Advocate for yourself

If we are blessed we gain wisdom as we age. Sometimes those we encounter tap into that wisdom and are (hopefully) helped by it. I have been an extrovert my whole life and am always willing to share. (Sometimes both the person I share with and I wish it had never happened.) Wisdom is best imparted when asked for.

Consider-the-Source

I have talked often on this blog about how much it means for us to share our experiences with each other. Professionals are important but sometimes good advice comes from those whose experiences are similar to ours. All advice must be weighed against our own experiences and our insight into ourselves. Don’t ever be afraid to speak up for yourself when in the presence of “professionals” who may or may not really understand. You are allowed to ask questions and take some time to consider. You are your best advocate.

When working in pediatrics I listened carefully to the mothers who came to us. Sometimes others don’t listen carefully enough and may miss important clues that make a big difference. Doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists hear so much that sometimes they can leap to the wrong conclusions. Don’t let them rush. (especially doctors) Make sure you have the time you need. If that doesn’t work for them find someone else.

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You are important. Your thoughts and feelings are important. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

No labels allowed

People often don’t want to admit to a mental illness because of the stigma attached. One of my physicians said “I don’t want to put down anxiety on your chart.” It made me think that until we are willing to take on that diagnosis the stigma will not stop.

“Don’t-be-ashamed-of-your-story.-It-will-inspire-others.” (1)

There are so many people with mental problems. There are so many who know they suffer with it but cannot reveal it. If we could accurately count the people who are out there I’m sure the numbers would be staggering.

Maybe some problems are longer lasting (maybe forever) and other are transient. I almost wonder if there is anyone who has not suffered in some way. I mentioned before that my daughter, when working as a psych nurse, was asked how you tell normal said: “Can you get up in the morning, eat, dress, work, sleep some and start over the next day? If you can you are normal.” All the trials and peculiarities of each life do not affect the ability to function. Yes, there are those who can’t and God willing, they can find help. The rest of us may feel that our life is erratic and up/down but still manage to get through most days.

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We continue to live and will not let our issues define us. Who, from the outside, can know what transpires in each person’s life? Who is arrogant enough to label anyone else? Only those who think they are “better than.” Their opinion does not define anyone at all. It only let’s us know the shallowness of their own psyche.

Never let other’s labels define you. Every person is valuable and important. Every person’s life has meaning. Show the world that everyone matters!

Unkindness

This week I have heard two stories of people being deliberately unkind. In both instances it was totally uncalled for. It is amazing to me how mean ad hurtful some people can be. In one case the person hurt made no response. In the other the hurt was brought to the attention of the person with not a smidgen of remorse or acknowledgement that anything was said that hurt.

unkindness

How do we handle this kind of person? It totally depends on the situation. Unfortunately, in both of these cases there was no ability to dismiss the person and just stay away from them. The one person tried to deal with it and since it is a work situation will not be able to do anything until later.

The second one is dealing with family. Both of these people do not have the option to just walk away. That would certainly be the best choice.

Being unkind in return just exacerbates the situation. It is better to state your feelings in a calm and simple way and move on

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At my age I seldom tolerate those who behave in this way. I will either stay away from them after voicing my thoughts….quietly but with conviction….or if family point out the hurt and hope that they see. Sometimes I choose to speak to spare a family member from being the one in the cross fire. As we get older it is easier to absorb the fall out.

We do not have to continue to be hurt over and over. People who are this unkind are usually unhappy themselves. Their behavior is often the result of being hurt in the past. However, we don’t have to put up with it. Sparing ourselves is important to our health and well-being.

Each of us matters!

Today is a much better day. Partly due to my mindset as I got up. Even having to go to a funeral was not a downer. Lutheran funerals are not depressing. Their theology is it is a celebration of the life lost and a trust in God’s promises. Usually lots of happy hymns are chosen…especially Easter ones.

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Today the funeral was at a funeral home and the organist was used to playing dirges. The first hymn, which could have been lively, was dragging. That’s the way it goes. It made me decide that if I can’t have someone who plays a joyful tempo I want guitars and drums. Guess I better pass that on to my kids.

Funerals can remind you of your own mortality. The truth is I don’t think any of us can imagine a world without us. We know death is inevitable but still can’t see not being present.

cant live forever

Most of us live in a world where death can feel as if it won’t touch us. Our medicine improves every day and life expectancy is so much longer. I was watching an Amazon series called “The London” which is about the hospital during the 1800’s. Life expectancy is 45. That is just half of what we expect today.

When I am ill and approaching death I just want to feel that I have lived. I want to be able to see my life as having had some meaning. Life doesn’t have to be grandiose for that to be the case. Have I helped others? Have I raised my family the best that I could? Have I been true to my core beliefs? Have I have worked the best that I could with what I have been given? This is really important. If I had a disability or struggled with mental illness or developed a long term illness did I do the best that I could? If I can answer yes I can be confident my life mattered.

Hey you YOU MATTER

Remember, none of us is perfect. We are only meant to do the best we can. Don’t concern yourself with your limitations just work with your strengths. That is what life is all about.