Archive for the 'Mental Health' Category

Miraculous Encounters of The Mommy Kind

Something that I never thought would happen HAS!  I have met a group of mothers that I don’t feel completely frightened by.  They don’t wear “workout clothes” (pajamas) everywhere they go.  Even though they adore their children, they don’t find it necessary to brief those around them on the inner workings of their kids’ digestives sytems or mental/behavioral advancement.  They don’t have cars that could house twenty when they only have one child.  They don’t talk about their husbands as if they were talking about their fathers.  They don’t sing retarded “clean up” songs with a crazy, jack nicholson look on their face.  They don’t look you up and down, with menacing judgement, when you hand your kid a quarter at 8am to get m&m’s from the gumball machine just so you can have a two minute conversation with the person selling coffee.  They don’t resent their families because they “gave up the career” or they can’t be themselves anymore……. Au contraire… They are women who have kids - not just moms.  Before you lash out - let me say, I think that being a mom is super incredible in itself.  It is the best job in the world blah blah blah.. Of course I think that, silly - I am one, afterall.  Just let me vent.  If you don’t think most parents are crazy weird, then stop reading.

Until now, it has been a steady flow of coridial acquaintance-ships - I can only think of two mothers, up to now, that have made me feel like I could be upfront and honest.  One is my age and has three kids and we pull together when we can.  The other is a little older with two kids and lives far, far away in boston.  So, I know it’s not an age issue - just a personality thing, I guess.  I have met young mothers my age who, well, have sort of cashed it in.  And the other mothers - they are great but they are usually in their forties or fifties and while I appreciate them, I just usually don’t have a lot in common with them other than the child factor. And even that is barely “in common” - they are usually the ones that have very weird rituals that you know they got from a parenting book or from Barney the Purple Dinosaur.  Maybe one of my faults is that I treat my kids a little too much like grown ups but, COME ON, every instruction you give them doesn’t have to be sugar coated with a song and a reward and a creepy grin of superior parenting skills, does it??? And, as someone who has a majority of other things, besides my beloved kids, that make me me, well - it’s nice to find others who like to talk about something besides poop and cradle cap.  And, just as I was starting to think it didn’t exist, I stumbled upon it and found that it is everything I ever thought it would be. 

So, yes, we will talk about our children - because that is, afterall, what mommies do - but on a very frequent occassion we will let the conversation wander away from them into other things.  We will talk about the books we are writing, the paintings we have sold, the sculptures we are having a hard time finishing because we don’t want to tear ourselves away from our babies, the concerts we will be giving, the research grants we are applying for, the graduate program that is kicking our ass.  We will make martini dates and go out dressed just as cutely as the other non-child, twenty eight year old- thirty year olds in the room - even if we are secretly thinking that the 19year old girls across the room should be at home, in bed, at this hour and, quite frankly, dressed a little more modestly.  We will make lunch dates at the indian buffet with our munchkins and make fun of the frat guys who are just there to watch the racey indian music videos they play all day.  We’ll talk on the phone.  We’ll go on day trips.  We’ll go on walks.  It will be heaven.  I feel like I have just walked into a fictitious, fairytale land where jogging suits or prada diaper bags or scary sing-song discipline are forbidden.  Sigh…. Let the good times roll.

Posted in Uncategorized, Lifestyles, Daily Living, Mental Environment, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

Wanting to Be Something Else

I am having a bit of a weird thing.  I want to ride bikes with my kids.  I want to be in graduate school, now, not a year from now.  I want to be fit again.  I want to read as much as I used to.  I want to eat better.  I want to have more time. more time. more time.  Where has all my time gone???

I have never found myself in a situation where I really, truly, can’t change or go with an urge - I simply don’t have time to think about it beyond, well, just THINKING about it.  How frustrating.

What do you do when you just can’t fit anymore in??  Do you take something out to make room?  I can’t imagine what I could take out.  We have no tv. We use our computers only for work.  There isn’t much wasted time, is my point.  I guess I just start cramming it in and maybe the laws of physics and time and space will change and I will be able to fulfill my urges to be a better version of me. 

Posted in Healthy Living, Mental Health | 1 Comment »

Shopping… How Taxing.

For the first time in my life, yesterday, I took advantage of the “no tax” weekend and went to Opry Mills Mall - truly one of the most disturbingly over-the-top places in the universe.  The place was packed full of people trying to save a buck.  It was so unpleasant that it left me wondering if tax free weekend is really worth all the hulla-baloo.  I mean, really.  All the frightening crowds made it crystal clear to me why I had been wise to avoid malls in previous years during this weekend of wonder and made me question why I didn’t have the divine perspicacity to realize it this year.  Needless to say, I won’t be doing it again any time soon - or ever again.  Saving six or seven dollars wasn’t enough to make me ever, ever go back for more of that kind of torture.

Posted in Healthy Living, Mental Health, Smart Buying | No Comments »

Thank Goodness for Starbucks…..

When you’re feeling tired and overworked and, maybe, even a little cheated in life - go to Starbucks.  It was just the happy reality check that I needed.

I had a meeting there this morning and got there early enough to eavesdrop on quite a few delectable conversations.  There are a lot of days, most parents will agree, when I gaze with envy upon those singles that have more free time than they know what to do with.  They read magazines.  They download great, new music into their iPods.  They go out for drinks and movies.  They sit in weird places like Starbucks for hours on end and talk about their “problems”.  From the outside it looks luscious.  Today, though, I got the inside scoop, courtesy of Starbucks and it wasn’t pretty.

While I sat there, prior to eavesdropping, the initial illusion of sweet solitude and calm reverie was there.  But then I started to pay attention to conversations floating around the room.. What is with single, young people creating conflict in their lives?  Do they not see how simple things are?  I suppose they feel as though life is more interesting if it is more complicated.  Maybe I was that way, too, when I was young - I doubt it, but it’s possible.  Thank god for perspective, right?  The lady next to me was in a verbal fist fight on the phone with the DMV, trying to find out how to change the picture on her driver’s license - I kid you not… The poor thing was almost in tears.  The maybe-nineteen year old girl next to her was on her phone saying something to the effect of “how dare he say I spend too much of his money - I earn that sh#!”.  Wow.  I mean, how important is the picture on your driver’s license when you’ve babies to feed, butts to wipe, bills to pay and dinner to cook?  And damn if there has never been a day when I had the luxery of complaining about spending someone else’s money.  I barely have my own money to spend, much less someone else’s.  I just had one of those moments this morning where I felt delightfully out of place.  My hair was a mess, my shirt had a hole in it from my daughter tugging on it too much, my jeans were “sort of” clean, I had a to-do list that would probably make everyone else in that place shutter with exhaustion and it felt good.  So, I say, thank goodness for Starbucks - a place where tired parents can realize they are changing the world for the better simply because we are not contributing to the world where Starbucks, indeed, matters. 

Posted in Daily Living, Healthy Living, Mental Health | No Comments »

Ineptitude

I am going to have to put on my mean face for the next few days.  Once again, my theory that people don’t take you seriously unless you are a complete hard-nosed bi#!* is being proven correct.  I have been patient with our insurance agent for almost two weeks now - she just isn’t doing her job.  It seems that she could, at the very minimum, answer her phone - but even that seems like it is out of her ability.  It is beyond ridiculous to me.  The part that irks me is that I feel like she has taken the route of inefficiency because we came off as friendly and nice (apparently the indicator to use as a doormat). 

As much as I don’t like it, I am afraid that I am starting to become one of those people who is immediately brusk and quasi-ugly to anyone whom they do business with.  Insurance agents, credit card companies, car salesmen, utility companies - they all seem to think that if you are a genuinly nice person that that gives them license to shat on you left and right.  What is that??

So, time to put on my game face, I guess.  I just hope that I don’t have to put it on so often that it becomes me regular face.

Posted in Mental Health, Poison, Insurance | No Comments »

The Power of Music

Many people enjoy listening to music, because it can affect or enhance an emotional state. For example, if someone wants to relax, they will often listen to music that’s soft. The same goes for people who are in a high energy mood and want to maintain it — listening to techno music can help any jogger maintain a good pace.

Now new research is suggesting that listening to music can help reduce pain and depression. RINF Alternative News reported:

Listening to music can reduce chronic pain by up to 21 per cent and depression by up to 25 per cent, according to a paper in the latest UK-based Journal of Advanced Nursing.

It can also make people feel more in control of their pain and less disabled by their condition.

Researchers carried out a controlled clinical trial with sixty people, dividing them into two music groups and a control group.

Read the full story: Listening To Music Can Reduce Pain And Depression

Posted in Chronic Illness, Mental Health, Stress Management | No Comments »

Mind Games are for losers…..

I have never liked people who think that hazing or testing someone’s strength and character is a necessity to good performance.  I am speaking specifically about the workplace.  It happens in personal relationships too, but I have only experienced it at work.  I am, in fact, experiencing it right now. 

For some reason, my new boss has decided that putting me through complete turmoil and browbeating is her m.o. in her relationship with me.  Who knows, maybe she just doesn’t like me - but I get the feeling that she feels like she has to establish territory or dominance.  It seems very similar to a dog pissing on another dog to make sure it knows who’s in charge.  I might understand this whole thing if I had walked in with an massive ego or sense of over-confidence, but I don’t think I am capable of that type of air about myself (at least I hope not).  I am a hard worker, a fast learner and someone that takes criticism very well (i.e. I generally don’t take things personally and have a good sense about my faults).  So, I am at a crossing point where I am not sure if I should high tail it out of there or stick it out to see if it is, indeed, some weird hazing ritual that might be over soon.  Does anyone have any experience with this type of employer?  I have had your traditional, insecure boss who promanades about force feeding his authority over everyone, but NEVER anyone who has been this mean about it.  And, at any rate, she is not an inexperienced twit - she is really smart and very good at what she does (and, gets along very well with everyone else there - albeit they have all worked there for years).  It would give me great ease if I knew someone else has been through it and stuck it out to a happy ending.

Posted in Mental Health | No Comments »

Me Time? Really?

Phew. Today is the last day of my son’s spring break. I know I have mentioned it with great frequency and fervor this week — my apologies if you are tired of hearing about it. In agreement, I am tired of hearing about it. After five days of being in the world of my six-year-old, I am burned out. I need a break. I don’t know if I have ever felt this worn out. I need a spring break of my own.

So, I am making plans. All the good parenting magazines tell you to take “me” time. Hmm. So I brought it up with some other mother friends of mine. What do they do upon this fairytale sounding “me” time? It was a foreign concept to me and I needed some guidance.

Mentions of salon visits and luncheons with girlfriends were the forerunners. Not my style, really. Shopping. Nope. Getting my nails done. Most certainly not. I’m thinking more along the lines of a trip to New York. Of course, that is completely out of the question. The days of whisking away to Manhattan or Brooklyn are long gone, at least for the next few years. My search for this strange land of “me time” is going to be harder than I thought. I am out of practice.

Last night, my husband noticed that 2006 Spring Break had taken its toll on me. I told him about the “me time” theory and he agreed that it was something we should make happen — even if just for an afternoon. I said I just didn’t know how — I felt like a “me time” retard. He suggested that I head out to Bongo Java, our next door coffee house, to sit and relax and then to go from there. I knew I would just end up working (writing) instead of being a self indulgent lush and reveling in an afternoon of no responsibilities. Even though it is what I love to do more than anything, I think an afternoon spent writing defeats the purpose. But maybe not. Maybe being able to indulge in that for an entire uninterrupted day (a whole day!) is my heaven. That makes me such a geek. I came to accept my holy geek-titude years ago, but this is taking it to a whole other level.

Does this mean I don’t know how to have fun or does this mean that I am so in tuned to my inner core that I am an enlightened person? My mom would say that I don’t know how to have fun. My ego would say the latter of the two. I would say neither, just because I am that non-committal. Maybe I’ll just call it a day and take a nap. Ooooooo. A nap. I hadn’t thought of that yet. I’ll have to get back with you about the outcome of this and I promise not to be so cerebrally conflicted about it. Here’s to next time.

Posted in Mental Health | 1 Comment »

The Good Deed Fellow

It’s remarkable when you feel more down on your luck than ever before and there is a simple stranger who, with a small thoughtful gesture, can make you realize that things are pretty great.

We (my family) have been through what is usually referred to as the ringer these last few years. Typical young-married-couple-with-two-kids stuff — money, job changes, money, job losses, trying to prove to our families that we aren’t crazy for sticking to our passions, money, our daughter having half of her lung taken out. Alright, mostly typical stuff — we have had some things that I’m not quite sure we will ever emotionally recover from (my husband and I can’t really talk about our daughter, two weeks old at the time, almost dying in his arms simply because it was so stressful that I am certain we have blocked most of it out).  But back to my point: by all accounts of the stress of the last two years, we could be really angry and mean people.  I think anyone that has struggled can relate — you tend to start to lose the better qualities of yourself when things get lower than you ever thought possible.  And today I was reminded why we came out of it happy and with an even more stellar outlook on everything.

I’m going to sound like the cheesiest feel-good motivational speaker in the world but, here goes. This man, a mechanic, who could have taken all my money and been an opportunist about the fact that I had to have some work done on my car to pass my emissions test to renew my registration. Instead, I explained to him the situation and made a note that we really didn’t have the billions of dollars to fix the part and so, he looked at the car and pushed a simple button and said “there ya go — you should pass your test now”. There is something that needs to be fixed but it would have cost me lots and lots of money that knew I didn’t have.  He could have just told me to go away but, no, he bought me some time. He saved me from a week’s worth of being pulled over by every bored cop who notices that I have expired tags. A simple thing that made my life easier and gave me a chance to get things taken care of. He referred me to a local mechanic who is cheap and respectable and made me promise to go see him soon. As I drove away I realized (here comes the cheese) that this exact type of thing was why my husband and I aren’t angry and miserable people. Because we have been cared about, on a very human level, by others who have been, or still are, there. We’ll always look back on those years with great wonder at how we survived — and then we will have to remind ourselves that we survived because of the strangers who wouldn’t let us fall.

Posted in Daily Living, Mental Health, Cars, Home Budget | No Comments »

Schizophrenia, Aging and Art

Cornell University has an intriguing section of their website that looks at schizophrenia, aging and art. The site captures the art of William Kurelek during his early onset of schizophrenia.

william-kurelek.jpg

It also highlights Louis Wain, who experienced late onset of schizophrenia. One of the key features of Louis’ experience with schizophrenia involved the abstraction of his “cat” paintings. Over time, his depiction of cats became abstract — almost fractal — until they barely resembled cats at all.

louis-wain.jpg

More art examples, references, and information on schizophrenia and art can be found at their Schizophrenia, Aging and Art website.

Posted in Lifestyles, Arts and Crafts, Mental Health | 1 Comment »

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