Where has the family gone?

My oldest daughter called this morning on her way to work. She works at a major Children’s Hospital as a nurse case manager. She see some of the most critical and heart wrenching cases. In the past she worked at another unit that was an adolescent med-psych unit so she has experience with psych.

suicide

Today she was distressed that a short while ago her bosses son overdosed and died. They don’t know if it was suicide or an accident. Then she learned that a friend’s child committed suicide. This morning she was distressed that she is seeing so many cases of young adults and teens in crisis. Like the rest of us she has no idea why this is happening but is terrible concerned about the culture that is creating mental distress in the young.

It seems that both of these cases were a total surprise and not the result of known mental health issues. Of course she realizes that the problem could have been there unrecognized but in these two cases it seems not.

Recently several blogs that I read have talked about the current TV series 13 Reasons. The blogs have been very negative about the value of this program and its influence. I have not watched it….I watched a brief piece and the premise turned me off so I quit. The blogs seem to feel that this show has a bad influence on young people and the blogs were written by people close to the age.

good family

There are so many problems with the structure of the family today that it is easy for me to see why children are stressed. In some cases the children run the family and the adults take second place. When this happens children don’t feel safe. There is no strong adult influence. Parents must be parents.

In other cases the family is so busy with outside activities that there is no family time. They don’t eat together or take time to talk and share. Children need structure and down time with their family to feel connected.

Like my daughter I am equally concerned about the pattern we are seeing in children and young adults. I pray that some change will come about that re-centers the family group and gives children security and grounding.

Raising children to become anxious and prone to violence and suicide is a plague upon our society.

Remembering with tears

This is Memorial Day in the US. Many people do not know that this day of remembrance was begun by former slaves honoring the dead Union soldiers in Charleston, South Carolina. This is a day for remembering those who made the final sacrifice.

Happy-Memorial-Day-2018

My husband is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point. We married after graduation and spent 20 years moving from post to post. West Point instills in it’s graduates a phenomenal love of country and a desire to be the best person you can be. My husband has lived out that code his entire life.

duty

Two years of that time were spent in Viet Nam with a brief tour in the states in between. He led a Company of soldiers and spent the first year almost entirely in the jungle. His men faced danger every day. The jungle was so hot that they literally rotted through their uniforms and new ones had to be delivered by helicopter each week. They never knew each day if they would be just struggling through the heavy jungle growth or fighting for their lives. Each night’s rest could be interrupted by gunfire and fear. He fought during the Tet Offensive and cannot talk about that time.

His men loved him and after he returned home I received a letter in the mail with money collected from the company for us to enjoy meals out. He was the only commander who walked away from that company. The others died.

vietnam

Each day I thank God that he returned home, not only in one piece, but also able to endure the memories. He has been to the Viet Nam wall in Washington, DC once and will never go again. It is too painful

Just thinking about the men who fought with him and the classmates of his who died in that war brings tears to my eyes and his. Neither of us can listen to taps played at military funerals. May God grant peace to all those who served in that war and all others. Those who lived and those who died. They blessed our lives.

Why?

Today there was more information about the plane crash yesterday. It seems that the crew were to fly the plane to Arizona where it was to be decommissioned. It was 60 years old and ready to be retired. How sad that after all those years and all those missions completed it had to fall out of the sky on its last trip and take the crew with it.

WhyLife can be strange. So many poignant things happen. So much of it is called a coincidence. Someone misses a plane and the plane goes down and they don ‘t die. You see a car accident right in front of you and your car is spared. Sometimes when these things happen people have survivors guilt. It is easy to feel bad that someone died in your place. There are no answers to why these things happen. I wish that our questions could be answered and we could see the logic but that doesn’t happen.

This is the thing that turns many people away from any kind of faith. How can we explain why bad things happen. If God is so good and caring why do children die of cancer? Why does it seem that the best people die and the evil ones are still around. Why do some people suffer with mental illness, anxiety and depression? Why are others so lucky as to be tragedy free?

destiny

How I wish I knew. How I wish I could come up with an explanation that would satisfy everyone but I can’t. I can only say that I believe there is good in the world. I believe that the good can prevail. I believe that understanding why is beyond the ability of my mind to conceive. I choose to accept a loving and caring God.

What do you believe?

 

 

 

We must do something!

help meThe more I read or hear the more I realize how many people suffer with anxiety and depression. A recent post on Facebook told how it is showing up in children younger and younger. There is something so depressing about young children suffering so. It is hard enough that so many are suffering now but the thought that a new generation will be going down this path is unbearable.

It does make me wonder what has changed in the world to cause such an increase. What have we done?  Has it been the growing use of technology so that we don’t know how to talk to each other face to face? Has it been the disintegration of the family? Is it society and the decline of our moral base?

There can be so many reasons and no answers. The bigger question is what do we do to change it?

mental health

We have to offer help to the families who face this crisis. We have to call on those who do research to find out how to help. We must make the changes necessary in our culture to stop this epidemic. We have to make sure that there is no stigma attached to a diagnosis of anxiety and depression.

Lastly we must pray. Pray for all of us!

Can I choose?

opinionThis blog contains opinions that are mine. If you disagree with me that is fine.

Recently the in the US the state of Texas has set about removing the choices that women have in regard to their lives. The state has made it almost impossible for someone to receive an abortion for any reason whatever. Whether or not you agree with abortion the fact that a group, mostly men, are making decisions about the health of women is abhorrent to me. It feels as if Margaret Atwood’s book is coming true and before long we will be living out The Handmaids Tale (title?).

As a woman, I cannot accept that medical issues of female health are being legislated. I don’t see men’s health issues being handled the same way. What if someone wanted to legislate who could take Viagra? The outcry would be heard round the world.

choiceThis is another one of those ethical issues that I touched on in another blog. It is so difficult for us human beings to parse the complexity of abortion. We have the same difficulty with euthanasia. The whole thing seems to rest on whether we control our own lives or not. Our freedom will necessarily be tied to whether or not we harm others and both of these problems are linked to that. As a nurse I certainly adhere to do no harm but each individual case may have a different answer. Does the government get to decide without knowing the circumstances?

I don’t claim to know the answers. Where does our freedom to choose stop? If you have an answer let me know.

How would you do?

trauma

In a previous post I mentioned reading the book Tribes. I have noticed lately that I am secure enough in myself to agree or disagree with someone. I have felt that way about the last few things that I have read.

Years ago I read a book about the PTSD that is being seen in our returning soldiers that was excellent. Being married to a military man (his first career) the book clarified for me many things that had changed in the handling of military personnel and that the changes were not good.

In the book Tribes the author suggests that if people who suffer from PTSD were integrated back into a loving community environment that it would be easier for them to recover. I am sure there is truth to this. Being accepted is critical to our well being. However, the way soldiers have been handled in Iraq and Afghanistan has created more stress than in previous wars. I think the PTSD is more severe than we have seen before.

Recovering from any traumatic event causes PTSD. If the event is sudden and ends quickly recovery is usually easier. Any of us have a big physical response to trauma. All of our fight or flight responses are activated with some major physical changes. Major amounts of Adrenalin are released, our heart rate increases, blood to areas of the body not needed is reduced and brain is super alert. This is what is supposed to happen in the short term but suppose you are in this mode over a long period of time. The body is physically stressed to the point where it is difficult to recover.

So what made this happen to our soldiers? In previous wars there was a front……an area where the fighting took place and units were rotated back from the front for rest and time to come down from the high. In the last wars there has been no front and soldiers are in danger no matter where they are. They are never free from the adrenaline rush. There is no place to rotate them to for rest. During Viet Nam soldiers served (usually) one year and knew that they would be rotated home at the end of that time. They were usually away from battle for at least two years before being sent back. (If at all) Many of the prime units used in recent times have been at war for an undetermined length of time. (usually shorter than before) They were brought home and may be sent back in a few months. Some of them 4 or 5 times or more. The time away from battle has not been long enough for any sort of recovery. This information is not hearsay. I have personal knowledge of this.

PTSDits-not-that-the-person-is-refusing-300x300Having said all of this I know that the writer of the Tribe is correct is saying that recovery is better if there is integration into a community. Unfortunately, for most of the sufferers there is no community awaiting them. Many can’t find a job or have any major support system. Their trauma has also been so much more severe than previous cases we haven’t really learned how we can help. Work is being done but maybe too little, too late.

Wow! I really needed to say all of that! It has bothered me for a while.

Anxiety and stress and difficult for any of us to handle. How much more so if we were exposed to life threatening events over a long period and then expected to return to normal over night.

Pray for the World

alone_in_this_world_by_gabrielmaurano-d39h408The last few days have been very strange. We have spent most of our time watching the path of hurricane Irma and preparing to leave. The Governor of Georgia declared a mandatory evacuation of Savannah. We were supposed to begin leaving this morning. However, the storm has moved so far west compared to its original projection that we are unlikely to get more than some wind and rain. So we are still here. The house is covered with storm shutters and feels very strange. As of today nothing is open where we are but most of the people we know have chosen to stay. We are not fools and have left several times for storms but essentially we would be driving west where the storm will be over land and still have high winds and rain. It just doesn’t seem logical to go toward the storm. Unless something changes we will stay.  There will be some storm surge of water but we are not in an area for that to reach us.

All in all we are bored to tears. It almost feels like some apocalypse has taken place and there is no one left. It is eerie to see empty streets and stores and restaurants closed. Hospitals are open and some shelters but I doubt the shelters will be needed except for those homeless who will need escaped from the rain and wind.

pray for the worldWith the world the way that it is I can imagining this sort of scenario. It is not a good feeling. Each one of us needs to do everything that we can to seek peace in the world. The sad part is that it seems to be religion dividing us. Religion being mandated by the most extreme factions. Sometimes I just want to cry over the hatred. I am learning to be more outspoken about following love. I suspect that I try to tamp down heated opinions but I feel called to step beg for love and compassion no matter what.

No matter your belief pray for the world. Pray for those in danger from storms, wars and any other disaster.