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psychiatric institutions

Flowers Versus Weeds. How Were You Raised? What Are You Raising?

rp_8150559597_f6b72c73b6_m.jpgIt all depends on your point of view.
The problem is that in your garden you may have been taught to see certain plants as weeds and which should be “weeded” out and others as flowers which should be cultivated.  Many people when they plant their gardens expect to get flowers but the truth is that when you plant a seed, you may get not get what you expected which is someone like you and you don’t know how to cultivate them.  How do you handle this mystery seed as a disappointment or as a wonderful new discovery  if you got what you were hoping for.  Why take it out on the plant, because you have to learn new cultivating  techniques and, for example, provide different amounts of water, different amounts of sunshine or shade, and different kinds and amounts of plant food as well as protection from different types of insect infestation.  Some require  more space than others or grow taller and block the sun getting to other plants and/or your view of them.  You can look on this as a pleasant surprise or as a serious disappointment and/or you might learn new things about growing different “plants”.

rp_300px-Drill.jpgThe famous Kennedy family had their developmentally disabled daughter unsuccessfully operated on to deal with her unconventional behavior and then institutionalized her because they couldn’t cope with her unfortunate behavior changes after surgery and her perceived inability to benefit (they thought) no longer from family life with the other children.  Could she who was seen as an unfortunate weed that needed to be changed been raised successfully (at least for her if not for them) in the in the Kennedy family compound? They felt that they couldn’t cope with her behavior and poor ability to comprehend and benefit from what was going on around her.  It was an unfortunate decision and at the time, they didn’t know that the operation would not help her, but injury her further.

Did you get what you individually needed to grow and flourish as the flower that you actually  were or were you treated unfortunately as an unwanted weed? Also what were your parents considered to be by their parents, teachers, and even peers?  Flowers or weeds? and how were they raised? you-are-exactly-who-you-are-suppose-to-beTaking account of the differences as well as the similarities is important in raising your own off spring or the children you have contact with, students, nieces and nephews,  etc. .  Consider such happenings  as a pleasant  surprise and  as a splendid way to learn new things and see life from a different point of view and not as dealing with an unwanted pest and, at best, as at least an inconvenience to have such a child and set them the child up for the rest of his or her life to be seen as a failure or to be at the least second best when compared with a sibling or or siblings who might more meet your expectations and fit your style of dealing with life itself.

Psychosis Is Like A Bad Trip

PsychosisVonnegutCoverPsychosis is like having a bad trip on drugs but it never ends.  You are no longer in control of your own mind and you may not even know that you are not in your right mind.  You might do some crazy things that hurt others.  It used to might have even sent you to “prison” at an insane asylum.  Lock them up and throw the key away.

The closest I ever got recently was when I was  coming out of back surgery and having an IV for a pain pump.  I know I pushed it too much and time crawled by.  I just wanted it to wear off; but I knew I was “not in my right mind”.  What if I didn’t know and was that way anyway and had no control over my trip.  I apologized to several different people for what I might have said or did at that time.

At a very young age I had visual hallucinations from taking codeine cough srup for my asthma.  I saw orange and green bugs everywhere and they didn’t go away when my mom turned my light on.  When the codeine wore off, the hallucinations went away.  Seeing is believing.

Also this happens when someone like my father has Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia (my dad’s was Parkinson’s)and we have been more aware what that is like with all the coverage the victims and caregivers have been given.  Victims are frequently not themselves and don’t know it.  The frightening thing is that many victims (with our new ability to diagnosis this early) know what is going to happen to them.  Because these people are so hard to care for nursing homes have developed special locked Alzheimer’s units so they can’t get away and get lost not knowing who they are, where they are going, and where they came from.

People with paranoia can get very dangerous ideas.  They often feel that somebody is out to get them.  Voices in their heads tell them to do bad things. They may think that they have a special mission in this world and that they have to fulfill it no matter what they have to do.

When do we take away a person’s personal freedoms?  Why don’t we have places for them to go that recognize that they have special needs and meet them.  Diabetes is more accepted than psychosis.  It can be the person’s own personal hell.  When people are incapacitated because of these changes in their brain where do we put them?  Do we care for them.? There are illnesses of all kinds, some are socially acceptable.  These people get treated and others who do not get socially acceptable diseases are not.  We often allege that people suffering from mental illness want to be that way and that they choose their own path.

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Control Freaks, My Way Or The Highway

control freakDo you have problems around the issue of control? Do you live with a control freak or are you a control freak?  Indirectly you may be one if you let everybody else take control.  Are you flexible?  Do you want to reduce stress?  In order to get a task done, do you usually have to compromise?  Do you run upon people who you can’t count on even if they are a lot of fun to be with and they take control that way?  Does someone who throws a lot of  (you think unnecessary) paperwork at you and who demands that you follow numerous rules and regulations as well drive you crazy?

Do you stay in control by letting other people take control?  Do you ever think that you will get to a win-win solution for both yourself and the other person or persons involved?  Traumatic, isn’t it?  Have you ever felt like you were a doormat?  Everybody steps on you and then wipes their dirty feet on you?  Ready to quit working with these types of people and start over somewhere else where people aren’t like this?  With control freaks, it is my way or the highway.

I am a modified control freak when I need to get a task done and it is my duty, job, or responsibility or all three.  I once was put by myself in charge of three wards in the lunch room in an insane asylum while the other aides took a lunch break.  I stuck it out even though I got slapped in the face by a disorderly resident while I was on my own.  I always say, “The buck stops here,” like Harry Truman.  Being a mother or babysitting is also a situation where I have to maintain control especially concerning the safety of the child or children I am in charge of.  Sometimes in situations somebody has to take control and that person is you.  You may have never wanted the position, but somebody has to do it.

Everybody has to take a position on the control issue different from the one they are comfortable with sometime.  Maybe you should practice being less of a control freak or more of a control freak.  I know this takes you out of your comfort zone but the most growth usually occurs when you do that.  You may surprise yourself.


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Dangerous Situations

English: Former recovery sanitorium for Psychi...

English: Former recovery sanitorium for Psychiatric hospital Wolfheze (today a cafeteria for personnel); protected building (gemeentelijke monument Renkum) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you ever wonder if it ever got dangerous in tense therapy situations or diagnostic interviews?  The answer is, “Yes.”  You are never as safe as you think you might be.  I had just about finished a two hour interview with a man and he told me that he had thought about bringing a gun to the interview and had gotten talked out of it.  That was after he told me that he had once stalked a guy with a gun and the only reason he hadn’t shot him was that he never came out of the building that he was watching before he got discouraged and left.  That was my closest call and it wasn’t at one of the prisons where I had worked and was often alone with prisoners.  (Please note that they now do the counseling there with video counseling and counselors are not actually in the same room with offenders).

Earlier in my career, I was in a dicey situation and I actually got hurt (not seriously) in one of them when I least expected it.  I was working temporarily at a large mental institution where I was often left in charge of a large number of people.  This happened at lunch time when I was alone in the cafeteria with three different wards.  Only one of them was mine and at least one of them was an open ward.  Technically I was not alone, but the cafeteria workers had nothing to do with watching the residents.  A lady (whom I later found out was from an open ward) was creating a disturbance and smearing condiments all over herself and the furniture.  I decided to take the calm approach and went over to her and touched her on the arm (which I later learned was a “no-no” with a patient you didn’t know) and she slapped me hard in the face.  Did I say that I was surprised?  Fortunately a nursing staff member came in who knew the patient came in the cafeteria and talked to her and walked away with her.  Did anybody pay attention to me to see if I was injured, of course not?  That was fortunately the only time that I have ever been hurt.

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