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In Need of Therapy

It's been a while since the last post, but my emergency medicine job has taken precedence here in rural Minnesota. It's interesting: I just heard about some difficulties in a nursing home in the Twin Cities regarding whether the staff should turn on a national news network for a family's father, who apparently has a penchant for following the news headlines in spite of his worsening dementia. The staff told the family that the unrest, negative news, rioting, and the COVID-19 situation has become so prevalent in the news that it upsets the residents of the nursing home. They have since decided to stop allowing the television to be on a news channel.

If nursing home residents and their staff are feeling this sort of untenable pressure through the simple act of turning on the news, then I believe it's time to find the news that actually is good. We tend to focus on the negative because it creates a heftier headline, and it somehow draws people in to the negativity; pretty soon a vicious, difficult circle has been created and perpetuated.

Although I do belong to the Introvert's Club, a self-proclaimed and very private person who can barely order food online, I am trying to create better days for those who are "living the dream" as they say. Speaking of which: my online food order was 30 minutes late last night. The lady who delivered it politely stood back several feet and she was wearing a mask. She profusely apologized for the tardiness of my meal.

At moments like these, it's easy to simply be angry; after all, we have a lot of things to be anxious and angry about. The kids are home schooling, the swimming pools are closed, COVID cases are rising. However, in order to create a better day for the young lady who delivered my food, I needed to remember that she, too, is experiencing the pain and suffering. It is global, and we need to create a dialogue that recognizes the global experience of all of these issues.

"No problem," I said. "After all, it's Friday and you are pretty busy." She smiled broadly, thanked me, and went on her way.

And to create a little better news, I added a greater than generous tip.

We are all in need of a little therapy; the current state of affairs seems to be so difficult to fathom, leading to stress in everyone, even a nursing home resident with dementia. It's time for us to become healing providers for each other out there. After all, it's one of the few things we can control.



Is it possible that we are putting too much pressure on ourselves? Are we feeling helpless to make things better? What can we do to actually make things better in this world?

Although it may seem trite, we can try to decelerate our anger, recognize it, and convert it into a message of hopefulness for others. In the above video, I like what the mother said about the therapy cat, Thula.

"She supports my child in subtle ways without adding any stress that humans may add to the relationship."

We could all learn a little about that, and we could practice that art on our fellow human beings.


Quotes from Life 101 (by Peter McWilliams)

"If our early lessons of acceptance were as successful as our early lessons of anger, how much happier we would all be."

"To use fear as the friend it is, we must retrain and reprogram ourselves...We must persistently and convincingly tell ourselves that the fear is here--with its gift of energy and heightened awareness--so we can do our best and learn the most in the new situation."

"If you want peace, stop fighting. If you want peace of mind, stop fighting with your thoughts."


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