emotional FITNESS THOUGHTS
Off and on throughout my life I have been told by a number of MDs to see a counselor. If you life has had its chaotic moments, probably you have heard the same, if not from a doctor than from someone in your life. Sometimes, the suggestion is meant kindly and more importantly on target. The bad news: often it is a signal the other person is frustrated.
This is often true of the medical profession. Doctors want to heal and as the last quote in the above poster coach notes, that is not always possible. Still seeking a cure, when not able to do it with their knowledge, many doctors will suggest seeing a counselor. Here are some examples drawn from my life.
One doctor did not want to do a test related to problems I was having with bms. You know what I mean. A friend had the same problem and was found to have an amoeba infestation of some sort. Instead of agreeing to do the test, this MD suggested is see a therapy. .
His rationale was, “Every time you come to see me you are tired or complaining.”
Duh, I only saw him when I was sick. Still has me shaking my head. Anyway, very reluctantly, he agreed to the test.
Guess what? I did not have what my friend had, but I did have a biological basis for my complaint. The right medicine cured it and without the aid or expensive of a therapist.
I have more recent encounters of the same kind. My current MD, who I respect and like put me, on a new medication. I have three medical conditions and was told ten years ago I’d be lucky to be alive. I am lucky and I am also blessed by modern medicine, but I do take more medication than the average bear or human.
Anyway, three days on the new medication and I plunged into depression – deep dark depression missing only suicidal thoughts. I told my doctor I thought it was the medication. She insisted I take a screening test for depression – which I could easily have cheated on – instead I took it and as I know it would reaveal, I had the symptoms of a major depression.
She said see a therapist, I said, “I’m stopping the medication and if the depression does not lift then I will see a therapist.”
Three days off the medication and I was my usual optimistic self. The doctor tried a different medication and all has been well until recently. What is happening now is old age and all its aches and pains and declining health. As much as the media promises, old age cannot be put off indefinitely. Nor can the best medical are in the world keep it from happening.
Moreover, be lucky enough to live long enough and the specter of death also enters the picture. Something that the young face a bit romantically which is why some take risks. Us old folks, however, do not find death appealing. Except for those of us assured of heaven and getting there. Lucky you if that is you.
An inevitable part of aging is also some cognitive decline. We old folk joke about it lots, but it is not always a laughing matter.
As a writer, watching my brain slip away horrifies me. Which lead to the lastest fight with my doctor – statins to lower my cholesterol as I am at risk of a stroke. So good patient that I am, I took the stuff.
Not for long because my cognitive abilities started nose diving.I stopped taking tthe statins and added to my growing reputation as a difficult patient. We did reach a compromise. If my cholesterol counts spikes, I will consider trying a medication a specialist has said might do less damage to my thinking ability.
Actually, it is not the thinking that is the problem, but getting the thoughts out of my head. Well, there are also some blank spots for short-term stuff – like who is the name of that very nice person I met yesterday. Or where did I put the car keys, so I’d remember where. I can live with this s—, not happily, but doable. . What I am not willing to endure is loss of the ability to write. That might change, but for now it is my priority.
EMOTional fitness tips
These are mainly for those facing a painful chronic illness, just getting into what the doctors call “Frail old age,” or living with someone with either of the above life conditions. Suspect that includes just about everyone over the age of thirty and a great many of those under thirty. On with the tips:
Emotional fitness tip one: Realize as Susan Elizabeth Phillips did: not every thing is controllable. Why does that help? Keeps expectations realistic and that is better depleting your energy searching for control where there is none. Marsha Linehan, a therapist I respect with all my heart, speaks of Radical Acceptance. Get to know her work in that area.
Emotional fitness tip two: Partner with your doctor and others caring for you. Develop an Added Care Team. Include your doctors but make sure you have an advocate who knows you, knows what matters, most to you, and will stand up for your wishes.
Let me add here that therapy can be helpful, but not always. Long term talk therapy is fine if you want a caring witness to your struggles while you try to figure them out. Good if you have money and heaps of time. For those of us who don’t have lots of time cognitive behavioral approaches work better.
For chronic pain, I would suggest a good hypnotist, although not everyone is able to use this tool effectively. Lucky you if you trance out easily. How to do know? Drive a car or ride in one and get so lost in your thoughts you are surprised to find yourself at your destination with no memory of how you go there. You were trancing out.
As you interview therapists have a SMART Goal in mind. What do you want from the therapy? How will you know you are getting it. My eBook Knowing Your Mission so You Can Reach Your Goal might be a good read if you are are thinking of therapy.
Emotional fitness tip three: Think about how you want to face death and make a living will;. Make sure your doctor and other members of your added care Team have copies .put your affairs in order, write your epitaph or a good-bye letter. and make sure your doctor and other members of your added care Team have copies.
Emotional fitness tip four: put your affairs in order. Write a will, so your things end up were you want them too. put your affairs in order, write your epitaph or a good-bye letter, and make amends with loved ones particularly those you have issues with.
Emotional fitness tip five: Enjoy all you can, when you can, while you can. Not easy and there is no magic to enduring severe pain whether physical or emotional. For physical pain make certain you are properly medicated. Too many doctors and too many others fear pain medication leads to addiction. The Drug Wars and the current fights over the medical use of Marijuana are proof of many people’s reluctance to get drug relief from chronic pain. Studies show addiction rarely happens this way and mostly only if the person is pre-disposed.
For emotional pain Emotional Fitness Easy Exercises might help. The more you have practiced these the more you will find them useful. Not magic, but helpful.
Another trick? Take a trip down memory lane. As we enter old age, our brain does seem to take us there more and more often and vividly. Then trick is to find the good memories.
I recently came across Jimmy Peacock a blogger who started me reviewing the songs that have made their way into my memory and comfort me still. Here is a link to his review of Songs of the 1950’s.
So many on his list brought me good memories and lifted my spirits. Others reminded mee I am not alone in my sorrow As my hearing fades, the more I can recapture these songs by singing them to myself.
As one of Jimmy’s reader noted: ” People do have many memories that are recalled through an old song, whether it was a popular song of the time, a hymn or whatever. Many older people in nursing homes whose minds have faded will hear an old hymn and you can just see their faces light up, and sometimes they will even be able to recall the words. Thank you for posting all this…it is very interesting and brings back so many memories of the 50’s music. God bless you.Thank you Jimmy for helping me remember a few more and draw strength from them.”
I thank him also. Moreover, here is a post of his even more relevant to today’s blog post.
Parenting tip one: Develop your child’s ability to tolerate pain. I addressed this in a recent blog posts.
Parenting tip two: Do not try to shield your child from life’s realities including death. Do not rush out to replace a dead fish in your family fish bowl. Instead the death it a teachable moment.
Mother nature protects the very young from life’s hurts, so a pre-schooler will take the death of a pet or even a parent and keep moving ahead. Of course, the death of a parent is devastating, but for the very young what matters most is who continues to care, the quality of their caring, and how much life stays the same. Once a child enters school being able to talk about the loss in ways that the child feels heard matter more.
Parenting tip three: In order to help your child, you need to have your own thoughts about death and other life blows in order. For some this will mean one or another faith-based explanation. Such explanations may be spurned by teenagers.
What do to then? Be patient. Point out that faith usually means what cannot be proved, and you understand their doubts. Add that your faith comforts you and you want the same sort of comfort to be there for your child, but it might come differently and you will accept that.
In terms of specific religions, make the point that most agree that caring for others the way one wants to be cared is what matters. Moreover, this has been found to be true by the researchers when it comes to living a good life.
Make it clear that the world is in bad shape because some groups want everyone to believe as they do. Finally, if that is your religion’s point of view, be clear that the only moral way to bring people to a particular religion is by living a caring life as a model.
Shunning, desparaging, killing those of different faiths is immoral; not how you want to be treated and not how others should be treated.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO
Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful. Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it? Comment and tell me why and how to improve.
Post inspiration: Actually Jimmy Peacock’s bogs were my inspiration. And bears no relationship to today’s WordPress Prompt which was:
New Internet Order: All the world’s countries have decided that the Internet itself needs a government. Your country asks you to run for Prime Minister of the ‘Net — do you accept? If so, what will your platform be?
Obviously my platform for all would be “Emotional Fitness Training for all so all will Remember What Matters.”
LINKS OF INTEREST