A Word From A Therapist — Save Me Some Work

I get that life is hard. Trust me, I get it. But seriously? You don’t have to make it hard. 

Here’s a short list of things that would prevent me from getting business that you can do and everybody — not just me — would be happy. 

1) Don’t molest your children. You probably can’t imagine how many things this messes up and how long the pain lasts for my clients. I swear sometimes that — under every symptom — there’s a sexual abuse/rape. It’s not actually that bad, but if a client is really messed up or complicated, I’m not surprised anymore if somebody somewhere sexually assaulted them.

2) Don’t deal drugs, don’t “turn somebody on to” a drug, don’t offer them drugs. See above. If it’s not abuse, it’s addiction. The addictive gene is out there, gang. You just never know who’s life you are going to turn to manure by “welcoming” someone into drug use. Oh, and YES, alcohol is a drug. 

I could stop right there. 80% of my long-term business is there. 

But there’s more — things that make those two more likely to happen…

1) Don’t beat your wife/girlfriend/partner.  Women aren’t generally physically abusive to others. Instead, they tend to be verbally nasty when they are in pain or scarred (that’s not a typo). A guaranteed way to scar a woman? Beat her up. If you don’t want her to take it out on everybody verbally (including you) for the rest of her life, don’t beat her up now or ever.

2) Never pick on a man’s masculity. Just don’t go there. If you wound a man re: this, deep hurt will occur. From that hurt will come anger which will be expressed outward or sadness which will be turned inward. Want to guarantee a man will shut down and not talk? Pick on his manhood. Tell him he’s weak for having problems. Then try to find a good male therapist to help him. Good luck with that. Alternatively, you could save the time and expense and not pick on his masculine side.

3) Pay your employees enough to live on. The top 3 causes of problems in a marriage are money, power, and sex. I can deal with the second two, but I can’t pay them and I can’t give them money, and I can’t let them be at home parents because they have enough money andfeel safe enough doing so. Want to mess up society? Mess up a kid’s life by not raising them or fill their lives with anxiety. Want to save society? Pay people what they are worth. It may take a generation or two to get used to it, but I guarantee that we’ll all be safer.

4) Remember that other people are not you. Your dreams are great — for you. Your thoughts and feelings are real for you. Other people might think differently or experience things differently. If you didn’t become an all-pro quarterback or head of the cheerleading squad, it’s not your child’s problem. 

5) Remember that sex leads to babies. If you want children, that’s generally how it happens. If you don’t want, can’t handle, dislike, or can’t afford kids at this time in your life, this is still how it happens. 

There are ways to prevent this connection, but they don’t always work. They definitely don’t work if you don’t use them. A special note: antibiotics make “the pill” less effective. If you had antibiotics lately, you might take that into account. Men: if you were there at conception,  you signed up for kids until they are grown. Maybe longer. Needless to say, sex when you are mentally impaired: not a good idea.

Children change lives forever. If you are ready for them, it’s incredible. If you’re not, it’s going to be a long life for you.

I’m not against sex or children, but like everything else I listed, they can be “the gift that keeps on giving” mental health issues.

So that’s the basics. If you can do these things, I still won’t run out of business. Life still won’t be perfect. I can handle that, and so can you.

If you want to keep the cost of mental health care down — and the crime rate, and your personal level of anxiety — you now know how.

Peace,

John

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For the little Easters…

“And so we need a little Easter, right this very moment”… That song floated through my mind last night. Yes, I know it’s not a real Easter song. It’s ripped off wholly from the Christmas song with all the tambourines and cheery singers in the background. As I thought about Easter, I thought how much we need Jesus’ presence here in our modern world. Just last night I saw that  “Somalia’s Islamic extremist group al-Shabab warned Saturday of more attacks in Kenya like the assault on Garissa University College that killed 148 people”. Lately, there’s been a lot of intentional death in the news lately: Airline pilots, videos of hostages, Boko Haran, blah, blah, blah.

Maybe it’s because I’m home sick this Easter, but I don’t need any more bad news. And, regardless of what people may think, I don’t go looking for this news. I look to see what is news. I like the good stuff, and dislike the bad stuff, like everyone else. If I’m that bummed by the news, I have to assume that a lot more people than me — even without the “bug” — are pretty bummed by three hundred deaths-that-didn’t-need-to-happen in one week.

We need to see resurrection in the news. That would be a headline: “148 people rose from the dead today in Kenya. People from the Garissa University Attack returned to their families on Easter Sunday, once again proving that life overcomes death and stunning the extremist who killed them recently.  How about “All 150 members of the German West plane crash, including the pilot were given a chance to celebrate life again when they rose from the dead. The pilot stated that God had shown him he was worth it, despite his depression, and he was delighted to be back…”

But we don’t get that kind of news, unless I’ve missed a really big headline. Still, wouldn’t it be nice? Christians believe that bizarre notion that (without the press) we will get to experience some version of that news at the end of time.  As incredible and wonderful as that is, I need a little more to get through the day. I need a lot of little “silly” resurrections to make up for that many unnecessary big deaths.

Luckily, I know they’re out there. In my work, people’s marriages return to life at times, drug addicts and alcoholics manage to get their lives together a little at a time, trauma victims heal or trust or gain a little more traction on reality.  In my not-work life, music brings joy to my heart, the TV Show Chuck on Netflix renews my hope in good people, my wife’s kind texts, my kid’s smiles and “Hi, Dad!” when I come home make a difference, but sometimes it’s not enough. Sometimes, I get worn down when I hear the stories of how horrible people’s lives have been — and they have been horrible — in ways I couldn’t  previously imagine. Then somebody kills a hundred and fifty people for no reason. One Easter just isn’t enough.

Luckily, lately, I have had a lot of little Easters — sometimes ten or twenty in a day.  Friends have sent get-well thoughts, ideas, prayers, and just general concerns for my well-being while I had a fever. People have given my daughters gifts, bringing a smile to my face. My wife lets me sleep. Conferences renew my soul by renewing my mind. Sleep renews my body. All of these things are little resurrections — little Easters.

Each time one of us makes a kid smile, removes some weight off of someone’s mind, renews faith in humanity by telling the truth or showing love, a little Easter happens, and these things happen every day, all around us — sometimes because of us, sometimes to us. Even when death and sadness surround us, it is all these little Easters that keep us alive. A hundred and forty-nine deaths at a time is a lot to fight against, and yet we’re still here. We must be doing something right.  We must be doing a lot of things right. Nothing as big as a resurrection from the dead? No, not at one time, but daily, we — you and I — return bits of life to our souls and the souls of people around us.  And for every time we hurt someone, we kill a little bit of their soul, making our own work — the work of living — harder. Luckily, grace and forgiveness and love overcome those little deaths and restore life.

Every time we exhibit love or grace or forgiveness or justice or help somebody in any way, every time we give a hug or kiss a loved one or tell someone they did a great job, we resurrect a bit of their soul, and ours as wellLove, friendship, a smile, a kind gesture, all make our lives a little lighter. If Easter only comes once a year, and the news comes daily, we need to have little Easters as often in our lives as we can manage. As always, we have no control over other people’s actions, which leaves is with our own actions…

And we need a little Easter, right this very moment…

Peace,

John