Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Taste Test Music For Cheap

Here is a great site where you can get downloadable music for cheap, and it's legal, at least that's what I've been told. The site is based in Russia, where I am told, the copyright laws are a bit more lax. The nice thing about this site is that you can use paypal (if you have an account) and don't have to reveal your credit card number, if you are the paranoid type. Anyway, I've used it the site quite a bit myself, and it's been smooth sailing thus far. The nice thing is, as I get older the music doesn't appeal to me as it once did. Now I can take it for a test run without spending my whole darn paycheck for one CD.

By the way, you can check out the article on on Gizmodo This is one the best sites to stay up to date on the latest technology, if this is your bowel of cherries.

You're so Open-Minded that Your Mind Leaked Out

At dinner last night Ellen was describing some of the blogs she had been reading, and the "liberal" women she had been running into. Liberal, always an interesting term, "showing or characterized by broad-mindedness." But I have a big problem with it, because it contains inherent flaws. First of all, these "liberal", "open-minded" people seem to have great difficulty seeing past themselves and accepting, or at least considering other people's points of view. It often seems like they are stuck in the last book they read, spouting off ideas they claim to be open-minded about, when in turn they are stuck between the covers of that book, failing to think for themselves. Second of all, it's no fun talking to an open-minded person, because they have all the answers, and like tell you how to live your life, rather than discuss, collaborate, investigate, and consider.

I was sitting in one of my group sessions with the adolescent patients last week, when a guy began talking about how angry he was at his father, how much he hated his father because his father was a homosexual. One of his female peers quickly turned to him and replied, "You are so wrong for hating your father because he is gay, this is his choice. You have got to learn to embrace people's differences, to be more open-minded and tolerant." I could tell that the guy to whom these statements were directed was getting angry, but he didn't express his anger, he just sat there confused, tears welling up in his eyes, controlling the beast that stir within. I first confronted the young lady by asking her a simple question about her idea of tolerance. I then tried to subtly assist her in seeing how she was contradicting her own statement of "non-judgmental" by being very judgmental of her peer's feelings about his father. I said to her, "You seem to be requesting in the same statement that someone be opened minded, to accept something that has effected them, and yet you seem to contradict the very belief you are preaching by neglecting to be tolerant of your peers personal experience, hurt, and anger toward his father. The room grew very quiet. The girl thought for a moment, then resorted to very defensive stance, claiming she didn't understand this point of view, and attempted to get the group to join her side. To her surprise, the group was very aware of what just happened, and began to challenge her, assisting her to see in herself how the so called "tolerant" had become "intolerant."

Ellen and I were discussing how she gets verbally attackted on various message boards when she states a different way of seeing or looking at the issues that are being discussed. Many people think they are so tolerant and open-minded, yet they become very close minded when a point of view is brought up that they don't disagree with. They quickly close there ears, get defensive, and plead the "your being intolerant" fifth.

I remember this one time when I was at a party talking with a man that considered himself a free-thinker. He began to go off on Christianity, and how terrible it was, how intolerant it's followers were, and how he would never be a part of such a religion. I quickly asked him if he had ever read the Bible through from cover to cover, to which he reported that he hadn't. I said, "huh, that's interesting, you claim to be such a philosophical man, listing off all the others, sharing these great ideas, and you have failed to read one of the most read philosophical books in the world. I really can't believe that you have so many negative opinnions about this religion when you haven't really looked into it." He stopped, stared at me in amazment, and actually admitted that I had made a good point, and that he was going to start reading it.

There are closed minded people on both sides of the coin, but the carious part of it all is that it always seems that those that are the most closed minded are the one's that have open thier minds up so much there brain's have leaked out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

"What's the Phone Number for 911"

One of my counselors told me a funny story today.

We have a client that loves the outdoors. If he could he would live in the woods, and basically cut the entire woods down. You see, he has an obsessions with cutting all the brush, trees, shrubs, etc down with what ever he can get his hands on. One day he was out in the bush, ridding our town of it's fine landscaping, and accidentally cut into a wasp nest. The wasp, having no mercy, began to attack him viciously. He lost control, forgot all the healthy self-talk statements he had learned in therapy, and went running through the streets, flailing his hands, screaming at the top of the lungs, "Somebody give me the phone number for 911, somebody give me the phone number for 911, I need call them to get some help!"

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Hung Up to Dry

Jim and Edna were both patients in a mental hospital. One day while they were walking past the hospital swimming pool, Jim suddenly jumped into the deep end. He sank to the bottom of the pool and stayed there.

Edna promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Jim out. When the medical director became aware of Edna's heroic act, he immediately ordered her to be discharged from the hospital, as he now considered her to be mentally stable.

When he went to tell Edna the news, he said, "Edna I have good news and bad news. The good news is you're being discharged; since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the live of another patient, I have concluded that your act displays sound mindedness."

"The bad news is that, Jim, the patient you saved, hung himself with his bathrobe belt in the bathroom. I am sorry, but he's dead." Edna replied, "He didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry. How soon did you say I can go home?"

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall

I often work with my clients on developing an awareness of their actions and how they affect others. To be aware of their words, behaviors, and reactions. To think about how they would feel if they should be the person on the other side of the interaction. I am reminded of a fight my wife and I had soon after we got married which helped me to understand how the slightest twitch in our face, or movement in our body can send a message to another person. During this particular fight, I happened to look up at the wrong moment, to see myself, full of anger and rage, in the bathroom mirror. It was a shocking, yet revealing experience, which helped me to see myself in a different light. It helped me to see that what's in my head, the beliefs I have about myself, are not always reality, and there is a whole world within us, about us, and right smack dab in front of us that we don't often get to see. I learned that when I get to close to myself, get to comfortable with myself, I distort the image of who I am, and neglect the social mirror that reflects another part of me.

I have found the Johari Window a great tool to remind me of the other worlds that reside around me and within me, that I don't often pay attention to in my fast-paced life. It's basically self-explanatory.

The Johari Window


Last night, at the video store, the girl running the counter informed me that there was a late fee on my account for $21.00. "Twenty one dollars!" I replied, in a humorous tone. She listed of the movies and asked in a scared, puppy-dog sort of way, "Would you like to pay for these fines now?" I quickly agreed to pay for them, not thinking twice, kicking myself to turning in movies late (as so often happens), and thinking that it might be financially sound to go with netflix. After paying the fines with a smile on my face, the girl turns to me and says "Thank you so much for not getting angry with me. Usually when I tell people they have late fees they get angry and throw a big fit." A small interaction, which I wouldn't have thought twice about, reminded me that every interaction effects another person, and I have a choices daily which can either hurt or heal.

"19 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does.
26 If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. 27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."

Saturday, May 22, 2004

6 months and 4 days.

I'm very close to reaching the point of working 6 months straight with only 4 days off. Yes, seven days a week. I'm not quite sure why I took the job at the psychiatric hospital, but often I find myself thinking through this ridiculous decision time and time again, rationalizing, since I've been given this gift. I didn't need the job financially, and as the saying goes, you definitely spend what you make, or at least your wife does. The more you work, the more you make, the poorer you seem to get. I still haven't found an answer to justify the end. I decided to quit yesterday while I was at my regular place of employment. I was setting up an appointment with a client, glanced at the calendar, and the reality that it was already May hit me. Where has my life gone, so quickly whisking by me, only to be accompanied by pay check after pay check? Sure, it's rewarding to get those checks, to be financially stable, to not have to worry about the strange addiction my wife and I have to TV show DVD sets. But is it worth giving away the best years of my life? I found myself missing hanging out with friends on the weekend, taking kayaking trips with the family, driving up to Springfield for an escape from the real life, and drinking heavily to drown away my worries. However, right after I decided to quit, my new boss calls and tells me how much she appreciates me and informs me that I'm doing a great job. This always seems to happen to me...I muster up enough balls to put in my notice and I get that unexpected compliment. Well, I preceded to write the letter for my resignation, and I will submit it tomorrow.

All the while, at the hospital today I experienced my first five point restraint (strapping a child, arms, legs, and chest, to a bed), saw a child quickly fold under the medical restraint of Thorazine and had to physically restrain another child as he hit, kicked, spit, and yelled profanity at the nurses. Another great day of unending adventure in the mental health field. I feel as if I've done my part, but I still do not get to rest on the seventh day.

Friday, May 21, 2004

Flat Tires and Angry Wives

So there I was running out the door to a meeting yesterday, which the CEO of the company so kindly reminded me about 6 times within the last few weeks, and my wife calls. She panicking , overwhelmed, and quickly informs me that I must come and pick her and a friend up because they are stranded with a flat tire, and must be back to work with in a hour. I know, I was supposed to automatically realize that she was in the scorching heat, with convicted rapists and murderers staring her down as she changed her tire (at least this is the way she made it sound by the tone in her voice), but I chose to go the meeting. What a mistake! I quickly told her (with that tone of voice I figured out she doesn't like) that I was late for a meeting but I would send someone from work to pick her up and take her back to work. However, she didn't like the quickness of breath or the tone of my voice, and basically heard me say, "I don't love you, you'll have to figure it out yourself." Well, the rest of the evening was in shambles. Upon returning home we both glanced at each other, gave that competitive smile, and went to separate rooms to do our own thing. Throughout the evening we would glance at each, both wondering who would give in first, who would take responsibility for their error, who would give in and say sorry to the other.

Marriage is an odd relationship. It's actually quite fulfilling, if I may state my personal opinion (which I may because this is my blog). Though I was disgruntled, angry, worried, and pressed to tell her "sorry", I was also stubborn, reaching for ways I was right, and trying to contrive all the reasons that she was being irrational. I have a bad habit of pointing out when my wife is being irrational, which she has learned to despise.

Well, we made it through the night without getting into a knock out drag 'em out fight, and sat down and discussed the situation. I continued to be completely rational, in my male/therapist sort of way, which didn't help much, but she continued to refer to me as "husband" throughout the evening, so I knew things were still kosher.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't understand women, and probably never will, and this is what usually leads to our truces. Actually, I'm usually the one that gives in, admits I've done her wrong, after which we kiss and make up. However, this time it seems like we discussed the issue, both admitted our negligence of the other, and went on our way again as if nothing happened.

I admit, I can be insensitive at times, and to often take the therapist role in our relationship. That's something I will work on. As we are told time and time again, "we need to listen If we want to have a happy wife/married life"

So here are a few things I've learned about marriage after being married for 3 years, things I didn't learn in my marital therapy class:

1. The longer you live with a person the more you fall in love with them.
2. You begin to refer to your wife a lot in your therapy sessions, because she is the closest relationship you have, and this relationship provides a lot of great therapeutic examples.
3. You can learn a lot about yourself by living with someone so closely.
4. You get very lonely and depressed when you are away from the person you love for long periods of time.
5. You learn to appreciate/despise things you didn't pay much attention to before getting married.(Thought I don't know her friends that well I feel as if I do and have certain opinions of them. I never really watched the Simpson's before meeting my wife, and now I find it comforting to watch. I can't stand Tom Cruise for some odd reason.)
6. Married women that struggle with depression like to blog, and their husbands had better watch out, because there is a whole world of disgruntled wives that will take their side and give them the will power to fight back.