Do we humans manifest our own destinies?

This is a timeless question debated among people of varying religious faiths. The idea that we can somehow control what happens to us is drilled into our childhood education. Some religions state, “If you are good you will go to Heaven.” Others state, “What goes around comes around.” The concept of Karma is about the same.

Are these things true? I am not going to challenge anyone’s religion here. In the practical sense, do we see this happening in our daily lives? Sometimes, sometimes not.

Another problem with this sort of belief is the implication of the opposing statement, “You’d better be good, or you won’t go to Heaven!”

We hear a parallel statement in the Mental “Health” System. “If you follow your treatment plan, you won’t relapse.” Or, “If you fail to follow your treatment plan, you will surely become symptomatic.”

Let’s think about these statements for a minute. Are they true? I know as a fact that for me, NO WAY! I would guess that for many readers, noncompliance  was life-saving. Those of you who are aware of the tactics used in the System know well that most “patients” don’t even question the validity of statements made by “staff.” I didn’t, for a long time.

Then, we might ask why these statements are even made, since they aren’t necessarily true.

I am guessing most of you know exactly why…..

These statements are made to keep patients under control. They are actually scare tactics. The terms “relapse” and “symptomatic” are seen as the Devil. Patients are convinced that these things are to be dreaded, that they indicate dysfunction or disability. Patients are thus kept within the fold of the MH ghetto. And there we stay.

So here we have dogma that is fallacious but widely used, only to control patients.

Likewise, the dogmas about Heaven and Karma don’t hold true or cannot be proven. What if these beliefs were invented by clever leaders to keep the population in line and prevent crimes? The idea that doing good will lead to good things is pervasive even today, so I suspect the tactic worked.

I do not truly believe that we have much control over our environment and certainly not over other people. For instance, are car accidents the result of bad deeds done in the past? My guess is that most car accidents happen for random reasons. We didn’t cause the deer to run into the road, nor can we control icy conditions nor other drivers.

During Katrina, you may recall the racist remarks about New Orleans, even commentary that God created Katrina to punish the people of that city. I imagine most of you do not believe this.

Another fallacy is that a woman who ends up victim of rape somehow “brought it upon herself.” We’ve heard the “slut” talk all too much. An overwhelming number of rapists get away with what they do, which makes me wonder about the pervasive idea of destiny at work here.

What can we control? We can control how we react to various circumstances around us, to an extent. For instance, if you know it’s going to rain, you can choose to carry an umbrella. You can choose to wear warmer clothes when it’s cold out.

We humans aren’t perfect, though, nor is the weather man. Nature makes the ultimate call.  If you’ve gotten drenched, maybe you agree.

We have choices, though, don’t we? We can choose which colleges to apply to.Some have the opportunity to choose between several places to live in a given locale. If you have several job offers you can choose between them. However, the matter of choice in these instances is money-dependent. Many cannot afford to attend college at all. And what about someone who doesn’t get any job offers?

If you have made a similar decision, how did it all work out? Perhaps it did, but maybe not. Look at the number of college students who change their major or transfer elsewhere due to changing interests or other circumstances. We may have chosen a terrific school at the time with the best data at our fingertips, but can we totally predict the future? I recall one college I was at where a tuition hike forced many students to transfer out. Have  you ever known a student who chose a certain college just to study with one particular instructor? What happens when the instructor leaves? I recall such students who counted on their one shining star to deliver, but sometimes that didn’t quite pan out.

We humans love to convince ourselves we can control far more than we really can. Conversely, we tend to overlook situations where we do indeed have control, assuming we’re powerless.

Looking again at the Mental “Health” System, we know patients who are deceived into believing their choices are between Pill X and Pill Y. Or, say, between talk therapy and group therapy. What are they overlooking? Many patients are unable to see the other options since psychiatry bombards them with the chemical imbalance myth. I know an awful lot of patients who tell me they are “stuck” because they cannot see outside the narrow view that “treatment” offers.

Have you ever had blinders on in an other way? In the dating world, you may assume your choice is between Date A and Date B, while you overlook Date C. How often we hear that the one we had barely noticed at first turns out to be the Right One?

Life may be a crapshoot, but we can choose how to deal with the crap life throws at us. I challenge readers to believe in possibility.  Believe in yourself. And if it rains, bring an umbrella.

 

Like us on Facebook!

Hello Readers! With the weather getting colder, or warmer, depending on which hemisphere you reside at, and holidays upon us, please take a minute to check out the Facebook page I am working on for Nuthouse No More. Click here!

And also, if you are so inclined please check out the recent updates to Nuthouse No More on the web. I even added a Puzzle page, including a pic of us (I can’t leave my spoiled brat out of anything…)

My call-in times remain the same, M,T,W, F 8am to 10am (Eastern). Call:

412-339-3258

Although these pages are still under construction, feel free to share the links if you would like.

Be careful!

The Washington Post has published the footage of an officer slaying an innocent person. I am not going to provide the link because the content is extremely graphic. I couldn’t get very far watching it myself, and I’m not easily upset by such things. What disturbed me was the total disrespectful attitude of the officer.  The man was no danger, yet the officer treated him and his female companion like they were nothing but despicable things. It wasn’t so much the graphic stuff but the reminder of the way we were treated in the nuthouses. I couldn’t listen to it. I believe at the end of the footage the officer shot the man.

The killer was tried, and, as usually done, acquitted. I noted that the Post by all means did not write favorably of the police in general. At the end of the article the Post stated the officer was not planning to return to the force.

Folks, this can happen to anyone. Be very careful around the cops. Don’t reach into your pockets or do anything close to that.

One day, over a year ago I was in an urban park where there were tables and benches to sit on. It was lunchtime. The sun was so intense that as soon as I sat down I felt sleepy. I lay my knapsack on the table, crossed my arms, and rested my head, planning to sleep for only about ten minutes.

Someone interrupted me. It was a cop. He told me I couldn’t lay my head down in the park! That, he explained, was “loitering.”

I left the park, feeling someone unnerved over it all. On my way out of there I passed the sign overlooking the park. It said something like “Welcome all” and I can’t recall what else.

No welcome for the weary, I thought.

Be careful, it’s getting worse out there.

What is life coaching?

Good morning, Readers!

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while may be wondering why on earth I chose to become a life coach. Perhaps you are wondering if coaching is contradictory to my usual position. Actually, it isn’t! In fact, it is complimentary to what I believe. Coaching makes use of all my skills, education, and life experience.

Unfortunately there are some misunderstandings about life coaching among the Psychiatric Survivor community. Some survivors, understandably, lump life coaching together with the “helping” professions of the Mental “Health” System. Perhaps untrained coaches follow the “diagnose and fix” model similar to what you find in the System, but actually, doing that goes against coaching ethics.

A life coach does not identify “problems.” This was reiterated throughout my training. I found it easy to identify when this was happening in the class.

Oddly, here I found that the previous traumatic reaction I had to my last few years in the System helped me tremendously! Why? Many survivors become sensitive or even touchy when they sense any sort of diagnosing. So I was easily able to identify when this was happening. A trained coach will never call you dysfunctional nor use any DSM diagnosis.

Many times we are tempted to give advice (especially when we think we “know better”). I’m sure many of you have been in the position of giving helpful suggestions now and then. Some of these may very well be well-intentioned, such as, “I’m so happy you’ve decided to quit smoking. The best way to quit is cold turkey.”

While this suggestion may seem helpful at first, coaches don’t go this far. What happens when we give advice? For one thing, we are asserting superiority or even putting ourselves on the “expert” pedestal. While many coaches have specific expertise of their own, the coaching model involves a more collaborative and supportive approach. When I think about it, every time a practitioner from the System (such as a therapist) gave advice in the past I felt demoralized.

Another thing coaches do not do is to jump on the “me too” bandwagon. While we may be tempted, doing so is presumptuous and often unhelpful An example might include, “Oh yes, I also had a C-section so I understand what you are going through.” In this case, while the speaker may appear empathetic, isn’t she assuming a bit too much? Are all C-section experiences alike? Has the speaker even lived one day in the body of the listener?

Here’s another example: “I quit smoking too. So I know how it is.” Really?

I had no trouble quitting smoking, which was actually unusual.  Most truly struggle with the experience. While I did in fact quit ages ago, I have not necessarily gone through the same thing. I think it would drive people crazy if I said something like, “I quit, so you can, too!” The implication is that a smoker who struggles is somehow weak or inferior. Coaches don’t do that!

Coaches don’t prevent a client from making mistakes because mistakes are learning experiences.

Think of all the mistakes I have made in my life. Here’s an example: Falling for a scam publisher.  I ended up with a lot of fallout from that bad decision, including alienating my fellow alums and faculty from grad school. I was aware of the snickering and commentary that I had sold myself short, which was demeaning to me, but I chose to shove all that aside. I kept excusing the bad handling of my book by Chipmunka, rationalizing that they were a “charity publisher.” I stayed with Chipmunka far too long, actually in denial.

Admitting you made a mistake involves grieving and sometimes, embarrassment. Humans tend to avoid discomfort, which is why many delay admitting they made a bad choice, often for years or decades (are we reminded of something here?).

Eventually I figured it out. Ending my contract was the right thing to do. Despite the many losses, I know in my heart that the learning experience I gained from this error made it all worth it.

Remembering this helps me as a coach. Mistakes are a part of life. If I were to prevent a mistake I’d be playing the “fixer,” the exact thing we were trained not to do.

Those of you who experienced the psychotherapy model might recall the term “treatment” as one person, the treator, acting upon the disordered person. We have one person, the therapist acting upon another. So then, the therapy patient is becomes an object while the therapist is the subject (think of sentence structure). In diagnosing, the psychotherapist makes the statement, “You are.” Here again, the therapist is acting upon the therapy patient by putting him/her into a category.

So what do coaches do? Maybe the question should be, what do coaching clients do?

Here I should explain the use of the term “client.” I realize that many of you who survived the System might have bad memories of being called a “client.” However, the term is standard in the coaching field. At least you aren’t called a “patient” or…geez…”consumer.”

In coaching, the client makes the decisions. The coach will follow the client’s lead. The client decides on goals and works out a solid plan to reach these goals. Coaching holds the client accountable.

In the coaching relationship, the client is in the driver’s seat. The client is the protagonist of the story, the main actor. We might consider the coach as the sidekick.  On a ship, the Captain makes decisions and the First Mate, the sidekick, supports the Captain’s decisions. The First Mate wouldn’t go over the Captain’s head.

Thanks to the many friends who have supported and encouraged me! If you want to learn more about the specific focus of my practice, check out my site (in progress) here:

http://nuthousenomore.com

 

New life and new direction

Good morning!

Readers may recall I mentioned a job training I was planning to attend. I did! I was worried about the usual things one worries about when making such a huge leap. I had many nitty-grit issues to work out to ensure the trip itself went without a hitch.

As soon as I got to the training I realized that I had underestimated my capabilities. I had none of the troubles that I had anticipated. I didn’t even come close to nodding off during the three days of 8-1/2 hour training sessions. Even though I didn’t sleep well at first due to hotel issues, I found I didn’t get to the point of feeling like I had to leave the class to lie down.

I didn’t stay at the recommended hotel but instead had picked one nearby that was far cheaper. I would not recommend that place to anyone! However, I was able to disregard the hotel problems and focus on my studies. Not that I wasn’t annoyed! I was able to push my annoyance aside. After all, I didn’t go there merely to stay at a hotel!

I am now a Certified Professional Coach!

The training didn’t just prepare me for a “job.” It was life-changing! I had the most awesome classmates, and the teacher was totally inspiring!

The long Amtrak ride gave me the opportunity to make preparations to launch my practice. Since coming home I have put in eight-hour days without any problem.

I feel fantastic to be working! Looking back over the past two years of job-hunting I realize that most of the jobs I applied for were not a “good fit” for me. Most did not involve using the skills and education I have had.

My classmates were (and are) amazingly supportive. I try to support them too! I feel so grateful.  I know I am well-suited to what I am doing.  I feel like I have a whole new life.

My business has a website and it’s live! It is still in progress but I invite you all to check it out:

http://nuthousenomore.com

Have a nice day!

 

Marathon!

Hey you guys, my buddy Daryl is running a marathon to support the RxIsk prize.

Here’s the website:

Home

Ah, Firefox just updated and all my fonts changed, too.

PS: I have had an awful lot of telemarketers calling. Maybe it’s a lucrative and growing profession…..They are taking over, folks!!

Go check out Daryl’s site!

That annoying “hello hello hello goodbye” call

Have you gotten that annoying call that is just silence (while you say “Hello” a few times) and then, a canned voice says, “Goodbye”?

Were you worried, too? Yes I heard about the “Can you hear me?” scam. But no worries about this one. It’s only telemarketers. Check out this forum:

http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/1469494

I suspect the respondent is correct about the telemarketer simply not being available. Block the calls if you can just to avoid the annoyance.

Incident on the Avenue

I decided to take a side street home, following the avenue that runs parallel to the main street. As I passed the high school I was held back by a crossing guard. I watched her deftly direct traffic coming from three directions, feeling reverence for this woman who risks her life to ensure kids are safe.

Three blocks down the road, or perhaps more, I heard shouting from a car. A woman’s voice, and then, a man’s. I assumed it was the usual shouting I hear from cars sometimes. Maybe they were thrilled to get off of work.

Ahead of me now, the car screeched its brakes. It was still in the middle of the lane, but the woman jumped out immediately, shouting, “I’m going to call the police!” She repeated this a number of times as she ran away, over the curb and into the UHaul parking lot.

The car swerved around a sharp corner, about 3/4 of a turn around, screeching tires as it turned. The man shouted from the car. I couldn’t understand what he was saying but I knew he was more than angry. He was in a rage.

The car drove right on the sidewalk behind me. I jumped away. Fast. I was lucky that I wasn’t hit! The man drove the car into the parking lot going after the woman. His voice was booming and scary-sounding.

I didn’t know what to do. As far as I could tell his car was still parked right inside the lot and they were still screaming and fighting. I knew it would be risky to walk behind the car as the man might back up and not see me. I don’t think he saw much of anything right then.

I started back southward on the avenue, back in the direction of the high school, thinking I could turn on a side street. Then I heard them screaming way in back of a nearby building. I turned around, realizing that if he had parked the car I might get close enough to read the license number, not that I’d know what to do if I could. My phone’s battery had been dead for hours.

Apparently the man had taken his car elsewhere as I didn’t see it. I tried to listen for shouting but whatever I heard was mixed in with the goofing-off sound of the high school kids and passing traffic.

The sky turned gray and dim.

I saw two guys walking toward the UHaul office. They appeared to be employees. I wondered if I should step inside there and say something. I couldn’t quite tell if the office was even open. Apparently the two of them had at least partially witnessed the incident.

They stood like ice statues, smoking their cigarettes.