Paralyzed by feelings of being Overwhelmed, Hopelessness and Uselessness (recognizing your Depression)

В Feeling Overwhelmed, Hopeless or Useless is common. When any of these feelings paralyze you then depression exists. Often such feelings bring us up short and keep us from focusing on the matters at hand.

As we sit down to begin a new week there are many things we will need to accomplish. Feeling overwhelmed can affect how we think about the number and complexity of the tasks life forces us to plan. What should I do first? Will I overlook something important?

Tip: to get a handle on feeling overwhelm by your life tasks; list them in a word document. This will allow you to see all that you face. Then you can rearrange them. What are the components of each task? Are there subcomponents of different tasks that can be done together?

When I had to manage several patients in the hospital, I would keep a list. Then I would go to the various labs and x-ray and review all the studies of all the patients in one pass. Then when I went to each patient I did not have to run back to the lab many times. How might you resort and perform parts of the different tasks?

Hopelessness can really paralyze us. We feel there is no way to approach the problems we face. Frankly, some are truly beyond our control. The weather will be as it will be. We will have to adapt. Here in Minnesota, we expect snow all winter long. We buy cars and clothes in response to that fact. Soon, I will get out the long johns. They allow me to stand at the bus stop without freezing my legs off.

Tip: if you have made a list of the things facing you, now you can look for opportunities to address the underlying problems.

We can’t stop global warming, but we can travel with the least release of greenhouse gasses. In general ground transportation is better than air, and mass transit is better than solo. You have done something, even if it is not all that is needed to be done.

If you still feel overwhelmed by hopelessness then a mindset change may be in order. Ask yourself such questions as: Whose problem is it anyway? Will it really matter what I do? Then try to set it aside.

Years ago, I decided that in the case of nuclear war, I would enjoy the view from the roof. The chances of survival were small; I might as well experience the process and not hide.

Uselessness often confronts us. The major events swirling around us will happen with or without us. We are spectators or “collateral Damage) in the scheme of things. This is where the spiritual comes in.

Are you part of nature? If so, what does nature expect of you? The antelope grows big and strong only to become food for the lion. The lion will become food for the vulture. Our daily struggles prepare us for a role beyond ourselves. In the moment the struggle becomes primary, but in the overall scheme it serves only to prepare for another role. When the antelope loses its struggle with the lion, it assumes its’ ultimate role. How will your struggle today contribute to the world of tomorrow?

When these feelings of Overwhelm, Hopelessness and uselessness stop us for weeks, it is time to get outside help. You probably are clinically depressed and there are many things others can do to help you. You should usually feel like dancing, and not crying.

What ways have you found to dance in the face of overwhelm and hopelessness?

What resources do you have to dance? As All Ways, Seek Joy,7

(Seven ways to eat your way out of Depression), or When a porcupine won’t cure your Depression , what can you do?

When a porcupine won’t heal your depression what can you do? In my last blog I suggested that a porcupine might help cure your depression. However, depression is much like a porcupine, slow moving and stops when approached. It curls up and shows its’ quills to the world. Now comes the hard work.

Now we must buckle down and get set for the long hall. For most of us we didn’t fall into the pit of depression overnight and now we will get out of that pit of depression slowly.

In the last two blogs I talked about how our bodies get depressed and some ways to recover from depression. The biggest change and the slowest to show benefit is changing our diet.

Many studies have shown that the typical Western diet can cause depression. When a diet similar to the Western Diet is fed to mice, they become depressed. That is correct; the sweet, highly processed diets that are marketed to us clearly contribute to our depression.

Over the Centuries our bodies adapted to a diet different from the one we commonly eat now. As recently as 100 years ago there were few sweetened foods. Then food scientists discovered that we preferred to eat sweet foods and the race was on. We added sweeteners to everything, just look at the labels of the processed foods in the stores. There is Fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, and many other natural sweeteners. It is hard to find a packaged food without some such sweetener.

Thinking that the sugars were the cause of many of our ills, scientists came up with many artificial sweeteners. Now we realize that they are little better than the natural ones they replace. When we taste sweetness in our foods, our brains get our bodies set for some sugar.

When our bodies become used to the boost sugar gives, they come to depend upon it. Sugar serves as the primary source of energy for our bodies. It readily gets from our food into our blood stream, and to the cells that extract the energy they need. Brain cells are also very dependent upon blood sugar for their energy. Thus kids get very active with the “sugar high”. Our bodies soon consume all that easy energy and then struggle to find more energy. How many of us struggle before noon and at the end of the day? Those are the times our bodies need to extract energy from other food sources.

The next source of energy is starches. Starchy foods are the basis of most diets. They are found in grains (wheat and rice) and potatoes among others. These plants can be raised in mass and stored. Thus they are good crops. However, we have developed ways to refine and store these crops that remove some of the nutritional values and concentrate other parts.

Gluten is one food component that has received much attention. Gluten is found in many plants, but especially wheat. The processing of wheat leaves high amounts of gluten in our diets.

In small amounts our gut and its bacteria can digest it easily. In the large amounts found in our processed diets, it causes problems. Some people react violently to the gluten, but most of our guts would be happier with les gluten.

Our body’s cells are like our legs. If they always get the easy way, they soon become weak. If you never climb stairs, then when you must it is an effort. The same is true at the cellular level. Easy ways soon make the hard ways even harder.

Sugars aren’t the things in our diets that can lead to depression.

As I outlined in the ways our gut leads to depression, there exists a balance in our guts. Our gut is full of bacteria and other organisms that we NEED to be healthy. The right bugs in the right place make us healthy. But they need nutrition as well. Artificial sweeteners don’t’ provide the nutrition these gut bacteria need.

Food manufacturers have also contributed to this unhealthy diet. To prevent the foods from spoiling they add chemicals to the food and packaging. Sulfates are put on fresh fruits to stop them from spoiling. Unfortunately sulfates prevent normal digesting of those same foods. To digest foods we need the help of our gut bacteria. These preservatives harm the helpful gut bacteria.

Sulfates also irritate our bodies. Some people react violently to sulfates in the foods. Most of us react to some degree. Efforts have been made to reduce or eliminate sulfates from our foods. They have mainly been used to preserve vegetables and fruits. They too are not good for our gut bacteria.

Processed foods remove much of the nutrients that our gut bugs need. The gut bugs that can thrive on a processed diet are not the ones that produce the nutrients we need. Our guts themselves become ill. They leak toxins into our blood streams. These toxins along with the low grade inflammation of our gut contribute to depression.

The GMO’s make it even worse

GMO’s are “Genetically Modified Organisms”. Scientists put genes that do not naturally occur in a plant or animal into that plant or animal. These genes make them resistant to chemicals the farmers can use to rid their fields of weeds.

When we eat these foods (such as corn or soybeans) two problems arise. First, our bodies are not able to digest the foods. Second, small but significant amounts of those week killers get into our bodies.

The worst of these weed killers is glyphosate, the main ingredient in “Round Up”. Recent studies have linked this to many of our modern ills. I find it very convincing, but more careful and directed studies are needed to confirm these links, but the linkage is very strong.

So, stop eating! Then you won’t be depressed, just starved.

Or at least stop eating the foods you are used to. What you have been eating makes you sick and depressed.

What should we eat?

Diets that avoid most of the problem foods are high in fruits, vegetables, fish and poultry. How these foods are grown and processed determines how good they are for you.

Since chemicals put on crops remain on and in our foods the farmers need to avoid using them. This means they must abandon the mechanized farming they have learned. They must grow the foods organically. Ways of large scale organic farming are being developed. The cost of organic foods is decreasing.

It is harder to preserve organic foods without resorting to toxic preservatives. Thus what gets to your stores varies by what the farmers produce. How the oranges my wife just bought found their way into the grocery store, I dread to know.

The diet most experts recommend is some form of the “Mediterranean diet”. One that is easy to follow is best. Here is one such Resource the Mediterranean Diet for Depression Anxiety Recovery

The Mediterranean diet relies on lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. It also has us replace red meats with fish, poultry or nuts and seeds.

There are many reasons to avoid red meats. Recent studies have linked them to depression (along with other ills).

Changes in diet take time to improve your health. Allow at least six months to see the benefits.

In the mean time you can supplement the diet with a multiple vitamin with minerals. These need food to be absorbed and used most effectively. Thus, they are not a substitute but a good addition to the Mediterranean diet.

Many experts also recommend fish oil supplements. These oils are those found in cold water fish such as salmon and cod. The oils also help us digest and absorb some vitamins that don’t dissolve well in water.

If you find it difficult to find foods you like that are good for you too, seek out a dietician. They can work with you to come up with foods you like that your body will like too.

In summary: Ways to Eat your way out of Depression:

  1. Avoid processed foods
  2. Avoid artificial sweeteners
  3. Avoid vegetables with sulfate preservatives
  4. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables (especially organically grown)
  5. Replace red meats with fish, poultry or nuts and seeds
  6. Avoid GMO foods
  7. Drink lots of water (avoid artificially sweetened beverages)

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

“Out of the Depths I cry …”

When we are in the depths of depression we will cry out for any help we can get. Yet some of the things that make us feel better in the short term actually make us more depressed. How can we feel better now and stay better?

Last week I reviewed some of the ways a disabling illness can make you depressed. Now let’s look at some ways to get out of depression. The biggest thing you can do is change your diet. This will take time to have a benefit. So let’s review the short term fixes first.

There are several things you can do immediately to feel less depressed.

  1. Make your bed. Hint: it is easier if you get out of it first.

 

  1. Stay out of bed: hint: letting your porcupine sleep on it will help. Don’t worry porcupines are nocturnal so they will prowl the house, keeping you in bed when you should be there.

 

  1. Get up and get dressed. That means set a time to get started and follow thru with it. You will feel good that you at least could do this much. It might have taken major effort but now you have a start on the day. After all, it is your porcupine’s turn.

 

  1. Capture the day: Getting outside into the sunlight will help your body orient itself. The natural rhythm of light and dark we experience each day triggers changes in our brains. At night our brains release Melatonin. When we lack the light and dark cycles this release stops.

 

I found that bedtime supplements helped patients in the ICU where the lights were always on and they were disturbed by the care routines day and night. Melatonin is not without side effects, so I don’t recommend it for depression.

 

  1. Get moving: Exercise has long been known to relieve depression. This should not be maximal exertion. Exercise that causes pain and soreness, means that muscles or joints have been injured. Remember that the healing process of injury contributed to depression.

 

  1. Seek Joy: Things that make us smile help our brains feel better. It can be simple things like watching children play, or listening to music.

 

  1. Be social: Humans are social animals. An infant left without parental contact will die, even if food and other needs are met.

 

  1. Help others: When we see the benefit we can have in the lives of others we find purpose in our own lives. Holding a door and carrying packages are simple yet appreciated acts of kindness.

 

  1. Relax: Tension and anxiety often accompany depression. The hormone Adrenalin released in times of stress reduces blood flow to the gut and some other organs. This leads to a leaky gut and toxins getting into our bodies. The various forms of relaxing will reduce your adrenalin levels.

By relaxing and meditating on life we can get in touch with what is important. Remember many things outside your control are making you feel depressed. You might not be able to change the world we live in but we can change how we respond to it. Old ways of thinking no longer serve you. That is why a disability will make you a new person. Choose who you want to become.

 

  1. Avoid “comfort Foods:” Research now shows that a diet high in fats and sugars actually contribute to making us depressed. There are foods you can enjoy that will make you less depressed. I will write about the antidepressant diet next week.

Ps. if you have not signed up for my newsletter, use the space at the right. That way you will be notified of all my blogs as they get posted. Other material is also included in the newsletter.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

A Disability will make you Depressed

“Dah! You mean the chance that you won’t be able to be the person you thought you were shouldn’t depress you?” say you.
Medical research now shows us why Depression results from the process of becoming disabled. Not only do most people get depressed at the thought of becoming disabled, but actually becoming disabled causes depression to occur.
The chemical marker of depression is low Serotonin levels in the nervous system. This occurs by several mechanisms related to the causes of disability.
“How can such different illnesses such as Arthritis, cancer and Schizophrenia all lead to low Serotonin levels?” ask you.
Stress and fear cause the body to change blood flow in the brain. Blood flows away from the frontal cortex and to the Amygdala. This is the classic fear response. The body releases adrenalin into the blood stream. Adrenalin has effects not only in the brain but throughout the body. Blood flows to the muscles, preparing us to fight or flee.
Adrenalin also reduces blood flow to the gut and other body parts not needed to fight or flee. The gut is one such organ. For short periods this causes no problems. However, over time the gut can’t heal from the normal traumas of digestion. It starts to leak toxins and other substances into the body. Our body’s immune system sees these toxins and responds. The immune system revs up to fight them. It releases many substances into the blood stream. These are many of the same substances our bodies produce in arthritis and related conditions.
These inflammatory substances are good in that they allow our bodies to rid themselves of the foreign materials. However, they have other effects as well.
Our brains are affected by these inflammatory substances. When we have the flu or a cold we don’t think as well. That is the result of these inflammatory substances working on our brains. Colds and flu are short-lived and our brains soon return to normal.
When the inflammatory process keeps going on for weeks, our brains don’t have the chance to recover. The metabolism of the brain gets behind.
Our brains make the Serotonin (aka, 5-OH Tryptophan). When inflammation persists for a long time, very little Serotonin gets made.
As nerve cells communicate with each other Serotonin gets destroyed. If more Serotonin is not being made then we get depressed.
So, what can we do to either prevent or recover from the depression caused by our Disability? I will address that in next week’s blog.
So that you don’t miss that blog, sign up for my newsletter by putting your name and email in the form to the right.
Also, share this with anyone you know who might be depressed for whatever reason. They will appreciate knowing that depression is natural and there are things they can do about it.
As All Ways, Seek Joy,
Coach Dr. Dave
PS. By signing up for the newsletter you will get the announcement when my podcast, “Recipes for Lemonade: thriving thru Disability” goes live.

Let Disability turn on Your Light?

“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” Elizabeth KГјbler-Ross

В 

Becoming disabled puts one into a dark place. Few of us shine when we first become disabled. In fact it might better be called, “A Dark Place of the Soul”. For that is what it feels like.

When first Disabled, We tend to do a lot of soul searching.

This soul searching takes many forms. All tend to start with looking backed over what has happened to us.

Initially, we try to find our footing. What is going on? Will it change more? Hopefully for the better, and not for the worse.

When I left medical practice, I started on a medication for another potentially life threatening illness. That medication made my eyesight could up overnight. I paused in the treatment and found that it would reverse. Then I had the question of would it reverse after months of use? If it did not could I live with the clouds? I took the medication and the clouds stayed, but the illness was cured. I don’t think the clouds are gone after 10 years.

I was already legally blind and thus could use rehab services. I did not have to try working. I did look for non clinical jobs, but with no luck.

Had my physician messed up?

This is asked my most. For me I had gone to one of the world’s experts. I had often talked to him and he had recently written the article about glaucoma in my favorite medical journal. I do have a few questions and suggestions for him, but no major criticisms.

Did God do this to me?

Many people have an image of an all controlling God. As long as this sort of God let’s things go our way, we don’t challenge this God. Job of the Bible struggled with such an understanding of God.

Job was faultless, but we are not. It is easy to blame ourselves for becoming disabled. Some will try to repent and bargain with God. Others reject God. That only punishes themselves. They have cut themselves off from god.

Finally, we are where we are, like it or Not.

That is when we must rekindle our light within. If we don’t we remain like that stained glass window, hard to see its’ color. Those who remain bitter and angry never shine again. Those who find ways to enjoy life shine.

How will you rekindle your light for life?

Rekindling your light for life takes help. Friends and Family have few resources to offer. Rehab professionals have programs to fill. Life coaches need for you to succeed and refer others.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Lost in the wilderness?

“A voice is heard calling from the willow, but you turn your head. A caress comes from the wind, yet you tighten your coat. The sun infuses you with knowledge, instead you feel scorched. Surrender to the forces, become one, and let them lead you to your greatness.” ― Shaman Elizabeth Herrera,

When we find ourselves stopped by a disability we become lost in the Wilderness. Yet as this quote suggests we need to calm down and become aware of our surroundings.В  Our surroundings nurturer us constantly, but in our busy lives it gets overshadowed.

While we are morning for what we have lost, our dreams, our self-image, our identity, we need to be loved. Our impulse is to crawl into our shells and hide. Pulling back and taking a pause in our busy life plans is necessary, we also need to get in touch with what is our true essence.

There is a voice with us always. In our busy lives we rush to and fro and only listen to that voice that says do this and that. When we can no longer do this and that, we have the opportunity to listen to the quieter voices in our lives, the ones that come from our core.

As we listen for the quiet core messages we find other things too. We discover that we are not alone. We feel things, too.

We find the caresses that abound. Those soothing caresses come in the gentle sound of rain, or wind in the trees. They come from the concerns of friends and family. Suddenly we find we are loved not for what we can do, but for ourselves.

If we relax and open up, we can feel the sun. If we but open our eyes we can see what is around us. The splendor of a cold winter’s day, the shimmering green or summer leaves. Life goes on in its rhythm of contraction and renewal.

With the onset of disability, we have entered a time of contraction. Like the World in winter we must hibernate and prepare for the renewal to follow.В  In the winter snow we see tracks of animals scurrying about. Few are around to be seen. Yet these animals are pregnant with new life.

New life to be born as spring thaws the snows. Most animals birth their young in the spring. So too, we will be reborn when our spring comes.

When I entered my Winter of Disability, I got in touch with Spiritual things I had put aside for my career. I read and studied the book of Job. I read Herbert Kurshner’s book “On why Bad things happen to Good People”.

For me the message of Job was to let go and let God hear my pains, to let God respond to my pains. In those moments of surrender I felt caressed and not alone, I found opportunity and freedom.

When you find yourself stopped by disability, use it as an opportunity to return to your core, Pray, Journal, meditate. Become grounded in what you have walked away from in your formerly busy life. From that time extract your story. Find who, you have really been, consult family and friends, about who they think you are.

When have you needed to pause and reflect/

How have you been able to get back in touch with yourself?

Share them in the comments here. Share your brokenness with those you love and trust.

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Ps, share what you enjoy here with others, send them the link.

Ways to know your life is in transition

When your life is in transition your may or may not know it. Some times like when we have a sudden event like college graduation, it is obvious. A sudden illness or injury also gives us a date for the change.

Since transitions are not just changes but the emotional changes that result, it is less obvious.

В Here are some ways to know your change is a transition.

You find yourself thinking about the past. That can either be good or bad. We learn much by reflecting back upon what we have done and coming up with better ways to do things, next time.В  When our thoughts get stuck upon how good things were, and hot how good they can become, we are not preparing for the future.

Our dreams about the past tell us about our unfinished business. Our dreams are openings into our subconscious minds.В  If we are flying high we are feeling good about ourselves. When we dream about running scared, there is something scaring us.В  Seriously bad scares come out as Post Traumatic Stress.

You feel sad or lack energy. Transitions often leave us uncertain as how to proceed. Feeling sad and listless means we might be depressed about our current situation.

When you try to do something you are unsure as to why or exactly how to do it.В  This can either mean you are truly doing new things or you are afraid to complete the task.В  When familiar tasks seem hard, we should ask ourselves why?

You feel that things are just too confusing. You are at a loss for what to do next. During a transition we often find ourselves “Lost in a Jungle”. We have lost the familiar of the past, but have not found the certainty of a way forward. This sort of uncertainty is normal. It lasts for a brief while with planned changes, but unplanned changes take more time. Here is where a coach              might help you to ask the big questions about your life. They can help you find your direction again.

Your life will lack purpose when you are in an unplanned transition. Here you did not have a new job or whatever ahead.

When you were in a life transition how did you feel?

As all Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

PS there is still time to sign up for my Webinar about transitioning thru a disability. I expect it to be helpful to anyone in a possible transition or their friends and family. You can sign up here

Fourth of July a Celebration of transition?

On the Fourth of July we celebrate a transition, the founding of our nation. Starting with a Declaration of Independence in 1776 our nation struggled for 29 years. In that time they fought two wars and founded the nation twice. Yes twice did you forget the Articles of Confederation?

We often think that a momentous event like the founding of this great nation happened over night. Yet the Bombs burst over Fort McHenry during the war of 1812. Lest you try to correct my math, the war of 1812 ended in 1815, so we had not really fried ourselves from the yoke of colonial powers until then.

Enough history I really want to talk about change and transition.

What is the difference between a change and a Transition?

Changes happen all the time. We change close and think nothing of it. Yes we might ponder our decision and even regret it later. We rarely lose sleep over what we wear. Our founders might have Declared Independence and gone home, but they didn’t.  They    pledged themselves to a transition. With that they were committed to a struggle.

Transitions involve struggle.В  As young children we struggled to learn to put on our clothes. Our Parents celebrated when we mastered that task. We had made a transition towards adulthood.

Yet every parent recalls times when their child refused to put on their clothes. The child wanted the attention or something they had lost. Usually this happens when the parent is already running late.

The tendency to revert to the past is natural. Parents know that when a child regresses the child is stressed about something. It may just be the stress of a growth spurt, but it can also be about other matters.

When we find ourselves uncertain we revert to what has worked in the past. When I could no longer see to read, I welcomed education. I went to a School for the Blind. There I learned to use a screen reader to work with computers.

I used that knowledge to seek jobs.  That search did not open doors. And I sought more education. I got a Masters in Public Health. That degree made me better suited to administrate medicine. Here the MD hindered me. Every time they saw the MD they either considered me overqualified or wanted me to do patient care. I love working with people, but I don’t want to hurt them. My limited eye sight stopped me again.

I was still “Lost in the Jungle” phase of a transition.  Transitions have three phases; the Ending, Lost in the Jungle, and a New Beginning.

On the Fourth of July we celebrate all three phases of our nation’s transition from colony to nation. Those who wanted to live in a colony went to Canada. Those who stayed had to figure out who they would be. President Washington put down the “Whiskey Rebellion”. Finally we had to assert ourselves against England and France in the War of 1812. Since then we have been treated as an equal among nations.

Among ourselves we continue to define who we want to be. We fought The Civil War and the news continues to suggest internal conflict. In face our politicians argue about what they dream for our nation. Every election cycle that is one of the messages they try to tell voters.

Shane and Transitions occur in our Personal Lives

I have told you how the change in my eye sight forced me into a transition that has taken years.

Seeing how I and others struggle when a disability hits, would make others fear a disability. I have learned a lot about transitioning thru a disability. As a Disability Coach, I seek to make others journey in the Jungle easier.

On July 15th I will host a webinar explaining the process of transitioning from “Abel bodied to ABLE”

In this Webinar I will talk about the transition process.  We start by focusing upon the loss, but find ourselves “Lost in a Jungle”. The old ways don’t work and we need new resources and direction.  When we find that direction we start on a “New Beginning”. Yes a New Adventure awaits you when you find yourself no longer “Able Bodied”. Now you can be ABLE.

In the Webinar We will do some exercises to recognize amour losses and celebrate our past successes? Then we will start the journey into our “new beginnings”. If you want to learn more and sign up go to

If you know others who might benefit from this webinar share this blog with them.

What secrets have you found for transitioning to a “New Beginning” after a change in your health?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Is Alternative Medicine, Medicine or not?

This question comes up often in medical practice today. Medicine as I was taught to practice was based on treatments tested by the scientific method. The Scientific Method consists of a set of ways to test a therapy and determine its effectiveness. It uses statistical methods to measure and determine the outcomes. This method continues to be refined and improved.

Scientific Medicine fails to address the real questions of healthcare.

What do we want health career to do? This gets to some fundamental questions of life and how we live it. Much of scientific Medicine uses death as the measured outcome. Since all of us will die alternatives to immortality suffice. How long did one group live v. the other often becomes the outcome measured.

As my practice drifted away from straight Internal Medicine into Geriatrics, the question of death became less important. We talked of Quality of Life and not Quantity. Quality of life is harder to measure and thus is often ignored in Mainstream Medical research.

In the social sciences Quality is the only outcome they can measure. Thus methods have been developed to do that. I am sure you have taken surveys that asked questions like how much you liked or disliked a statement or situation. Yet mainstream medicine refuses to incorporate such questions into their studies.

You never see patient’s asked to compete Quality of Life questionnaires at various points in in study. We do count the number of patients who don’t complete the study or therapy. This “Intention to Treat” requirement increases the rigor of the study, but fails to answer the quality of life issue.

Yet many therapies are intolerable.

One of my aunts died of breast Cancer. For a long time she was a “Breast cancer Survivor”. She developed the cancer in the 1950’s. In those days the therapy was really toxic. She recovered and lived for decades. But the therapy had other tolls.

Her young daughter was traumatized by the experience. When she herself was diagnosed with Breast Cancer, she sought alternative therapy. The Cancer did not respond to those therapies. Was it effective?

If longevity is what we seek, then No. if avoidance of the suffering she saw her mother goes thru, probably. Death from Cancer is not pleasant, either. My cousin left a ten your old child behind along with her] husband.

When considering a therapy what should we ask?”

Doctors are required to list the accepted therapies along with their risks and benefits. Most lack training in the “alternative” medicines. They offer only alternatives among mainstream therapies.

How can you choose?

First, what do you really want? Few of us pause to consider this. Our busy lives prevent the time to reflect upon this. Yet what has more importance?

Second, for whom do we decide? In the case of my Aunt and her daughter it went well beyond the “patient” herself.

Third, who would we include in the process? My parents included the whole family in the process. This made it easier for me and my siblings to be with them in their final days. We have been able to share our grief and continue our lives.

Fourth, with whom should we share our decisions? Those who will be affected by the decision need to know. That list includes family, friends and health care providers. Health care providers get involved when you die. Their default mode of care is to “preserve life at all costs”. Thus their actions can be traumatic if not dramatic. Ways to prevent unwanted interventions exist.

Thus Alternative Medicines are not part of the Science of Medicine. They are part of the Art of Medicine. That is what mainstream medicine lacks by staying scientific.

What are your thoughts about “Alternative Medicine”?

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Host of the upcoming webinar on “the life Transition of a disability”

“Does he take sugar in his coffee?”

“No Irish whiskey,” you might reply for yourself. How would that sit with a server who asked such a question? After all, He treated you as if a child!

Do we want to be treated as children?

Of course not. We want to be treated as anyone else. We might need some special assistance with a special type of task. Blind people benefit from others “Lending their eyes”.

I often ask my wife, “Can I borrow your eyes?”

This often happens when I am on the web and want to sign up for something. They have these anti-spam systems that ask you to, “Type the letter you see in the box below”. Often my wife struggles to read them, too. The “Audio capture” fairs little better. We both have old ears that don’t always hear clearly.  My wife and I have learned to dance around our disabilities.

I haven’t danced with many other people, have you?

Getting to know the moves or needs of others can be difficult. I struggle to read bus numbers. Seeing these strangers will tell me the number. Some times that leads to a pleasant exchange.

“Thank you”

“Which bus are you waiting for?”

“The four” is my usual answer.

: Me too. It should be along shortly.” Little do they know that I just checked the schedule on my phone? Still the technology won’t tell me which of the three busses that just pulled up is the four. I must rely on my eyes or others for that.

Back to the server who didn’t know how to approach a blind person. What can you do besides making the server feel bad? Naturally we want to defend our honor. We trade insult for insult. We stand up for ourselves.

Does that get us better service? Probably not. How might we get respect?

I usually tell the host, “I will need some help with the menu,” as I make my white cane obvious.

When the server arrives I say, “I will need some help with the menu. What are the specials?”  This keeps the relationship respectful and I retain some control.

Besides setting the tone of the relationship what might we do?

Several years ago a national convention of blind people came to town. As a board member of the local chapter, we prepared to hotel for their arrival. A week before the event we met with staff and went over the arrangement. Since many of our members have guide dogs, those special needs needed to be addressed. Lots of dog urine on the sidewalk would not be good for business. A special site was assigned for dogs to relieve themselves, and staff instructed on how do direct guide dog users to it.

Crossing busy streets causes problems as well. Guide dogs help but not all of us can work with them. You might have noticed beeping at some intersections. This comes from Accessible Pedestrian signals. Organizations of blind persons have worked with governments and engineers to create these. The newest ones will tell you when it is safe to cross which street. Imagine walking across a street only to realize it was the wrong one, especially several blocks later?

I have covered three ways to be assertive yet respectful.

  1. Self-advocacy
  2. Education of others, and
  3. Collaborating with local government.

Can you recall examples of other ways to prevent, “Does he take sugar?”

As All Ways, Seek Joy,

Coach Dr. Dave

Host of the upcoming podcast: Recipes for Lemonade; thrive thru Disability