Category Archives: experts

I Have Been

Working hard — on the house. I’ve been following my cleaning plan.

It seems to me that a major shift is in order. Instead of trying to sell the memoir as a psych. program auxiliary piece, maybe what I need to do is sell the cleaning plan and make the memoir the back piece to that.

It would solve the problem of the memoir just not having a plot, being first-person, too short, and a mess of other issues. Of course, I still haven’t heard from my publisher, but my feeling is that I will not. Not now and not in the future. It will be as if it dropped into a black hole and vanished… poof!

This has completely stopped the work I was doing on the memoir. I had even talked to a friend about coding it for an ebook. Okay, fine.

I can’t sell the cleaning plan if I can’t use it, right? I can’t set myself up as an expert on anything unless I can actually DO whatever. (Well, that’s not true. These days the woods are full of blow-hard know-it-alls who make pronouncements about any and everything. EVERYONE is an expert, about anything they feel strongly about!)

But I was raised by someone who genuinely was an expert in his field. My brother is. My husband is too. I have been surrounded my entire life by men who are really good at their jobs, and became “experts.”

So I have standards about about what it takes to BE an expert:

  • You must know what you’re talking about.
  • You must be able to do something rather than just talk about the subject.
  • You must have some sort of track record, that is a history, of successfully being able to do whatever it is.

My dad taught aeronautics  and designed airplanes for 40 years, my brother has worked in his field for the same amount of time and he’s still teaching and writing about it, my husband has been in his field since the field started, about 30 years now.

Me? The only thing I’m expert in is the inner workings of my head. The memoir is 50 years of life & learning and took me 10 years to write. The cleaning plan started in one way when I started this blog in 11/2011. I’ve been whacking away at the problems since.

I couldn’t do the memoir until I did the trauma work.

I could write, but not use, the cleaning plan until I did the memoir.

So, we’ll see if the next step is what I want/hope it to be? That is, using the cleaning plan, make it  a habit, and a book and/or app is the next step. (Habits take 90 days to be established.)

I sure hope so! I don’t know that I have the patience to spend 10 more years on this project.

So, I’ve shifted gears. I was all set to publish the memoir, whack away at the cleaning plan, then when I finally got it to work, get it ready for publication.

Nope.

Doing it the other way around. Going to get the cleaning plan working,  finish up the writing related to it, get DH or someone to make the app I have in mind, then publish the CLEANING PLAN, with the MEMOIR as back material.

Then the lack of “plot” or “arc” or sex, drugs, rock n’ roll won’t matter. I’m not selling the memoir; it’s explanatory material, I’m selling the cleaning plan. Want to know why I set the cleaning plan up the way I have? Read the memoir and you’ll find out.

street signs

Image is not mine, not sure where I got it. Sorry!

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Word a Day Quiz? Not Dictionary.com’s!

Well, I just took two word-a-day quizzes at dictionary.com . Fine, I blew both of them, which I get, my vocabulary has been stagnant for a while now. I know that, it’s the reason I went looking to begin with.

My gripe is that the answers don’t tell you if you’re right — but how many people agree with you? I really don’t give a F about whether or not there’s consensus about a definition, I care a lot about knowing what is right. And I can’t tell from the way the quizzes are set up. Especially with words where the definitions are nuanced it would be helpful to know if the consensual answer is the correct one?

So, I’m looking for a site I can use to build my vocab., without consensus. Honestly the entire world is NOT about crowd approval and group-think.

There ARE things which are right and wrong, and there are facts — not subject to whether someone agrees, or not. Word definitions, in dictionaries, are supposed to be absolute. For multiple definitions, they list all of them. Why group think?

Fail

We failed. Well, sort of ?

We got an energy comparison thing from our electric company. We use 94% more power than people with comparable houses do, on average.

I will call them tomorrow, Monday, and ask them about how much that changes when folks work at home. We both work at home.  No commuting, no lunches in restaurants, no driving, no coffee at the coffee shop or other such.

There are a few things we could do, yes. Making sure we turn off lights would help. Turning off the computers when they won’t be used for more than 1 hour would probably also help. Getting a night light for the bathroom instead of leaving a light on at night would help. But aside from that? Most of our lights are LED, and we sleep, cook, eat, work, read, etc. in the same space day in and day out. We have an energy star fridge and washer/dryer. We have an on-demand water heater. [We wash dishes by hand, a dish washer might be more efficient?] We usually heat with wood and a fan, no furnace going day in and day out.

homelectricityuse

The lights, computers, dishwasher I’m sure would help. I think the phantom load we have because of the computers is probably a large part of it, but I’ll never get DH to shut everything off, unless we were starving. Of course, if it is the computers, then it should be fairly “normal” because most people will have that when they leave for work. Our difference, again, is that we work here. DH works regular hours and I work randomly, day or night, 7 days a week.

It will be interesting to see what they say about home office workers, two of us, both in the same house!


I called. I’m not disputing that we’ve used more energy than last year, but the 94% over “comparable” homes in my area seems suspect. We have a log home, which might make a difference as well as the fact that we both work at home.

They’re going to call us back, tomorrow probably. We’ll see what they say!

I Have Heard

that people are having problems getting off of antidepressants. Well, yes, I wonder what they expected?

The notion that “I’m sick, my brain chemistry is wrong,” is okay. But just fiddling with your chemistry and doing nothing to change your circumstances otherwise means that the drugs are what’s changing your life and that’s it. So, at the very least I’d expect people to have emotional withdrawal problems from the drugs.

Why did we stop asking people to learn how to cope? Yes, they may be sick or have issues, I’m not disputing that. But since when does that mean that you don’t give Stephen Hawking a wheelchair? Teach him how to talk into his mic? Come on people! Everyone has issues of some sort to cope with — everyone. Having issues doesn’t give you a pass for the rest of your life.

Somehow we got the idea that “better living through chemistry” meant that those pills were all you needed.

NOT!

I get that everyone isn’t a fighter, although it’s hard for me since I am one, to understand. But I get it. That doesn’t give you a pass as far as I’m concerned either.

Why? Because there are so many other people in the world. They outnumber us, by a huge margin. Absolutely, irrevocably, overwhelm us. It’s their world  and THAT is the piece you can’t run away from. To be successful, you have to live in their world.

I wrote this some time ago. I’m pretty sure I haven’t published it here, yet. I wrote it originally in response to an article at The Atlantic, but I was too wimpy to submit it. (Yes, I’m a wimp too. Not proud of it, but I admit it.)


I grew up in the 60s and 70s. Kids supposedly weren’t mentally ill then. We were expected to cope. No trigger warnings, no antidepressants (or not many), no safety net. A lot of therapy was Rogerian mirroring. Being told, “Well, I understand that you’re not that happy.” when I’d spent an hour crying about something wasn’t helpful. I needed something I could do, I needed coping strategies and eventually, I found them on my own.

It seems to me we’ve gone too far the other way perhaps? Maybe we’ve coddled the now-diagnosed a bit too much? What happened to being expected to cope? Don’t tell me it’s too hard. Who guaranteed anyone an easy life and when?

The United States holds approximately 318 million people, about 61 million have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness. The world is full of people who either haven’t been diagnosed or aren’t mentally ill. Diagnosis isn’t an excuse to give up and say “I’m wounded. I can’t help it!” It is a challenge to be met and overcome as much as possible.

Coping doesn’t mean you don’t hurt or don’t have problems. It means you realize there’s only one of you and several million other people in the country and you have to live in their world, just because they overwhelmingly outnumber you.

I expect to be called all sorts of nasty things because of this, and I expect to be told several times, “You don’t understand!” Except, I do. I’m not a doctor or a clinician. I’m someone who has lived through this. I’ve got PTSD, have since I was 3. The first time I was called crazy was in 3rd grade. I’m also a traumatic brain injury and rape survivor. I tried to kill myself twice before I was 20. My PTSD was diagnosed at 45. I’m 60 now — I’m still mentally ill. I always will be.

Below are my coping strategies. Hopefully, they’ll help someone else as they’ve helped me.

Herding Continents

Getting your ducks in a row, enabling the growth/change, herding cats. My visualization of this is walking in fog and pushing it with my hands in front of me.

Many times, the actual first step in almost anything is research and/or analysis, the background work which makes the goal possible, right?

If the goal is a PhD in psychology say, this could be research and deciding what type of psych. you think you’d want to do? Where are the best schools for that? Which schools can you afford? Are you eligible for scholarships? How much is it likely to cost to live in that area? How long will it take? Is the notion realistic, based on your personality, finances, skills and circumstances?

Next Step

The very next piece required to go in the general direction you want to go. Because I tended to beat myself up if I hadn’t achieved X goal nearly instantaneously, I’d dump negativity on myself, which usually just caused me to come to a screeching halt.

Next Step is my counter for that. My visualization of this is to look at my feet, then the direction I want to go and sidle one small step in that general direction. If you do this often enough, they add up! [Many people call this “baby steps” a term I loathe. It diminishes how hard it is, the cumulative effect of the steps (which can be huge) and insults my adulthood.]

To continue the example above, this could be applying to the school of your choice. Talking to the psych. department chair or sending a note, or . . ?

Achievements, Not Goals

Again, because I tend to beat myself up if I don’t do things nearly instantaneously, I had to find a way to celebrate my progress without just beating myself up because I still had not finished something.

Think about when you first started contemplating this goal, when you Herded Continents, if you did that. Then list the Next Steps you’ve taken. Give yourself a pat on the back for every step you’ve taken. You’ve done x and y and z. Again, to use the example above:

  1. Figured out you want to go into Psychology
  2. Researched different types of psychology and decided clinical research sounded the most interesting.
  3. Also researched schools and prominent people in the field. Am especially drawn to the work of Dr. X, teaching at University UX.
  4. Sent Dr. X a note asking about the program at University UX
  5. Received an answer which . . .
  6. Applied to University UX. [Or, decided that maybe clinical research isn’t for me and did more thinking and digging to find something that might be a better fit .]

What the outside world sees, as “concrete” steps are 4 and 6. But to get there took 4 other steps.

If you only judge what you’ve done by what others can see, you’re shorting yourself! Background work is often more extensive than the actual finished piece. If you think about a movie, you can easily see this is true. Behind the 3-4 hours on the screen are the weeks of work.

A movie may only have 10 characters, the actors. But there are all those people listed in the credits and frequently more that aren’t. Not to mention the years of learning and work everyone had to do to be able to do the work. If you only talk about the 3-4 hours you see, the finished product, you ignore much of the actual work.

Life is like this too. Herding Continents is frequently all the background work which others rarely see, Next Steps are often the more visible. Both count. That is what Achievements, Not Goals is about. Give yourself credit for everything you’ve done. This has a secondary benefit. If you have a tendency to berate yourself because you haven’t gotten to the end — yet — this is a celebration of what has been done, rather than only looking at what hasn’t.

Reframing is what I do when my approach doesn’t seem to work. When I was a girl and just starting to use make up, someone in one of my classes said, “She looks like a little girl playing with her mother’s makeup!” which was true. I hadn’t had make up to play with because I was raised by my Dad. I practiced a lot and got better. but I was still insecure about it because I’d never been taught what was right or wrong — or why.

My Reframing the issue was this: I was a theater makeup major for two years in college. This removed the insecurity. I made sure I got the training I felt I lacked. Reframing, coming at the problem another way, (taking workshops and majoring in the field for a while) eliminated the problem — my insecurity.

SF Tweak: The short science fiction I grew up reading was mostly written to John W. Campbell’s general pattern: hero has a problem, tries to fix it, that doesn’t work, tries again. That doesn’t work either. Depending on the author and/or the length of the piece the third try might work or only appear to, but if there was a fourth try, it almost always did.

Seems like an odd model for fixing problems, doesn’t it? But what I learned from this was that answers are not always obvious, if the first solution doesn’t work, modify it slightly farther away from the piece that didn’t work — and try again.

Turn it Around/Counter: When I have a persistent problem, that is I’m getting in my own way a lot, I find a way to turn it around or counter what I can’t change. Sounds wonderful and easy, right? Not!

At 19, I decided I had to do something different or I’d likely end up institutionalized for much of the rest of my life. I couldn’t fight the pain everyone expected me to just let go. I couldn’t let it go, and it never went away. So what to do? I decided that the Counter to the pain was joy (its opposite) and I would celebrate that and nurture it. (See Nurture Joy below.)

The trick to this is to find either something which stops the issue (like my Reframing example above) or if you can’t, find its positive flip side.

Nurture Joy At 19 I was hospitalized. And, when I faced that I was likely looking at years of being institutionalized if I didn’t learn better coping skills, this was one of the first techniques I developed. My problem was swamping pain which never changed. It seemed to be the pain from losing my mother at 3. Since I couldn’t apparently fix the problem, what could I do instead? The opposite of pain is joy. I decided I had to nurture my joy. I was stuck with a three year-old’s pain. I’d nurture the three year-old’s joy as well.

I had to find things which made me happy or happier anyway to balance or help manage that pain. I looked at it long and hard. I couldn’t rely on anyone else to do or say exactly the right thing all the time, so that was the first rule:

1. I had to do whatever it is by myself.

I had known alcoholics and addicts and it seemed to me the problem was that at some point, inevitably, you’re sober. Again, I wanted something which seemed like it would work all the time, or nearly so. Second rule:

2. No drugs or alcohol.

If I wanted to avoid being institutionalized, then I couldn’t do self-harm, harm others or creatures, or destroy property. Third rule:

3. No harm to anyone or anything.

For me, what fit the rules were certain places, books, music, and crafts.

When I was in college, I worked with a group of people, many of whom didn’t like me much (it was mutual). The job involved being there early in the morning. I discovered a certain route to work over a hill with grass, but no houses. There were birds and trees, other animals, still.. The days I used that route, it was easier to deal with the snarky comments at work. So I Nurtured My Joy I started leaving earlier so I could always travel that way, coming & going. It didn’t alter my difficult work situation, but it made it easier to deal with.

In the years since, I’ve discovered certain books, short stories, other locations which have this effect. I make sure I notice when I find them, so I can use them again and again. Also, because it’s a three year-old’s joy, I’ve been known to play jacks, color and do hopscotch and I won’t apologize for it or be embarrassed. I’m stuck with the three year-old, I damned well will take BOTH sides of her, not just the pain!

Life List is a technique I was given by a friend after I got out of that hospital at 19. I had believed that everyone knew better than I who/what I was. (This is a problem I’m told that many abused people have.) I distrusted my self-perception. My friend suggested that I make a list of things that were just mine, not from anyone else. At first this was just taste: side seam pockets, long skirts, and so on. But after a while I started finding that place inside me that hadn’t been touched by the abuse or by the years of accepting others’ opinions as truth.

Rage Engine: One thing about myself which always terrified me was the rage. I had a great vast pool of it. I knew I had homicidal rage, but I didn’t have any way to deal with it. I couldn’t really come up with its opposite and my other techniques didn’t work. I discovered that when I was being hurt and the rage came up that what I could do was use it as a goad to get myself to work towards health. There were many hours of “They’ll be sorry!” (The rage is a small child’s too.) But it worked. I’m not enraged at my family any more or even my abuser. I understand we’re all victims, but in different ways.

No Shoulds. This is consciously looking to see if the imposed standard is a goal or a requirement or mandate.

It’s easy to beat yourself up because you can’t do everything for everyone, or at least it’s easy for me. I fall into this over and over, if I’m not careful.

Give yourself a break and pay attention to whether it’s a goal someone has given you or a requirement! Requirements tend to be more concrete, like “100 pages covering the life and times of Jesse James, written for high schoolers.” Goals are usually more nebulous: “Write me something stupendous about Jesse James!” Well, yes, you can bust your ass and write the best piece you ever have, for the wrong audience. If you don’t know who the audience is, right? Learn to see the difference between a vague direction and the more concrete requirement. If you need more exacting information, ask for it.

As a technical writer, I wrote a piece for a client I worked on for months. I was proud of it. A technical person and I worked on it. We got down on paper and in one place the details of a lab which had never been documented before, except a little here and there. I was later told that the person paying for it didn’t want that documented, but another aspect of the lab. It would have been nice to be told before I delivered the finished product (and it had been accepted) that what I’d written wasn’t what he wanted! (He saw various pieces midstream and could have seen all of it at any time.)

Good Radio I have used this technique for years, but didn’t have a name for it. I stole the name and example from a friend. (Thanks Linda!) My friend was in college and living in a suite. Most of the women would wake up in the morning grumbling about coffee, classes, the day’s work, etc. One woman day after day greeted the others (including Linda) with “Good morning!” and Linda noticed her day was better after that.

I have done this for years, but not with words: I smile. When I am feeling really down, unless I’m crying, I make myself smile in passing at other people. Frequently, they smile back. It’s a technique with a payback. Their smiles make me feel better. There are potential problems with this, yes. I’ve had men think I was trying to pick them up. The most notable example was a guy in a car

I was on the way to the airport to pick up my husband. I’d been having a crappy day and I looked over and smiled at the car next to me. BIG mistake. He and I were going roughly the same direction. He pulled up next to me, did a BIG round wave and grin! I sort of faintly waved back. He reared his head back like an enraged Italianate opera singer and floored it out of the intersection. I’m more careful about where I smile these days!

Do It Better?

Every now and then I go looking for help online. I want help with decluttering, organizing, saving money, recipes, home decorating, gardening, food preservation, and other topics.

This morning it was saving money and decluttering. I found an article which had enough new information in it that it generated and “action item.” That is, I have to share the article with my husband and discuss if any of these apps make sense for us. That said? You may be interested too, so here’s the article:

(link)

If you’re interested in my money-saving philosophy, you can find that here.

I took the 2nd Hoosier to the auction house yesterday. This won’t save us $, but will get a little bit back. I’m not expecting much, < $100, but still it’s money we didn’t have, whittles away at the “too much furniture” situation, etc.

The other topic I wanted info. about was decluttering. I keep thinking someone else will have a better idea. But alas, I haven’t really found anything new. The process of decluttering is the same: deciding if you’ll use something, if so, keep it. If not, get rid of it: trash, swap shop, donate otherwise, flea market, etc. The only new thing I found this morning was someone who did this in a more organized fashion than I do: with 4 containers (store, trash, donate, or put away), a tablet/pen to make notes for future organization issues, reminders, etc.

It isn’t the process that makes me want help. I have no problems with that! It’s the sheer amount of doing it that needs to happen.

Eventually, I want to host a “stuff swap.” This is where you invite people to bring 2 boxes per couple (1 box per person) of things you’d be willing to give away, invite friends on a certain day/time for a meal, lunch most likely, and to bring their boxes too.

Put the owner’s name on one short side of the boxes, and mix ’em up. Then anything in the boxes is fair game for anyone. Assuming your friends are polite and honest, people swap stuff without problems. The only kick is that you have to 1) return an unwanted item to its original box and 2) take home items in your box which weren’t taken.

It looks like our roof will *finally* be completed Friday. Hurrah! Now if we can just get the chimney folks to actually call us back, we may not freeze this winter! We have an appt. for getting the chimney fixed — hurrah #2!

 

 

A Mild Rant

I’ve had the blahs. Usually by this time, I’ve made Christmas cards, designed the wrapping, bought gifts and am frantically wishing I had another month, had picked something easier to do, or at least less time consuming. . . .

But not this year. This year? I have done NONE of that. It feels like this is August or something. I mentioned this to my husband, so tonight I went to look at one of my inspiration blogs. I had 2 or 3 of these. One of them the woman instead of struggling to do what she was trying to do, well, she got there. I’m glad for her, but it got boring to read. The one I went to today? She’s a mother of 4 and a crafter, with a handy husband.

Nope, she’s redone her blog. It’s so commercial/slick now when I first found it I assumed it wasn’t her. I found it a second time and went looking. Not charming any more, just slick money maker.

Sigh.

Frankly put me off. This lady, in the past, had been someone who got my creative juices flowing. Her stuff was interesting, quirkily written, and I got inspired every single time. I doubt I’ll ever look at her blog again. She’s probably making loads more $, but. . . .

I need a HUMAN BEING!!! Not a slickly marketed product. I can find a product in anything I get these days, even movies. I do NOT need the people who I connect with, or want to, to become such good businesses that they stop connecting to their readers. And the reason that I put up with the pieces of her lifestyle which didn’t match mine (lots of kid pics, for example) was because it was charming: unassuming and fun. Now it’s competing with every commercial lifestyle blog/magazine out there. Bleh.

If I ever, ever do that will someone please come scream at me?

The internet is already people at arm’s length. When you find someone whose writing you like, whose issues are important enough to spend the time to read, you’d like them to at least keep the same style of writing. Or I do!

I’m really glad the lady turned farmer got to be successful at it, but she took the “exclamation points” out when she started teaching classes and it took off. The reason I read her blog was her, and then she became a sales brochure for the classes and her successful life-style farm, rather than the person I wanted to help and couldn’t read enough about.

The mom of 4 who made interesting clothes, did cheap but great decorating, had a husband who managed to build the things she really wanted on a shoestring, has become a lifestyle blog with a living room like almost everyone else’s, and as I said it’s now so “slick” I thought it wasn’t hers when I found it.

I have a conflict. I’d love to make money at this, but I love my anonymity too much to really pursue that. Beyond any other consideration, I want to remain human, not a marketing tool for google ads, or whatever.

I’ve sold advertising — and I was terrible at it. Worked for a great paper and a great magazine after that.  But at gut I never ever got to where I believed advertising works.

After 30 years in retail and decades of running ads with incredible deals for customers in them, my reaction is: no one reads them. They don’t read them in a paper, magazine, postcard, catalog or flyer. A 5% return is GREAT for a catalog, that is 5% of the people you send the catalog to buy something or respond.

I had a catalog I sent out. Had a freebie, if the customer sent something in. Had ONE person local to me do it. Got ONE order from a local customer who’d moved out of state. Two real responses. Aside from that I wasted a lot of time and money.

It isn’t that I hate advertising, people have to know a new shop opened, about a sale, whatever. But it never worked for my business.

There’s also something about always selling which gets in the way of relationship. If someone is selling to me I don’t trust a thing they say. If they’re a salesperson most of the time, they’re always selling or data mining. They may pay their bills, appear nice, etc. but everything they say is taken with a grain of salt. On the other hand, if someone is not selling something, but obsessed with money/value of stuff? I have the same reaction.

I’m about relationships — even on the internet. I don’t want to view email or blogs the same way I look at the mail. Almost every piece of mail we get is from a company we owe money to or they want us to buy something or do something which will give them some of our money. We get bills, fliers, and ads. Other people apparently really love our money.

The problem with the blog I went to today, now, is that she’s now anonymous. There’s the almost required sidebar: I’m Lala, mother of 32.3, I craft and do x, frugally, with <insert religion or quirky description here>. Gak! Do these people have a script? IS THERE A FINE IF YOU DO IT DIFFERENTLY???

wtf.

Of the 3 or 4 blogs I used to read who weren’t professional writers, I have maybe 2 I’ll read now. These are people I’ve known for a long time.

The problem with writers’ blogs? Those people write, okay? They know how to do it to be entertaining.  I know/knew of a LOT of writers.

I avoid writers’ blogs because I could use up my entire day being entertained.

Fun, but not very functional.

So, I’ve lost another blog. Blah.

No inspiration, no creative juices flowing, no Christmas progress. If you know me IRL, you may (or may not!) get a Christmas card/present or acknowledgement from us at all at the end of this year.

This baffles me because it’s usually my favorite time of year: designing cards, tags, wrapping styles, decorations. I’m not — and I don’t know why?

 

I’m just an unfortunate soul

. . . who’s been dealing with a lot o’ crapola for most of my life. Doesn’t make me an expert on what’s good for anyone other than me.

Yes, I’m opinionated. Yes, I’m stubborn. Yes, I hold grudges. No, I’m not a model for anyone to do anything at all. What I am is someone who’s been tackling the emotional crap for a long, long time. My job as a human as I see it, is to help other humans. If it seems that I might know something you want to know, ask. If I think I know something which might help you, I’ll offer it.

I almost always run from self-proclaimed experts. (Real experts just show you they know what they’re doing usually, no proclamations required.)  My Abuser was an expert you see, about everything and everyone and how they saw/affected *me*. Having come away from that experience after decades of work, I am leery, to say the least, when someone tells me they have the answer.

I have issues with people who want to tell me how to live my life, and over the decades, this has happened many times. It  usually starts with something like, “I don’t know how to tell you this, but you need to know it for your own good. . . .” Which is “code” for “I don’t want to get in trouble by admitting that I’m telling you how to live (I don’t know how to tell you this. . . .). And: If you just would do/feel/be what I say, then I’ll feel better and I’m egocentric enough to think there’s an easy, simple fix to what ails you (you need to know it for your own good).

People have told me: I’m feeling sorry for myself, to give it to God, to grow up, rubbed their fingers together (world’s smallest violin), get over it, just ignore it, you like being miserable, you want attention, yada yada . . . .

There are only a few real “answers” I’ve found: concrete and practical steps towards an answer almost always, for me, are better than large quantities of psychobabble. I have a friend who was very depressed as they’d been out of work for some time. I offered to and did revise their resume. They got a job, eventually. Was it my resume? I doubt it. This person was overqualified for work they were trying to get.  Did the resume help? I hope it did, but that isn’t why I offered it.

Where this person was is an absence of hope and belief that things might get better. A new resume was something concrete I could give to counter that. It took me some time, but that’s also what someone needs when they’re this depressed I’ve found. They need to know they’re valuable enough to someone to spend some time helping them. Saying, “I’m sorry you’re not happy,” isn’t very useful. Listening is useful and problem solving or potential problem solving is very useful.

So, my approach to my own and others’ problems is concrete and practical, by design, when I can. It’s something the mental health field seems to ignore almost entirely. But I know how useful it can be to have someone’s help. And instead of “feel good” words, I try and give in this way.

If you find this notion of mine helpful — that’s great!

J