Whenever you hear someone complain – don’t join them in their negative rampage. Complaining doesn’t make anything better – you are better off being quiet than joining them in their complaining. Even if it is socially accepted and expected of you to join in when someone complains, it is never of value. You always have […]Don’t participate in bullshit – be pure in your heart — joypassiondesire
“Before you can break out of prison, you must realize you are locked up.” – www.healthyplace.com
Everyone is affected by a terminal condition called “life”. In every family, there are emotional or physical Illnesses that affect one member – the sufferer – yet also affect others – spouses or partners, parents, children, or siblings. To a lesser degree, friends, co-workers, or neighbors may also be affected. Disease and genetic disorders like Lyme disease, asthma, Parkinson’s, muscular dystrophy or cancer are chronic conditions and are lifelong disabilities physically but emotional disorders, many linked to genetic predispositions, traumatic physical events or lifestyle choices can can radically change the family dynamics no less permanently.
In most cases, there is no preparation. no schooling or a “recommended reading list” in one’s formative years, for family members when a loved one has a mental illness like anorexia, depression, bipolar or anxiety disorders like agoraphobia. These can also accompany or be elevated by an addiction to alcohol, prescription drugs, or other substances. A casual relationship may not reveal the extent of a sufferer’s condition. But in a long-term relationship, marriage or one with frequent connection or intimacy, between spouses, or parents and children, clues early in a person’s life may exist. Of course, everyone experiences an illness, accident, depression or difficult circumstances that are temporary. It takes long-term observation to note patterns that may indicate unhealthy behavior.
When a participant (an active observer, or even a co-dependent personality type) is not a professionally-trained counselor, experience, level of empathy and often spiritual foundation are the only tools available. Behavior that later manifests in addiction, mania and depression mood swings, obsessive-compulsive activity, hyperactivity, sleeplessness or its opposite, and emotional disconnection may be subtle at first or have sudden onset. With PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, a life event such as death of child, a combat experience, a severe accident, sexual assault or abuse can severely damage a formerly healthy individual and ripple emotionally through a family. Triggering events may be a tone of voice, a certain time, a season, a smell, sounds or a characteristic that one person displays. For someone in a relationship with another who experienced a traumatic event -even years in the past – “walking on eggshells” becomes normal. Often in hindsight to a failed relationship, injury or death of the sufferer, particularly when a victim was unwilling or unable to seek help, guilt may emotionally affect those in the victim’s circle for years. Yet PTSD is not a terminal condition, but requires compassion, professional treatment, cooperation, and ongoing engagement on the part of the sufferer and her close personal relationships.
For many, when it is a close family member, in late adolescence or early adulthood, it is a natural response to think the behavior including addiction, is just a “phase” he or she is “going through”. From the outside looking in, the addict, when rational and sober, seems to be functioning individual – but it is a ruse. Some are able to hold a job for a time. They may frequently change jobs due to work stress or the addiction’s toll on a person’s performance. It is a natural self-defense mechanism or social response for people not to ‘get involved’, or to overlook indicators, but these are not compassionate responses of family and close friends. However, an addict can also mask his or her problems by being outgoing but shallow, and very reserved (personal details) to coworkers, family members or others in his or her circle of acquaintances. One sort of behavior that may be due to embarrassment, or pride is a need to appear to be “holding it together”. Limited engagement, that is, keeping visits short with family and family friends at holidays or other gatherings.
When the sufferer is an adult, who arguably is not a “danger to themselves or others”, there is little one can do more than to suggest, advise, or urge the sufferer to seek professional help. The longer the addiction continues, the more the addict does damage to themselves physically and emotionally. Hospitalization and treatment of the symptoms may give the addict an opportunity to be sober for a short time.
Treating the problem – the addiction – without a sustained, professional program to treat the emotions or physical underpinnings, is a temporary measure. In the meantime, the family and close friends have to endure their own emotional pain to partner in their loved one’s recovery. For some, replacing the destructive addiction with a positive one particularly through physical activity can be successful when partnered with professional counseling. It may well be a lifelong activity. A new ‘normal’.
For those who are willing to consider a spiritual component to ongoing wellness, study of the Bible offers examples of successful lives though suffering from illness, depression or anxieties. The Bible offers hope in illustrations of several figures who suffered from depression. King David is lauded as one of the most devout leaders in the Old Testament, but his Psalms are full of outpouring his anxieties, fears, troubles, and anger to God.
11 Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God – Psalm 42:11
Elijah, one of the greatest prophets in the Old Testament is another. In 1 Kings 19:4
4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush,(A) sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life;(B) I am no better than my ancestors.”
the passage illustrates his depression. Job also battled depression. Examples: Job 3: 26
and Job 10: 1:
“I loathe my very life;(A)
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
While these figures went on to have great impact in the Bible and to adherents for thousands of years, there is no indication that they were freed from the emotional and physical ailments that people still endure today.
One of those who has been successful in ongoing recovery from anorexia, BeautyBeyondBones, offers her personal experience and resources that are instructive for eating disorders and other communities who are seeking support with emotional and physical disorders.
In the following article, there are some good tips for families dealing with the various demons affecting their loved ones. But it is only a starting point.
Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy
One of my earliest memories of my father was him working out on the pull-up bar he had secured in the doorframe between the hallway and the kitchen of our home. In the bathroom he had dumbbells that he would use before he got ready for work. Years later I saw pictures of him on skiis and also when he was a great swimmer, looking very fit in a picture taken at the beach. He was a handsome and strapping young man.
My mother was also an avid skier. When my father had surgery for a brain tumor requiring years of physical therapy, my mother continued a routine of taking my younger sister and me hiking, running, bicycling and swimming. This was in the mid-1960s, when the President’s Council on Physical Fitness was a sought-after award at school, kids were always in perpetual motion outdoors and obesity was rare in my community. In the years prior to her accident on the slopes (she shattered her ankle ending her skiing days) we took trips to Lake Tahoe in winter to ski. She also had a daily regimen of exercising in front of the television broadcast of Jack Lalanne. She swam laps in a pool for hours twice a week for perhaps thirty years – right into her 70s.
As a teen in Tucson Arizona, I worked on a ranch in the early morning and late afternoon before school, riding my bicycle several miles to and from school. I rode horses several days a week, which is great exercise for your legs, back and core. And in the Navy, I continued to work out, even though I did not have a runner’s body, running several miles every day with the leadership of my department. I was never a body builder, but regularly worked out in the base gym. And cycling around the cities I was stationed.
In my late Thirties, I started to lose interest in fitness. Whether laziness, age or a depression mindset thing, I started to gain weight and stopped going to the gym. It was actually my selection for Chief Petty Officer that turned me around. Up at 0430, meeting a group of men and women ten to twenty years my junior at 0500, we ran along the beach and golf course at the base. Calisthenics, tug-of-war contests, and even a half-marathon were activities I determined to give my best – “lead from the front” attitude. It was in response to a challenge that a Chief, five years my senior issued me.
After my military retirement, I rode my bicycle for miles to and from work for a few years. One month after I started to up my efforts – getting the clipless pedals on that bicycle, I had an accident and broke my wrist in several places. I was afraid to ride a bicycle in San Diego after I recovered. Then work became my excuse to not exercise and binge eating instead to cope with stress. Obvious to all, I started to get terribly out of shape to the point, on a vacation cruise in November of last year, I was teased by a Jamaican tour employee who nicknamed me “Santa Claus”. Upon my return, I hated my cruise pictures – alongside our very fit friends. I made a decision. No more Santa Claus. With an illness at the end of the year to motivate me, I decided to follow my spouse’s commitment, by eating nutritiously and moderately. And get into physical fitness again. There have been few things in my life that have not been accomplished when setting my mind to push through. I believe that anyone with sufficient motive and “never quit” attitude can achieve anything, I intend to wear my uniform, fit and with pride, for Veteran’s Day this year.
I just turned 59 last week, and I am well on my way to my next milestone: I was under two hundred pounds when I received my Chief’s anchors in 2004, and I will be there again. It takes forty minutes a day four days a week. I walk the dogs daily, and hike with my friends (and the dogs) Saturday mornings. And I no longer eat the processed crap I ate unthinkingly, as I look at it now as sidetracking my goal.
No longer being a fat old man has been noticed by my co-workers, and supervisors but particularly by friends I had not seen in a year. “Half the man I used to be” is my new moniker. My wife is excited that we are getting healthier together. And my zeal for the outdoors, my relationships with my wife – we work out together , with my physically active friends, and even zeal in blogging has been renewed. And I intend to be healthy and active for my grandchild, Zander, just born, and any more in the future.
I want to encourage you to stay active. Nothing will pull you out of anxiety, depression, a “funk”, or a stressful day at work like exercise and good nutrition. You can find out if this is something you want to do as well here.
And nutritional help here
True enjoyment comes from activity of the mind and exercise of the body; the two are ever united. Wilhelm von Humboldt (brainyquote.com)
The dictionary defines concert, so the director said Saturday night, as “a musical performance given in public, typically by several performers or of several separate compositions. (2) agreement, accordance, or harmony.” It was an opportunity to enjoy an evening with a thousand fans of symphony music. From the audience standing and singing the Star Spangled Banner to a medley of famous themes like the Sound of Music, the night and the performance were wonderful. And the point in the concert where the conductor asked military veterans to stand and be honored was wonderful.
The night was planned several weeks ago for our friends and us, to have dinner and enjoy the season-opening concert, San Diego Symphony at Bayside – on the waterfront downtown next to the Convention Center. The evening featured famous American composers and included masterful choral singing. Yet the night was unnecessarily in competition with a harbor cruise “party boat” going back and forth in the harbor all evening. While the symphony conductor was the picture of grace and civility, the operator, just offshore of our venue, was deliberately negligent, blaring the distracting beat, “ba-dum, ba-dum, ba-dum” over and over, and over again. The conductor made light of it, and yet many of my fellow veterans in the audience (from 20 to 80 years in age) were visibly ready to form a boarding party.
It was a great metaphor for the “endangered species” of civility – particularly in America in 2018. On the way home by trolley, a young person zigged and zagged to step in front of us “old people” ( I spent 4 seconds before inserting my card in the ticket-dispensing machine) to try to get her trolley ticket first (until I harrumphed and she demurred). On social media, a person makes a comment both insulting the fans and actually containing some painful truth, of a particular topic (politics), and gets his (insert characteristic here) questioned. But the comment was deliberately meant to provoke anger.
I regularly encounter both Prius and BMW drivers who act as though they are the most important dignitaries on the road -tailgating, careening across lanes – to get two car lengths ahead – in rush hour. When I hold a door open as a courtesy for females (as I do for males) even among my workmates, there is a occasionally a woman under thirty who seems irritated that I did so. But age is not a predictor of civility. I see men my age with yard signs or bumper stickers that declare other human beings idiots, criminals or ignorant. It is common now for people to pick “sides”. There is no tolerance for differing opinion. And there is no standard where dialogue has to be reasoned, calm, and well-supported by easily (verified (and unbiased) observers.
How do we revert to civility norms?
I think that this decline in civility has both been inflamed by social media as well as our education system. For fifty years we have groomed people to believe they have the right to say what they want without consequences. A Utopian desire for harmonious acceptance, order, and a pain-free existence for everyone everywhere is not through government control. Either some are forced (Constitutional guarantees are repressed by power-brokers; disagreement is labelled “hate speech”) or are bribed (“living wage” increases worker support, recipients of “public assistance” are encouraged to remain on the “dole”) to be obedient, and the result is a lack of civility toward those who have different views.
One christian’s viewpoint
Most among the secular world see the faulty application of Christian theology by many as evidence of a faulty theology rather than faulty human beings. Any government that promotes officially-sanctioned multiple languages, cultural norms, legal precepts, and political ideologies, is not elevating civility among dis-unified people but instead further isolating individuals and groups into opposing factions. History is full of these lessons. “Balkanization” is a term where multiple ethnic, religious, linguistic, and religious fracturing is present. The first World War all the way through the “ethnic cleansing” in the former Yugoslav (Balkan) states in the 1990s were due to this fracturing. Fear and paranoia of people who will not assimilate is thousands of years old. But governments that accommodate the noisy separatists and neglect the “deplorables”, risk permanent balkanization. It has been the national identity, as “Americans” regardless of all the other factors, that has maintained unity in the United States since the Nineteenth Century. The resurgence of socialism in American culture, in the absence of a truly spiritual understanding of brotherhood, respect, looking after the ill and the truly desperate, leading a peaceful existence and having a strong work ethic, is not going to achieve a concert in America or elsewhere.
Secular proposals to restore civility in America
Americans can try to restore a civil culture through man-made effort. But how do people restore civility?
- Restore ONE NATION: Celebrate our diversity in ethnic heritage but unify everyone who comes here – through the established immigration policies – to become AMERICAN. Stop using hyphen american in all our identifiers.
- Establish ONE language. All business, education, judicial dealings, social interaction should be performed in English. Teach different idioms and language, but everyone who wants to be a resident must read, write and speak English in everyday situations. Make it mandatory to pass an oral and written exam within 24 months of arrival – with intent to remain – to reside in the United States, and become a citizen. Make the language a requirement to obtain any public assistance.
- Restore the ONE culture. Quit the divisiveness of public – and public-funded institutions promoting ethnic separatism. Whatever color, race, creed, or political leanings, celebrate differences in the context of making the “melting pot” better.
- Prohibit any public official or lobbying group on behalf of any non-citizens, extra-national allegiances, from campaigning to support non-citizens, foreign governments, or business interests seeking to change immigration policies without a national vote.
- Restore GOD and belief in a Creator as acceptable teaching. Permit use of public property for the exercise of religion as with any other use. Get government out of the Belief business.
- Spiritual beliefs that do not contradict the good order an unity of a nation, are not legally barred.
- Atheism does not trump the rights of others to practice their spiritual beliefs in private or in public spaces.
- Non-government employers and places of employment that express particular religious beliefs cannot be forced through legal redress to change policies (adding “abortion coverage” to a health plan for an employer that publicly “pro-life”). Employment conditions are still voluntarily accepted by both parties – employer and employee.
- Public (government) employees are barred from expressing support for, or opposition to, insulting, belittling, or deriding a particular religious belief.
- The judicial branch of government only decides whether an action violates the law, not whether it is moral, ethical, proper, or the “intent” of the law-makers
- No elected official can refuse to enact voter-approved legislation that does NOT
- cause physical harm to individuals or groups
- bar individuals or groups from activities that do not seek to cause harm (violence, rebellion) or deny others their human rights
- No institution of government can be used to manipulate public information, sentiment, or coerce support for a particular national political entity in power. This also means no institution of government can be manipulated to deny another political entity the fair and equal opportunity in elections.
- No entity or institution serving the national interest – media service, local, state or national educational institution (public or privately-funded) can bar exercise of the Constitutional “freedom of speech”.
- Civility is a voluntary ideal but some focused practices could improve civility:
- Practice, starting in the home, schools, and social organizations that disagreement with the policies of a government official does not condone any action, outburst, or display abusing that office.
- Accept the outcome of elections. Bring change through the ballot box.
- Public figures or celebrities should not incite street protests and violence against law enforcement and other public safety officers.
- Leaders of religious orders should promote peaceful doctrines, respect for authority, and practices among their adherents.
- Engaging in personal attacks on or inciting abuse of the family members of a government official should be restrained by peers and not promoted as entertainment by media business, celebrities, and public officials.
- Civility is a voluntary ideal but some focused practices could improve civility: