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Stress, Anxiety, Grief, and Its Manifestations  RSS feed

 
master pollinator
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My personal feelings are that poverty is really underrated.

That is a pretty powerful statement that goes against conventional wisdom, but in the United States we have this rather silly notion that all our problems would just go away if there was just enough money thrown at the problem. I do not always see that.

We were talking about how addiction and the mentally ill in our county typically lack housing, and that needs to be addressed first, but the group had no idea that our church never locks our doors. How could we not open our doors and our hearts to those who do not have a home??? And then as we talked, another woman mentioned she has a whole house that is unused and could house some homeless families. I piped up that I had two empty houses as well. In a group of about 10 people, there was three empty homes...how many others are out there? How many churches are out there that are heated all winter yet only open Sunday Morning!!!

So there is no need to spend millions on a homeless shelter for our area, we need to get the churches (other than ours), and homeowners like me, to be matched with those in need! That is the challenge, to off-set the hurdles, not outspend the hurdles.

My idea is to get a fund to take away the fear of liability from churches and homeowners. It would be much less expensive to carry catostrophic insurance (they inadvertently burn my home down lets say) or have volunteers of the homeless coalition go and do minor repairs instead of spending millions for a single home with limited beds. That idea is not fully fleshed out, but that is an idea of doing more with less.

There is this general bell curve; when people's BASIC needs are met, they thrive, yet when people's desires are all met, they almost self-destruct. For the former, think of those living in ABJECT poverty: terrible. But then think of the Paris Hilton's of the world, when having always gotten what they wanted, they cannot handle stress when it inevitably happens.
 
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That was an interesting article, Nicole. The problem for me is that it felt unrealistic as sometimes there are situations you just cant say no.  A couple years ago, we were taking care of three sick parents.  One night I had to go to the hospital with my mom, my husband was at a different hospital with his mom and we were trying to get someone to stay with my dad who needed medicine every couple hours and couldnt do it on his own. Chaos.

A few months later, my mom was gone, mother-in-law needed help and my dad was in even worse shape.  Neither my sister or I could lift him alone and our husbands had to work.  I felt we needed professional help, but sister felt guilty, that we should be able to handle it.  I was feeling horrible and trying to push thru it.  Turns out my appendix ruptured a few days back and I ended up in the hospital for a week with blood poisoning. I was lucky. My sister still wanted to keep up with us handling dad's care.  Six weeks later I was back in the hospital with kidney failure.  My body basically quit from all the stress it couldnt handle anymore. Long story short, dad is in a care facility now and all of us are happier.

My system got way overstressed and damaged. I have to be careful with my health now.  I cant imagine how it would have turned out if I had already trying to improve my health and eating habits.

I highly recommend sitting on a porch watching chickens run around with a drink in hand  (whatever it may be😉). It is very calming and you are sure to have a few smiles.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:
We were talking about how addiction and the mentally ill in our county typically lack housing, and that needs to be addressed first, but the group had no idea that our church never locks our doors. How could we not open our doors and our hearts to those who do not have a home??? And then as we talked, another woman mentioned she has a whole house that is unused and could house some homeless families. I piped up that I had two empty houses as well. In a group of about 10 people, there was three empty homes...how many others are out there? How many churches are out there that are heated all winter yet only open Sunday Morning!!!



That solution could work very well in small towns with modest/scattered homeless populations. By scattered I mean homeless that live in random places without congregating in large groups for an extended period of time (due to the disease risks).

I am sure this post may get some thumbs down for pointing out the reality of the situation, however in the larger homeless emcampments disease is a real concern. San Francisco is having Typhus outbreaks due to Typhus infected flea infestations in the encampments, they also have big problems with human excrement on the streets, drug use etc... That is no small matter, human feces on the streets is a MAJOR cause of disease since folks unknowingly walk in it and then tie their shoes, transmit traces back to inside their homes etc... Virtually every civilization with an average IQ above 85 learned thousands of years ago that you do NOT allow people to poop all over the streets, it is a constant source of disease.  Plus the risk of resistant TB and such also spreads quickly in enclosed environments.

A church depends on its congregation to pay their bills, if they open their doors to  "rough" long term homeless populations with various health issues during the week, and of course those people would be welcome to stay for services, the disease risks would be VERY real. Most people are not going to risk getting Typhus or catching a resistant form of TB, or even picking up Hepatitis during Sunday services, and no one with common sense would expose their kids to it.  Very small churches may have congregations that would try to deal with it, but not the bigger churches. When a large part of the congregation disappears the church does too.
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
I'm wondering how to raise kids so that they are less anxious and able to deal with life's stresses.



Based on everything you've written I think you are doing a very good job on it already, much better than I did, with much less help.


Nicole Alderman wrote:
A bit about me. Like Jocelyn, I had a pretty privilaged upbringing. We were never rich, and actually rather poor when I was little. But, we always had what we needed, and I had a LOT of stability. And, because I had so much stability and a very calm mother, and lots of alone time, my anxiety never really debilitated/disabled me... Sure, I'd get overwhelmed, but I was able to work through it and have time to do the things I needed to do. It never stopped me from doing what I wanted to do.

But, then I grew up. And changes came faster than I was used to, and I had a hard time coping. But, it was still never really debilitating--I was able to say "No" to a lot of stuff and spend a lot of time at home being an introvert, spending time in thought/prayer, and recovering and processing.

Then I had kids.  



Yes here I think is the crucial point. The introvert's coping mechanisms are not easy to fit into life with small children. Children, particularly the more social ones, want and need something almost 24/7. There is too little "me time", I think for anyone, but particularly for an introvert.

Nicole Alderman wrote:And my husband had Crohns.



I'm so very sorry about this. It feels too much for one person to handle in addition to being mother to two small kids.

Nicole Alderman wrote:And now reading everything you guys have mentioned, I can really see my anxiety. When life gets busy and stressful (like now when my husband is picking up a bunch of shifts), my fight/flight responce kicks in a TON. It's reeeeeaaly not useful to have instant intense emotions when your kid repeatedly doesn't do what you asked. My brain really struggles to deal with life's stresses, and I often feel very much like a failure.



I don't wonder you are anxious! I know how it feels, I've often felt very much like a failure as a mother myself. The thing is, however, we are doing the best we can with what we have and that's really all anyone can do. I try to remind myself of this every day, but it's hard not living up to the image of the good mother I wanted to be.


Nicole Alderman wrote:("Mommy guilt" is a big thing. I don't take my kids to library time. I don't arrange play dates. Most every day when my husband works, I either stay on the property or go for walks.  I don't go shopping. I don't get involved in community stuff. Sometimes, if life is less stressful, I'll do some stuff like that...but most of the time eveyrhting seems way too overwhelming for both me and my kids to attempt that).



Lots of "Mommy guilt" here too :-) Mine is basically guilt from not being nice to my kids, having lost my nerves and shouted etc.

I basically gave up the idea of trying to get out of the house with my kids already with my first child. It was just too stressful for me and I didn't see the point of it. For a young child the backyard is as full of miracles as any "activity", I figured. Why would I add MORE stress to my life by trying to go to town with all the baby equipment and naptime rescheduling. There's plenty of time to go to the library and community activities when the kids are older. And that proved to be very true.



Nicole Alderman wrote:Sometimes I wonder if I'd not had such a sheltered and safe environment as a kid, would I have learned to deal with stress? Would I be a stronger person if my parents had pushed me more? Would I be more "successful" (what's success, anyway)?



I think learning to deal with stress comes (ideally) from observing your parents dealing with stress positively. I don't think pushing children makes them stronger. I was pushed a lot and I don't think it helped me. I think helping children cope with whatever challenges life throws at them by providing a safe and stable home and letting them feel what they feel is what makes children strong. I didn't have a safe home and my mother could not calm herself or me, so I've had to try and learn this vital skill in my adulthood.


Nicole Alderman wrote: son also probably has high anxiety. I tried SO HARD to make his life calm and stable. I left work while pregnant with him because I was worried what the stress of dealing with my boss would do to him. He still came out screaming. I held him and comforted him, even when everyone told me to "put him down and let him cry." It just seemed like such a bad thing for his emotional development to have a him crying nonstop, (which he already did), let alone to do that crying away from Mama.



I think you've done very well and exactly what a good mother does. Colicky babies are extremely challenging. I don't think anyone manages to be a "perfect" mother to a colicky baby, it's incredibly difficult emotionally, even for a completely calm and stable person. I wasn't one. I had to ask for help with my colicky baby. Luckily for me, help was available from many sources and I accepted it all.


Nicole Alderman wrote:And, it seemed to work. I kept life as less-stressful as I could, and really tried to make his day something he could succeed in. By the time he was two, he didn't have tantrums and was generally sweet and agreeable. And then I got pregnant. And then my husband got Crohns. And we weren't able to help him...and suddenly he was tantruming constantly and always high-strung and anxious. It's only in the last half year (Read: two years of a high-strung, destructive, tantruming child) for life to calm down enough for him to finally get back to where he was emotionally before all this stress.



It sounds quite typical behaviour for a first born child trying to cope with the new sibling who is coming and "stealing" attention away from him. My first born was like that too for three years. And I've heard the same story from many others, so I believe it's quite common when there's small age difference between the first born and the second child.

Nicole Alderman wrote:But life HAS stress. How do I prepare him for it? How do I equip him with the tools to not become an emotional/mental mess when life gets crazy?



I think you have already done a very good job on preparing him for life's stress by holding and comforting him when he cried.

Nicole Alderman wrote: Because life DOES get crazy, and there are sometimes times when you just don't have TIME to do any of your coping mechanisms (someone shared this article on crucial self-care tips for introverted women, and I had to laugh and cry a little, because the only one of those I was able to do for 4 years was to be outside. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I have any sanity left).



The most basic tool that I myself far too often forget is to just BREATHE. Take a deep breath and think of a blue sky. It only takes 10 seconds or so.

I have another tool that's pretty weird, but it really helps me: earplugs. I am hypersensitive to sounds so the kids screaming really makes me nervous. I find if I just put earplugs on it helps me to remain calm. The difference is unbelieavable. I recommended earplugs to my brother too, he's not hypersensitive to sounds but he still finds they relax him. I can still hear the kids and converse normally with them. The earplugs I wear just turn the volume down to a manageable level.

 
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Thank you SO MUCH, Nina, for your post. It really helped me today.

Lots of "Mommy guilt" here too :-) Mine is basically guilt from not being nice to my kids, having lost my nerves and shouted etc.



You're not the only one losing your nerves. I would call it the "rage" when I'd yell, because I'd feel such strong emotion...only to realize after reading this thread that it's the flight reflex turning on. Man, I hate that reflex. The more I use controled voice when not in that state, the easier it is to not yell when in a fight response...but it's still hard. How do we train our minds to not respond with the fight reflex and anger?


I basically gave up the idea of trying to get out of the house with my kids already with my first child. It was just too stressful for me and I didn't see the point of it. For a young child the backyard is as full of miracles as any "activity", I figured. Why would I add MORE stress to my life by trying to go to town with all the baby equipment and naptime rescheduling. There's plenty of time to go to the library and community activities when the kids are older. And that proved to be very true.



This is good to know! It's how I've felt, too, about trips to the zoo and other big activities. Kids NEED calm play and to explore in depth they're surrounding. It doesn't really matter when they're preschool age WHAT they are exploring, as long as they have the time and freedom to explore it and learn from it.

I think learning to deal with stress comes (ideally) from observing your parents dealing with stress positively. I don't think pushing children makes them stronger. I was pushed a lot and I don't think it helped me. I think helping children cope with whatever challenges life throws at them by providing a safe and stable home and letting them feel what they feel is what makes children strong. I didn't have a safe home and my mother could not calm herself or me, so I've had to try and learn this vital skill in my adulthood.



I am so sorry you went through that. Thank you for sharing your story. I was thinking that pushing wouldn't help, as my husband was pushed a TON as a child, and constantly moved from house to house and endured a lot of stress. He ended up dropoing out of school and making a lot of unwise decisions, because he felt so lost and unable to cope.

It sounds quite typical behaviour for a first born child trying to cope with the new sibling who is coming and "stealing" attention away from him. My first born was like that too for three years. And I've heard the same story from many others, so I believe it's quite common when there's small age difference between the first born and the second child.



It's good to know we're not alone!

I have another tool that's pretty weird, but it really helps me: earplugs. I am hypersensitive to sounds so the kids screaming really makes me nervous. I find if I just put earplugs on it helps me to remain calm. The difference is unbelieavable. I recommended earplugs to my brother too, he's not hypersensitive to sounds but he still finds they relax him. I can still hear the kids and converse normally with them. The earplugs I wear just turn the volume down to a manageable level.



That's a really good tool! I remember the sound of my son crying played havoc on my emotions. I literally HAD to hold him. I'd literally drop things and pick him up without realizing it, or take him from my husband's arms. The only way I could surpass it was going in the shower with the fan on, and the white noise would distort the hormone-inducing cries to something that didn't make my brain respond primally to. Hormones are crazy things.

A lot of noise would get to me, too, on a stressful day. I couldn't stand to hear the stove vent on or the washer churning because it was just too much extra stimulation. The noise of my kids playing wouldn't bother me (I honestly don't care about loud toys, because that sound is SO MUCH BETTER than my kids fussing or crying). It's the crying/whining that gets to me.


==============================


Today was my niece's birthday party. My husband picked up a shift the night before, but I really didn't want to take the kids and wrangle them by myself. My anxiety's been so high the last few days, and I didn't want him to miss the party either. So, I figured he'd take a nap, we'd get to the party at 11am, stay for an hour, and come back and he'd sleep more.

Oh, how that went wrong. I mentioned to my sister-in-law that maybe they could open our present first, so we could get Aaron home so he could sleep. Her mother overheard, and went on and on about how we should stay for the kids, and my husband should sacrifice so I could attend, and when I mentioned that my husband has crohns and we didn't want a flare up, she talked about how she has stomach ulcers and just took extra pills so she could make it. And, wow. It was a disaster. I know she meant well, and she even talked about how he should have stayed home so we could enjoy  the party. I had no idea how to tell her that I'd asked him to come, and when I said this to my mom, she said I needed to step up more and be more independent, and, yeah. Everyone meant well, but some days I'm just hanging on. I feel so weak and useless for needing help (when I'd given birth to my son, and he was colicky, my husband stayed home for a month with paid paternity leave...then went back to work for almost 40 nights in a row. No one came to help, and when I'd hint about needing help, I was just told that they'd managed everything by themselves when they had kids, so I shouldn't need help. Needless to say, I ended up with Postpartum depression). Anyway, I feel rather useless and like a broken person that I can't DO MORE without becoming a pile of depression.

So, I was very thankful for this thread, and all of you saying it's OKAY to set up boundaries. But, MAN, it's hard to advocate for one's self and family!
 
Tina Hillel
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I am so sorry you were in such a no win situation.

I did have all kinds of evil mental responses for you😝 This is partly why I am not a parent, not a good example.

You are to be commended,not feel bad.  You made the effort to be there even knowing it would be hard.  It would have been way easier to just send a gift. You went anyway and dealt with it being even worse than expected.  You are setting an example for your kids to do things even when hard, showing up as a united family standing up for your husband's health and him going even though tired.

Your family is fortunate to have someone like you supporting them.  Hang in there.  You have people you dont even "know" rooting for you.

And if you feel like you cant do more, listen to yourself and just do what you can that is best for you.
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:
But life HAS stress. How do I prepare him for it? How do I equip him with the tools to not become an emotional/mental mess when life gets crazy? Because life DOES get crazy, and there are sometimes times when you just don't have TIME to do any of your coping mechanisms (someone shared this article on crucial self-care tips for introverted women, and I had to laugh and cry a little, because the only one of those I was able to do for 4 years was to be outside. I'm pretty sure that's the only reason I have any sanity left).



I think Tina Hillel is right in that the best way to teach kids how to deal with stress is by example (easier said than done).

Though one thing you may want to consider, if you are stressed a lot of the time and your son is having big issues with anxiety/stress then it might be a good idea to step back and make darn sure you aren't engaging in patterns that are "feeding the beast" inadvertently.  It is really really easy to do especially if you are tired/stressed and just want to have some peace. It can take many forms from validating his fears which causes them to increase, to giving him more attention when he is anxious/stressed, etc...

And on a different but related topic, years ago I read a book called "The Art of Intimacy", it was all about healthy relationships of different sorts (parent/child, romantic partners, any type of close loving relationship) and one part of the book was really an epiphany for me and may be helpful for you as well.

It talked about the "triad of love" and how a close loving relationship should include 3 aspects.

The first of course is feeling a sense of love for the other and expressing it.

The second aspect is showing your love through actions, such as taking care of a spouse when they are sick, making sure your children are fed and safe, providing basic emotional support, the stuff normal responsible people do.

The third aspect was the epiphany part for me, something lots of other people may take for granted, but something I didn't grow up with and never thought about consciously before. And that was being actively intimate with the other, meaning spending time with them where YOU fully enjoy the experience and revel in their company as individuals. You aren't in the role of mother/caretaker/teacher/wife etc...but just enjoying the moment and fully appreciating  your time with this other awesome being and having fun while doing it.

It was an epiphany for me because I wasn't raised that way, my parents were devoted and very responsible caretakers. Intimacy or sharing activities with us as individuals that they enjoyed as much as we did wasn't a part of that, they made sure we had fun but it was a separate thing. I realized that I followed the same pattern, I was always in caretaker mode and hardly every just stopped to really enjoy the others company.

Just throwing that out there as even people that do actively enjoy their kids and other loved ones can forget that aspect when life gets too hectic.
 
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What you said reminded me of this
Passion=being present, living in the moment, being excited about when the next moment will happen again.
Decision/Commitment/Satisfactory = duty/law/custom/meh getting it done. Not giving or getting too many complaints
Intimacy=acceptance and feeling okay to be vulnerable, to fart, to discuss fears/shortcomings aka making people laugh/jokes




Which makes me also want to share this
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Love#/media/File:Plutchik-wheel.svg
 
Nicole Alderman
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Lucrecia Anderson wrote:
The third aspect was the epiphany part for me, something lots of other people may take for granted, but something I didn't grow up with and never thought about consciously before. And that was being actively intimate with the other, meaning spending time with them where YOU fully enjoy the experience and revel in their company as individuals. You aren't in the role of mother/caretaker/teacher/wife etc...but just enjoying the moment and fully appreciating  your time with this other awesome being and having fun while doing it.

It was an epiphany for me because I wasn't raised that way, my parents were devoted and very responsible caretakers. Intimacy or sharing activities with us as individuals that they enjoyed as much as we did wasn't a part of that, they made sure we had fun but it was a separate thing. I realized that I followed the same pattern, I was always in caretaker mode and hardly every just stopped to really enjoy the others company.

Just throwing that out there as even people that do actively enjoy their kids and other loved ones can forget that aspect when life gets too hectic.



This reminded me of a quote I ran across on facebook a while back. I had to go and look it up again

 Successful intimate relationships have a balance between positive and negative feelings and actions between partners. According to relationship researcher John Gottman, the magic ratio is
5 to 1. What does this mean? This means that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions.



I think this is very true! I'd see it when I was a teacher, too. When you're constantly telling a student "No" "Stop that" "You can't do that" "You got that wrong" etc, the child becomes depressed and ceases to listen to you. You need a lot of positive interactions to make up for negative ones. It's kind of like the saying "for every criticism given, give 3 positive feedback." But, I think with a relationship. it's really important to have those fun, positive bonding interactions, not just the positive compliments like, "You did a good job putting away the dishes. Thank you!" So, when we think of our parenting, we've really got to create situations that we can have those positive interactions with our kids, so that when we have to tell them "No," they listen.

With some kids, this is easy to do. Other kids, or at certain times, it terribly difficult. How do you make/find ways to positively interact when the child is constantly making horrible choices? You might have to restructure a LOT of things to make life less stressful and their circumstances more favorable to them being able to not do horrible things every two seconds. It's hard. It's frankly what I had to do (once I finally had the ability due to life finally calming down enough), with my son.

make darn sure you aren't engaging in patterns that are "feeding the beast" inadvertently.  It is really really easy to do especially if you are tired/stressed and just want to have some peace. It can take many forms from validating his fears which causes them to increase, to giving him more attention when he is anxious/stressed, etc...  



This is a very important point you make! I recall when I was a teacher, and I was having a bad day (didn't get enough sleep, was stressed, whatever), the kids always were crazy. Was I noticing their bad behavior because I was cranky? Were they "acting up" more because they sensed my stress and subconsciously reacted to it? I think a bit of both, each feeding each other in a down-ward spiral. I see the same thing when I'm having a bad day and am stressed, and then I overreact to something my son does, rather than calmly talking to him...and then he gets stressed and acts out even more.

An example: Life's been busy with making presents, my husband working more, making fairies, etc. So, I hadn't been able to keep up on the cleaning as much as I'd like. And the kids had decided that the bathroom was the place to bring all the toys. It was a DISASTER. My brain was freaking out because it was WAY too messy and overwhelming and I didn't know where to start and my husband was working so much so there wasn't even anyone to work on it with me. I finally mustered the energy to tackle it, and asked my son to help by putting all the toys on the floor into a bin. He sensed my stress, and said no and started kind of freaking out. I pleaded with him to help me. That made things worse. Needless to say, the whole thing ended with us both in tears and him having a horrible evening because it got him in a bad state of mind. He really picks up on my stress (or my husband's or anyone else's). I can usually keep myself calm so he stays calm...but that time I just couldn't, and as one can expect, it had some really horrible results!
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Thank you SO MUCH, Nina, for your post. It really helped me today.

Lots of "Mommy guilt" here too Mine is basically guilt from not being nice to my kids, having lost my nerves and shouted etc.



You're not the only one losing your nerves. I would call it the "rage" when I'd yell, because I'd feel such strong emotion...only to realize after reading this thread that it's the flight reflex turning on. Man, I hate that reflex. The more I use controled voice when not in that state, the easier it is to not yell when in a fight response...but it's still hard. How do we train our minds to not respond with the fight reflex and anger?



Thank you for the thank you, I'm really glad if I could help even a little!

How do we train our minds to not respond with anger, yes, that is the question! Something about "not breaking habits but replacing them with a better habit" comes to my mind... It's easier said than done though, because the old habit is so "overlearned" and it takes probably a 1000 repetitions of the new habit for it to become automatic AND in this case we are talking about a very strong primal response.


Nicole Alderman wrote:I feel so weak and useless for needing help (when I'd given birth to my son, and he was colicky, my husband stayed home for a month with paid paternity leave...then went back to work for almost 40 nights in a row. No one came to help, and when I'd hint about needing help, I was just told that they'd managed everything by themselves when they had kids, so I shouldn't need help. Needless to say, I ended up with Postpartum depression). Anyway, I feel rather useless and like a broken person that I can't DO MORE without becoming a pile of depression.



The response of your family members really makes me sad. Everyone needs help sometimes! That's the human condition! One of my core beliefs is that we are here to help each other. Put another way, it's the basis of our survival as a species.

Are there any other sources of practical help? From the state or the church? The neighbours? I had help from my relatives AND from the county's services AND from the church. I know the word "county services" sounds scary, but, at least in my country and in my experience, they are really nice people who can offer many different kinds of help. It's not at all about them judging your parenting and taking your kids away from you, like I used to think.

You are NOT a useless and broken person, or if you are, then we all are. Well, maybe that's another way of putting it, that's just as good We are all useless, broken persons, who need the help of a community. Or perhaps one could say that we are all pieces of a puzzle, not broken, but also not whole, without each other.



 
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Expectation Management
I expect myself to keep up with the Jones and when I don't my 'pride' gets hurt and then stress/etc happens.
I expect people/myself to be a certain way and when my expectations are not met, 'resentment' happens, so stress/hate/etc

Because I do not value what Mary says, and I get no 'pride/sense of value" from meeting her expectation.
I don't feel any stress/self-hate/resentment from failing her expectation.
It's like someone preemptively saying "yes I am the worse, so we can both depart separately, no need for arguing/manipulation"

I also have no expectation that Mary is going to give me a free handout or to trade with me fairly.
Infact I expect her to be broken like me and super 'needy' and just take and take. Due to that expectation as a general human condition I am never resentful of her for 'failing'.
 
S Bengi
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Emotions vs Pride/Resentment

It is okay to have emotions and to deal with them as soon as possible.
It is okay, encouraged even to share your emotions (in a respectful/appropriate way).

But even more import is to be aware of things/people that make me 'prideful' and to resist the urge to give those things/people that much power.

Likewise is Resentment (reliving, replaying bad emotions), don't dwell on what horrible stuff Mark did, and how 'Mark' failed to meet your expectation. Instead try to tell "Mark" as soon as is possible what he did wrong (politely if possible). Try not to let the sunset on your anger/resentment.
 
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Hau, Dr Redhawk, just adding my word to yours, here from the southernmost tip of Africa. Which is that we indigenous peoples never have to wonder why we are stressed :) Colonialism can do that to a person... For those of us who were slaves, as well, I still have inherited trauma so deep that I have to meditate to even reach a level that I can feel it. Like the tension in my jaws and the sinking in the pit of my stomach when I go on working even though I am tired. I know I am damaging my body but it has been second nature to us for so many generations I was born with it. God/de willing that the next generation will do so well that we can rest when we are tired.

People accuse us of romanticizing the past but I am a historian by training and all my researches teach me that life actually was pretty good.  Consider a people so leisured that they had time to chip on rocks as a form of art. For free and for everybody's enjoyment. So I try and live as close as I can to the ways of my ancestors in this modern world, following their teachings that the best way to heal illness is to prevent it. Construct a society that does not produce illness and you are good. Which is what my ancestors did, not because they did not know about hierarchies but because they chose not to construct them.

What we have, instead, i guess is 500 years of survival techniques. One can think of colonialism, genocide and slavery as a gigantic lab experiment to breed out the slow, the stupid, the plain unlucky. I was born of those who survived: by definition they must know something about survival and have passed this knowledge on to me. When anxiety sets in - like I said I was an adult before i even found out that it is not normal, so deep had fear been bred into me - I found this  wisdom. That I have nothing to be afraid of because what more must they do to me? What new cruelties can possibly be done which have not already been done?If we have made it this far we shall be Ok, despite global warming and other royal stuff-ups threatening our children's lives. At last we have run out of things to fear. The violence towards the planetary ecosystem has been done, the system which created the violence is collapsing of its own illogicality and all that is left to do is rebuild, replant and nurture ecosystems.

A still, small voice from the global South, though, not in any way to fail in compassion or deny comfort to the suffering, but merely to offer a perspective never heard: it completely flabbergasts me that the beneficiaries of such a wasteful, violent and destructive system are not happy. What was the point then? I mean, take my land, rape our women, steal our cattle and destroy the environment but for God/de's sake at least be happy at the end of it. Otherwise it makes no sense. Was our loss not your gain? If not, then it was a really futile exercise and we might as well have just continued enjoying our simple pleasures.

So with respect, please heal and be well. The sins of the past cannot be undone. But we can create positive energy in the present.
 
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Natasha Abrahams wrote:
People accuse us of romanticizing the past but I am a historian by training and all my researches teach me that life actually was pretty good.



Almost too difficult to clip one line from your excellent and welcomed post, Natasha.  So many writings document and support what you've said here.  One book I read recently that doesn't go far enough (my opinion) but is in stride with your comments is "Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome" by Joy DeGruy, detailing the transgenerational effects of the trauma endured.  When it comes to the topic of different kinds and sources of *persistent* stress and anxiety in the lives of individuals, communities and populations, it just seems to me like some version of slavery runs through this issue.  As Lloyd DeMause has noted in his writings, children by default are easy targets to become enslaved within the families into which they are born, especially within those cultures that value the privacy and sacrosanct image of the nuclear family.  Certainly the nuclear family can work well.....either when the adult members of that unit are emotionally/psychologically healthy -or- if (as is the case in a balanced tribal situation) there are many 'alloparents' (extended family and otherwise) available to step in to help balance out confusing and stressful issues of child-rearing.  But under less ideal and even hostile situations, a child will be little better than a slave......and as much psychological investigation teaches us, the "compulsion to repeat" behavior that was meted out on us as children is a quite powerful and subconscious motivator in our adult lives.  Could such situations, throughout time and generations and the world over, have provided the psychogenesis of what would become "the enslaver" mentality within our species?  Beholden as I am to the internet these days for information, I could find much that discusses the psychological/social damages wrought by having been enslaved, but little regarding the conditions that produce "the enslaver".   Perhaps the paltry offerings in the latter case underscore how little we wish to turn the microscope on ourselves?

“No European who has tasted savage life can afterwards bear to live in our societies.” ― Benjamin Franklin
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:So, when we think of our parenting, we've really got to create situations that we can have those positive interactions with our kids, so that when we have to tell them "No," they listen.



Yeah that was the other big take-away from that Art of Intimacy book. I don't recall what it said but it said something very similar to what you just said, only in relation to our loved ones.

My take-away was that I wanted 90% of everything I said at home to be positive/happy/encouraging. It was more of an attitude thing than the actual statements, just doing my best to be loving/positive in my interactions.  Now grant it, as a crazy animal lover my dogs make up my household/family, so they can't cause resentment and such the way humans can, but they sure can push buttons.

Nicole Alderman wrote:
An example: Life's been busy with making presents, my husband working more, making fairies, etc. So, I hadn't been able to keep up on the cleaning as much as I'd like. And the kids had decided that the bathroom was the place to bring all the toys. It was a DISASTER. My brain was freaking out because it was WAY too messy and overwhelming and I didn't know where to start and my husband was working so much so there wasn't even anyone to work on it with me. I finally mustered the energy to tackle it, and asked my son to help by putting all the toys on the floor into a bin. He sensed my stress, and said no and started kind of freaking out. I pleaded with him to help me. That made things worse. Needless to say, the whole thing ended with us both in tears and him having a horrible evening because it got him in a bad state of mind. He really picks up on my stress (or my husband's or anyone else's). I can usually keep myself calm so he stays calm...but that time I just couldn't, and as one can expect, it had some really horrible results!



Yeah acquiring some coping skills and being able to teach your son those skills would be a positive thing.

One coping skill I use when I feel myself getting really stressed is consciously engaging the left brain. The right brain hemisphere is focused on emotion, whereas left hemisphere is all about logic.  If we are getting overwhelmed with emotion then intentionally switching to the left hemisphere can have a quick and immediate effect.



It works especially well if there is an immediate situation/problem that is causing a tremendous amount of anxiety/stress, with specific situations it is easy to ask yourself questions that will automatically engage your left brain which pulls you out of the emotional storm.

For instance if you feel completely overwhelmed by the messy bathroom ask yourself "What is the worst that can happen here?" That gets your left brain working to analyze the situation and define the worst possible outcome.

The logical worst case scenarios would be a) you don't clean it up today and you have to look at it again tomorrow or b) every toy in the house gets dragged into bathroom, and it blocks access to the toilet leading to puddles of pee on the floor. If b isn't realistic then that gets eliminated :).

Just analyzing the worse case outcomes has a calming effect 98% of the time because rarely is the worst case scenario life threatening, and using your left hemisphere  lessens the emotions being generated in the right hemisphere.

Then go have a cup of tea, or a snack if you haven't eaten, and logically ponder the easiest way to start (not finish) the bathroom project. Maybe grab a pen and paper and make a list of little goals (your left brain loves lists, and really loves crossing things off the list) to divide the task up into tiny bite sized pieces. If you set a modest goal, like only crossing one  item off the list, that gets the ball rolling.

So in effect, you have a calm rational helper inside your own skull, but you have to directly ask it to help in order to activate it when the emotions run high.

Like I said, I use that method when I am getting overly stressed by a situation. If it works for you then it may also work for your little boy, in fact it may be much more effective for him especially as he gets older. They say women use both hemispheres at the same time (which is why women are often "more in touch with their emotions") whereas men switch from one hemisphere to the other. Supposedly in many cases if a man is focused on a problem requiring logic they are quite literally out of touch with their emotions, which is why if they are asked "What are you feeling right now" many men can't answer right away,  they have to think about it before they can give a response.
 
Natasha Abrahams
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Thank you John! Yes, I am glad that there is plenty of research now into inherited PTSD, when I was young there was only the Holocaust and the Irish Civil War which had been studied. I took from that the (at the time) rather startling revelation that children as young as 5 can display signs of PTSD, even if they have never been exposed to trauma themselves. Because they view the adults around them and copy their behaviour patterns. If PTSD is normalized than that is how the children will act. So I guess the solution is to de-normalize it. And that leads to many deep speculations as to how do happy people feel like and how do they behave? Something I am trying to re-invent for the next generation. Me, I find much comfort in building compost heaps. Soothes the soul and gets the necessary work done at the same time...
 
Travis Johnson
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Well wish me luck in this area this week. Always one to put feet to fire, I am working with three doctors on the concept of Mental Health and Physical Health are undeniably linked. Today I am meeting with my Neurologist, and on Friday I am meeting with two Phycologists to discuss my situation specifically (but I hope to bring about a community based conversation too).

After about three full days of researching, I have found that my condition, Hypopituitarism-Carcinoma has a 17% chance that patients will have an inability to handle stress. In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is advised to seek medical attention when the patient exhibits this particular symptom. While this is an extremely rare brain cancer, diagnosed only 400 times a year in the USA, other physical conditions exist outside of this specific condition that likewise affect a patients ability to handle stress.

The implications on this are absolutely huge as I am painting with a broad brush using the term "stress", but think in terms of such things as the fight or flight response, and the implications that could have upon law enforcement and incarceration. I know in my own three year struggle to find just exactly what is wrong with me, there have been times of near suicide and explosive bouts of anger directed...sadly...to my wife, children and even church friends.

I know I am not alone in this.

But as methodical, as congenial, and as knowledgeable as I am, how much harder is it for other people to convey this to their doctors. I can attest that this is a huge Catch22; becoming incredibly stressed trying to convey to my health care team that I cannot handle stress due to Hypopituitarism-Carcinoma!! I cannot wonder how many people have committed suicide, or are properly or improperly locked up due to untreated legitimate medical conditions such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Hashimotos Disease, or Hypopituitarism?

What is my personal next step?

I am not sure. I am hoping to see a specialist out of state as my cancerous pituitary tumor is most likely pressing on my brain stem causing my seizures. That may require brain surgery, however the damage itself to my pituitary gland has been done and cannot be repaired. I have always resisted psychosis drugs. but since my brain is unable to regulate itself I have no choice.
 
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hau kola Nicole. I am sadly very familiar with the problems of being the caregiver, and trying to balance while keeping your own balance is a difficult thing to do.
I can only give to you the things I do to try and remove the stresses that come along on a daily basis, and I hope you might find something among these things that helps you.

First I will go over what I do for me, to keep me in as peaceful a mind as possible. (some days nothing feels like it works, but I'm sure it does and I just can't see or feel it)
I have for many, many years forced myself to sit and still my mind for 10 to 30 minutes, some days I get the full 30, others I am lucky to get to 10 minutes, but I do as long as possible, for me.
When you still your mind, it is like stepping through the veil, nothing disturbs, no thoughts, and I finally have gotten to the point that noises don't get in to jolt me out of the still mind, unless I am touched.
What this does for the spirit is to allow the energies of the earth mother seep into my body, along with father sky, brother wind and sister fire (sun), these energies restore us to balance when we can take them in by having no thoughts active.
Another thing I do is open my being (spirit and body) to accept these energies and understand that while I want control of what happens around me, that most of the time I can only react to what happens around me.
Realizing that universal truth, it is easier to not feel frustration and that automatically reduces stress within the three minds, this makes it much easier to deal with things that might make others around me panic or gather stress upon themselves.
I have always, at the end of the day, taken time to thank the creator for putting me here to have these experiences of life. For letting me feel the animals sprits.
When I pray (which I might do several times a day, depending on what is going on), I follow the ancient methods, I first purify myself with sage smoke, I offer the pipe to the great spirit, and I ask for the strength to remain in balance with all things.
Once I have finished my prayer I light the pipe and blow the smoke to the sky, letting it take my prayer to the creator, I offer the pipe again and then snuff it out and pour the tobacco onto the soil as an offering to the earth mother.
This is the point where I sit on the earth mother for a few minutes (at least) and wait to see if I am to receive the gift of an answer (these might come as a vision or just a rush of calmness washing through the body).

When dealing with children it is important to be in that state of calmness because they will pay better attention when we are in that state.
I first listen to what they have to say (children will then understand that they are important and that makes them think better) once they are through speaking I just answer them the best I can.
If they ask for help with something, I give them that help. In my culture, people must ask for help, this shows that they are ready to learn and will listen and retain what they are taught. (this is how it has always been in my nation, for it does no good to teach if one is not ready to learn)
The best way to help a child through stress or frustration and the anxieties these can bring, is to show them calmness, get them to understand that the world will not crash around them just because there is something going on that they can't control. (this goes for adults too)

I hope something of this turns out to be of help to you kola.

Redhawk
 
Nina Jay
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Travis, I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. What a tragedy that you have to fight "catch22" situations, as if fighting cancer isn't hard enough... I'm a bit at loss what to say really. I wish you luck and I really hope things turn out for the better for you and your family. Keep us posted on how things go.
 
Natasha Abrahams
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Travis, my heart goes out to you in your time of trial. What I would do for one in your situation would not be psychotic drugs but cannabis in plenty when you feel an attack coming on. This will also help regulate what is left of your hormonal system and support some of the functions your thyroid used to do.. I would not be ashamed to imbibe testosterone in large quantities - stinging nettle tea is good.  With some progesterone - one chasteberry at night or every second night- and attack the cancer by means of dandelion and kale and other brassicas.  It goes without saying to eat only organic food and stay away from plastic if you can. God/de will be with you on your journey.
 
Travis Johnson
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Nina Jay wrote:Travis, I'm very sorry to hear about your situation. What a tragedy that you have to fight "catch22" situations, as if fighting cancer isn't hard enough... I'm a bit at loss what to say really. I wish you luck and I really hope things turn out for the better for you and your family. Keep us posted on how things go.



Thanks, but it went horribly wrong.

I will give the man credit, he was brutally honest on ho he felt. "It is all in your head, now get out of my office".

It was not all bad. He prescribed high dose tranqualizer which is about one step below fentinol so I will be walking around like a zombie and do not care anyway.

 
S Bengi
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Food As medicine

Mood and cortisol responses following tryptophan-rich hydrolyzed protein and acute stress in healthy subjects
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561409000661


This amino acid really does work wonders on mood.
Milk kefir (and kefir cheese, sour cream/etc) have a ton.
Koji fermented products. I think this is the best ferment there it, it release so many enzyme. Look it up and let me know what you think of it
 
Lucrecia Anderson
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S Bengi wrote:Food As medicine

Mood and cortisol responses following tryptophan-rich hydrolyzed protein and acute stress in healthy subjects
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0261561409000661


This amino acid really does work wonders on mood.
Milk kefir (and kefir cheese, sour cream/etc) have a ton.
Koji fermented products. I think this is the best ferment there it, it release so many enzyme. Look it up and let me know what you think of it



Yeah Tryptophan is a serotonin precursor (turns into serotonin in the gut and increases levels in the brain which is pretty much what Prozac/Zoloft do only in a different way). 5-HTP is very similar to Tryptophan and is also a serotonin precursor, both are available as supplements. Either is best taken with a starchy food like pasta as that helps the body absorb it in the gut.

I sometimes take 5-HTP if I am worried about stress turning into depression.

In fact high starch foods like pasta, potato chips etc....raise the serotonin levels in the brain and have a calming effect which is why some people eat a ton of those "comfort foods" when stressed and gain a lot of weight when stressed.
 
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I am blessed to have many, many teachers, and I include you all among them. Thank you for your honesty, your wisdom, insights and courage.  May I put in a ballot for “good enough?” Good enough mothering/caretaking/you fill in the blank. And I vividly remember my dad acknowledging and apologizing for his short temper for instance. A great lesson. We are all walking each other home. I am honored to be walking with you.

Re: Stress, anxiety, depression and PTSD - For your consideration;

EMDR – Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, a psychotherapeutic technique useful for PTSD.

If stressed or depressed – avoid caffeine and alcohol, mood altering substances that may not give provide the long term shifts you seek.

I prefer my herbs extracted in alcohol – I think they hold their medicinal properties better. Herb Pharm makes a high quality product. (Not a share holder.)

Kava Kava Root – will relax you. You know you have a better quality product when you hold it in your mouth there is a numbing sensation.

Adaptogenic herbs like Rhodiola and Astragalus assist the adrenals (and the rest of your glands and organs) in handling stress.

B-Complex 100 mg. and Vit C – water soluble vitamins, magnesium and calcium – when under stress the body burns though the water soluble vitamins, you also excrete magnesium at a faster rate.
Calcium helps with a calming feeling. Replenish these daily when under stress. Nutritional yeast has high levels of B-Complex.

St. Johns Wort – well documented herb for depression.

Bacopa – an Ayurveda herb that is an adaptogenic that works for depression, anxiety, improves memory and good for ADHD.

L- Theonine – an amino acid that helps mitigate anxiety.

Maca – Another adaptogenic herb, this one comes from high altitudes and very harsh climate in Peru  with a bonus, it makes you feel frisky 

Pranayama – Ancient breathing technique that helps to balance the hemispheres of the brain.  Sit with your back erect, in a comfortable position, check for any tension in the body, try to release it. Place your left hand palm up on your leg, utilizing the ring finger and thumb of your right hand put these on the outermost part of each nostril. Push the thumb to close off the right nostril and you start with an exhalation through the left nostril. Next inhale through the left nostril, close off the left nostril with your ring finger and release pressure on your right nostril with your thumb and exhale though the right nostril. Inhale though the right nostril and apply pressure to the right nostril with your thumb closing it, while releasing pressure with your ring finger and exhaling through your left nostril. Lather, rinse, repeat. (Just joking no poo people.) You will find a comfortable, slow, easy rhythm. Start for 5 minutes, and build up to 20 or more. Aaaahhhhhhhh.

Lemon Balm – Liquid extract in alcohol. Start with 5 – 10 drops three times a day, and work up to a comfortable for you dosage.

Lavender – essential oil of ORGANIC lavender – rub on your temples for headaches, on your wrists, on your pillow, your children/spouse.

GABA – a neurotransmitter – helps with anxiety and depression – reduces nerve cell activity.
 
Lee Gee
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Ooops, forgot to add - there is so much research about how dysbiosis of the gut, your second brain, has to do with anxiety, depression and many many other "dis-ease" processes. Heal your intestines, eat ferments.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Lee Gee wrote:I am blessed to have many, many teachers, and I include you all among them. Thank you for your honesty, your wisdom, insights and courage.  May I put in a ballot for “good enough?” Good enough mothering/caretaking/you fill in the blank. And I vividly remember my dad acknowledging and apologizing for his short temper for instance. A great lesson. We are all walking each other home. I am honored to be walking with you.

I prefer my herbs extracted in alcohol – I think they hold their medicinal properties better. Herb Pharm makes a high quality product. (Not a share holder.)

St. Johns Wort – well documented herb for depression.



Herbs extracted in alcohol are called tinctures and while they do hold the alcohol soluble compounds quite well and for extended periods, this form of herb medicine is not going to have the same effects as a decoction or tea since many compounds that are water soluble are not alcohol soluble.
This is why you should either consult a herbalist or do complete research, it is important to use the right medicine method, some herbs can have detrimental effects if used incorrectly.
St. Johns Wort is a herb that can be used incorrectly and cause harm to the human body. This happens more times than one might think, just like foxglove can be over done and kill the patient, St. Johns Wort can create physical situations that are counter productive when used incorrectly or over used.

 
Lucrecia Anderson
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Bryant RedHawk wrote:
Herbs extracted in alcohol are called tinctures and while they do hold the alcohol soluble compounds quite well and for extended periods, this form of herb medicine is not going to have the same effects as a decoction or tea since many compounds that are water soluble are not alcohol soluble.



Most all tinctures are in a menstruum of alcohol and water (at a certain ratio depending on the herb). Regular 80 proof vodka is 60% water and 40% alcohol which will make both the alcohol and water soluble compounds bio-available. While some novices make the mistake is going with the strongest alcohol possible (i.e. Everclear) if tinctures are purchased the maker is almost certainly using a water/alcohol combo (if only because it is less expensive).
 
Lee Gee
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There is a time and place and method that is most beneficial, depending.

Propolis needs Everclear to dissolve it, it will sit, as is, in 80% alcohol for a millennia.

Tinctures take time to make, and when utilizing fresh herbs, would require a specific time of year. Dried herbs, even when properly harvested and stored, can deteriorate.

Decoctions and teas are much quicker, made with water. And there is something to be said, as you prepare a tea yourself, as you commune with the plant being who has come to your aid. And I remember to make the same connection and appreciation when using extracts.

With certain foods, nutrients become bioavailable in either cooked or raw states, for instance with tomatoes - Lycopene. As it is with herbal preparations as Redhawk and Lucrecia point out. Some herbs, like Lobelia, do best in organic acv.

Water, consumed in excess, dilutes electrolytes, and can cause psychotic-like symptomology. And seemingly harmless foods, in certain people, can cause an anaphylactic response.

Generalized responses are not a prescription, just suggestions as a starting place for folks to do their own research, stemming from my sincerest intent to be of assistance.
 
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Hugs, kudos, and more tea and cocoa and comfort to you all! Thank you for sharing and supporting each other in such amazing ways in this thread. This thread is just spectacular in so many ways.

In terms of parenting, these books. Seriously. Both by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish.
How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
Siblings Without Rivalry

From the first book, I learned about natural and logical consequences - wow. And so much more. It was a game changer. I never used "time outs" though I used a technique that was a twist on this, that was more in line with a consequence rather than a punishment.

One of my kids was a super sensitive, high maintenance baby and young person. Incredibly intense. There were times that this child would get upset and nothing, nothing would soothe them. I dedicated hours and hours to soothing and helping this child as a baby and toddler. (It was not a manipulation or "spoiled child" thing, because my kids did not get things from whining or throwing tantrums. IMHO it was genuine distress.) Then, as a preschooler and kindergartner, there were times when my attempts to help guide with soothing did not work, and the crying just would not stop. That is when I would say (gently, and with compassion) "I know you're still upset, but there is nothing more I can do about it. And, I really can't listen to it any more, so go to your room until you're done." In hindsight, if I had started coaching this child to find something that was self-soothing - holding a blanket or special stuffed animal, walking outside, listening to music, punching a pillow, etc. - I might have suggested they do that when in their room. Some times though, we just need to cry until we're done crying, and those soothing things aren't strong enough to stop it.

The other lovely gem, from an article in Mothering Magazine was about being honest with kids about your own mood and sensitivities as a parent. The mom who wrote it would tell her kids, "I have patience the size of a pea today." Or "Today, my patience is the size of a watermelon!" Not that there was any expectation to "fix" each other - just everyone learning and practicing being aware of their own feelings and exhibiting compassion for each other and themselves.

The Faber-Mazlish books, and many of the articles in Mothering magazine, do an astounding job at recognizing the human hierarchy of needs and supporting them. And as adults, even without actual children, we can "parent" ourselves, or the child in ourselves to help guide us to happiness and healing.

Which brings me back to my post in the first page of this thread and these books about the physical manifestations of needs. And building on the really awesome nutritional tips from Bryant, Natasha, S Bengi, Lucretia, Lee, and everyone here.

Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

  • Dirty Genes by Dr. Ben Lynch - recommended by my N.D., this book blew my socks off. It explains how if your gene has a variation to it (from poor diet, exposure to toxins, etc.) it's considered "dirty" and, in some cases, your body uses up certain things too quickly (like dopamine or seratonin) and then uses up excesses of other things to compensate. This, IMHO, goes underneath the nutrition component, yet is tied to nutrition, and more. When some genes are "dirty" they increase anxiety. This just seemed really huge to me! It also explained in ways that finally made sense to me, how stress eats away at things inside you that your body needs.
  • Hardwiring Happiness by Rick Hanson - and now, this last book, is tying together the nutritional and physical and brain chemistry aspects with a mental aspect of dealing with stress.

  • In Hardwiring Happiness, Hanson distills down the hierarchy of needs to three aspects:  
    --safety/reptilian brain/stress response - the brain chemistry most related to something-choline (was it - acetylcholine?) as well as cortisol
    --rewards/mammalian brain/achievements, recognition and nourishment - the brain chemistry most related to dopamine
    --connection/primate and human brain/connection, intimacy - the physical chemistry most related to oxytocin

    The thing is, in the Dirty Genes book, Dr. Lynch explains how some gene variations make it more difficult for some people to have appropriate cortisol, dopamine, or serotonin responses to normal inputs. For example, many of the books listed in my post talk about how deficient most of us are in choline. I did not study chemistry or nutrition, but I can't help thinking that if we're deficient in choline, it would throw off our building blocks for dealing with stress and the more primitive brain activities. (Perhaps grossly oversimplified.) Which is just one small example of how there are truly physical components to dealing with all of these aspects of unhappiness or severe stress and grief.

    In the latter parts of Hardwiring Happiness, Hanson describes how intensifying a pleasurable experience (taking in the good, so to speak and as he calls it) can increase a dopamine reaction. So while there are nutrition or physical/chemistry things that affect our psychology, we can also use psychology to impact the physical in a positive way.

    So in the light of going both ways with the physical versus the psychological, I found this video very helpful and supportive, too (even if some of the commenters found it to be a bit superficial or trite).



    So after watching this, I was kind of wondering what would by your cow? Or my cow?


     
    Lee Gee
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    Thank you Jocelyn, awesome post.

    I'll start at the end of the video with '. . .  .we need more love and more compassion, not less."  True all the time for all of us. How we treat ourselves, and others. We all have our challenges, none can be compared or judged. No one to be considered crazy for how they feel in a world with many values out of order. I loved the part in video - 'to have a sense of hopefulness about the future" - I am paraphrasing. To belong, to have a sense of community, shared values, respect for each other and all sentient beings.

    Some folks have broken microbiomes and it leads to emotional/mental/physical/spiritual 'other than functionality'. Once you start eating ferments and fiber that feeds the pro biotics, and stop the influx of toxins - chemicals, white bread, sugar, etc., whatever is awry will begin to right itself, in all the realms - they are all connected.

    Some have been raped, or abused, or other unresolved and painful thoughts and feelings. Sometimes to the point of immobilization. In some of these cases, an antidepressant/anti-anxiety (whether psycho-pharmaceuticals or herbs or supplements) supports people in getting them to the place where they can start talking, taking some action to help themselves, then can be weaned from drugs/herbs/supplements.

    Parenting - You need a license for a dog, (and that isn't enough if you want to care take any other sentient being). Anyone with a healthy enough reproductive system of childbearing age can mother/father children. (We are not going into the mess that is the foster care system.) Were there parenting classes in elementary school or middle or high school? Did our examples of parenting do a good (enough) job to set a good example for us to parent? What a great example you were to your child when you gave as much as you could, and calmly explained when you had done all you could, where your limits were, and in hindsight, other actions he could have taken for himself.

    Abraham Maslow was my first exposure to hierarchy of needs, meaning food, clothing, shelter before higher ordered thought, and I have not found this to be true in all cases. A starving homeless person has given up a coat to someone they considered more in need, or has the ability to spout profound wisdom or humor. And someone once said of Marshall Rosenberg's work, 'you cannot give compassion if you need compassion' I found this not to be true. I can be longing for compassion and simultaneously can be compassionate. These things are not linear.

    Just that we have this 'place' and each other, to explore, to share, to grow, to change is wondrous and hopeful. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.
     
    John Weiland
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    Bryant RedHawk wrote:

    We teach about our traditions and we explain why we do things the way we do.
    Our society is one of caring for each other and for providing for those who have needs, we care for the earth mother and always have, we care for the animals, never killing just to kill something.
    We feel that we must use all of any animal we take so that we can honor that death and the spirit of the animal will be pleased with how we treated the gifts given through their loss of life.



    Was thinking about stress and the ultimate culmination of stress at times that can result in suicide and came across this article this morning:

    "Native American communities experience a much higher rate of mental health issues, such as substance abuse and suicide, than any other racial or ethnic group in the country ― and the media tend to fixate on these grim figures.

    Data shows that tribal communities experience psychological distress 1.5 times more often than the general population, and Native Americans use and abuse alcohol and drugs at younger ages and at higher rates than any other ethnic group. Plus, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 10- to 34-year-olds in tribal communities.

    But Doreen Bird, Ph.D., an expert on mental health issues in tribal communities, says numbers like these tell only part of the story.

    Bird, who hails from the Kewa Pueblo of New Mexico, has devoted her career to researching mental and behavioral health among Native American communities. She notes that suicide rates can vary widely from tribe to tribe, and cautions against treating all Native peoples as a monolith. "  --  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/native-american-tribal-suicides-mental-health_us_5c11218ce4b084b082fedbc2

    The part of her research that was quite interesting is the following that appears as a Q&A in the article:  

    "Q:  What’s the biggest misconception about suicide in tribal communities?

    A:   A lot of times, the media and journal articles highlight high rates of suicide. But even in my own state of New Mexico, there were different varying rates. One study found that the more acculturated tribes had higher suicide rates than the more traditional, less acculturated tribes. [Acculturated means tribes that are more accustomed to the Western way of life — having jobs, paying bills, etc.]  
    But the tribe that I come from [Kewa Pueblo] had zero suicides. Some tribal nations have very low suicides, while others have very high suicide rates. So when you really look into tribal-specific numbers, you can get a very different picture amongst different tribal nations."

    As a comment as well for those raising children and who have weighed in on this thread....Just MHO, but the very fact that you are *concerned* as a parent about how and what you are modeling for your children speaks volumes.  There are many who don't and at the end of the day, deep breaths and thankfulness that you are doing your best.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Lee Gee wrote:Thank you Jocelyn, awesome post.

    I'll start at the end of the video with '. . .  .we need more love and more compassion, not less."  True all the time for all of us. How we treat ourselves, and others. We all have our challenges, none can be compared or judged. No one to be considered crazy for how they feel in a world with many values out of order. I loved the part in video - 'to have a sense of hopefulness about the future" - I am paraphrasing. To belong, to have a sense of community, shared values, respect for each other and all sentient beings.


    Yes, support and compassion for how others might struggle - and the hopefulness. Some might truly need pharmaceuticals; others might choose not to use them. There is so much complexity to each situation, and our modern culture/society is so judgmental and anxiety inducing without the normal counters of physical activity, more community and connection, and more interaction with nature that we used to have and still need.

    I'm still trying to get to where I have more of those last three things myself. Undoing my cultural conditioning and some of the roles I've chosen for myself over the last few decades is taking more time than I thought!

    Lee Gee wrote:Just that we have this 'place' and each other, to explore, to share, to grow, to change is wondrous and hopeful. Thank you, thank you, thank you all.


    Thank you, Lee; and everyone else in this thread.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    In Hardwiring Happiness, Hanson distills down the hierarchy of needs to three aspects:  
    --safety/reptilian brain/stress response - the brain chemistry most related to something-choline (was it - acetylcholine?) as well as cortisol
    --rewards/mammalian brain/achievements, recognition and nourishment - the brain chemistry most related to dopamine
    --connection/primate and human brain/connection, intimacy - the physical chemistry most related to oxytocin



    Very interesting!

    A bit off topic, but I recently watched a lecture on youtube all about how the big social media platforms (i.e. facebook, twitter, etc...) were intentionally designed to condition and "addict" people to the dopamine effect. People get a dopamine hit when they get a "like" or a "share" and the way social media works, it puts people in competition with each other to be popular, and if they don't get as many likes/hits they start to feel like failures so they try again, and again, etc....  To take it a step further, they start analyzing "this post got 100 likes, but that post only got 20 likes" and they start changing their behavior to get more hits.

    Since very often the largest amount of "likes" comes from really low caliber posts (i.e. sexy pics or brainless comments validating the opinions of the majority), with thoughtful/intellectual posts getting far less "likes"  the platforms promote stupidity and shallowness on a mass scale.

    Apparently the "conditioning" has much less of an effect on older individuals (i.e. 35+) that did not grow up with social media (older folks usually use it like email to keep in touch with others, or we ignore it altogether), but it is having a HUGE effect on younger folks that have been molded by it since they were young teens.
     
    Jocelyn Campbell
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    Oh, Lucretia, the dopamine effect of social media is not off topic IMHO.

    Lots of studies have talked about social media, dopamine/addictive behavior and depression or anxiety.

    How do we encourage a dopamine effect for recognition ("likes") of healthy behaviors in meat space...or for those of us with "dirty genes" who might get addicted to our devices (and games, food, etc.) more easily?

    I think the Hardwiring Happiness guy's techniques help a bit. Where if we do our own "liking" or recognizing of our achievements it can help.
     
    Bryant RedHawk
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    John Weiland wrote:

    The part of her research that was quite interesting is the following that appears as a Q&A in the article:  

    "Q:  What’s the biggest misconception about suicide in tribal communities?

    A:   A lot of times, the media and journal articles highlight high rates of suicide. But even in my own state of New Mexico, there were different varying rates. One study found that the more acculturated tribes had higher suicide rates than the more traditional, less acculturated tribes. [Acculturated means tribes that are more accustomed to the Western way of life — having jobs, paying bills, etc.]  
    But the tribe that I come from [Kewa Pueblo] had zero suicides. Some tribal nations have very low suicides, while others have very high suicide rates. So when you really look into tribal-specific numbers, you can get a very different picture amongst different tribal nations."



    Native Americans do not do well at using alcohol, never have in fact, it is like falling into a hole with no way to climb out for most.
    It is my observation that the "institutionalizing" via the boarding schools required by the US government are really set up to break the spirit of the students, putting them into a feeling of not only helplessness but reinforcing that feeling.
    The students then become either acclimated to the white ways or they develop such an anger that they become even more entrenched in a feeling of hopelessness, that leads to depression and all the different manifestations it can take.
    Now we have some schools that are run by natives, on native soil and these are working out far better for all involved since no one is far from their heritage.
    Talking to elders that went through the tribulations of boarding school, it becomes apparent that the disconnection from their heritage was the hardest thing for them as students.
    I wonder how a European decent person would endure being placed in a school where there was nothing of what they knew available to them. and if they tried to hold on to any of their known traditions or language, they were beaten, every time they transgressed.
    This is what happened and still happens to some extent today.

    It is so very important for people to retain something of themselves, their culture, so the psyche is able to cope with things so different as to drive them into the abyss of loneliness with out that ability of clinging to identity.
    Those tribes that make sure the children learn not only who they are through their culture but how to hold onto that identity when ripped from their home land, these are the ones who don't sink to suicide because they are strong and know who they are without question.
    It is something that most nations elders know but have trouble coming up with a way to instill that sense of self, that sense of culture that defines who a person is deep inside.  
    Now that it is becoming understood by those who endured and survived, who took in the knowledge forced upon them to the point of wanting more because they saw and understood the need for this knowledge, that there are ways to help those who are in trouble within their spirit and mind.

    Dr. Bird is one of those working to get things back into the people's control.
     
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    Something I noticed about myself, again. My hands do a lot of expressing of my internal feelings and subconscious. Sometimes when I am nervous, my hands like to move. Though, also, how I consciously move my hands seems to affect how I feel, as well. For example, when I keep my hands busy with knitting or crochet, it calms me down and helps me stay relaxed.
     
    pollinator
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    Dave Burton - I have to say, so much of what you have expressed resonates with me. One of my friends has expressed similar feeling, she views depression as a natural response to today's reality. I don't disagree with her, but acknowledge that my own reality is/has been harsher than many people. Although, I think I just may be more honest than most, or it may be more obvious, or a little of both. I try to share how one can escape modern life, because I feel like I never knew that was an option, many are not open to the idea. We are where we are. I wish you well, and look forward to hearing about further endeavors.
     
    Dave Burton
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    Thank you, Stacy, and I look forward to hearing about your journey. And it helps a bunch, too, to see how other fellow permies have escaped or are currently making their escapes to a life they feel is more fulfilling. And that's just the tip of the iceberg; I do honestly feel that the social aspect is the most difficult part, as Paul has mentioned several times in his podcasts. I'm still working on disentangling myself from the dreams my parents are trying to wish me into before I set out into the world this May. I'm still kind of, saying "yeah, uh-huh, that's what I'm going to do," to them, because I have tried explaining what it is I feel compelled to do, and they don't appear to fully understand just what exactly it is I feel the NEED to do. And they don't quite see why it is I felt the emotions I felt. They would like to attribute my emotions to other causes, but only me and me alone knows and can say where my emotions came from and what they are a response to.
     
    Lucrecia Anderson
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    Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
    Yes, support and compassion for how others might struggle - and the hopefulness. Some might truly need pharmaceuticals; others might choose not to use them.



    IMO anyone that judges others for using pharmaceuticals to help with serious long term depression has NO IDEA what hard core depression is.

    I was seriously depressed for 2 years, I went to work and then slept every weekend (sleeping was an escape). I lost interest in everything and thought constantly about when it would be "over". After 2 years of telling myself "I can beat this, I just need to man-up" I finally realized I wasn't beating it, it was beating me. If I didn't have dogs to care for I would have shed this mortal coil.

    Even if it doesn't cause you to off yourself, life is too short to lose years of your life (and cause your loved ones to suffer along with you). Big pharma may be evil but some of their stuff really DOES WORK!  IMO a good old school antidepressant (I am very wary of the newer drugs, but prozac is pretty good) makes as much sense as using an antibiotic when an infection is killing you.

    Long term severe depression is not just about attitude. It changes the structure and function of your brain, and antidepressants actually correct it and cause the lost areas to grow back.


     
    Dave Burton
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    Lucrecia Anderson wrote:Even if it doesn't cause you to off yourself, life is too short to lose years of your life (and cause your loved ones to suffer along with you). Big pharma may be evil but some of their stuff really DOES WORK!  IMO a good old school antidepressant (I am very wary of the newer drugs, but prozac is pretty good) makes as much sense as using an antibiotic when an infection is killing you.

    Long term severe depression is not just about attitude. It changes the structure and function of your brain, and antidepressants actually correct it and cause the lost areas to grow back.



    I could not agree more.

    I'm not sure if I have described this in a post before, but I'm sure I described it in a few mooseages I have had with some other permies members. Everything came to a breaking of the floodgates for me when my physical manifestations reached a peak last Winter, when I was throwing up every morning. It was at first throwing up once a month, then once every two weeks, then once a week, and then during finals week last year, I was throwing up every morning. I didn't go to seek treatment until one of my friends forced me to go, because I almost puked on another friend of mine before an exam. And during treatment the following Spring, I learned about how these were physical manifestations of my depression and anxiety. Because before, I was bottling everything up, so the issue of even knowing what was the problem and what the emotions were never became apparent until then. I didn't know yet that I was staying alive, because my ethics prevented me from killing myself, but didn't want to live, let alone do my classes, but still had to do well, because I felt an obligation to do so. And once I made that understanding and was feeling those strong emotions, antidepressants acted like a "safety-helmet" for my thinking while I was learning the tools for coping with anxiety and depression in my therapy and counseling sessions.  The drugs did not necessarily make me happy. It was more of that I went from "thought-thought-thought-thought" (which led me on some nasty spirals) to "thought.... thought..... thought.... thought..." (which gave me enough time to think about my own thinking and correct my own self-responses).

    And yes, I most definitely agree compassion is the best and most needed response for people who are depressed. That was the biggest thing I needed- to know I was not alone, to know that others feel these feelings, and that there is a future. That is difficult to see sometimes.
     
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