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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Come Ride The Roller Coaster with Me!

These last few months have been the "usual" for me which means lots of clients with pretty significant issues.  But first, I will bring everyone up-to-date concerning my younger son, the one who had encephalitis.  
He has recovered completely from a physical and mental perspective.  I think he has learned some valuable lessons.  He is struggling right now with trying to start his law practice on his own.  Today's economy doesn't make it easy for someone just starting out. He has developed a niche practice, but the company he hired to market the practice has not been as productive for him as we had hoped.  
He has helped a local small businessman with some legal work which led him into a trying to start a business venture with that gentleman.  None of us know whether that will work or not.  He has been very discouraged lately, and I am hoping that God will continue to work in his life and heart.  

Our grandchildren keep us laughing and engaged in the  process of growing. 

My brother, whose has not been in good health for years has ended up in the hospital in the city where he lives and then in a specialized nursing home for rehab for lymphedema in his leg.  I received this piece of news just before I was to speak at a NAMI dinner here in our town.

That week-end was an interesting one, to say the least.  On Friday, I was giving a presentation to nursing students about suicide.  One of my clients, who struggles with suicidal ideation, had asked to come and talk with the students as well.  I had been offered, and had agreed to, a three hour presentation..  After the first hour, we all decided to take a break for a few minutes.  I went to use the bathroom and said hello to another person in the class who was leaving the bathroom.  When I was in the middle of "taking care of business", the power in the entire building went out.  I finished what I needed to do, and was groping for the handle on the stall door when the person I met earlier, came to get me, flashlight on her smartphone guiding the way.  The funny thing is, I am almost never without my iphone (which has a flashlight), but of course, that time, it was still in the classroom.  

As a group, we explored, talked with the cleaning personnel, listened while the nursing instructor called security and waited.  We were informed that the emergency lighting in the hallway would only last an hour, and so we all decided to leave.  I packed up my lap top, thought I had grabbed the power cord, and left.  

I had also committed to be the speaker for the NAMI dinner the next night.  NAMI is National Association on Mental Illness, a grass-roots educational group that was formed to educate people about mental illness and provide support to those with mental illness and their families/friends/significant others.  The topic was "Humor in Difficult Situations".
I arrived at the Embassy Suites where the dinner was to be held ahead of time so that I could make sure everything worked properly. Then I noticed that my battery indicator showed that I had almost no power left...remember where I had been the night before? I had not picked up my power cord.  Luckily I called someone who had the same model of lap top, and she came down and let me use her power cord.

The dinner was wonderful, and I put my hat on and began to speak.  

My lap top was charging appropriately.  Then, the first problem cropped was with the microphone...crackle, crackle, squeak, squeak.  

Then the LCD projector which was connected to my Mac was not projecting the sound on my video clips to come through the room speakers. So, I put the crackling microphone next to the speakers on the laptop and listened as the audience laughed at Art Linkletter talking to kids on his famous, "Kids Say the Darndest Things" program.

But, after my Mac had died and before I plugged in the other power cord, the connection between the LCD projector and my Mac had been interrupted.  I thought it was my Mac and turned to use the laptop Embassy Suites provided for me when my Mac first ran out of power.  I connected it to the LCD and inserted the thumb drive that I had copied my presentation onto.  Still no powerpoint projected on the screen.  And crackle, crackle, squeak, squeak went the mike.
I was provided with another microphone, and continued to speak.  I reconnected the LCD to the Mac....but the powerpoint still wouldn't project on the screen. Reconnecting to the other laptop, I continued to speak....and chuckle.  That laptop crashed and so I powered up the Mac and presented to the audience from my powerpoint which I could see, even though they could not...I truly was enjoying the irony of the whole thing, and as I closed with a couple of funny stories, decided that what better way to give a presentation on "Humor in Difficult Situations" than to experience it first hand!  I still find humor in that NAMI presentation.

How I wish that people who struggle with depression, anxiety, PTSD, abuse histories, Dissociative Identity Disorder and other complex mental health issues could find relief from their struggles.  I suggest humor whenever appropriate and have "prescribed" old TV shows such as I Love Lucy.   In addition, I suggest reading humorous books as well.
Because of the complexity of the issues that my clients are dealing with, it is not uncommon for several of them to be in crises at the same time.  When several of my clients are experiencing crises at the same time, I lovingly refer to that as "Three full moons, six full moons, etc".  That is because I have often said that there is always a full moon in my office.  (There is a general consensus that when the moon is full, people's behavior often deteriorates.) 
As a therapist, I see the pain and anguish these diagnoses cause, and am constantly educating myself and researching techniques and medications which might help. I have found medical hypnosis to be a useful technique for those experiencing depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and those who want to stop smoking or overeating.  I am also utilizing it as I work with the clients with Dissociative Identity Disorder.  In addition, I use EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) to help clients process trauma.  In addition, I use Sand Tray Therapy, stuffed animals, and Projective Drawing to help the  adult clients express themselves.   This is a journey for all of us.  I hope to be able to blog about some of the more complex diagnoses and explain them in understandable terms. 


  1. Pat thank you for all you to for so many and not in the least for a dear friend of mine. You are an inspiration - seeing so much positive in the midst of doubt and confusion. Will be praying for your son and brother.

    1. Corinne...I had replied right after you commented, but looks like I hit the wrong my first reply is out there somewhere in cyberspace! Thank you for your kind comments...I very much appreciate your prayers...Katherine

  2. I so admire your dedication to and gift for helping others through so many complex and life-crippling disorders. Where would my friend be without you? Know you are a blessing!

  3. Martha...thank you for your kind comments. I am always grateful that God has equipped me to do this work...It truely is a privilege.

  4. OMG! This is the kind of month that I believe I would have crawled back in bed and hibernated...hoping that when I woke up, I would have found it all to be a bad dream LOL. God Bless You! I'm going to send you an angel to look out for you :)

    1. Mary...thank you...and please let your angel know she may have to put in some overtime. Thanks...K

  5. Wow what a time you have had. I am happy to hear your son is healthy angain and pray for his success in the new endeavors. Just the way you tell the story of your difficult weeks is enough to make me smile with you, thanks for that.

  6. Jan...I appreciate your positive comments...and I am glad, in some small way that I could help you smile....K

  7. UHHHHHHHHH HUUUUUUUHHHHHHH !!!!!! together :)

  8. Are you sure you don't have ADHD because those couple days sound like my typical week. ;-) lol
    You should mention how good you are at helping people with Ferrari brains and Schwinn bicycle brakes at least move up to Shimano disc Mountain bike brakes!

  9. Rebecca---some people in my life think I have ADHD....I am just good at mult-tasking!...Thanks for the kind comments...

  10. Dear Pat,

    This is my second attempt to vicariously "meet" you via cyberspace. I responded to your post earlier this evening, but due to my being rather technologically challenged, I wasn't successful. A mutually known "someone" was rather persistent in "pushing" me to try again. Rather curious, since being "pushed" isn't atop this person's "things I like in life" list! lol

    I know I can't replicate my earlier response to your post, so I won't even try. Instead I will be a bit more succinct since the response was likely too long (because this is a new way for me to "meet" someone) and I have a tendency to over express myself if there is plenty of room for mis interpretation. I hope that isn't a relevant concern.

    I hope you hear that I am aware of the philosophical "line" that exists between friendship and professional. I am not only aware of it, but intensely respectful of it and I do not mix the two, at least not intentionally. As a former therapist I have too often encountered those who are NOT aware of this line and who have interfered in my therapeutic alliance with a client and caused needless setbacks. I don't interfere in such ways with my friends, in fact, have the experience and skill to KNOW why I shouldn't and how not to.

    You can't and don't know who I am so I respect any protectiveness you might have for someone in your counsel. All I can say is I respect the work you do, that it is much needed by those who seek it and I am so thankful it is available for those I love. I don't interfere where I know I don't belong!

    I believe trust is built over time, based upon action and interaction within a given relationship and is not bestowed because some one SAYS so. I get that and know only too well how devastating it can be when trust is broken or boundaries are violated in a long term friendship. This is not part of my history with others and I don't intend it ever to be.

    My 30 year career as a nurse/social worker has culminated in what we call "retirement". Which to me, means I am no longer gainfully employed. What it DOESN'T mean is that I have abandoned my ethics and values. They are who I am no matter what letters trail behind my name, or title I might have held. I am a good person who perhaps has a few more skills than the "average joe", which means I hold myself to a higher standard than some when it comes to my relationships. I am not mean, undermining or disrespectful when it comes to someone's life journey. I walk the same lane as many and try never to cross into one where I don't belong.

    Now, specifically regarding your post ... near the end when you described the stuffed animals, sand box and other magnificent "toys" available to your clients, I wanted to add my name to the list just to come and play! You sound like a saint, and since I've never actually met one, someday perhaps I will.