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Saturday, October 30, 2010

The broken doll in the sandbox

 My friends, to step aside just a wee bit this time bit reflect from a different filter and perspective. Doing the same thing here as the past couple of weeks and addressing bullying and judgments and the impact of those actions. I myself the past few weeks have taken a harder line about bullying and that it kills and hurts others. That the people that make those judgements have their own petty agendas to make their points across and their own insecurities.

  Again, sadly I see the end outcomes and the hurt, mental anguish and turmoil of these short sighted bullying wins. Real people get hurt for years for a second of bully satisfactions. The bully is even worse as they are ignorant and cant do a critical outcome review of their short sighted gratification. What happens to the victim? Lets explore...

 Look different, sound different, poorer child, only child, too many siblings, trying to fit in, clothes dont match the others, Tourettes or ADHD or asthma, scoliosis or eczema or medical conditions, late developing or too fast developing, glasses, hair colour different? Judged for older siblings or younger? Trying to evolve yourself in a period as you develop and find the boundaries of your sandbox. What does it look like and where do all the toys go? The toys are represented by family, friends, religion, spirituality and lastly the material items.

 Want to know how these people feel? Just getting comfortable in the sandbox as we ourselves are learning through school years is hard... try adding hormones into the mix!!! But someone kicks the toys, breaks them and renders them unable to be used. Creates traumatic memories so the child might not want to play with that toy any more. If its school, or a friend or worse case themselves, may lead to death. No matter what, a negative association to that toy is developed. Sad. Those are and were Gifts. This takes one to about 21 years or so

  An excerpt and 2 lines of a poem from a wise friend of mine (Im a lucky person as get to meet so many talented people) goes:

"So please, don't tell me how to live my life.

I don't need a hater causing strife." (S.M. Quesenberry)

  But these positives and negatives, wins and bullying is transported on the mental negatives and frames of the mind as we evolve and scar the doll in some ways and in other times causes the doll to have such a hard coating no one can get in to play. The doll is in the box and unable to be accessed. Or so darn scarred and burned and tattered it is discarded. The doll at this point should be well loved and starting its period of growth and expansion. 

  As we get older, the doll in the sandbox which can represent you or the toy itself, as it really is interchangeable gets beat up so much with life. Looks, brilliance, health, belief systems, skills, leadership, and more material possessions that we know what to do with or should have in the Western World are our toys. The old toys fade away and we acquire new ones. But that is our choice, so not as traumatic or not stolen from us as its by Design and evolution.

  But what if the adult doll has a traumatic event? Loss of a sense or vision or indignity that could become the loss of everything? A nuclear bomb has gone off in the sandbox. Here is where its a multifactorial approach. If that happens, dont let it get worse, no matter where the person is in the slide. A gentle word, kind hand and listening will help. Those people and those lost health, are the strongest advocates and a gentle hand ripples out. Trust me my friends. The doll is always stronger.

  It is meant to be and written. What we do impacts on other decisions down the road in ways we cant explain and explore. This is about Faith. Hope, Faith and Belief that there can be a change and regrowth. Stand up for your beliefs, find out the beliefs and convictions of the person hurt and make a stand. If we cant go back to the roots of a time of comfort and a period where the sandbox was orderly, then lets assess the long term outcomes. Get better, advance health and keep the same underlying doll, but she will look different, because she will be made stronger and out of new materials and crafted to fit who they are now. An asset and gift to those that are meant to meet them in the future. That in part is my gift back to humanities and the worlds we cant explain. That we learn, apply, build stronger and use this knowledge to help others.

  Want a miracle? Watch life be breathed into a broken doll. Watch the re-animation and new life evolve. They then rebuild their own sandbox.  Bullying (of all sorts-medical, personal, physical, mental, financial etc) and such only sucks oxygen out of our air and our dolls out there. You are depriving a valuable, rich and rare resource to extinction.

  Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure October 2010 


7:51 am edt 

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Meaning beyond Being yourself, often-And loving it!

OK, I use this catchphrase in every blog update and even as the title of the blog itself. But what does it mean and is it some cute, amorphic, non-real, pie-in-the-sky sort of crap that I can dish out since I'm in psychiatry and thus in la-la non-real land? Lets pull together bullying, societal stresses and coercive leverage.

One direct and blunt question, as those of you that know me, know I am prone to do... "What do I stand for and am I living that belief system?"  That in itself is the root cause. If the answer is no and the convictions and belief system is NOT congruous with your actions, time to stop, drop and roll and reflect. Evacuate the dance floor if you are too young to remember the fire safety campaign of the 1980's. Succinctly, this means you are on the wrong road, and that sad, it truly is. Next questions that arise deal with root cause analysis of why the path is wrong: Why, why, why, why why?  Ask that question 5 times.

Lets consider the last stanza/verse from Robert Frost, A Road Not Taken:

Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

It is about the road that works for YOU. You are on your own road and to deny this is a lifetime of unhappiness... and I can guarantee that. Why dont people travel their own roads? Insight, awareness, stress, bullying, conformity, coercion etc. None of which are nice words. To do anything else, succumb to peer pressure, bullying or coercive acts is just wrong and does YOU a disservice. To deny a person that ability and right to be themselves and "conform" is just wrong. Sorry, its just wrong on so many levels. To tell a person that if you be like this, I will do that for you is just wrong. To use force (mental or physical) to enact the same outcomes is the same (actually its bullying) and thats just WRONG. To talk of others behind their back and try to make them an outcaset so they either conform or feel the isolation is in my mind just wrong. Mind your own house first, before invading others. Why are people laughed at or mocked or ostracized for expressing themselves in thoughts, beliefs, dress, sexual preference, bettering themselves, race, mental status or medical conditions or disabilities. Again, allow me to be blunt... if you are the mocker or that last sentence relates to you, you are cruel. You are hurting others for all the wrong reasons. You are the one that needs help at the end of the day and this is sad. I wouldnt want to live in the world of hurt so bad that I have to traumatize and defile others. And its even worse when its an abuse of a position of authority.

Where is the ability to just be ourselves? Society is attached to so many rules, obligations and expectations. This has exploded since the Industrial Age and even more prevalent since mass media. There are a myriad of hurts out there. Its hard enough to clothe the family and feed them and provide shelter, considering that we are Model T Fords running in a Ferrari society in the Western World. That a person must exactly conform in action, race, sexual interests, clothing, mental health and other traits or stigmatize them is just plain wrong. The last line of racism and biases exist with obesity and mental health. There are so many armchair warriors out there that are quick to judge, make a dianosis and label them crazy or fat. You lose the person in yourself and the humanity by hurting others.

  Want to be yourself often? Listen to others, hear lots of stories and don't rush to tell yours so you spend all your time thinking what YOU will say about YOU and dont really hear THEM. Sit under a tree and quietly reflect afterwards. Get in touch with spirituality and your root cause and belief systems. But dont judge, lest ye be judged. Dont cast a stone as all houses are built with glass, all of us. And be gentle, realize why you have the belief systems and if you are a bullying or intrusive individual, look at your own glass house, the walls may need some cleaning to get an accurate filtered unbiased view.

Most of all, be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure October 2010 



8:14 pm edt 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bias...Its not all you think it is...and it kills.

This seemed like a good week given so many commonalities that have happened this week around bias. This seemed to have been the central concepts and thread that ran through my patient interactions, teaching with the medical students, a pending publication and so much more. It started the week out and ended up in true DaVinci Code style in the St Peters Church in downtown London. Who says my job isnt interesting?

What do we see and what are the filters that we see it through?  I have looked at this and all of the interactions and that seems to be the main point here. The wisest discussion came from (as usual) a  patient. We havent been able to as of yet fit them into the pigeonhole and diagnosis that we think she should be in. Their words, so accurate. 2 hours of prospective and proactive care and asking lots of questions led to many new questions, revelations and tears. I even had to cave and take out my hidden box of Kleenex, which is out of role for me. Yet an interaction I wont soon forget. 

Oops, loose tangental thinking. The filters, right. What we see we colour with our own perceptions and biases. That bias hurts. In fact, I believe I can be so bold as to say it kills. Shaking and anxiety, feeling overwhelmed? Lets set this straight and tell then to "Suck it up, buttercup. Seriously, you are a grown adult and get over yourself, just hurting others with your self-centered ego-centric stupidity. Dont you know that your shaking, anxious laden self hurts me?" Ok folks.... lets stop the boat right here and back it up to the dock. Maybe, just maybe that bias and infringing on how the person is feeling is making them WORSE? How do they feel, think they like it? Nopes. Causing release of the flight or fight reactions which get this involve noradrenaline? Wow, adrenaline... that causes increase blood pressure, heart rate and tremors and anxiety. Son of a B, you just made my patient worse railing on them, even in your best minded intentions. Root cause analysis. Slow and steady.

Ok... I digressed again.... I must up the dose of my medications. Well, its a free country in Canada and I can speak my piece, offer my thoughts without fear of repercussions as long as to do so doesnt harm others or full of vitriol or hate. My bias is my business. So I can freely speak where there is a situation where there are markedly divergent opinions? Seriously... euthanasia, drug addiction, abortion, obesity or psychiatry? I have beliefs there that have transference and counter-transference onto others. That then impacts how we feel about others, but will not change our underlying opinions and thoughts. But on every bell curve lies extremes at other ends of the spectrum. Thoughts become beliefs, beliefs become actions and actions define outcomes. This is an area of sensitivities, so be aware and then communicate. Think, then speak and how will this message come across and is it relevant and timely for the intended, target audience? Thats all and that easy. Just be aware of the biases and how it is then presented. How would YOU feel if YOU wree on the receiving end. That is the key question before exercising your rights.

On the dark side of the scale.... Don't like a person? Thats fantastic... lets ostracize them and label them! Brilliant and problem solved. I hope you reading this are so not one of those people. Ask yourself WHY and what is the for the above justification and the facts behind that decision. Are they different? Embrace the difference and learn! Different hair colour or style, personality, sexual preference, poor kid with low amounts of money trying to fit in, style of dress, tats, piercings, religion, addictions, opinionated? OMG!....must get rid of these people and make their life better for the norm (whether it be a group, society, profession etc). If you associated with this, and said "yes, I save the world by using these styles" are a BULLY. I believe in the history there are precedents against religions (Jewish) and what a person wears (Glasses in Cambodia in the 1970's) or mental status (1933) that resulted in death. Want to change, dont want to be a bully? Start practicing some humility, basic human compassion and take the darn cotton out of your ears and stick it in your mouth. Listen and ACTIVELY listen to some stories. These people are there for a reason, as we are there for them... to learn and advance and be better and wiser in the next interaction. No wonder some people seem so stupid.... they never stop and listen. Oops... digression. Why dont people listen? Bias in part. 

Want to really understand someone? Walk a mile in their shoes. I truly believe that. Not saying that we cant have thoughts and beliefs, but at very least my friends go into every situation like a child. Open minded, eager to learn and advance the knowledge base. The older I get, the more  realize there are some amazing stories out there....

Wow, long one this week. Cheaper than therapy for me.... 

Be yourself often and be good to others....


--- Joel Lamoure   October 2010 


1:05 pm edt 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Thanks and Thanksgiving... Self-reflection

Small cheer and great welcome make a merry feast. William Shakespeare.

We give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way. Ritual Chant, religion unknown.

This is the time my friends for Thanksgiving in Canada. To my American friends and colleagues, y'all have to wait for a few more weeks. However the sentiments hold true day to day, so please don't stop reading, ok? Thanksgiving this year, as it should be every year is a time for reflective, meditation and appreciation. Oh my friends, it is so easy to give Thanks for the good things in life and the plentiful bounties that are there and the ready access to so many amazing and incredible things and gifts that we have. For the merry feasts and family and loved ones. For the opening of hockey season and the roof over our head and all of the plusses on the positive side of the ledger of life.

This is also a time to give Thanks for the challenges in life, the red ink in the ledger in life that we have experienced and continue to experience. The ledger of life will balance out at the end when the summative tally is assessed and the call to accounting is made and the ultimate withdrawal. But how many actually look at how they handle the challenges in life? How do you deal with these "unknown blessings?" Can you believe I could call a challenge an unknown blessing? The blasphemy of it all! If you think or are thinking this, you my friend are losing out big time. Missing life, opportunities and frankly have a little too much self-entitlement for my liking. Good or bad, richer or poorer, sickness in health we should always be learning, always taking stock.

It takes a fortitude and culture of self courage and self-drive to tackle the negatives from a learning perspective. If you want any supportive evidence my friends, look in the mirror and do a bit of self-reflection and mindfulness on the moment. You are where you are at this point of time of reading this because of all the goods in your life, AND the challenges. If you get stuck in a rut of challenges, you may need to reflect on why you keep getting the same negative outcomes. <bit of a hint here.... try something different!>  You dont have to LIKE the negatives (consider masochism and its linked psychopathologies via root cause analysis) but you DO have the power to decide HOW they affect you and What you are going to do about them!

The expression goes that you dont appreciate something until its gone. Thats why you need to live the moment, seize the day and please take nothing for granted. Whether it be a voice, hug, sensation, feeling, sight or smell... never take it for granted. Life is not designed to be a fight, and uphill battle that we lose, but a gift.... a present. Dont lose out.

To all the happiness and sadness, wins and challenges and positives and negatives.... thank you. Love is an intelligent concern for others. I learned that a decade ago and one of the critical learnings of my life.

Be yourself, often.


--- Joel Lamoure   October 2010 



11:32 am edt 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fates and teaching deja vu

What goes around comes around. History is destined to repeat itself if we do not learn from it.

   Humility is a good thing at times and although I strive towards peace, patience, serenity, silence and humility I will often fail on the last 2 items. But this has been a summer and subsequently entering into a fall of remembering by accident and design, kindness and cruelty, politics and passion and the Fates that I am very much the student, and not the teacher. Good lesson. 

   Ok, slightly unusual byline this week but so relevant in so many ways. For the few of those not in the know, deja vu is that feeling that when you are engaged in, or doing something that you have been there before. Makes one wonder if indeed they have done this all before and we are on Act 2 (or more). I will fully admit that I get this feeling quite often and often a bit disconcerting.

   This has been a period of 2-3 weeks of learning from others and letting the wheels of Fate and the opportunity and challenges in life intersect with each other. Herein lies the deja vu, but also the challenges. To see and witness the thrills of a win and the agonies of a loss all in one felled swoop. Where the past becomes present and the present becomes past. Fascinating.

  Not just myself, but the work that is done seems to connect in so many layers that I find intriguing and wonderful and scary all in one felled swoop. That the other sides seem so close, yet so far. The major thing here is to stop and take a look at what is at hand and see what one can do with the situation at hand, no matter what it is.

  First, we always have the power of choice and how we deal with a situation. We are not powerless and as has been written in this blog before, there are always choices. That is our call what to do with them. If something is truly meant to be and truly meant to be learned, that the the Fates and will come our way again, hopefully positive but sometimes negative. That we learn what the reason is because we sure cant appreciate that at the time! But good and bad happen for a reason.

  A time to look at our strengths and weaknesses and shamelessly enumerate them, put it on the table and that creates the card deck in life in part that we have been dealt with the initial hand or subsequently obtained in this game of life. A time where the cards we lie can define our next roles and rounds. Everything we do is that way my friends, so live the moment, cherish the sights and be good to others. The wheel and teachings do come around.

  Be yourselves, often.


  --- Joel Lamoure   October 2010

8:08 am edt 

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