Definitions are in order for these three designations: social worker, psychologist and psychiatrist. How else will you know the answer to ‘Who ya gonna call?’ Recently the local newspaper had a front page article in the “Your Health” section called “No Room On the Couch.” I was quite happy to see this coverage, especially in light of the opioid epidemic. And I am going to say right up front there are no easy answers to this problem. The mental health profession can be draining and not particularly financially rewarding compared with other medical endeavors, but the job is unique in its reward system. By that I mean it is always interesting and challenging, and the joy received from seeing an individual make connections that lead them to live better lives is hard to describe. I get to see the lights go on! So, on to definitions, and how to decide who to call for what.
I was listening to a report on NPR news about street vendors in Los Angeles this morning. The city council recently voted unanimously to legalize this small business sector that has operated for years without licensing, receiving many fines, violations and sometimes more serious consequences like deportation. The street vendors themselves very much support having the change to operate as legitimate businesses, but an alternate opinion comes from restaurant and store owners who have retail storefronts. They explain that often the street vendors in front of their establishments charge much lower prices than they can afford to due to their obvious overhead expenses, and create physical and visual barriers in front of their storefronts.
Quite a conundrum. Read more
If you could order up your love the way you order up your favorite Thai dish, would you specify mild, medium or spicy-set-my-tongue-on-fire hot? Mild or hot love, spicy or not, movies, news, social media, literature and pop culture imbue the idea of love with extremes. The easy example is Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, where a couple of puppy love-sick kids are lead to die because of some warped parental loyalty values. Read more
Do you find yourself craving certainty? If this happens on a regular basis for you, here is one thing I know for sure. Craving certainty is a surefire recipe for anxiety. Craving certainty is the very definition of anxiety. Craving certainty creates the anxiety habit. And yes, it is a habit.
PSA: Get some awe. Go out and get yourself to a place where you can easily feel your insignificance. A place in nature where you can look up, down and all around, and breathe in the idea that all of the anxiety, the worry, the daily grind, don’t matter. At least not in that moment.
Coming clean on the couch isn’t easy. And what do I mean by that? This is a post about self deception and how it stops you cold from achieving your best self. Self deception exists in many forms. We tell ourselves it won’t matter if we just have this extra helping of mashed potatoes or purchase this designer handbag on sale. The credit card bill is already high–what the hell. But how about self deception as a form of [false] protection?
Perpetual issues permeate every relationship. A perpetual issue is essentially an unresolvable problem, kind of like having a bad back when you age. We learn to live with chronic conditions like this and to make the best of things in spite of them. BTW, did you realize that marriage allows you to have the special privilege of annoying one person in particular for the rest of your life? Uhmmm…and the other way around as well? By definition, when you enter a relationship, you have chosen a set of problems that you will deal with for the duration of that relationship. Here’s an example of what I mean by a perpetual issue, and a technique for managing it called a gentle start up.
How many times have you obsessed over how to say just the right thing in just the right way so as not to offend someone you care about? Or perhaps tried to say something in a way that would not upset or offend your boss or coworker? Knowing what you need and saying it without sounding defensive or aggressive isn’t always easy. But life’s too short to be subtle! Leaving your fate to chance is like taking the long way around with the possibility that you may never arrive. It’s never too late to set new goals and go after your heart’s desire.
Depression is beastly, but you can start to manage it a bit if it has a grip on you. I think of it as the “do-nothing disease.” It takes a toll in many ways, from causing you to withdraw to postponing making decisions because of a sort of paralysis that sets in. It has physical ramifications as well: too much sleep, too much food (or not enough), too little exercise, too much TV or screen time. In short, self care goes into the toilet.
How do you like to be loved? Does this seem like a strange question? Or perhaps an unusual question? Maybe you don’t know the answer. Would you like to find out? You would be surprised at the simple, but not so obvious answer, to this conundrum.
PAGE RUTLEDGE, LCSW, CHt | Couples Counseling
5006 Randall Parkway (close to UNCW)
Wilmington, NC 28403
Free parking at office