Tag Archives: therapy

Dragon-Ridden Days, Nightmare-Ridden Sleep

With apologies to Yeats, who wrote this in his poem “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen”:

“O what fine thought we had because we thought/That the worst rogues and rascals had died out.”

Here’s a link to the full poem: “Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen” by Yeats

He was writing about Ireland, of course, but I think there are similarities with today’s political/social climate.  Plus, I love Yeats – he was the focus of my never-finished dissertation.

I haven’t written much, for a long time – not here, anyway.  But one of my New Year’s resolutions is to re-start this blog, and continue writing every Wednesday.

I can’t give you any good reasons or excuses why I have not been writing.  Some of it was this illness, some of it was a chronic state of upset over the election of the worst president in US history, and some of it was feeling overwhelmed in terms of subjects about which to write.  We here in the US are living each day in crisis.  Every day brings a new situation to worry about.

It makes sense in terms of narcissistic personality disorder, as 45 is responsible for creating chaos and crisis on a daily basis.  It’s what they do.  I’ve seen it time and time again in outpatient and inpatient settings, and usually was not sucked into it, but it’s hard not to howl at the TV when it’s happening to the entire country.  In a clinical situation, me ignoring behavior like this has an immediate impact on the patient; but, in the situation where the whole country is being played, me ignoring it or attending to it makes no difference.

That’s a hard thing to deal with.  And I didn’t want to deal with it in this blog.  Many clinicians and laypeople address this on a daily basis, and I can’t really add anything to the discussion.

So, briefly to start out, a health update: After many tests, and after switching endocrinologists (Dr. Asshat was pissing me off more and more), it appears as if I have hyperparathyroidism.  I am still taking Vitamin D and drinking copious amounts of calcium-fortified almond milk, and I get blood tests tomorrow.

My next endocrine appointment is Jan 16.  I am hoping it comes out that this is the actual problem, and that I don’t have to go see another specialist.  This endocrinologist thinks that it is secondary hyperparathyroidism due to Vitamin D deficiency, but the tests over time do not bear this out.  We’ll see.

The title of today’s post was chosen due to the imagery of dragons stampeding during the day – i.e., hearing and seeing all the wildly scary news on a daily basis – and having nightmares when finally crawling into bed, having no escape from the day’s insanity.  I imagine this scenario is true for the majority of the country right now.

I wonder, sometimes, what I would tell a client/patient if I were working right now, and was listening to the anxiety and depression that can be aggravated by societal upheaval.  Addressing the basis of the problem can, and does, get a therapist fired for “being too political”, but not addressing it and just suggesting the person medicate, meditate, and/or take up a new hobby just does not seem helpful.

We, as therapists, tend to put way too much responsibility on the client/patient, and not enough on the environment and other conditions that are aggravating or even causing symptoms in the first place.  Yes, we all can (to some extent) control how we deal with information, but we do not live in a vacuum where we can just “rise above it all”.

Not when the environmental stressors are due to actual things that might materially affect people, like cutting social programs and the like.  It’s really easy to be unaffected by 45’s policies when those policies do not affect you personally.

That seems really obvious, what I just wrote.  But it’s far too easy to put the entire weight of treatment on the client/patient alone, when a little bit of material relief would do a lot to ease symptoms.  Or when some kind of action the client/patient could take would make them feel as if they are trying to change the conditions that cause the symptoms.

I could see myself giving a client/patient the therapeutic assignment of “write an email to your representative”, if the person is overwhelmed with worry about his/her disability being cut, for example.

I could see this being relayed to another staff member or client/patient, who then writes up a complaint and sends it along to my supervisor.

Along with that, the client/patient is usually reassigned and/or talked out of writing an email to his/her representative, which is fine with them because, typically, clients/patients don’t like therapeutic assignments of any kind.  That’s why so few therapists assign them.

That’s also why so many therapists’ clients/patients don’t get better.

As I, hopefully, inch towards resolving my health issues and look to applying for jobs again, I am going to have to think a lot about where I can reasonably fit in.  I’m not seeing anyplace, to be honest.  And, without a car, my choices are really limited.

But that’s another blog post.

In weird news, Nebraska cops ruin Christmas by arresting elderly couple for weed.  The folks were trying to bring holiday cheer from California to Boston and Vermont.  The couple are the parents of the county prosecutor in Burlington, who has disavowed any knowledge of the felony his parents committed.  Jerk.  These people need a GoFundMe page.

Recommendation for today is for Schwan’s.  It is a food delivery service that’s been around for ages.  I am recommending them because they take the SNAP card.  Yeah, it’s expensive and you don’t get nearly the same amount of food you would get if you shopped at, say, Aldi, but it’s ideal for someone who is house-bound and it beats all hell out of Meals on Wheels (which, though free, has food that’s utterly disgusting).  So if you know someone who uses SNAP and has a hard time getting to the store, please tell them about this.

Be good.  Be kind.  Have a better year than the last one.


Just Bring Cups…

Health update: My fever now is during the day and evening.  Otherwise, feeling no better or worse.

It’s rainy and grey here in Central PA today.  I have just finished filling 60 treat bags to give out on Halloween, but haven’t gotten around to decorating the porch yet.  I have a cute little ghost that appears to peek out from behind a tree/post/what-have-you, but when I got it in the mail I realized it needed screws to install – which is a huge no-no when you are renting someone’s house.   So my neighbor and I are going to have to find another way to attach it – it’s so cute!

(Here is a pic)

I don’t even have a jack-o-lantern to set out!  Though, to be honest, I kind of hate carving pumpkins, as it is so messy and for some reason causes a rash on my hands and arms.  So I am still looking for a fake jack-o-lantern that I can just stick a battery-operated candle in, set the timer and forget it.  There are a few on the net but wow so expensive!  Every year I tell myself I need to buy these things AFTER Halloween, when they are on sale, but every year I find my budget will not allow it.

Why not make some decorations?  Hey, there’s an idea and NO, it’s not a good one.

I’ve never been good at arts and crafts.  I would dread it when teachers would send home supply lists for making things in class, because I knew whatever project my teacher had in mind, I would inevitably botch it.

As I grew up and had kids, I tried to do Martha Stewart kinds of things, but could never pull it off (except for making and decorating cakes, I was pretty good at that).  I was NEVER the mom who showed everyone how to make oh, I dunno, say…hats out of bits of material scraps, buttons, and glitter – I was the mom who would do/teach puppet shows, dress up like a giant bunny and show up at my kids’ school near Easter, make balloon animals, and for awhile could actually juggle.

I was never the “room mother” – that person who the teacher designates each year to organize school parties and so on.  I was always the mom who was told to “just bring cups”.

I like to think there is a special “life review” for those mothers who essentially bullied the teacher into room mother status, and then subsequently ran around telling everyone how hard it is to be so busy (“I just CAN’T say no to Little Tiffany’s teacher – but with me teaching Sunday school,  running Boy and Girl Scout troops, heading up the Neighborhood Garden Committee, and organizing the school carnival/reading program/lunchroom aides I just don’t have time for myself!”).

I am still mad just thinking about it!!  And this was easily 25 years ago!!

This season brings to mind my foray into room mother territory, and the subsequent minor disaster that is my life.

The upshot: I got pulled aside and asked to never volunteer for the Halloween carnival again (held at my kids’ school, Farmington Elementary in Germantown, TN).  Even though I raised quite a bit of money for them.

My crime?  Not understanding what they wanted and assuming that they had a lot more tolerance than they actually had (which is to say, “none”).  They wanted people to act as “gypsy fortune-tellers”.  I swear, that’s ALL they told me.  “Just show up at the school half an hour early and we’ll show you where to set up.”

So I did – with my tarot cards.  In a long skirt with a bandana.  Ok so what if it wasn’t really a costume, but actually the way I liked to normally dress??  I looked the part, didn’t I?

The lady in charge told me I was to go into one of the classrooms with my tent and…”Oh, you don’t HAVE a tent? But I’m SURE BettyLou TOLD you to bring one…why look how she’s set up, with a tent and a candle and everything…you sure she didn’t tell you?”

BettyLou had no intention of telling me any damn thing.  Yes, elementary-school mothers really CAN be that petty.

So, having no tent or anything, I pulled a table over and sat down near the entrance to the room.  Ms. Lady-in-Charge gives me a little fish.  Yes, like this one:


Fortune Teller Miracle Fish


Now, I actually think these are really cute, and hey they would make really great Halloween treats to give out, so I have included the link.  No, I don’t work for them or anything, I just like novelties like this.