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Homeopathy and Cancer

This is a guest blog by Faith Franz, who researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer. I am presenting it here in the hope of offering information and options to people who are looking to be healthier and happier. 


calmBenefits of Homeopathy for Cancer Patients as an Alternative Medicine

Cancer patients turn to treatment to reduce their symptoms, boost their mental health, improve their quality of life and – if possible – reverse tumor growth. Homeopathic approaches and allopathic approaches both yield some or all of these benefits, but the way that they achieve them is drastically different.

Homeopathy provides benefits in a much gentler manner with fewer risk factors than traditional medicine. Traditional cancer medicine uses the most potent dose of therapy available in gross molecular quantities, while homeopathic medicine aims to use what is called “the minimal dose,” as few active ingredients as possible. Often the dose is below Avogadro’s number (the mole) and the medicine given is delivered energetically.

Homeopathy also encourages patients to use only one remedy at a time, switching treatments only if the first is not the right fit. As a result, patients typically experience do not experience what are commonly referred to as “side effects” from homeopathic treatment as they do from a traditional treatment regimen, which adds one drug to the next to the next, often to deal with the problems caused by the first drug.

Traditional medicine tries to eradicate tumors and their associated symptoms as quickly as possible. Homeopathic medicine takes the time to heal the underlying cause. Homeopaths understand that sometimes patients will experience a brief increase in symptoms before the disease is cured; this is the body’s natural way of releasing the disease.

Patients also benefit from the highly personalized nature of homeopathic medicine.

Each remedy in the repertory (the master guide to homeopathic solutions) is matched to a specific set of conditions. In traditional medicine, doctors prescribe one or two medicines to treat the same general symptom. Homeopaths choose from dozens of remedies for each symptom after evaluating the other characteristics of the patient’s case.

For example, an allopathic doctor would prescribe a patient Metoclopramide or Prochlorperazine if they become nauseated after chemotherapy. A homeopath might prescribe the patient one of the following remedies, based on the patient’s other symptoms and overall constitution:

  • Cadmium Sulphate
  • Kali Phoshorpicum
  • Nux Vomica
  • Sepia
  • Ipecacuanha
  • Uncaria tometosa

Because the solutions are chosen specifically to be closely tailored to the patient’s overall condition, patients will obtain highly individualized benefits from homeopathic remedies.

What Cancer-Related Conditions can Homeopathy Treat?

Even when a cancerous condition is very advanced, homeopathy can yield benefits for a number of physical cancer-related conditions. These include:

  • Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea

Homeopathic remedies can also relieve symptoms that are unique to a certain cancer. For example, patients with asbestos-related cancers of the respiratory tract can take antimonium tartaricum or related remedies to curb dyspnea and coughing that includes a great rattling in the chest.

Although classical homeopathy does not seek to suppress, rather to cure, in some cases, alleviation (or palliation) of symptoms is the moral mandate, for even when we are beyond cure, we seek to ease suffering.

Thus,  homeopathy can also be used to help patients manage emotional complications that stem from their cancer diagnosis. Homeopathic remedies can help diffuse stress, fear and mild depression without the use of anti-anxiety medications. This mental health aspect of cancer treatment is just as important as the physical care, and often, the two overlap. When stress and other emotional symptoms are under control, patients are much less likely to experience insomnia and other anxiety-related conditions.

Some patients take homeopathic remedies with the intent of reversing tumor growth. These treatments require a homeopath’s prescription. Data varies regarding the efficiency of these remedies. Because they rarely cause any harm in the process, many patients choose to see if their body positively responds to the solution.

 

Judith’s note:  As always, when presented with a medical condition, please consult your physician and/or a classically trained homeopath with experience in the treatment of your complaints. Please do not use homeopathic remedies over the counter without engaging in your own study or benefiting from the advise of someone with training. 

 

 

Why Is Death So Shocking?

In Memorium: Bugsy 1996-2012Bugsy and Dave near Sandia

You would think after the supposed millions of years we have been “evolving” or adapting that we would be as surprised by death as we are by eating and elimination. You would think that if it were just another natural process that it would be as shocking as summer following spring, as stunning as another morning coffee. Why do we accept the brittle decay of maple leaves with such ease, yet when it comes to ourselves, to our friends, families, and pets, we are benumbed with grief, baffled by the finality of something that, by all scientific accounts, should be normal?

You would think after the supposed millions of years we have been “evolving” or adapting that we would be as surprised by death as we are by eating and elimination. You would think that if it were just another natural process that it would be as shocking as summer following spring, as stunning as another morning coffee. Why do we accept the brittle decay of maple leaves with such ease, yet when it comes to ourselves, to our friends, families, and pets, we are benumbed with grief, baffled by the finality of something that, by all scientific accounts, should be normal?

I have been told by very wise people that I have to make friends with Death. I believe they are right. But I have not yet been able.

Today, at 7:15 a.m., my husband’s dog, Bugsy, died after an old-fashioned Western, three year stand-off with cancer. Diagnosed with sarcoma in August of 2009, he was given about a month to live. Like the time he got his teeth wrapped around the edge of a flank steak, he took that to the track and he just kept going.

This is not an article about what we did to prolong his time with us or give him what we hoped was a beautiful quality of life. We did a lot of things—raw diet, classical homeopathy, at the very, very end steroids and antibiotics. We did whatever we could reasonably do without putting him through endless procedures or making him uncomfortable. We didn’t spend a lot of money. We didn’t go crazy. We took it one day at a time.

Which brings us to the point of this article: We had three years to prepare.

But as we knelt beside him and the doctor delivered the final injection, even though we knew exactly what was going to happen, we could not fathom it. When he took his last breath, we held ours, too. Were we waiting? To see if he would somehow defy the odds yet again?  Despite all our knowledge and all the obvious evidence, we could not believe he was gone. We stood looking at his little body and wondered where he went.

How is that?

How can we not believe it? How can I be in shock about Bugsy’s death any more than I’m in shock when the sun goes down or a breeze pushes back my hair? How can I say, “I can’t believe he’s not here!” when I’ve seen death in full frontal form with family members, friends and other pets.

But I was in shock. Again.

Maybe it has something to do with the kind of dog he was, with the kind of presence he had, with the way some people said, “He’s like a person.”

I thought if he had been a person, he would have been a Keystone Cop and he would not have been acting. He was cantankerous, funny, loving, protective, goofy, and he was my husband’s Guardian Angel. He was the dog that saved his life.

It was the night after Christmas. He’d been playing at a private party. At 4 a.m., he got a call from a friend saying they’d found a dog frozen to the street. He was about 4 to 6 weeks old, no more than that. His step-son, Stephen, had been asking for a dog for months, so he went to look at him. When he picked him up, he crawled up his chest. “I thought he was going to lick my face, but he jumped off my shoulder.” That was the beginning of a 16 year story of near-death adventures.

He had worms, a heart murmur, a gimpy leg from being frozen or possibly broken early on, he hadn’t been weaned and was not socialized. His was a slippery slope from the very beginning and raising him took work and attention but his crowning achievement was learning how to catch and crack pistachios, eat the meat, and spit out the shell.

Years passed and my husband suffered through several major disappointments—“rough times and hard drinking,” as he calls it. What saved him was knowing that Bugsy not only loved him, but needed him.  He had to stay alive, no matter how he felt. “He kept me coming home and he kept me waking up. He stared me down, waiting for me to wake up, some days, but I did, because he was there.”

When he was struggling with getting sober, he committed himself to a daily ritual with Bugsy: they would wrestle and play until they were both exhausted.

One day, he had given Bugsy a bath. It was his custom to dry him off with a towel then Bugsy would run through the house. But on this occasion, he jumped out completely wet, shook the suds off on the tile floor, and shot into the kitchen, where he waited behind a wall. Dave ran after him, flew up feet first, landed on his arse—hard—and Bugsy poked his head out, smiled (literally), and laughed, “HAH!”

He was a dog’s dog, a man’s dog, and eventually, he became a pack dog and a family dog when he became a part of our larger home life. He was the most adaptable dog I’ve ever encountered. There were incidents (one in which he was held by the nape of the neck by one of our bigger dogs until he squealed “uncle”), but he found his place and his peace.

When I told my mother about Bugsy’s passing, I started crying again. And as soon as I wept, she did, too. In between our sniffing and sobbing, I somehow managed to rail at the universe again, to be shocked again, to wonder again—how, why, what the heck was all this about, anyway? I told her, “I’m so sick of death.”

And she said to me, “You know, that’s the problem. You can’t stop it. You’re not eternal. No one’s eternal.”

And I remembered what Peter Kreeft had to say about that: Maybe the problem is the other way. Maybe we are eternal. Maybe we are continually shocked by death because it represents the antithesis to our highest natures, to our spirits. I may be wrong and if I am, I guess I won’t know it anyway. It’ll just all be gone and over, nothing. If I’m right, though, I’ll be kneeling down with Bugsy behind that wall, waiting to see Dave slide across a sudsy floor and we’ll both go, “HAH.”

 

On The Way to Becoming A Healer: The Journey of a Young Social Worker

(This article is dedicated to R.M. who inspired it. Thank you for reminding me of what we are supposed to be doing.)

For some reason lately I have been seeing quite a number of brand new social workers for supervision, some of whom are still in graduate school. It has been a poignant and privileged rite of passage for me after all these years to be passing on what I’ve learned.

One in particular touched me. She worked some time ago in a hospital emergency department in another state. As you might imagine, she bore witness to countless tragedies and sorrows, the worst of which was one little girl who had been beaten so severely by her mother’s boyfriend that they didn’t know if she would make it.

When she originally came on the ward she had been warned by the other professionals on staff to “watch her boundaries.” That’s a trigger point for social workers who, as a group, have been known to go the extra mile for patients and clients. This has become an “issue” for the profession as it has grown over the years and tried to maintain its status along with psychologists and physicians. What the well-meaning advisers meant was that she would be facing horror and that she needed to “detach” and “not bring it all home with her.” The real meaning: don’t get involved.

Those were their words. People warned me the same way when I started out.

I have been a psychotherapist and crisis counselor for nearly 30 years. I have worked with rape victims, survivors of war, children who had been abducted by drug lords, parents who were abused by their own offspring, addicts who had been lost and left to die on the street, and a full retinue of the mildly neurotic. I have stared into the abyss with friends and colleagues at Ground Zero and had to breathe the acrid smell of death.

But what I have learned is that there are boundaries and there are boundaries. Some should be zealously guarded and some not so much. And whenever I have made a real difference I have absolutely become involved though not in the way you may imagine or some may fear.

I will explain through her story.

As the baby was being treated, she called the proper authorities, as was legally required. She watched as the mother and boyfriend were carted away. And she stood nearby as the baby, broken and battered, moaning in pain, was gently set to rest in a small bed in PICU.

She was told to go home, that she’d had a hard day, and to have a glass of wine. There was nothing more to do.

But something inside her rebelled at that: there’s nothing more you can do.

And, against all the advice of authority, against all the warnings, she went into the PICU and sat with that little girl, breathing gently with her, resting her own fingers carefully in the child’s small hands, smoothing the downy hair on the little girl’s head, the one place that had gratefully been spared from the brute’s rant. She sat with her for hours until the little one was able to rest. She talked to her. She sang to her. She hoped for her. And then she reluctantly went home.

The case moved on from there and she doesn’t know what happened to her or the family. But there she was in my office, years later, wondering if she’d done something horrible by not letting go, by not listening to the advice of the nurses and administrators who told her to detach, to not take it home. “Did I make a terrible mistake?” she wanted to know.

Through tears as I listened to her and through tears as I write this, I said “No. You did everything right.”

She didn’t understand how she could be right and feel pain that way and disobey the warnings she’d been given. But I did. And I have found that when you do the right thing, there is often no way to sidestep the pain and sorrow that is common to us all. Nor should there be.

Suffering and Professional Boundaries

Social workers’ boundaries are important, but not in the way we might think.

I think there are actually two separate questions in this larger issue and it is a far more complicated topic than people might imagine.

Boundary Question One: How do we face suffering and not get lost in it? How do we help people in pain without absorbing it? How do we have empathy and compassion without becoming the patient? What do we do with suffering if we can’t fix it?

Boundary Question Two: How do we treat people in a clinical setting and keep our focus on them rather than using the session or relationship as a way of working out our own lingering issues? How do we stay clear-sighted about the pathology and vigorous in our pursuit of  health and the well-being of our patients?

These are two separate issues and I believe that we often confuse them in clinical practice.

I hope I can answer them both briefly and simultaneously by drawing on my experience and explaining what I think is necessary in any healing relationship.

Over the years, despite accruing more and more “tools” for my clinical tool bag, despite learning more and more techniques and styles, I have actually simplified. One of my mentors in graduate school told me, “Learn them all well so you don’t have to use any of them.” I didn’t know what she meant then, but I do now. She also told me, “Don’t for a second think it’s you doing the healing. It’s the love.”

So, the distillation is this:

  • Presence and Pacing
  • Compassion and empathy
  • Seeing someone fully without bias and without projection
  • Spiritual context

Presence and Pacing

Presence is paramount. It is foundational. The ability to be fully present in the moment with whomever is there, with whatever situation confronts you, is to be adaptable, available, and genuinely healing. It addresses both Question One and Question Two in that being in the moment (as opposed to the past or the future) allows you to feel fully, be ready to do what is needed, and then move on to the next moment. When you are in the moment truly, you will be more adept clinically. You will know the situation at hand is not about you and that it will not last. You can fully feel and know that when you go home you will be fully present to the joy and life that is there.

This is not easy and it has taken me many years to learn. Being present has a caveat. It means we are there for all of it—the pain, the glory, the defeat, the sorrow, the loss, and the redemption. All of it.

Pacing is a term coined by Milton Erickson, M.D., the greatest hypnotherapist in American history. It  is also a technique I focus on quite a bit when I teach Verbal First Aid to first responders, medical personnel and clinical professionals. It means to “move with” or “walk along.” It can include mirroring (to some extent) but I use it mostly to stress the act of being with another person. When a person is in pain and we are hoping to move them to a state of greater comfort, we do what is called pacing and leading. We pace their pain (I can see your wound and your discomfort…) and then lead them, sometimes one tiny step at a time, to healing (…so as I hold your arm and apply this bandage, you can rest more comfortably and stop the bleeding). Without the pacing, there can be no proper leading.

Pacing requires presence. Presence implies pacing. It is an emotional and spiritual partnership that may last anywhere from a few seconds at an accident scene or at an ER or go on for years in a psychotherapy setting.

Compassion & Empathy

This is not the same thing as taking on another’s pain. It is a communion, an experience of commonality, not a sympathy or an absorption. It is also NOT a projection of our own feelings onto them and this is where our skill must be honed and refined over and over again. Sometimes it means feeling what someone else is feeling, but that doesn’t mean it’s ours. It is a subtle difference, but an important one.

Many of the patients that come to social workers have been hurt terribly. We may in fact be the first person in their lives to genuinely feel them. (S.W. Recall: Winnicott’s “The Good Enough Mother.”) This can be in and of itself enormously healing.

What I have come to both believe is that feeling is not the problem. Over-interpreting and/or ignoring feelings is the problem. And that’s where we—as healers—can get into serious logjams.

In fact, it is the social worker’s ability to feel fully (and know what to do with those feelings) that is the hub of all clinical work. If we can’t do it, how do we expect our patients to do it?

Seeing Fully

When I was in school for classical homeopathy, my teacher used to warn us, “If you can’t see your patient, you can’t heal him.” He spent five years talking to us about the power to see.

I think this is true in any clinical setting. We open the door, a patient comes in and sits down. What do we see? What do we want to know? Can we see the hurt? What’s broken or bruised? What still works? How does it still manage to work?  These are the questions we want to ask and have answered.

Seeing someone truly may also entail some detachment, but not in the way it is used colloquially, which is to “not feel” what our patients are feeling. To see the truth means not get beguiled by façade. Most patients will come to us with a well-practiced façade in place, a mask they use to get through their lives—to hide pain, to forestall an accounting, to deceive and manipulate for one thing or another. We have to see past those deceptions, both conscious and unconscious. We have to see past the acquired skills and into the recesses of a person’s heart. We have to observe carefully. They may say they feel fine, but they can’t stop biting their nails. They protest over much about how calm they are, but their feet don’t stop tapping, they sigh repeatedly, or their eyes twitch.

As healers we are observers. Both of ourselves and our patients.

Spiritual Context

I cannot imagine doing this work at this point without two backups: One is the homeopathic philosophy and Materia Medica of Samuel Hahnemann and the second, most important one, is God. Suffering is intolerable (our own or anyone else’s) without some context within which we can hold it. Suffering or pain without meaning in a purposeless, random world is utterly intolerable. When there is meaning and purpose, even the worst pain becomes manageable.

Over the years, my work has become more about serving God (this is not about proselytizing by any means) than adhering to an agency code or a diagnostic manual, more about being present and truly healing than politically correct for the moment, more about truth and love than techniques.

I explained it to that young social worker that while others may not have understood what she did for that baby, God did. And the baby did. I am as sure of that as I am of the nose on my face. That baby heard her soothing voice, felt her calming breath and heartbeat, rested in her loving hands. Is there a better “technique” than that? I don’t think so. Those few hours she spent with that child may have changed the trajectory of her entire healing process.

I no longer aim for detachment, though I respect it. I no longer aim to fix every broken thing that is presented to me, though I very much want to alleviate suffering and disease. I no longer aim solely for technical skill, though I love learning.

What I am for is this: I aim to be present. I aim to see the truth. I aim to serve. Doing this work for so many years has required that I become more like a tube than a vessel. I do not “hold” other people’s pain, but I allow it flow through me and then up to God, Who can do with it what must be done, whatever that is so that peace and health and love are restored.

The Power of “Uggs”: The New Holy Huddle

Pharisees, Hiltons, Uggs. There’s always a new elite, a new “in-crowd,” a new huddle to exclude and set one group apart from (read: “above”) another. Adults are familiar with it, perhaps even inured to it at some point. Or at least one would hope that they become inured to this elitist effect.

It happens with Hummers, with houses, with degrees of “handsome” and with holiness. People will even huddle around their own humility, if you can wrap your mind around that one. I know at least one person who not only announces how humble she is, but attests to the humility of all those she associates with.

When we “huddle” like that or use a quality or item as a source of pride and superiority, we are simultaneously shaming others, whether we intend to or not, whether we are even conscious of it or not. When I googled “snob” I was rather surprised to see how many websites (millions) were snob sites. There were cigar snobs, brew snobs, bag snobs, pot snobs, coffee snobs, and beauty snobs. There were snob snobs, which I took to mean people who were snobs about being snobs. There were so many levels of elitism, I lost count.

But the essence of it goes like this:

I have a Hummer. Hummers mean success. Success means I’m favored. Being favored means I’m better. Better than who? Better than you. Why? Because you don’t have a Hummer. (And if you do, I’ll find a way to make my Hummer bigger, better, and badder.) This can be done alone or in a group. Just take out the “I” and substitute a “We.” It’s the way most problems are started in the world as much as in the playground.

So…speaking of playgrounds…

My colleague came in to the office the other day shocked and dismayed by what he heard transpire between his young granddaughter and an older, obviously way more sophisticated nine-year-old girl.

“Look at what my grandpa got me,” the little one said, happy to be in her soft, fuzz-lined boots.

The nine-year old looked her up and down. (Can nine-year-olds watch Desperate Housewives?)

“My grandpa got it for me for Christmas!!!” Her joy was palpable. There was no pride, just a fuzzy delight. “They’re UGGS!”

The nine-year-old pursed her lips in disapproval and said, “Those aren’t real UGGS. I’ve got real UGGS. Yours are fakes.”

Then she pivoted and walked away, leaving a little girl confused and deflated.

Why did the nine-year-old do that? Because someone had shown her how important it was to have the “right” label. Someone had instructed her already—by the ripe old age of nine—how to have pride in a thing that meant literally nothing. Someone had given her the ability to attach her sense of self to an article of clothing, a pair of boots, to make her image more important than her integrity, rightness of being, her compassion, or her relationships.

My husband is a musician and he sees a fair cross-section of people when he plays in clubs and public forums. Recently, after a gig in another state, he told me about a group of 20-something men and women who had paid fairly good money to be seated at a table near the stage. Every single one of them had their face lit up green by their palm pilots (or whatever they’re calling them this week). Not one of them was listening to the music. Not one of them was in actual communion with anyone else.

I have been a psychotherapist treating trauma and anxiety for more than 25 years. I have been teaching Verbal First Aid and therapeutic communication for almost 20. I have seen many forms of emotional fragmentation. I have seen pained children and lost parents, angry spouses and lonely ones. The world is no stranger to suffering.

But something that is happening now has not happened before. While we are physically closer in proximity than ever before, we are less—far less—connected to one another. The trend is a disturbing one: It is as if our own manifest destiny were a version of a microcosmic “big bang.” Post-boom, western culture is moving out like a speeding centrifuge, pushing itself further out to the edges, farther away from each part of itself, leaving its center empty.

If, as it’s said, nature abhors a vacuum, that emptiness has to be filled by something. If we are wise, that emptiness gets filled by God and we are released back into communion, re-centered, and freed. If we are unwise, we buy more and more Uggs so we can lord it over little girls who wear other-than-Uggs and buy into the delusion that it somehow makes us better. We are then pulled by those forces farther and farther away from the only things that really will make us better. Each other and God.

The Wages of Fear

Another article excerpt from Ezinearticles.com (http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Wages-of-Fear—The-Seven-Deadly-Sins-and-American-Pathology&id=3540022)brain on fear

It’s axiomatic that you get what you pay for. On observation, however, I believe that there are times we get more than we bargain for, not all of it good. In the case of current media-incitements, we get much more and we are rarely aware of it.

Viral fear, that generalized anxiety induced and spread by the media in all its forms, is evident not only in advertising but in most television programming. There’s the famous It Could Happen Tomorrow series on the Weather Channel and that important reminder Armageddon Week on the History Channel. For the thoroughly inured and brain-injured there’s also a 24-7 fear channel on cable in case someone needs to scare themselves to sleep. Of course, it’s not enough to watch horrifying dramatizations of our last days on earth. Advertisers do their duty when they alert us to the more imminent dangers to life and limb if we don’t buy their ________ (insert one or all of the following: security system, flu vaccine, dietary supplement, colon cleanser, or SUV).

There are statistics that suggest that while our diets are no good (by in large, they’re awful), they’re not the sole culprits in our poor health. While our intake of alcohol is high, that too is not the bullet that hit the artery. Same with cigarettes.

The Europeans eat and drink and smoke and suffer fewer heart attacks and less cancer. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks thanus but the Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than us. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.The Italians drink a lot of red wineand suffer fewer heart attacks than us.The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of  sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than us.

Something else is at work, then.

I’ve been a psychotherapist for 25 years. Licensed in five states at one point. Seen hundreds, if not thousands of people. The one thing that seems to be the most prevalent and devastating to the most people is the constant fear, the unrelenting stress to perform to some impossible standard, and the agonizing inability to meet those standards and resulting inadequacy. This is just observation, not analysis.

But I did have a question or a thought on the topic. Is it possible that part of our cultural nature as adventurers and conquerers has something to do with it? When we are not scaling sheer cliffs, jumping out of planes, or conquering the west, where does that energy go?

There’s a truism in Homeopathy that a remedy exists on a polar spectrum. It can be bright red (for instance) with heat or appear to be so white it looks cold. It can be enraged or as silent and coiled as a snake. It can be delighted or deranged. Each one existing within the same remedy state.

Could the same be true for Americans? That when we’re not engaged in the extremes of conquest, we’re trapped by our televisions? That the kissing cousin of adventure–fear–grabs us as soon as we stop leaping off of cliffs. And one thing I DO know is that fear kills us faster than anything else I’ve seen.

Just a thought to consider.

Chicken Tenders and The Decline of American Civilization

Although raised in Montana in a traditional home, my husband is not technically a conservative man. His guiding principle is “live and let live.” So it is highly unusual to see him incensed by anything, no less a commercial for chicken tenders. But he was so irate that he has committed himself to never, ever buying the product they were selling and spent more than 45 minutes ranting about the decay of American civilization the following day and the need for everyone under thirty to be in therapy.verbal first aid authority

The commercial was a thirty-second spot in which a group of teenagers (“punks,” according to my husband) rushed into the home of one of the boys in the group. Within seconds they had taken over the kitchen opening every cabinet they could reach, offering unsolicited commentary—all negative—on the food they found there.

Rush to rescue…enter the servant mother with a tray full of freshly cooked (previously frozen) chicken (by-product) tenders.

“Yeah, mom,” they barely uttered as they flung her offering down their throats.

“No one I ever grew up with, tough guy or not, would have ever had the gall, the unabashed audacity to walk into someone’s home and, forget just rummaging through their pantry, but to criticize what they found?” He was clearly disgusted. “That’s just the height of entitlement. That’s insane.”

Who can argue with him? Even those of us who were raised in more open, less structured homes than my husband’s can see the problem in the scenario and, more importantly, the cultural calamity it forebodes.

He wasn’t done…“I would’ve gasped if any of my friends had done that in my home when I was a kid…or if I’d found out that any of the kids I raised went into someone’s home and behaved like that. God, I’d be thoroughly embarrassed. And today…if I was greeted with a horde of self-centered punks ransacking my kitchen and dissing the food that I’d worked hard to provide, I would not run out and hook them up with a platter of chicken tenders. Tender would be the last thing on my mind.”

(For the full article, please log onto http://www.opednews.com/articles/Chicken-Tenders-and-the-De-by-Judith-Acosta-091101-884.html)

When Doctors Don’t Listen

I know a young woman who has had symptoms of anxiety for many years and the allopathic doctors she has seen  diagnosed her as depressed. But as her latest incident demonstrates, these broad terms–anxiety, depression–do us very little good if we are to truly help someone heal. What they do–and the reason why doctors continue to use them as sweepingly as they do–is they are convenient forms of shorthand that directly point to pharmaceutical interventions. They do not, however, tell us anything about the nature of the anxiety, the way it manifests, what about the person and their health (or lack thereof) to which it is both pointing and from which it is springing. If those terms are all we use, we can get ourselves into serious trouble.

She was seeing a therapist and a psychiatrist who both agreed her anxiety was a symptom of her depression. So, even though she’s an adolescent, she was put on Lexapro. Within 28 days her symptoms of anxiety spiraled into massive agitation, self-mutilation, delusions, and auditory hallucinations.  She was placed in an allopathic hospital.

What did they do?

They doubled her dosage. So now she was clawing at herself with her own fingernails and threatening to kill herself.

What was the next step?

Leave her on the Lexapro and give her thorazine as a chaser.

Her symptoms have not only not abated, they have worsened and become life-threatening.

This is not the first time I have heard or seen a patient unravel this way because of allopathic dosing. It is frightening in and of itself, but it is much worse when the parent is pleading with the doctors to take her child off the medication that has clearly exacerbated the situation and they will not listen. To make matters even more desperate, if the mother were to take the child out of the hospital and bring her to a healer of her own choice, in their state she could be incarcerated.

Thankfully for this Albuquerque psychotherapist, New Mexico has passed the Healthcare Freedom of Choice Act, which allows individuals to choose their own medical care, whether they follow the advice of their tribal shaman or choose to use the chemotherapies of western medicine.

Happily, the young lady’s story doesn’t end there. The mother, armed with the literature that demonstrates how ill-advised it is to use an SSRI on an adolescent female, has finally gotten one reasonable physician to agree with her and, while titrating her off the Lexapro, substituting it with Resperdal, an anti-psychotic.

When she is stabilized from this episode, they will be seeking out homeopathic treatment in their area, where finally she will be heard.

And what they might find out is that what they were calling “depression” may not have been  a standard depression at all, but either a borderline personality disorder or a prodromal psychotic state with agitation and some delusions (or perhaps both). In such cases it is highly INadvisable to give SSRI’s, which tend  to do exactly what they did to this young woman.

When your doctors don’t listen to you, be sure you listen to yourself.

Good News?

Reality TV is loathsome.  It’s inevitably the worst of American culture parading half-naked or screaming at the top of its lungs for its 15 minutes of fame.  Loathing may be too harsh a word, though. Embarrassed would be more like it. Two seconds of it and I am covering my ears and averting my eyes, scrambling for the remote.

So imagine my surprise when a chance tumble onto CBN brought me to four charming, bright, enthusiastic young men who are on a drive across the country to ask questions, reach out to others, and explore their committment to God, faith, and purpose.

We don’t see much good news in the media. If it’s been a slow day local anchors find ways of making the banal seem ominous. “Well, we had those terrifying storms the other day in the southeast of the state and there may be a chance of some more weather. Stay tuned.” There may be a chance of weather. Imagine that.

And if it’s not banal, it’s gruesome. Between CSI, Bones, and the other forensic human chop shops available for pre-slumber viewing, there’s not much to choose in the way of hopeful, soothing, uplifting, or faith-inspiring.

And if it’s not gruesome, it’s supremely decadent, violent, and ironic. For that there’s Family Guy and all its animated spin offs.

What’s a person to do?

That’s what I asked my husband, who said, “Why don’t you write about some good things, like those guys on the drive?”

So, I am. I am letting you know to go to www.thedrivetv.com and take a look at what four determined, beautiful young souls can do instead of having cyber-relationships, getting lost in video games, and moping in helpless entitlement. It moved me to tears and made me terribly proud for their parents.

Bravo, fellas.

Shall We Trance Part III: The Eruption of Ugly and The I’m-1-N-1 Virus

As you watch your favorite shows this evening, notice the endless advertising for beauty products aimed directly at your weakest spots–your insecurities. It starts with cellulite and goes on to target thin lips, sexual dysfunction, abdominal flab, and fatigue.  The people we watch on television are almost always the antithesis of what we see in real life. They are perky, puffed up and perfectly happy juggling mahhhhvelous acting careers, baby bumps, and award ceremonies.

There has never been a nation of more deliberately sculpted beauty or a culture that has spent more money on beauty because it is convinced that it is ugly.

Women starve themsevles, men fill themselves with toxins in search of the on-command erection and everyone spends hours in front of mirrors terrified of being unattractive as if our sexual desirability determined our worth in the world and our chosen-status by God.

The truth is we haven’t a clue about what is really attractive or beautiful. And we miss all the real opportunities for love which have far less to do with plumped lips than we’d like to think. After all, if it were just a matter of a little collagen, that would be a relatively easy fix. No one would actually have to work at intimacy, forgiveness, or sharing.

This disease has American by its chinny-chin-chin. And we’re spending a fortune “fighting” it.

The last disease we’ll talk about in this series is the “I’m-1-N-1″ Virus or the Centerless Self.

This is the deepest expression of all the above pathologies. Because of all the others–the distortion of self and body-loathing, the sense of never being or having enough, the constant fear–we’ve also become exceedingly self-centered. Which is actually much more disastrous than it sounds because in our cultural psyche, there is no self and there is no solid center. We’ve become painfully insecure AND entitled. And when we don’t get what we want–because we have no center, believe that we need that thing to fill up our emptiness, fear what may happen and loathe ourselves without it–we become violent.

The evidence for that is all over the news on a daily basis.

All these diseases, these cultural, collective delusions form a sort of intellectual and emotional breast milk for us and our children. They are the formula for how we think and how we live.

So what heals these delusions?

The first and most important antidote is Love. A spiritual Love. We have to know and learn to experience that we are not the center of the universe. Something else is and that IT centers us. We have no center without a relationship with the creator.

The second is Faith. When we can put our faith in something beyond ourselves, there is nothing to fear. When we can trust that a God who literally loves us is running the show, we can relax in the moment. We don’t have to buy anything. We don’t have to run away anymore.

The third and perhaps most difficult for Americans is a Correctness of Desire. The medicine for unrestrained want, irrepressible fear, and self-loathing is gratitude.

Shall We Trance?

What are the pathologies, the uniquely American diseases or delusions that drive our culture? How do they affect us? How aware are we of them? Read the rest of this entry »