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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

25 Therapeutic Concepts for When Times Get Tough

A few weeks ago, there was an incident that I was all set to write about. In the news event, Olimpia Warsaw, a 67-year old woman claimed that she was left neglected in Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. As I thought about what had “happened,” I felt irate that this could happen to someone.

Only it never happened.

Security footage proved that it was all part of a scam, which got me even more irate, since as a person with Parkinson’s, she was using our shared condition for money and pity. After they heard about the situation, American Airlines did the right thing as they initially helped her out before the investigation, but in the end, their investigation turned up the misdeed. However, in the aftermath of the ploy, the damage was done.

I could elaborate on my feelings on that part of the situation, but I don’t think there’s anyone defending the woman or not acknowledging that instant karma got her good, so instead, I’ll reflect on my feelings of not getting left alone / behind, which is where I originally intended to go. 

I proceed this way not to let her off the hook, but rather to say that when the universe takes care of itself. Here, there’s no need for opinions in 140-280 characters or less. What’s done is done. I wouldn’t think that anyone reading this has any interest in acting like she did. Why would we? We’re good people. Even if a segment of society sees itself as only 1 frivolous lawsuit away from financial freedom, why would good people do those things?

In the same way that I mention this situation, I think of “Dead Grandmother Syndrome” and the warning that teachers have to make sure that any extension and mercy given to students when their relatives died before finals came with an obituary. Apparently, when it comes to times of desperation, people get creative.

In my life, one time, the house my family was living in really did have a fire. I was working at a bookstore at the time, and the one assistant manager there was skeptical of the incident. He didn’t go so far as to force me to prove it, but he wanted to. Hence, the next day, I broke out the newspaper report. I guess I understand his need to hesitate, but still I felt a need to present the article as an exclamation point to my truthfulness.

Why would I lie?

Which brings us to times of desperation. It’s that time of the year when everything comes back around to the feeling of things catching up. How do we, especially people with Parkinson’s, dystonia, neurological conditions, disabilities, depression, and other numerous maladies or horrible circumstances deal with it when the world comes crashing down and there’s so much to do?

For me, I think about my have to’s (work, relationships, already paid entrance fees, sleep, eating, self-care, etc.), and I realize like at the end of every year I can remember, I’m either seasonally / exhaustionly sick or just plain tired. The end of the term always does it, even as a peripheral education worker (and no longer a teacher).

Some people think of safe and happy places as a snowflake kind of thing, but I disagree. We all need to escape harsh reality and be able to find happiness in a place where our needs (as dictated from Maslow) can be met like a kitten purring on a cushiony place. If they aren’t, we will become more fragile and break. We will become desperate and do whatever we can not to break, even if it's morally challenged. I think it’s safe to say that’s what makes Olimpia and people who lie about illnesses do in these spots.

As a person who is currently filled with nose, throat, and chest crud, as well as head swirl and too many sinus meds (and a lack of Parkinson’s meds so I can take the sinus medications), I know the feeling of sickness and wanting to be away from it all. For the entire autumn, my body fought this, and then WHAM! Friday into Saturday, it came. Sunday into this morning, it slammed. With some antibiotics, I now feel better. However, I’m still sweaty, run down, and exhausted with some of the congestion hovering around. All the while, I hope it’s not pneumonia’s early stages as the nasal drip leaves me wheezing. Fortunately, I have an inhaler, though I look to make sure it doesn’t increase my heart rate.

So as I sit here typing, a post I haven’t had the time to write in weeks, I have decided to give you 25 December thoughts to think about in order to help you find your mellow place so you don’t get stressed out.

1.      When stoic doesn’t work, proceed to hug therapy.
2.      When hug therapy doesn’t work, proceed to let someone else help.
3.      When letting someone else help doesn’t work, proceed to let someone else guide you to the right choices.
4.      When letting someone else guide you to the right choices doesn’t work, proceed to let someone else take over the help.
5.      Visit with friends (in person, on the phone, online).
6.      Get artistic. Whether it’s for you or to make someone else a gift, it’s all good. Adult coloring books work for a lot of people.
7.      Do something energetic. It doesn’t need to be extreme to work.
8.      Go online to talk to friends.
9.      Count your blessings. Someone else has it worse than you.
10.  Don’t buy more gifts than you can afford.
11.  Go play with the puppies at the mall.

12.  Compile a list of songs to make you happy.
13.  Write your frustrations out and throw them away.
14.  Google inspirational quotes and apply them to your life.
15.  Find philosophy / theological ways to feel better.
16.  Happy foods / drinks in moderation (note – this is not a call to get drunk… some people like hot chocolate. I’m a raspberry iced tea guy / this is all not a call to binge eat… a snack will suffice, whether healthy or sugary).
17.  Reward yourself with something you’ve been wanting.
18.  Look through old pictures of happier times.
19.  Go to a garden (whether for statues or indoor flowers). If you can’t get outside, watch Monty Don on Netflix.
20.  Watch Anchorman 2 or something you find funny.

21.  Give yourself permission to scream loudly or hit a punching bag (don’t take things out on others).
22.  Don’t drive or be driven to the mall area. Crowds aren’t therapeutic.
23.  Live vicariously through others.
24.  If it doesn’t have to be done, put it off for another day. You have my permission to do nothing.
25.  Make plans for better days!
No matter what you do, remember: