My mother died last June, and her name was June. This is my first Mother’s Day Grief without her in the world. The picture you see (scroll down if her head is chopped off; my lack of technical prowess is showing) shows her in her prime doing what she did best: organizing several hundred Pixy Pin-Up children’s photographers and their schedules all over the United States, BEFORE there was such a thing as spread sheets, google, or online flight reservations. She had this great big board in her office with constantly changing slips of paper and schedules representing each photographer. The schedules all changed weekly, too. I always thought my mom was born in the wrong era. She would have made an incredible chief of operations and logistics. She majored in home economics, because that was really about the only option there was when she attended college. On this Mother’s Day, consider what your relationship is or was with your mother, and plan your day accordingly.
Isn’t it interesting that some of life’s most paradoxical challenges have simple solutions that are tough to execute? The takeaway? You are far more resilient than you think.
Consider this quote from Men’s Health magazine about male depression:
The bro culture that dictates limited ways of interacting: fist bumping, shoulder punching, sports banter, and shrinking from talk that gets too real is hurting men. Being too sensitive with other males invites talk of “manning up”, or worse, causes others to shrink away from you as if you have a raging contagious case of the flu.
Would you agree that your mental health is inseparable from your physical health? That your mind and body cannot be divided? If so, why are there so many men stigmatized if they even breathe a hint of trouble on the mental health front?
I’m so sorry you’re in the midst of a bad depression episode, but here are some possibilities for you. I want you to know there is a future.
Humans are a problem solving species. We are wired for it, beginning perhaps with the evolutionarily imperative to find food. And boredom is a problem we are driven to solve.
In modern times, boredom can mean many things. Generally there are plenty of things to do, just nothing you want to do, or feel like doing. It’s the uneasy feeling of being unstimulated with nothing to occupy your mind. It’s one reason social media thrives. It’s the fastest feel-good balm we can turn to for that ping of instant gratification.
The Speed Of Want is a chapter title I read in the recent (great) book by therapist Lori Gottlieb Maybe You Should Talk To Someone (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019). In it she alludes to what I think of as the human evolutionary trait of finding faster, easier ways to the goal, with none or less of the hard work necessary to accomplish it. Witness the recent college admissions cheating scandal. In modern times, think of the changes that have occurred simply between the start of the industrial age and the present that have impacted our lives with mass production, instant worldwide communication, and outsourced labor due to advanced robotics alone.
But there are unintended consequences to this ‘need for speed.’
It’s pretty standard knowledge that you go to therapy to change something. But changing a way of thinking or a behavior we don’t like is just not that easy, is it? And it is especially difficult to change our reactions to other’s mayhem. If it was we’d all do it and be on our merry way. Let me share three signs you need therapy.
Let’s start with the bad news, but with the knowledge this is all PREVENTABLE! I struggle so much with how to make this important topic more palatable, but feel strongly that knowing the SUPER-power of connection is critical to good mental health. Did you know you have an inborn ‘connection neediness’ level? It is different for each individual and varies widely among us.
Thinking in opposites is a strategy I want to offer you. Here’s why.
My moods can drive me a little crazy at times. They can shift a fair amount, even though I’m a pretty even-keeled person. For example, I can feel super UP when a new client contacts me and it feels like a great fit. That’s a big dopamine hit for my little therapy brain.
Then there are other times when the occasional isolation of running a solo private practice gets to me. I’m a people person, especially when it’s one-on-one or when I’m with a small, intimate group of friends. Nothing brings me more pleasure than those connections.
But—as Mick says—you can’t always get what you want, or at least not immediately, or without some effort on your part.
Lots of research and theories exist on dreaming and why we do it. They are all theories at this point, as brain research is still in its infancy. Heck, we don’t even understand the purpose of sleep! Recently, however, I’ve been studying one school of thought in particular. It intrigues me because it just makes sense. First, a little story.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Anxiety Therapy
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
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