Why am I writing this to about 200 of you at Christmas? Because it’s the right time to save a life. There are 2 major spikes in Jamaica – Christmas and birthdays. Since the advent of the Valentine’s rubbish from the USA, we’ve started to acquire this date as another spike.
The tool below was given to us medics by the psych fraternity to help us care for our clients and their families who frequently have no idea that depression exists and if they do know, have no idea how to talk about and deal with it. This tool makes it much easier. The yes and no answers mean you don’t ‘have to talk’ but breaks the awful ice so somebody can try and do something.
If any 5 of these exist in the last 2 weeks, the client is clinically depressed and a candidate for the bio-psycho-social approach to treating depression (an appropriate combination of rememdies-counselling-altering of social patterns). Depression is a sickness as any other but often with more illness and lethal results. If No. 9 does not occur, watch for escalating illness and disease of every kind because wherever the mind is, the body surely follows:
1 Depressed mood?
2 Significant diminished interest or pleasure in the things that used to elicit pleasure/interest?
3 Significant weight loss or weight gain
4 Insomnia or too much sleeping/not wanting to leave bed?
5 Jitteriness or going into slow motion/reverse gear?
6 Fatigue or loss of energy?
7 Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt?
8 Diminished ability to concentrate?
9 Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation? Yes? Have you planned it out? (No. 9 with or without other points puts client in medical emergency category even if in the last year)
Males more likely to kill first time. Females more likely to commit attempts as a cry for help. For God’s sake check a female’s thyroid functions.
Share this with everyone….or keep for further reference or to help yourself….I’ve been in the pen with the Demon…I know him well…escape is an up and down process that requires ‘backative’ either from others or one’s own shored up resources and belief in ‘The Force’. ‘Make it so No 1’.
I went to a Christmas afternoon do of the kind my mother used to tell me about – a basket, ballroom dance party…probably one of the best fetes I’ll go to for the Season…courtesy of the Port Antonio amateur ballroom dance group led by a former Arthur Murray instructor. Knock out, drop dead pool terrace venue overlooking the Rio Grande (Jamaica) Valley. All sectors of society present, including the more unusual and happily becoming more usual social cross section.
So let me tell you the value of ballroom dance in changing headspace…one member is female, a tiny, fit, 61 yr old new entrepreneur who has just left a soul killing 22 yr relationship…she now has what the Spanish call and absolute RABIA (route word ‘rabies’ :)) for her newly learned dance skills. Three males are young men from humble beginnings, trained in IT and out of work for now. The little lady decided she’d found a way to keep them out of trouble…AND HOW… To see these boys now is awe inspiring…we still have to work a bit on dress and grooming to acquire the polish of the ballroom but the head space and skill is there! This is a good, solid intermediate group of lads who can look a dance partner squarely in her Tango eye and lead her. They see themselves as male, accomplished and leaders…oh happy day…the key ingredients to the healthy male psyche. Check out the younger men, older women pairing…nothing to it and they call her Auntie, but ‘it don’t look like no Auntie/Nephew business’ when we cut the rug, I can tell you. There is a healthy element of fantasy that translates – switces the headspace into believing you can be and do more, be bigger than you are…and we, tangoed, waltzed, merengued, jived, congaed and socaed!!!
I kind of dropped into the party by accident because of my mile long reputation of having a rabia for dance in general and my experience of it. Weeeellllllll…there stood I on the fringes of the dance floor when one of these lads spotted me and raised the traditional macho ‘come here’ hand beckon. I looked at him out of one eye and asked who he thought he was and admonished him to note that ballroom dance required manners and etiquette…he swept me into the circle and informed me the Tango was a man’s dance…I raised my eyebrows in amused disbelief and warned the lad not to ‘fly past his nest’. It is a rare thing to see Jamaican marginalised males ‘step up’. This little phrase and movie title is really what dance is all about for men. It is a legitimate way to elegantly lead the female sex without threat to her modern ego and absolutely play to her biologically programmed wish to be led by a man. It is ‘safe sex’ allowing not just physical but the more erotic mental interaction many women crave and to which few men pay attention.
The men who vociferously poopoo ballroom dance are the same ones who become intensely jealous of those who want to dance with their women…dance is inherently sexual and we all know it consciously or unconsciously…the more comfortable you are with sexual identity the more easily you ballroom dance. Jamaicans’ history with ballroom dance is an exact metaphor for our sense of self, especially our men…we were avid dance partners till the late 60’s/early 70’s…now that skill has disappeared…we are fractured mentally…and though it used not to be, homosexuality is a new terror to us as well…all part and parcel.
So my advice is, if you want to improve your mental and physical health…find a ballroom dance groups. It:
Is great exercise, re calories and improving coordination (grace, Usain is graceful is he not?!)
Usually ends up getting you to clean up and be nice to be near (grooming)
Is safe sex
Teaches men they can lead by guidance and not force
Creates a safe environment in which women enjoy being led
Gives the brain new learning work
Opens up your social circle, etc., etc.
Don’t just go and jump into any and every group, find a style and group that matches your personality like you would find a friend, doctor, etc., etc. One size never fits all so go watch a few sessions of groups you’re considering joining FOR FUN…
Are they laughing and chatting and getting on together?
Are they happily bumbling through mistakes?
Is everybody equal and treated with respect?
Is it a level you can manager?
Is everybody HAVING FUN?
Don’t make the mistake of taking on sessions in a studio oriented to pros if just plain old fun is your aim…the atmosphere in these venues is RADICALLY different. So get out there and shake a leg…!!! Long live The Dance…! If the world does end, I’ll die happy doing it :)!!!
(Of course that cap would have to come off as we progress:))
Like most things in life, there are two sides to everything. Ignore your Daemon-Muse’s inspirations at your peril. (Notice the double-barrel name, a good side and a bad, added together – neutral, like money for example.) Even the word daemon is dual, entails something so wonderfully powerful that if not managed correctly can wreak havoc, it is not just ‘demon’ which is a word meaning ‘evil’.
I first really sat and thought about how inspiration works after hearing Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat, Love, Pray fame, talk. Inspiration often comes in spurts and is tied to your gut passions and talents. These are given to you for a reason, they keep you young at heart, your health good, your mind less demented and can put serious income in your pocket! If you do take your daemon-muse for granted or ignore it, it will come back to haunt you… You become sad, no passion in your gut, go through life in penury, never find love, feel you are not achieving and can get into drugs and alcohol! It’s that serious.
Do you feel any of the latter? Despair not! The place to start finding your daemon-muse(s) is in your childhood daydreams. These too have a serious purpose. They are your guide to what you should do for the rest of your earthly life. Some people make a career of their daemon-muse, others don’t want that stress and have it as a wonderful sideline recreation. It matters not what it is…could be dance, money management, manufacture, inventions, sex…whatever, there are no rules except that the deamon-muse be used for your own and the good of others…you’re on your way!
You think the latest vogue in vision boards and mind movies is an accident? Look again…when you make yours…tell me you don’t see at least one of your childhood daydreams re-appear.
Get any help you can to nurture this stuff, it is critical to your existence! A word of warning – if you have many gifts and talents (daemon-muses) you will likely have to work for yourself or change careers/occupations more often than most…one job or career may not be able to contain all of you…do not be afraid to this either, check out Leonardo da Vinci or Albert Schweitzer…it’s usually referred to as ‘genius’ (not by accident a synonym for daemon) and you may be one! And daemon-muses respond very well to spirituality, however you partake of this concept.
I’ve been dealing with a well educated, upper middle income woman in her middle years for the past 10 years. She’s doing pretty well and comes to me for short follow-ups now and then when she manifests a peculiar lexic phenomenon apparently orchestrated by her subconscious mind.
At various times in her efforts to master her ‘downside’, as she calls it, she might be reading or having mental conversations with herself in which she does a lexic switch the like of which I have have never heard or read. She uses it as a sign that she is migrating out of a rough patch even if she is not consciously registering that she is stressed so it’s her signpost that she is adjusting productively and positively. When she deals with the stressful situation or trigger, her subconcious stops pulling this trick on her.
Under stress her subconcious finds an almost exact homonym that means the exact opposite or is a perverse aberration of the intended word.
Eg. ” I serve God” becomes “I sever God”
” I’m going to meditate” becomes “I’m going to masturbate”
I’d welcome an opinion on what this phenomenon is.
Laughter IS the best medicine! There is the man who is on medical record as having cured himself with it…went to bed with a mound of funny movies for 2 weeks and came out well…and the the same institutuions associated with the Framingham Heart study are the same ones who’ve hired laughter therapists. It’s even in the Bible … a man fell asleep and dropped out of a two strory window listening to one of St. Paul’s usual lengthy diatribes, Jesus blighted a fig tree because He got hungry and there weren’t any figs on it and somewhere in it there is something about “lack of mirth ‘dryingeth’ the bones” ..So… here are my suggestions:
FRESH & OPEN AIR
May not make you laugh but you might smile a lot and it’s often free…
Grab the world’s most delicious fruit smoothie and head to the beach or river banks nearest you… Not a recovering addict? Then you can go with a great bottle of wine. Take a friend/confidante or take it all in by yourself….the river is white noise and the sea is pink noise….see my SCUBA post …and the air is negatively ionised in natural settings…great for health. Remember it’s often the child in you that laughs.
MOVIES, TV, CDs & DVDs
Yes, Minister/Prime Minister Allo Allo As Time Goes By The Gods Must Be Crazy Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines The Great Race Disney cartoons The Lion d’Or Advertising Awards composites Paul Keens Douglas
Russell Peters Victor Borge Tom Lehrer Benny Hill Sesame Street
MASH (the funny episodes)
Works by Louise Bennett
The Hyman Kaplan books Three Years to Play The Dr. Seuss books Andy Kapp comics Peanuts comics The Wizard of Id comics Works by Stephen Leacock Works by Edward Lear Collections of limericks
A Year in Provence
A Year (More or Less) in Jamaica
My Family & Other Animals
MASH (the first 2 books only)
All Things Bright & Beautiful
All Creatures Great & Small
Children’s Letters to God The Joyful Christ: The Healing Power of Humor
(for those struggling with Christianity as a really human thing)
The daily horoscope may be nonsensical BUT the analysis of the the birth chart is a blueprint (by definition not written in stone) with which you can work. Explanation unknown, but if Carl Gustav Jung held this practice in high regard and Hippocrates claimed that no self-respecting physician could fail to acquaint him or herself with it…I can tell you, I have… Every major culture has it’s own version, hardly a coincidence. Dr. Jung also developed dream therapy and the concept of synchronicity.
Furthermore, if you think it would be easier to concretise or act out symbolic therapy…try a mystery school…it’s a good bet if it’s a reputable one…
I know that ‘the someone to talk to’, if (s)he is a therapist, will likely offer you cognitive therapy…it has its place, but don’t discount dream therapy and working with your birth chart…some personality types thrive on imagery, associations and investigation. The birth chart is fun to work on, will point out things you already know about yourself, show you some remarkable associations about how and why you behave as you do and point you to what you can work on and how. Try it, but only AFTER you do some work on yourself first. Troubled minds can be very ‘suggestible’. I’ll guide you, but try and get a birth time…I’m not that good.
We doctors and therapists call our approach the ‘bio-psycho-social model’ which is to say……you will need the following tools to help cure yourself of depression:
– the will to get better
– someone to talk to
– medication (be careful of this) or natural rememdies (get to know that these are drugs too)
– faith (if you leave this one out, you are at a scientifically proven statistical disadvantage for a cure,but you can trick yourself into ‘faith’ by meditating because you will not be able to avoid
running into ‘the Force’, God, Universal Mind or whatever you feel comfortable calling this
entity when you pick up this practice, even if you are an aetheist. At the ‘still point’ of
meditation you will run into something greater than yourself)
– a new challenge to stimulate your mind (it rewires the brain, distracts you from yourself and
your woes, eg., learning a new skill, taking up a new practice of any kind…meditation rears its
head again…SCUBA is remarkable for those inclined, the regular breathing becomes a calmant. Must be new, require focus & learning & must be something you like, can be easy or hard)
– excercise & diet & fun (e.g., masses of sugar makes you sluggish, an increase in trace minerals may
perk you up)
– sleep hygiene
You may not do all of these at once but work them in as you are able. So feel free to call me.