Wednesday, December 26, 2012

How Depression Sees It

Just ran across this article called "How Depression Sees It: The Woman Who Gave Birth in a Tree" which offers an authentic description of what it's like to have depression.  Those of us who do not suffer from this illness have a hard time understanding what it's like, which is why articles like this are useful to sensitize us to the anguish of those who do, to help us get it.

Another good resource for this is the acclaimed book Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness, by William Styron, in which he takes us through his own experience of severe clinical depression.  Both of these make for fascinating reading, and will broaden your mind to gain some insight into what the suffering is really like for people with depression.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Miscommunication en Masse

The gun control debate that is coming back out of hibernation as a result of last week’s tragedy is an interesting case in point from the perspective of a couples therapist. So much of the trouble I encounter in the therapy room is due to partners addressing the issue on their own mind instead of the issue on the other’s mind.  John is angry about Marsha’s spending habits; Marsha feels unloved; and neither one is speaking to the problem that the other sees.

So too in the argument over gun control.  The loudest piece of the debate goes like this: proponents cry for safety and protection for our youth.  Opponents point to the second amendment.  Proponents insist something needs to be done before more children are killed.  Opponents point to the second amendment.  It is but two ships passing in the night.  People who are desperate to save children’s lives don’t much care for the supposed freedom to carry big, scary assault weapons.  People who cling to the right to bear arms don’t seem to have much to say about children’s safety.  And so the debate hobbles on, neither side addressing the concerns of the other.

Of course, there are those who oppose gun control because they believe some of the laws being pushed will actually lead to more violence.  There are those who support some gun laws without suggesting that trying to outlaw guns in general is a good idea.  But those voices, unfortunately, are the quiet ones.  Instead of meaningful dialogue between sincere people who want to make the world a better place, we have large-scale shouting matches between extremists on both sides.

If John could speak to Marsha’s fears and Marsha could address John’s financial concerns, they would likely see a lot of progress.  That’s often an important part of the work I do with couples.  Now if only I could get the pro- and anti-gun control groups in a room together…


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Men Can’t Find Anything in the Refrigerator

It’s true.

Well, at least for a lot of men.  It’s just a generalization, I know.  But I’m going to use it anyway to make a point.  The point is this: it is wise for a person to anticipate certain irritating habits in his or her spouse.  If you are a woman, you may find it maddening that your husband can’t find the ketchup when it’s right in front of him.  You may even have suspected him of doing it on purpose sometimes.  The fact of the matter is that this really is a common issue with men. It behooves you to expect it, so that it won’t bug you as much when it happens, and to recognize that you’re not the only one who has to deal with it.  Ask some of your girlfriends and see.  This mindset will go a long way towards making his handicap less irritating.
For men, I might suggest the same approach as regards timeliness – many women are less punctual than their husbands (and yes, I know, it’s certainly not all of them).  It is helpful for men to anticipate this and see it as part of the wifely package.
This is not to say that these matters can’t be worked on and improved (my ketchup-locating skills have definitely developed since I got married); just that they ought to be expected for one’s peace of mind and peace of house.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Miss America By Day

I recently finished reading Miss America by Day, by Marilyn Van Derbur.  This is by far the best book I have read as far as understanding what a victim of sexual abuse actually goes through, what the trauma is like.  There is also lots of useful information, tips, advice, and other great material, but the best aspect of the book is the way she makes the trauma real to all of us.  I recommend it to anyone who wants to understand the issue of child sexual abuse better.