Tag Archives: discouragement

Not-So-Holy Family

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In the Catholic tradition, today is the Solemnity of the Holy Family. This morning at Mass, the homily really struck me; the Spirit called me higher in my own life: fatherhood, marriage, my responsibility as the head of the family, and so on.

During the homily and after, not once did I try and justify myself. Normally I would only pick and choose what to apply to my own situation, in my mind knowing that my wife is a non-believer and that’s why my kids are not being raised in the Catholic faith.

On the contrary.

Amen, I was saying to myself, listening to the points that were being driven home by the priest. I’m gonna start getting my kids involved in my parish. I’m gonna live out my faith to the very best of my ability so my wife will see the Holy Spirit in me.

All these are good things, right?

Well, before I even walked through the door after getting home from Mass, my wife blurted, “You need to fix the refrigerator ASAP. It’s not cooling properly. Call your brother.”

I always go to my younger brother for any handyman-related problem. A firefighter/paramedic, he has that manly “gift” that somehow bypassed me.

Before I called him, I took a drink of bottled water from the fridge. It seemed cold enough. Then I opened the freezer and took out one of those plastic bricks that substitutes for ice in our cooler when we go on picnics. “It looks like it’s working.”

That set my wife off the deep end.

So there I was in a yelling match with her while the kids were in the very next room playing. You’re really putting today’s homily into practice, I kept thinking to myself.

Without playing the blame game, let’s just say that I could have prevented the huge argument.

A heart check from God? Probably. It really sucks, though. What sucks most is that I haven’t seemed to learn anything from our 12+ years together.

Like the rock band Extreme lamented in the 90s: “Am I ever gonna change?”

~t

 


In Which Today’s Post Disintegrates into a Whiny Rant

Credit: pillthing.com

One stressful thing about starting a blog is that readers expect it to be updated regularly (quite a relative term). When I can’t think of anything after coming off a three-day string of posts, I’m too hard on myself when, in fact, it’s not really surprising to people: Oh, a guy dealing with mental illness? Of course he’s gonna be consistent. Just like all those young blondes that marry Hugh Hefner do so out of love.

Today, no attempt at a deep, profound flash-fiction parable that would rival those of Jesus. No stab at a Tony Robbins-style pep talk/kick in the pants. I’ll just write about how I’m doing or what’s going on.

Okay. Here goes.

I’ve been really frustrated with my bad luck regarding psychiatrists. I know they are overworked in this country due to a shortage and a big need, but when I see my psychiatrist, it would be nice if he would try to act like a doctor. I’m reaching my limit with conversations like this:

Me: Doctor, I’ve been on these meds for three months and I still don’t feel any better.

Shrink: Well, what do you want to do?

Me: Um, I’m not sure. I was hoping you would help me out with that.

Shrink: Well, if you want to change medications, then change them.

Me: (long pause) Do you think that would help?

Shrink: You tell me. What do you want to do?

I mean, I know doctors are busy, but I don’t think it would be asking too much for them to at least pretend that they care. At least the preceding conversation didn’t dissolve into the one that I’m about to show you. In the next one, I had just come out of the hospital after my second suicide attempt, and this was the first time for me to meet with my doctor after that:

Shrink: So, you tried to kill yourself again?

Me: Um, yeah…

Shrink: (throws pen against wall) I thought we were making progress. I can’t trust you any more!

Me: I’m sorry. I was trying… Can you help me?

Shrink: No. You don’t listen to me. Go and be your own doctor. Go on.

This still makes me angry when I think about it. The shrinks in these two situations are both from the same country. (At least no one can say that I don’t give second chances.) It’s not like the American ones are any better, though. This next exchange happened during one of my hospital stays:

Shrink: …….and then take this one to counter the side effects of that one. And then this one will stop the weight gain from that one…….

Me: Wow, doctor. I’ve never taken eight kinds of pills at the same time. I’ll have to get one of those weekly pill containers that old people have.

Shrink: (takes off glasses and glares at me) You want to get better, don’t you?

Ugh. I told the second story about the psycho-shrink to our family practitioner during my annual check-up. He told me that psychiatrists are basically one step away from being patients themselves. By the end of med school, he said he had accurately predicted the ones who would pursue psychiatry.

Actually, I didn’t intend to whine about shrinks for this entire post, but, since I am, I might as well talk (whine) about therapists while I’m at it.

I had to change my therapist during my first hospital stay. She was very nice and intelligent, but, seriously, none of us could distinguish her from our fellow patients. For starters, her attire: It was like no one had told her that Woodstock was over.* Some were actually convinced that she was sampling the product in the hospital cabinets.

Then there is the therapist from whom I’ve recently parted. I’m not kidding when I say the following took place during every session:

Therapist: So, have you and your wife had sex yet?

Me: Um, no—

Therapist: NO??!! ShoutshoutshoutshoutMaslow’sHierarchyOfNeedsshoutshoutshout………

My current therapist is pretty good. I haven’t run into any problems (yet). What’s funny is that she is pro bono.

In the hospital, the lecturers and nurses kept telling us that medicine alone would not help us get better: We needed a combination of medicine, therapy, exercise, coping skills, hobbies, etc. Isn’t that the truth.

Since this post disintegrated into a rant, I’ll share this link that I posted yesterday on Facebook and Twitter as a source of encouragement. It also includes a healthy dose of Christian faith which I, ahem, somehow left out of this post.

Actually, ranting like this is therapeutic. Maybe I should become my own doctor.

~t

*You know you’re getting old when you feel the need to explain Woodstock.