whisky again and let loose some blue language. Then with that twinkle in his eye flirted with my mother. He had just returned from the Arctic sailing trip with Warren “War Baby” Brown and was once again the center of attention in Hamilton.
Continue reading “Bermuda Citizen Number One”
Two mental health articles.
A Dartmouth study found that major depressive, anxiety, and bipolar disorders can be recognized by the emotions of Reddit posts; the posts can reveal an “emotional fingerprint” for a user. They didn’t examine the content, just the emotion–so the study is an incomplete look at emotional disorders in my opinion. Also, what about the bomb throwers and trolls? Online mass movements?
UPDATE: Well, according to sources at the Balboa Park visitor’s center, someone put in a new rule that vendors there have to be 100 feet apart. Doesn’t mean a lot imho; street vendors have been a problem for business owners throughout the city, who have some of the same products, just without the overhead. But now the city council said they will vote on March 1 to rule on placing restrictions on vendors and prohibit them in certain parks, beaches, and places like Old Town: “The ordinance requires vendors to obtain a business license and vendor permit. It would define specific distance parameters around statues, art displays and other vendors.”
Though the park website says “The City of San Diego must issue a permit for any commercial filming for exterior areas in Balboa Park,” vendors, with hygiene requirements, don’t need a permit? I don’t see why this took so long to address.
Ah, to get back to normal life. At Balboa Park, the museums are starting to open, the Spanish Village artists are back at work, and the rose garden is in full bloom.
But now someone needs to do something about the high number of what appears to be unapproved vendors who are in Balboa Park. They seem to have little food safety and basic hygiene, and poor trash management. The U-T interviewed Alexis Villanueva, senior program manager of economic development with City Heights CDC, who maintains that “micro-enterprise” vendors contribute to the economy. Yes, but they can also contribute other, unwanted things. There has to be a balance here between rules, regulations and freedoms.
Got Covid, time slipping by! Anyway, just some idle time while hibernating.
Saw this little page on brain chemicals.
Dopamine rewards you when you’ve done a good job.
Oxytocin thanks you as the “love hormone.”
Serotonin gives you cheer and good feelings about yourself.
Endorphins get you high near the finish line or when in danger.
ATTENTION: The discussion below includes talk of suicidal ideation. If you or someone you know is having any suicidal ideation, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). People care about you.
Dictionary.com has removed the word “commit” in various references to suicide.
And has the following recommendations for being aware of and helping those struggling with suicidal ideation:
- Adopt a nonjudgmental and open-minded attitude
- Show you care by listening actively, without interrupting or giving advice unless prompted
- Ask open-ended questions instead of “yes”-or-“no” questions to keep the conversation going
- Validate the feelings of the other person; it’s OK to not be OK, and sometimes just holding space for another to express themselves can be deeply comforting
Because I am so high functioning, it took me a long time to acknowledge having a mental illness. Talk it out. Below are some early Covid-era mental health suggestions (by early I mean under more stringent sheltering conditions), from Mental Health During Coronavirus (seizetheawkward.org):
- Engage in live streams – from your favorite yoga studio to your favorite artists
- Schedule virtual dinners or dance parties with friends
- Start a virtual book club
- Participate in online game nights
- Plan to watch television shows or movies at the same time and video chat to share reactions
- Enroll in remote learning classes or look up tutorials online
- Go on virtual museum tours together
- Share your favorite recipes or host a virtual cooking competition
- Try a home workout together
Lennie and I were biking and I fell. When I tried to brace myself with my left hand one of my forearm bones broke. I also hurt that wrist. Metal plate. At least it’s left!
I was just thinking about what happened to me that caused me to become med compliant. There was quite a bit of time from when I became ill to finally taking my medications as prescribed.
I had some tumultuous times at first. I had some violent mood swings, many very up periods and very little down moods. One doctor told me I was acting like Superman.
I said, “No I’m not.”
“OK then Batman.”
Funny now. But it was a warning that my mood swings would get worse over time if I didn’t stay compliant. I remembered in that moment that I feared getting to a place where, they told me, the medications would not help any longer. That fear thank God, set me right.
I now use 9 PM as the time to remember. I usually do.
If you have had any similar experiences or wisdom to apply here, please leave a note at bottom!
I have hope that all this mental health talk at the Olympics turns into some thing genuine, not just some virtue signaling or worse, a pure fad.
But I must repeat what has enabled me to get as far as I have: you must press through to a better life. Don’t let the waves tumble over you, situations to be too much for you. You can talk with others, you can live a good life. But step out and be aware that you are loved.
Please read my 7 things that I have learned over the past 23 years of mental illness and please talk to someone if you are having a rough time–or just leave comment here and I will reply.
Peace and grace.
Blessings to Simone as she exits the Olympics. CNN had a brief press conference. I don’t know the condition of her mental health, but I can imagine the stress of interviews and the spotlight. She was also magnanimous in passing the torch for this year to her teammates.
Also, noticed this piece about stigma of mental illness in churches. Mental health stigmas can be distinctly unbiblical. This is why | Voice | The Christian Post. Olympian tennis star Naomi Osaka is quoted in the article saying “it’s O.K. to not be O.K.”
Stigma is an interesting word, derived from the Greek word stizein,meaning to tattoo. In the Graeco-Roman world, an owner would brand (stigma) their cattle. It was also a practice to brand or tattoo criminals, prisoners of war and slaves. The stigma or brand said it all, told the story and circumscribed the person stigmatized. If you had the criminal tattoo in Greece, you were a criminal, enough said, no further information was needed.The Christian Post
In Pt. III
From this episode, I learned that there are ten times the number of people in jail today than in mental hospitals — and 90% of them are black. In Chicago, jails and prisons have 40% of their inmates with a mental illness. I see a disportionate number of black men living on the street today, some obviously disturbed and who need help.Continue reading “PBS’ Mysteries of Mental Illness Pts. III and IV”