During our day-to-day lives, many choices and decisions need making or are made from when we are out of bed to when sleep comes at night. On some nights, there may be little sleep with tossing and turning, with a momentary escape into anxiety dreams or nightmares; the disturbing racing thoughts in the brain are often about an undecided quandary between two choices or worrying about the outcome of a decision already made.
In the recent gun violence and murder of vulnerable and innocent children, anger and questioning come after the shock and grief. Were we misled, gaslighted? Who is the blame? Why again, who is responsible or who was irresponsible? Why is our country the world’s leader in possession of deadly firearms, with little regulation or safety requirements? Another mass shooting has occurred, this time of nineteen innocent and vulnerable elementary school children and two adults killed by an 18-year-old with a military-like assault gun. How do the murderers and perpetrators of gun violence slip through all detection and become so twisted and radicalized to carry out their horrendous actions as in recent mass shootings?
In times of stress and duress, journaling can help work through some of the most difficult life challenges, such as the death of a spouse with the difficulty that follows.
An award-winning author, grief support advocate, and marketing consultant, Linda Donovan,1 shares a personal piece about the healing power of journaling in her life as an opening to our exploration of a valuable tool anybody can use. Dr. Parks then continues the narrative about the history and purpose of journaling, how his fascination with it developed, journal types, benefits, eight tips for doing journal keeping, and resources.
The season for a fresh start seemed upon us with its promise of renewal and healing. Out of the deep darkness, a seed, a kernel of insight, grows towards the light and life with opportunity and challenge. People were reemerging after a trying and difficult period with some hopefulness of new beginnings.
The scourges of a pandemic seemed to recede with the anticipation of a reopening of society. The regaining of prosperity and security was the hope. But then, there was the possibility of new variants and surges. There were still people that had lost their faith in science, vaccines, climate control, our government, and democracy.
Anxiety, fear, and stress can increase your risk of many different illnesses and degenerative diseases. There is a decision-making process that relies on advice, obtaining reliable well-sourced information, and the input from our developed inner wisdom or what I call the internal guiding narrative. The inner guide, of course, needs our attention and awareness. It is influenced by experience and develops in each of us throughout our lives. Ron’s personal story about reliance on his inner guidance to make a difficult choice follows.
I took the BP readings with a manual sphygmomanometer and stethoscope at home when not feeling well. My blood pressure was elevated. I was worried to the point that…
I’m Simon, and I have bipolar disorder. I like to joke that I was a late bloomer, very tongue in cheek, because that was far from the truth. I was in my mid-forties when I physically collapsed. Life and everyone in it just became too much and my mind and body had come to a place where something had to give, or in my case, both gave way at the same time.
I spent a long time in bed thinking that the heart palpitations, cause by my excessive drinking, were killing me. Eventually, I took a stupid Am I Bipolar? test in a magazine, and found that I ticked all of the boxes. That led me back to my GP, who set me up with an appointment with Arno, my first psychiatrist. Within an hour, and with prescription in hand, I entered life after diagnosis and the circus show that comes when dealing with extended family and friends. Luckily, I had Jax to help me...
Dr. Sid—endearingly just called “Sid” by his peers, colleagues, and fellow healthcare workers—made his way through the city in the early morning darkness. For fifteen years, he’d traveled this way, but the ordinarily busy city was now quiet, a sad reminder of the pandemic’s impact. He cranked the heater as a shiver crept up his spine at the thought of what lay ahead of him.
Mary1 had a history of mood swings, depression, anxiety, and PTSD from childhood sexual abuse. Her years growing up were in a chaotic and disruptive home, especially after her alcoholic father deserted her and her mother. She had experienced a hard time growing up with parental neglect, physical, and emotional abuse. Her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) returned after the hurricane with a vengeance.
As a nine-year-old boy, while enjoying the warmth of the midday sun, I was easing my way out onto a branch of a wild apple tree. It was in a deserted field with the sweetest green apples I had ever tasted. These weren’t like the shiny red ones you can buy at the local store. The tree’s singular presence in an untamed field of weeds and wildflowers made it an even more tempting challenge to climb.
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