I just finished a Webinar with the sexy title of “Staging Dementia.” I wish I could say if was for me — the psychologist, but it was for me — the daughter. Staging just means finding the level of deterioration where the dementia sufferer falls. A quick look at the many pages let me know that my mother was going to come out poorly.
Just last year she could have moved through those papers, pretending she could read them. But now she can’t sign her name, let alone hold a pen.
As I try to re-organize the class materials, my…
Doing nothing is often seen as an insult to the ticking clock that runs our lives. We measure our worth by how much we “get done.” We are discouraged from “wasting time.” But doing nothing is rarely a schedule trasher.
In fact, it is frequently a prerequisite to tapping into important parts of ourselves, like memory, creativity, problem solving and healing.
We are so addicted to our over-scheduled lives, that we become lost when left to our own devices. Many people find stillness and quiet noxious, and will do anything to escape. …
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.
It is a time to increase knowledge about mental illness-its staggering impact on sufferers, its stunning frequency and significant disability. It is an attempt to challenge long held stigmas that have been attached to illnesses and keep people from seeking treatment.
Stigma is often internalized, adding “insult to injury” to people who already feel pretty bad about themselves. Stigmatizing people keeps them at arm's length and leads to indifference, or outright hostility to their struggles. It creates an “Us” vs. “Them” setup.
Stigma is a fear and ignorance based set of beliefs that attempt…
I have a Ph.D. in helping. No kidding.
For most of my adult life, I was a “professional giver” — a therapist. I helped people to change, to live more satisfying lives, to ease their suffering. I was good at it.
But when it comes to asking for help for myself, I suck.
Many of us have a number of screwy beliefs that interfere with getting what we need. Understanding them can help us change so that we can get what we need.
Warning: This article contains references to suicidal ideation. For more information, contact www.dbsalliance.org
As depression marches on without relief, the connections we cherish the most crumble. What was once the glue that held us together, love, weakens and loses its magic.
It’s not for lack of trying. A great frustration of loved ones is that every effort to reach out is rendered useless. When we become seriously depressed, treasured relationships become burdens. It takes so much energy to “fake it.” So we seize time alone, separate and safe from the concern of our loved ones.
As a psychologist, I knew…
It’s Monday morning. Time for blueberry pancakes with my ex-husband.
He is my ex-husband because, after 43 years of marriage, he dumped me for some miscreant he lives with (sorry). He brings the pancakes, steaming with hot berries and dripping butter and syrup. We talk about our weeks. We notice new things about each other.
Some of you may be thinking, “Girl, what the hell are you doing?”
I’m walking the long road toward forgiving him.
As a psychologist, I know the research.
Why am I learning to forgive him?
Because I can’t afford not to.
Psychologists define forgiveness as…
Of all of the stories in the New Testament, the saddest, for me, is not the most obvious. It’s not about Jesus being mortally betrayed by a good friend. It’s not about his subsequent arrest, his flogging, or the excruciating crown of thorns. It’s not about the vicious and jubilant crowds, or being dragged to the place of his punishment with the instrument of his death on his back.
Ever since my first deadening, solitary, frightening depression, I have surprised myself by thinking about Jesus. I am no longer a very “religious” person anymore. …
Sometimes it’s hiding in the down times
Along with my fair skin, my thick hair and my big mouth, my foremothers passed on a vulnerability to the darkness. Genuinely funny and engaging women, they knew times of sorrow that shut them down and paralyzed their many gifts.
My great-grandmother was basically a strange woman, with odd ideas. She was a real character who could tell horrifying stories that could keep a young girl awake for nights at a time. She also dipped into periods of depression. which silenced her. During one of those times, she automatically picked up scraps of…
Resurrection haunts me. Why make such
a big damn deal about one guy’s rebound?
On Holy Fridays we stepped, hushed in enforced silence.
The only sound was the rubber soles of our saddle shoes
on the black and white tiles of church.
Sr. James Catherine led the parade that halted
fourteen times as we craned our neck to see the pictures.
They were graphic, with at least a PG13 rating,
and we were only seven. “The Stations of the Cross”
they were called, which meant, “chapters in a vicious death.”
I knew he’d been condemned to die, but…
What I’m learning about boycotting
I have to quit Coca-Cola right now. Why? Not because it’s expensive. It has nothing to do with my weight or health. I certainly haven’t lost my taste for it. While technically, I’m not “addicted” to it, I’m pretty damn close. It’s my first gulp when I wake up and the last before I go to bed. I’ve been known to sneak out in the middle of the night to restock so that it will be there for me when I wake up. If I were on a desert island and I was allowed one…
Martha Manning, Ph.D is a writer and clinical psychologist, whose memoir, Undercurrents deals with her severe depression. Like heavy stuff with lots of humor.