Interview: Stan Goldberg, author of ‘Loving, Supporting, and Caring for the Cancer Patient’
Posted by: Patricia Gale 4 days ago in Book Interviews, Books, Self-Help, Tips and Advice 0 Comments Please Share...000000
goldberg-photoI had a chance to talk with Stan Goldberg, author and professor emeritus from San Francisco State University, about his new book, Loving, Supporting, and Caring for the Cancer Patient. I recently reviewed his book on this site, and consider it an important resource for family members and friends wanting to support and honor a loved one with cancer. Dr. Goldberg’s perceptive observations and advice come from quantifiable research, from his own experience with prostrate cancer, and from the wisdom of his clients and patients as a hospice volunteer.
What is the most supportive way to help a close friend or family member who receives a cancer diagnosis?
Start with what your friend or family member needs. It’s different for everyone, but there are certain things we all have in common. Most know that their journey’s course will be uncertain, probably challenging, and likely to involve pain. Unless your loved one has been on a cancer journey before, she doesn’t know what to expect — other than that it won’t be a smooth ride. Tell her in words and show her in actions that you’re going to stay the course with her, and you won’t bail out when things get difficult.
It’s better when you can be specific. “Just tell me what you need, and I’ll be there for you,” may be sincere, but unless you’re specific, cancer patients can view it as just being polite. Saying something like, “I know you can’t lift grocery bags, so tell me what time tomorrow you want me to shop with you,” will feel more genuine than making a general offer.
Conversely, what should someone not do or say when their loved says, “I have cancer?”
We all wish for the best and often become too optimistic about outcomes. My clients and I have often heard phrases such as, “Don’t worry, you’ll overcome this.” We know our friends and relatives are being compassionate, but statements like these can sound empty. This doesn’t mean you should be pessimistic, but it’s better to walk the line between hope and reality.
In your book, you write about your own battle with cancer. What did you feel was the hardest transition to make after your diagnosis?
I still have two transition problems thirteen years after my diagnosis. The first involves adjusting to losses that changed my identity, including my inability to participate in the outdoor activities that had defined my life. The second is constantly wrestling with what’s important, given the possibility that cancer will end my life on its own schedule.
Many people don’t understand that for most people, a diagnosis of cancer is the beginning of a new life that may be difficult and is rarely stable. We start viewing things differently — from misinterpreting a casual comment as unsympathetic to believing that the loss of a cherished activity makes life worthless.
How should people close to the cancer patient approach those hard conversations about treatment options — or if it becomes apparent — a treatment’s failure?
The first consideration is timing: When should the difficult issue be discussed? In my ten years of hospice work, I never brought up the topic of death with my patients. Yet everyone at some time wanted to talk about it once they were ready. So it’s an issue of readiness. Knowing the personality and needs of your loved one, you may be able to tell when he’s ready for difficult conversations. If you’re unsure, start with a probing question — “Should we think about alternatives for the backpacking trip we planned?” — then you can use his response as a guide.
The second consideration is what treatment protocol to follow. Trying to think rationally about a frightening topic doesn’t necessarily help make the best rational decisions. If you anticipate that your loved one will be required to make a difficult choice — and there will be many on a cancer journey — you need to prepare her well in advance. For example, if you believe the advancing cancer will affect her lifestyle, begin talking about the potential changes and planning well in advance.
What advice do you have to help others with cancer cope with their new reality?
For thirteen years I’ve lived with my cancer as if it’s an unwanted guest in my body that will probably be with me until I die. I’ve never thought of it as a battle to survive. Instead I looked at what I could still do, what needed to be modified, and what I needed to let go. Every day I cope and adjust to fluctuating physical and psychological conditions.
It isn’t about giving up, or viewing life fatalistically, or pretending my body functions as it did before cancer. It’s about trying to nimbly walk through life understanding what’s possible and what isn’t. I’ve found peace and happiness through making adaptations.
Erin was targeted due to her being in "Foster Care" in Arkansas. During the time of December 27, 1995 - January 10, 1996 !!! When Erin took Hayley to the Hospital the first time. They ( CPS ) check Erin's history !! When they found out she was in "Foster Care" in Arkansas !!!…
[Photo by Riaz Padamsee] "Do not follow the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself." - Dogen Zenji The fact is, the Internet has made it such that most everyone these days is a writer of some sort - no, you may not be...
Via Mary E. Berens-Oney
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Jan Bergmans's insight:
Your answers here will help me complete a long awaited program that I've been working on for some time. The course will help people find more energy, feel more alive and improve connectedness in relationships.
When a loved one dies unexpectedly, we not only mourn their loss, but also regret what we failed to tell her.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
I’ve counseled many people who never asked themselves the question. They assumed their loved one would outlast them. “I never thought she would die before me,” a caregiver said at a meeting two months after his wife died. “I’m the one with the heart condition.
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Companion CareAlzheimers Care HomeCaregivingElderly Care ServicesLong Term Care
Her cancer came on so unexpectedly, we didn’t have a chance to have the type of conversations you always wanted but were afraid to have.”
How to Plan for a Loved One’s Death
There is substantial information available that can enable you to financially and legally prepare for a loved one’s death whether or not it’s imminent.
Most of this information involves what I call “housekeeping chores,” important but fairly routine tasks. They are activities lawyers, accountants, and other professionals can assist with, such as setting up trusts, filing taxes, planning for internment, etc.
While there can be financial and legal problems if these activities aren’t done in advance of a person’s death, most are correctable, or their effects can be minimized. However, living with regrets because you neglected to do or say something when your loved one was alive, can create emotional pain that can remain forever.
How to Prevent Regrets
I’ve found regret torments many people following the death of a loved one. “Why didn’t I tell her how much she meant to me?” “I wish I could have taken that hurtful statement back.” “I never forgave her for having an affair, but I should have.”
Rein natürliches Präparat hilft bei Blasenentzündung, besonders wirksam
The solution to not living with regrets is to “clean your plate,” every day. Instead of allowing something to ferment—sometimes for years, take care of it on a daily basis. Steven Levine wrote a book in which he asked readers to imagine they had one year to live. How would you live it? In my counseling, I shorten the timeline to twenty-four hours.
If you knew you would be dead in one day, what would you say to your loved one?
Living Your Life As If It Will End Tomorrow
Since my cancer diagnosis thirteen years ago, I’ve tried to live my life as if it will end within twenty-four hours. When I shared this approach with some people, they thought it was a morbid and depressing exercise.
To the contrary, it has been fulfilling to me and soothing to friends and family. Difficulties in relationships don’t linger. If I do an unskillful act, I try to apologize as soon as possible. If I’m the recipient of an unskillful act, I try to forgive or at least understand what was behind it. If I’ve received a kindness from someone, I offer my gratitude to them.
I’m seventy, and my wife is sixty-eight. Will I be upset if she goes first? Of course. But it will be because I lost a loving companion of forty-five years, not because I regret having held back expressing gratitude, offering forgiveness, asking for forgiveness or expressing my love.
At the end of our lives, what do we most wish for? For many, it’s simply comfort, respect, love. BJ Miller is a palliative care physician at Zen Hospice Project who thinks deeply about how to create a dignified, graceful end of life for his patients. Take the time to savor this moving talk, which asks big questions about how we think on death and honor life.
Imagine you’re caring for someone as arrogant and unappreciative as Donald Trump. Worse, this person is your loved one.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
Leaning Into Sharp Points
My hospice assignment was to care for an elderly man with stage IV lung cancer. He was a white supremacist; I was an aging political radical from the 1960’s.
Each of us was the embodiment of what the other despised.
I could have refused the assignment, but I didn’t. My caring for him would be a test of my ability to be compassionate, and it would offer a unique learning experience. In hospice, I learned an important axiom: The more discomfort I sense, the more important the lesson. Caring for the man changed my life.
When We Can’t Withdraw
Sometimes there is the opportunity to withdraw from a caregiving situation, such as I could have done as a hospice volunteer. But for people with limited finances, there is no choice.
As a nation we undervalue the importance of caregiving. If we didn’t, government support for home care wouldn’t be controversial. Even when it’s possible to hire professional caregivers, the emotional draw of a loved one often pulls caregivers into disastrous situations.
Open source software matches benefits to eligible recipients By Amanda Ziadeh Oct 18, 2016 State agencies can now leverage an open source tool to help ensure that individuals eligible for income-based human service benefits actually receive them.
The software is Benefit Assist, and it was first launched in 2015 by Intuit for that company’s TurboTax users. Benefit Assist sifts through tax information to help determine a person’s eligibility for benefits from programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid and Medicare.
Now, Intuit has partnered with New York City Council Member Ben Kallos and the federal government's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make its eligibility software free and open source code, according to the company.
When Benefit Assist first launched, Kallos was pushing “automatic benefits” legislation for New York City that requires city agencies to notify residents applying for or receiving any human services benefits about all the programs they qualify for using information the municipal government already has. Besides increasing efficiency and reducing bureaucracy, the bill would expand services to eligible New Yorkers.
“My council district is number one in the city for the number of seniors who are eligible for food benefits who don’t get them,” Kallos told GCN. He said he wants the government to be able to use all of the information it has on individuals to automatically provide the benefits to which those constituents are entitled.
However, commercial systems are expensive, and some states do not have the infrastructure to support proprietary software. As Kallos was researching technology options for his own legislation, he came across Benefit Assist.
“I was completely impressed,” Kallos said. "They were screening 30 million Americans using TurboTax ." He reached out to Intuit and asked if it would consider making Benefit Assist’s rules engine free and open source. Intuit agreed and donated the software to the Department of Health and Human Services.
“The beauty of free and open source software code is that if you think that something is wrong with it or you’d like to improve upon it, anyone has the freedom to make changes,” Kallos said, Adding rules specific to a state’s program is now more easily done, he noted. And now that Benefit Assist is open source, it can also be used as a foundation to build services and tools directly on state websites.
Kallos presented Benefit Assist to CMS so that it could expand on the app and provide states and non-profits with a free rules eligibility engine, baseline software and front end.
“It is a huge step forward in terms of leadership for CMS,” Kallos said. This way, states would feel comfortable using code screened by the government, rather than just by the private sector.
Such concerns were raised last year in a Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service’s memo to SNAP regional directors. Some state agencies were unsure about how to process SNAP applications submitted via Intuit’s Benefit Assist and had questions regarding the validity and legality of the initiative.
For New Yorkers, Kallos is looking to use Benefit Assist to improve the Access NYC online public screening tool. Ultimately, he hopes the state will use the tool to upgrade its Welfare Management System and that other states will begin to engage with the repository and build it out.
Users can explore the Benefit Assist demo, which uses information like name, age, marital status, earned and total income and financial and health factors to search and present possible eligible benefits. The code itself is available on GitHub.
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Erin was targeted due to her being in “Foster Care” in Arkansas. During the time of December 27, 1995 – January 10, 1996 !!! When Erin took Hayley to the Hospital the first time. They ( CPS ) check Erin’s history !! When they found out she was in “Foster Care” in Arkansas !!! That is why they took Hayley away from her !! When your child is put in “Foster Care” they have a “Red Flag” on them the rest of there lives !!! So when Hayley has Children !!! Her Children will have the same “Red Flag” !!! Is this RIGHT ??? NO !!! Did you know that your paying for this out of your “Tax Dollars” ??? It is time you all asked yourself these question ??? The things I have found out this last week would scare all of you to DEATH !!! We really don’t own our Children !!! The State DOES !!! This really “Pisses Me Off” !! It is time we took our Children back and started to “Fight For Their Future” !!! CPS is NOT TO BE TRUSTED !!! PERIOD !!!!!
Erin’s Story: Hayley Joy Oney was born on February 5th, 2015. Her weight was 8 lbs 4 oz 19 inches long. She was born at 3:02 am. We brought her home on February 6th, 2015. When we brought her home we knew we had to get her Insurance. Due to a paperwork loss we never got that Insurance for her. ( The Social Services loss our paperwork. We never knew this at all) !!! In the middle of March she got really sick. Erin took her to the Hospital for the first time. She got diagnosed with Infant Reflux. She stayed at the Hospital for a week. She finally came home for 3 days. Erin took her to her Doctors appointment. The Doctor sent her back to The Hospital again. Her 2nd time at the Hospital. She has loss weight again. Erin and Hayley stayed at the Hospital again for another week. She finally came home again. She was home for 5 days. Erin took her to the Doctors again. She has loss weight again. Erin took her back to the Hospital again. Her 3rd time at the Hospital. Her first Social Worker took us if her is at another Hospital we are going to take her away from YOU !! Well we all finally had enough of Cleveland Clinic !!! I called my Lawyer. I asked if we could take her to another Hospital to get a 2nd opinion. He said “Yes” !! We thought about what the Social worker told us about them taking her away from Erin. We weighted everything. Erin finally made her mind up. We took her to University Hospital and Rainbow Babies. ( By this time we have a new Social Worker ) This would be her 4th time at the Hospital since birth. We knew risks of doing this. Erin needed some answers she was not getting from Cleveland Clinic. We finally got some answers about Hayley’s health. She has a bad Infant Reflux, Water On The Brian and Hypotonic Cerebral Palsy. On May 18th, 2015 we were informed that there was a meeting at The Social workers office about Hayley !! What a meeting !!! They had their minds made up before we even got there !!! We still did not have Insurance for her. Erin had been running to Hospital to Hospital for about two months. So how was so suppose to get Insurance ???? Erin had done everything that the Doctor’s told her to do with Hayley. On May 19th, 2015 we has court for the first time. Since the Father was not there they could not hold court. So on May 20th, 2015 we finally had court. They took her away from Erin. What the Social Worker did is bring my Bipolar into all of this. One thing you all should know is. I have not had a bad Bipolar episode since Jan. Feb. 1997 !!! What the Social Worker did is against the Law !!! http://health.state.tn.us/hipaa/ !!! When they took Hayley away from Erin she was devastated. She now has been branded “Unfit Mother” !!! Which should never happened. Erin is a good Mother !!! She loves Hayley so much. WE miss Hayley so much it hurts. She should be HOME where she belongs. So I decided to start the Group on Facebook !! We can’t say anything on our timelines anymore. Social services are now watching everything we do online now. Which is so STUPID !!! We just want her HOME !!! What the state did does have a name !!! It is called “Medical Kidnapping” http://medicalkidnap.com/ !! This is happening all over The United States !!! Time we all stand up and say this is VERY WRONG !!! I just hope you all understand why we want her back SOON !! Social Services needs a Reform big time !!! Thank you for reading this !! Your support and understanding are appreciated !!!
Erin’s Timeline: March 18, 2015 · I’m taking Hayley to the ER shes not doing good. I hope shes gonna be okay. I’ll let everyone know whats up later! March 18, 2015 · Just got home from the hospital. Hayley has to stay over night. She has acid reflux and she was dehydrated. So they want to make sure she’ll be okay. But told me to go home and rest. I’ll be going back tomorrow to get her and see if shes better. I’m really worried about her still. So please pray for us! March 19, 2015 · About to eat something, get dressed, and go and get my daughter. I miss her so much. It felt weird without her here last night. But it was a good thing she stayed. I want her back in my arms!!!!
March 21, 2015 · I hope she can come home today..
Fairview Hospital Pediatric Unit. March 21, 2015 · Cleveland, OH, United States · Chilling at the hospital. Ugh! Shes staying another night. I miss my daughter home!
Fairview Hospital Pediatric Unit. With Kevin T Oney March 21, 2015 · Cleveland, OH, United States · Kso, shes staying another night at the hospital. I just want my baby home! Ugh! feeling blessed. March 22, 2015 · Kevin T. Oney and Mary E. Berens-Oney. Going home now!!!!! March 22, 2015 · I need a nap but I’m spending time with my baby girl! I needed this!!!!:) thank you Fairview Hospital for helping her! March 23, 2015 · Doctor appointment for Hayley tomorrow. March 24, 2015 · My tummy hurts so badly! Ugh. But gotta take Hayley to her doctors today. I can do this… March 24, 2015 · Ready for her appointment! This is the appointment that Erin and Hayley got Kidnapped the first time. The Doctor would not let her come home for her meds or after pregnancy care stuff. The Security Guard took the Stroller away from me and did not give it back until the Ambulance came. My Daughter was crying her eyes out over the phone to me. I could not find her or Hayley for 2 1/2 hours !!! This upset me and my Husband. Finally found her sitting in a hall waiting for a ROOM !! The Doctor told us they all ready had a ROOM for her !! They LIED !!! ( I offered to take her to the Hospital !! The Doctor said “NO” !! What a BITCH !!! ) stressed. March 24, 2015 · I seriously need to get away for awhile. Stressing out too much! I’m not gonna get any sleep or anything tonight!!!!! Oh I’m back at the hospital again with Hayley! Lost weight again!!!! March 25, 2015 · Instagram · Yep! Back at the hospital, but the main campus downtown. Who wants to stay with me tomorrow night if I’m still here? My dad is staying here tonight!!!! exhausted. March 25, 2015 · Might try and sleep while Hayley is sleeping. Even though I’m running on coffee right now… March 25, 2015 · Instagram · So tired…But Hayley comes first! March 25, 2015 · Feeding time. I gotta see if I’m staying another night and if i do who wants to stay with me! I prefer a girl!!!!!! Hmu… March 25, 2015 · So Hayley is gonna have a baby boy sharing a room with us. Let’s see how this is gonna go!!!!!!!! March 25, 2015 · Gonna be off of Facebook for awhile until everything is done and over
Our Recovery Fund From CPS by Mary E. Berens-Oney - Hello: My name is Mary E Oney. My Family has been going though a hard time due to CPS. CPS has drained our Rainy Day Account. Now that CPS is out of lives. We need these funds ASAP ( As Soon As Possible ) This would mean a great deal to my Family. Could you please helps us get back to a eve
Depressie: een verhaal over je leven waarmee je totaal geïdentificeerd bent. Inclusief meningen over jezelf en je verled…
Jan Bergmans's insight:
Als je er klaar voor bent te stoppen, maakt de methode op zich niet veel meer uit. Er is geen universele oplossing anders was er niemand meer verslaafd en/of zouden mensen niet meer zo massaal terugvallen. Verslaving is in feite nog steeds een raadsel, en om te kunnen stoppen, moet alles kloppen.
Op 22 oktober 2012 was ik er blijkbaar écht klaar voor om de onvoorstelbaar ingewikkelde reis te maken die ontnuchtering heet. Want het betekende niet alleen het doorstaan van talloze ontwenningsverschijnselen en het trotseren van álle vuiligheid die ik mijn hele leven hardnekkig en weinig elegant had vermeden en weggestopt; het betekende vooral een onvoorstelbaar diep onderzoek naar mijn chronische onzeker- en ontevredenheid, en alle misvattingen die ik had over mijn bestaan en de ‘ik’ die ik dacht te zijn.
Om een lang verhaal even samen te vatten: ik kwam terecht in de hel. Maandenlang heb ik geleefd in een wereld waaruit langzaam maar zeker al het licht verdween, mijn energievoorraad volledig opraakte, en een woeste rivier van loodzware pijn en giftige schaamte eindeloos door mijn lichaam kolkte. Terwijl mijn enige en levenslange methode om te dealen met tegenslag en obstakels middelengebruik was, moest ik een compleet nieuwe manier leren om met gruwelijke innerlijke pijn om te gaan. Ik moest nu niet alleen de ellende uit het verleden weerstaan op de meest rauwe manier mogelijk, maar ook nog eens leren omgaan met de stem in mijn hoofd die een steeds reëler verhaal leek te vertellen over gelukzalig wegzinken in een eindeloze hoeveelheid drank. En dat dag na dag, seconde na seconde. Terwijl ik het leven uit me weg voelde glippen. Kortom: ik moest mezelf volledig opnieuw uitvinden, zonder dat ik ook maar énig idee had van hoe dat eruitzag.
By the way: mijn ontnuchtering ging gepaard met een depressie die ik mijn ergste vijand niet zou toewensen. Intense pijn hebben is één ding; leven in het epicentrum van het kansloze gevoel dat je continu kapot gaat is een heel ander verhaal. Ik lag soms dagen in mijn huis op de grond, afwisselend huilend en schreeuwend naar het plafond, omdat ik me van moment tot moment tot in elke vezel realiseerde dat ik het zelf niet meer in de hand had, en dat ik was overgeleverd aan het leven. Ik, Mister Controlfreak, was iedere illusie van macht over mijn wereld kwijt. Het enige wat ik steeds maar kon denken was ‘Waarom overkomt mij dit?’. Er was geen enkele manier meer om de pijn te ontvluchten.
Twee jaar later. Ik ben er doorheen gekomen (misschien overbodig te vermelden, maar ik zeg het toch maar even), en het gaat bijzonder goed met me. Ik heb het volgehouden, ook al was ik minstens tienduizend keer vlakbij een hernieuwde overgave aan de drank of drugs. Niemand is voorbereid op dit soort intense kwellingen, je kunt het niet vooraf leren of oefenen, en ik kon uiteindelijk niets anders doen dan me volledig overgeven. Ik kon niets anders doen dan toegeven dat ik het gewoon niet meer wist en hopeloos verloren was. In die situatie van complete uitputting en kansloosheid, nam mijn instinct het over. Als ik destijds op het punt stond overstag te gaan (vaak) of létterlijk niets meer kon bedenken om voor te leven, was er een minimaal, bijna onvoelb
I’ve accomplished a lot, and learned a lot since I stopped drinking two years ago. Here’s nine things I’ve learned.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
What I learned not drinking for two years
Two years ago today I last got shithoused. It was the closing night of the Lincoln Lodge, a fantastic comedy venue in Chicago in the back of a now-closed diner. They’ve since moved, but after that show, I thought I should take a breather from drinking — and eating meat — and focus on productivity.
Here’s a short list of what I’ve accomplished since I stopped drinking two years ago:
Lost 75 poundsBought a bad-ass loft condoFinished a first draft of an advice bookStarted exercising three days a week, then fourWent from a size XXL to size LargePerformed in three comedy festivalsGot a badass new job at Breaking News (download our apps!)Finished multiple drafts of multiple television and movie scriptsWent from 42-inch waist to 36-inchWent from hating myself daily to relatively enjoying myself
A lot of this is what I externally accomplished, what I can show on paper. But I think that last one is the most important.
I’ve learned a lot in two years, so I thought I’d share that with you, in case you’d like to take a break from the booze cruise. Also, that’s what I tell myself: I’ve taken a break. Maybe I’ll drink again. Maybe I won’t.
But overall, life seems to be a shitload better for me because I took a break. Perhaps it could be for you, too.
Things I’ve LearnedYou don’t have to drink to have fun
What a shocker! As someone who’s been drinking since his senior year of high school (sorry mom, we weren’t just “hanging out” in the basement), most events in my life revolved around booze.
Almost everything does: Comedy shows, concerts, after-work functions, meetups, dates, conferences, dinner, museum tours. But guess what? The events don’t change if you decide not to drink!
You’re still you. Maybe you’re a little less “inhibited,” but is that altogether terrible? I’ve found that when I hang out with folks who have been drinking, I start to feel the same way I was — in terms of becoming silly, goofy, fun — when I was around people while drinking.
And I remember everything that happened during the events, too, which is always nice.
2. You have way less regrets
Since I stopped drinking, I’ve yet to wake up and look at my phone, see something I texted, and go, “Ugh, wwwwwwhhhhhy.” I’m in control of my actions basically all of the time.
I think a lot more before I respond to something someone says. If I’m angry, it gives me time to calm down instead of just reacting like a shithead. Drinking definitely helped my inner asshole come out a lot more often.
Now I am better at keeping the jerkier side of me locked up. It still comes out, sure, but at least I have more control over when that happens.
3. People will judge the shit out of you
This one was the weirdest one to deal with. Many, many folks will give you shit for not drinking. Here are some actual things I’ve been told:
“C’mon, dude, just have one beer! It’s not like you’re going to meetings or whatever!”
“I can’t trust someone who doesn’t drink.”
“You’re not fun unless you’re drunk.”
“When you don’t drink, it makes me feel bad about myself, which makes me not like you.”
“I can’t date someone who doesn’t want to get drunk with me, sorry.”
I’ve bet I said some of these things back when I used to drink. Because when you’re around someone who doesn’t do something you like doing, you can be taken aback by it.
I’ve had friends who’ve stopped hanging out with me because I don’t drink anymore. I’ve had relationships end (or not even start) because of it. I have been sent screenshots of people I know talking smack about me to other people because I choose to not do a thing.
It’s weird. But it makes you realize the bad relationship with booze other folks must be having. And for that, I have empathy. And I hope they figure it out.
4. You sleep so much better
I haven’t slept this great since before high school. Holy shit it’s fantastic. I could link you to all the studies that show how alcohol affects your sleep, but hey, take my word for it.
5. You get less sad
I don’t know if I have depression, but I used to get bummed out a lot. Days where I wouldn’t want to leave my apartment, or see anyone, mostly because I hated myself.
I don’t hate myself nearly as much as I used to. I’m generally okay with my life and who I am. Positivity is my go-to emotion, even when something bad or terrible happens to me.
It’s like I flipped this switch inside my brain: Instead of going to shittiness, I try to find the reason something is positive. It’s definitely weird to have this happen to me.
6. You develop more empathy for others
A few weeks ago, this guy blared on his horn because I was crossing at a crosswalk and he wanted to turn, and he almost hit me with his car, then he flipped me off and told me to go fuck myself and die.
Old me probably would’ve stood in front of him, not moved, taken a photo or video of him, shared it on the internet, explained, “Hey look at this asshole who tried to hit me with his car!” and felt smug and wonderful about it.
Instead, after an initial moment of fear and anger, I realized this dude is probably having an awful day. Maybe he’s late for an appointment. Maybe he’s trying to get to the hospital to see his sick son who has cancer. Maybe he didn’t have as loving of parents as I did, and that’s filled him with resentment his entire life.
Either way, that guy has something going on, and I wanted him to be happier. Then I felt weird, because my brain has been wired forever to be a little shit to anyone who wrongs me. But now? I generally jump to empathy. I like that it does that now.
7. You save so much money
I bought a condo. I’d like to pretend as though it wasn’t because of how much money I saved not drinking and buying food while drunk, but probably 1/4th of my down payment came from just abstaining from booze.
Yeah. I know.
8. You get tired earlier
It’s pretty hard for me to stay up past 11 p.m. most nights, even on the weekends. When I was drinking, booze was a magical fuel that kept me going, trying to find a new adventure.
Now that I don’t drink, I’m not constantly searching for adventure, trying to find one more fun thing that will fill the empty void inside of me. I’m content with what I’ve done for the day, and my body wants to go to bed. I dig that.
9. You become amazingly productive
When you’re not spending most of your free time at bars, you get a lot of shit done. I read more. I write more. I learn more.
I spend more time working on bettering myself and my skills than I ever would have sitting at a bar, chatting with a buddy or two. I’m much less social than I was previously, but I’m also creating more art and failing a lot more than ever before.
In the end, I know I’m going to die. I’d rather there be a few things of me still hanging around a few years after I’m dead, some sort of expression of myself that others can enjoy. That requires me to put in the time to work on projects, make something tangible and real for others to enjoy.
That seems, now, like a better use of my time than chatting with some pals at a bar. That conversation may have been great, sure, but in the end, it dies with me and those people. If I can create a few things that last longer than me, it makes my life last longer. It means I mattered a little more.
I’m glad I haven’t drank for two years. Sure, I’ve done a few shots of Malort with people who’ve never tried it. And that one time a dude threatened to kick my ass if I didn’t drink that shot of whiskey he bought me to congratulate me on “being so funny” after hearing me tell jokes about how I don’t drink anymore.
If you ever think, hey, this drinking thing isn’t fun anymore, it’s okay to take a break. I just quit. For me, it’s been relatively easy, and I know it isn’t easy for everyone. But just know I’ve found countless rad people who can have fun without booze. And you can, too.
Be the first to like this update We would like to say "Thank you" for the people that have donated... It is appreciated... :) We only need another $700 dollars to Move ... We only have 3 more weeks to get out of the house ... Please help Us ... Thank You ... The Oney Family ( Kevin, Mary & Erin) Subscribe to Updates Show More Donate Tweet Share My Husband was Robbed at Gun Point on Monday August 31, 2015. Our neighborhood has gotten even more violent. We have decided to move to a better neighborhood in Cleveland. We have been fighting Social Services to get our Granddaughter back HOME !!! Our Funds are very low at this time. I don't want My Family to become "Homeless". Please Help My Family Get To A Better Neighborhood & Home. My Family would be Grateful & Thankful for the Help. Thank You ... Mary E. Oney Man with Parkinson’s disease robbed at gunpoint on Cleveland’s west side
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An easy and reliable method of distinguishing bipolar disorder from major depressive disorder could save tens of thousands of lives, and transform millions more. Now researchers at Chongqing Medical University, China, claim to have found just that in a study based on biomarkers in urine.
The popular image of someone with bipolar disorder is epitomized by prominent figures such as Robin Williams – bouts of severe depression punctuated by off-the-wall mania. In reality, it is often not so easy to recognize; even Williams said he was never officially diagnosed. Moreover, as a new paper in The Journal Proteome research notes, “Multiple depressive episodes usually occur prior to the first manic episode in many bipolar patients.”
In these cases, the symptoms of bipolar can be very difficult to distinguish from those of major depressive disorder (MDD). Since MDD is the more common condition, clinicians often jump to an MDD diagnosis; indeed, many don’t even think to investigate the possibility of bipolar. Studies have found that as many as 39% of patients diagnosed with MDD have unrecognized bipolar.
The paper adds: “A large percentage of BD subjects are incorrectly treated with antidepressants in clinical practice.” The consequences can be lethal. Selective seratonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac and Celexa probably don’t help people with bipolar. SSRIs are alleged to increase suicide risk among bipolar patients, a major concern since bipolar sufferers have suicide rates around 20 times the population as a whole.
While efforts have been made to alert doctors to the dangers of this sort of misdiagnosis, as long as we continue to rely only on multiple subtle signs, the problem will remain.
The Chongquing team think they have found a way out of this problem, having identified biomarkers whose concentrations are different for people with bipolar or MDD.
The authors note that some of these biomarkers have been investigated before, but individually did not provide a sufficiently reliable method for diagnosis. However, senior author Dr. Peng Xie proposed that multiple markers in combination might succeed where each had failed.
For the study, experienced psychiatrists recruited 71 people with bipolar disorder, 126 whose diagnosis of MDD was considered reliable, and 126 "healthy controls." Each group was divided into a training set and a test set. For the training set, the researchers knew the subject’s condition ahead of time and used this to identify relevant markers, while in the other set it was a blinded test to confirm the predictive capacity of these markers. The researchers examined the urine of those in the training set to identify 20 metabolites associated with either MDD or bipolar.
An initial trial on the test set identified 76% of those with MDD and 79% of those with bipolar, falling short of what would be required clinically. However, when the results were reanalyzed, six metabolites stood out.
We want to alleviate the emotional and psychological pain of the person for whom we are caring. The mistake is believing “doing more” is the solution. In caregiving, as in writing, sometimes less is more.
Jan Bergmans's insight:
For forty years what he did for her was always out of love.
His wife also did many things for her husband. But with progressive muscular degeneration, her ability to take care of everyday chores decreased.
He now handled everything in their lives requiring mobility from shopping for food to helping his wife with toileting. As her needs increased and with little help available, what was done out of love before she became ill, was done because of necessity. He still loved his wife, but he daily skated on the verge of burnout.
Many strategies can make caregiving easier. The one most often written about is the reduction of stress. The problem with focusing on stress reduction is the strategies are for AFTER events get out of control. For example, one often reads, “Take a break for yourself at least once a day.”
While taking breaks is important for reducing stress, the well-meaning statement doesn’t address what created the stress. Stress is what happens BECAUSE of prior events. Focusing on the resultant condition is similar to closing the gate of a barn after the animals have left.
Instead of focusing on stress reduction, concentrate on stress prevention. Caregiving is stressful, but we can do various things to reduce its impact. Below are three I and other caregivers found reduce the occurrence of stress.
One of the hardest things caregivers face is prioritizing what’s important. Many people, such as the husband, assume they can best serve their loved one by doing everything they did prior to the illness. While laudable, their efforts often are unrealistic, regardless of the love someone has for the person receiving care.
Equating the pre-caring situation with the caring situation is a formula for disaster. Even if the amount of effort appears identical, you need to factor in the new emotional weight of the activities.
Think about using simple criteria to prioritize needs. For the husband, developing criteria was simple. “Most important” was anything that could affect the physical health of his wife (e.g., creating a barrier-free home environment). Second most important were things that “buoyed her spirits” (e.g. going to the symphony). Least important were “everything else” (e.g., keeping the kitchen spotless).
“Complications” are a part of caregiving. A complication may involve increasing the number of required activities. At other times, the complication may involve consequences (e.g., scheduled ingestion of medicines moves from important to critical with some conditions).
Simplicity can be introduced into caregiving. The easiest way is to rank order the importance of everything you’re doing, as suggested in the “Prioritize” strategy. But often, even reducing the number of necessary activities doesn’t result in the prevention of stress.
An alternative is to reduce the importance of an outcome. In our example, the husband and wife always took pride in the spotlessness of their house. While a “clean house” was still important, an “immaculately clean” one no longer was. “Acceptably clean” simplified their lives.
Caregiving is always in flux; either because the illness is progressive, or the effects of it continually require attitude adjustments by both the loved one and caregiver. Just when the caregiver and loved one adjust to the change, the situation shifts and a new period of adjustment begins which inevitably will change again.
“Acceptance” becomes the basis for developing future strategies. By planning for continual changes, you reduce the possibility of more disappointment when improvements don’t occur. If there is improvement, that’s icing on the cake.
Many people refuse to accept the permanence or progressiveness of a condition requiring care. They equate “acceptance” with “giving up”. However, acceptance of reality often leads to creative ways of adapting (e.g. trading in a sports car on a van equipped with a wheelchair ramp). Hope, on the other hand, can prevent adaptation and becomes a delusion leading to continued disappointment.
Will implementing all three strategies make caregiving a joy? Probably not. Caregiving involves making choices. Rarely are they between what’s “great” and what’s “terrible.” Most involve choosing between two or more alternatives, that are “less than great.” Using the three strategies will enable you to adapt to what is presently occurring and minimize the possibility of disabling stress.
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