June 16, 2018 When you drive to work or the store or where ever, after you reach your destination, have you wondered how you got there? You forgot because you were on ‘automatic pilot.’
A while back I sat at a red light admiring the scenery, maybe daydreaming. When the light turned green I just sat there––I drew a blank, forgot where I was headed.
Maybe I forgot to aim when I left home.
I’m convinced that Do Not Remember (DNR) is part of our DNA.
I’ve spent decades drawing blanks and it has nothing to do with dementia, a very serious subject. I always snap back from my foolish actions. Dementia patients do not.
I have a theory: Scientists know our DNA contains DNR but they won’t tell us. And it increases as we age. In time, it takes over––just ask grandpa
After the red light thing happened I laughed. It was no big deal I was headed for the barbershop. I only get a haircut every five or six weeks so I gave myself a pass.
Editor’s note: He has gone to same barbershop since 2005.
I even turned left out of my driveway when I should have turned right that day. My absentmindedness varies.
Give me a break I’m between social security and death. My DNR dates back to my teens. I was fourteen years old. I loaded a toothbrush with Brylcreem. OK, I wasn’t paying attention that time, but it might qualify as an early warning.
I walk into rooms and wonder why I’m there. I’ve lost track on my way to a room.
Cooking is a passion of mine but it loses its luster when I stare blankly at the refrigerator’s contents because I can’t remember what I'm looking for.
One final theory: Excessive DNR leads to fake hearing loss. Your spouse yells, “Where are you going?” You pretend you didn’t hear her because you don’t know. Or you fake it because the last time she asked you answered, “To the basement,” and she came back with, “You’re going the wrong way.”
Sometimes you just can’t win.
DNR IS IN OUR DNA
Your Healthcare Advocate
June 16, 2018 “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”
An anonymous quote often used to help those who have suicidal ideation. It sounds good, and is easy to say and remember.
Winston Churchill, who was challenged with mental depression, called it The Black Dog. Many rumor Mr. Churchill was Bi-Polar but it was later understood to be major depressive mood disorder. This knowledge is very important it tells us that depression is not temporary.
The end result of depression is death. Therein lies the challenge. People are surprised to learn of a suicide. There is a correct way of talking or writing about suicide and I offer a few thoughts:
Do not report by sensationalizing (e.g. ‘Kurt Cobain’ dead at 27)
A school or work photo humanizes the deceased and comforts the family.
Say ‘He or she dies by suicide.’ Refrain from ‘killed him or her self.’
Do not describe the method. It should remain private.
Remember, the family and friends are hurting and dealing with the event.
Depression is a medical disease. It does not go away without treatment. Treatment means medication and psychotherapy.
Depression is surrounded by ignorance. Families want other family members to be well. We live in a tribal culture: what works for one of us should work for all of us. That is myth and it is harmful.
Depression can be caused by chemical imbalance. Either prescription drugs, illicit drugs or by the body system being out of balance.
Depression is not sadness it is not a bad mood. It is not always the result of something. It can happen with out incident or warning.
Suicide can be planned or acted on in a moment of desperation.
There may be warning signs but not always.
Suicide is not selfish.
Suicide can make sense if a person is terminal.
Suicide is the end result of untreated depression.
Suicide is complex.
There are almost always multiple causes, including psychiatric illnesses that have not been recognized or treated. But these illnesses are treatable.
When reporting on suicides via the media or verbal communication try to educate people about suicide and depression.
Refer to research findings. Mental disorders and/or substance abuse have been found in 90% of people who took their lives.
Avoid reporting that death by suicide was preceded by a single event, such as a recent job loss, divorce or bad grades. Such reporting leaves the public with an overly simplistic and misleading understanding of the problem.
Consider quoting a suicide prevention expert on the causes and treatments. Avoid putting expert opinions in a sensationalistic context.
Inform readers about the causes of suicide, its warning signs, and trends in rates and recent treatment advances.
Add statement(s) about the many treatment options available, stories of those who overcame a suicidal crisis and resources for help.
We all play a role in suicide prevention.
Why is That?
Terry Martin Ph.D
Reflections on Life
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