Posts Tagged With: health

Sex & the Doctor/Patient Relationship

 

I’ve been working on my “new patient” paperwork for evaluating a new doctor. I never assume that the doctor I am seeing will work as a primary physician until after I have an initial appointment with them. Unless they can treat me as a partner and equal in my own health, I won’t have anything to do with them.

Now, I haven’t had any real issues filling these out, but I’m glad that when the paperwork is more than 2 pages long they chose to mail it out early to give me a chance to fill it out (whereas it would not be filled out completely if I had had it at the time of my appointment — it’s 4 pages, plus pages to explain my issues).

But I came across a question that I have never seen on a new patient intake form before.  They want to know if I’ve had more than 4 sexual partners.

I understand that sexuality is an important part of one’s health. Letting your doctor know about your sexual activity (and its relative health or ill health, as well as how careful or how ignorant you are about protecting yourself from STDs) is important. It is also important for them to know your sexual orientation and where you are on the whole gender spectrum.

But, it is a subject difficult for many people. Women who have had over 4 sexual interactions in their lives are told by our society that we are “dirty sluts” or “skanks.” It doesn’t bug me, but I could see some female patients avoiding the question for fear of being judged by the doctor. And that’s even BEFORE considering whether one should confide their sexual orientation, thoughts on polyamory/open relationships, transsexualism or any of thousands other issues that people fear to confide to anyone — let alone a medical professional who is supposed to have strict ethics.

It’s the specific number that bugs me. Who chooses that line in the sand? I know that “on an average” most heterosexual women have 4-5 sexual partners in their lives and most heterosexual men have maybe 6-8. I’ve never lied about the fact that my numbers are more than 10x the average for a heterosexual woman (which may be a surprise to one of my old boyfriends who found me on Facebook some months ago………I think I was still somewhere in the single digits when I was with him). But I can see some heterosexual woman (or even bisexual, not so sure about lesbians) looking at that and saying to themselves: “Oh, I’ve had 6. I must be a slut!!”

We are so very quick to judge ourselves worse than anyone else.

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Categories: Body Health, Mental Retraining | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Too Damned Stubborn To Stop

There is a lot of discussion of resiliency among people in therapy. Why? Probably because they’ve heard their therapist say something about it, and to quote Inigo Montoya (Princess Bride) “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

There are people who use this word to describe people in other classes. For some, the actions and choices of the rich define what they think resilience is.  On the other hand, there are quite a few professionals (not necessarily all involved in psychology) using the word as a goal for the poor, because if they can “just be resilient” then life will be all unicorns, rainbows and butterflies.

Guess what, people? It ain’t that way in the real world.

  1. There are resilient and not-so-resilient people in all economic classes. Neither your economic status nor your relative financial success/failure defines your ability to be resilient.
  2. To quote the American Psychological Association (APA) Psychology Help Center’s brochure on “The Road To Resilience” resilience is defined as:
    “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress — such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ‘bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.”

Let me say this loudly:

The ability to persist
IS NOT
being resilient!

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What the Citizens of the U.S. Don’t Seem To Remember

The United States, as a nation, is fairly young. Most of our acknowledged founders came from Europe, primarily from England/Scotland/Ireland (because the 18th century included turbulent wars and rebellions between these countries), France and Spain with a few others from assorted other Western European countries. I emphasize acknowledged founders, because they were not the only ones fighting for freedom, nor were these founders involved in creating our country.  The unacknowledged founders included many women and so-called  “minorities.” I’m not just talking about the wives of the founders nor any minority that filled the roles of slave or indentured servant. Just because your history classes never covered those roles nor acknowledged their existence doesn’t mean they were not involved.

Yet, there is something to remember here. As a nation, we are only 240 years old (if you take the Declaration of Independence the start of our nation as opposed to when our Constitution was signed in 1789, which makes our nation only 227 years old). The foundations of Western Europe were laid at the devolution of the Roman Empire (approximately 500 C.E.), making the nations of Western Europe approximately 1,516 years old.

If we choose 40 years old in a human being to be their reaching middle age and equate the age of Western Europe as with it, that means that our nation is essentially a 6-year-old (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:240/x). If we take the founding of our nation based upon Columbus’ “discovery” of America (for those who like math, the ratio here is 1,516/40:227/x) it still only makes us just 13-years-old. Personally, I think we are closer to the development of the 6-year-old given what I see in our cultural development.

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Categories: Political Opinion | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Difficulties of the Dead of Winter

No, I’m not going to start moaning and crying about the weather.  Nor about SAD.

However, they do have their place in this post.  I have not been able to keep up with regular posting since Thanksgiving. What I finally sat down and recognized is that I have become more easily overwhelmed.

You have to understand, my family (like myself) can be quite boisterous.  Even my elder sister, who is the least boisterous of us all, has what people have called an “overwhelming personality.” Though, I have to admit, there’s a bit of a tie whether my personality or my Dad’s is the more overwhelming in the family.

When we get together as a family, as does happen during the holidays, too much togetherness can be very overwhelming.  As I work through my issues, I am relearning to actually recognize the first warning signs, which I have in the past learned to ignore or suppress.  It doesn’t mean that I stand up and have a hissy fit about being overwhelmed, it means that I need to recognize the first signs so that I can take a few minutes away to recenter myself.  And if I need more than a few minutes, I need to learn to not feel guilty that I need that space.

But my family is not the only people in the world who can be overwhelming. Sadly, I’m just not quite sure how to communicate that need for space, for breathing room, without the person(s) I’m talking to either going into their own guilt spiral or worse, stressing their resentment about the fact that I need that breathing room.

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Comparing Struggles

There is always a temptation to make comparisons between your own situation and the situations that others are living in.  Sometimes, it can be a jealousy or envy about someone else’s life.  And it doesn’t just have to be about money, either.  You can look at someone else’s life and wonder why they have what you want to have — whether it is a loving relationship, financial security or simply a slightly better situation than your own.

Other times it can be you (or other people) comparing your struggles with theirs.  Just like the jealousy of someone, this is a toxic attitude to have.

My issues are just that — mine.  It is unfair and unjust of me to say that my struggles are either worse than someone else’s or that someone has it worse than I do.

And the temptation to tell someone that they should just “try harder” because someone else has worse struggles than theirs is a not just toxic.  It is bullshit.  And it often makes the struggle worse, because the person struggling becomes overwhelmed with the need to “push harder” or “overcome the obstacles” before they are truly ready to do so.

I’ve actually had a few people tell me that I am just being lazy, that I need to push myself and  “get back on the horse” about work.  Because much of the issue relating to my ability to work has to do with emotional struggles (my depression and my anxiety), I should simply take my medicine and “act like a responsible adult.”

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Living the Fucked Up Life

 

Via How Late Divorce Seriously Messes Up Retirement For Older Women

Why is this a surprise to anyone?

Women born in the late 50s, the 60s and the early 70s got stuck with the “Superwoman” concept (meaning we’re between the ages of 40 to 70). We were taught that yes, we could be absolutely ANYTHING we want to be. However, in the process of “being who we want to be” we also needed to excel in the so-called “traditional roles” of women.

We could be a CEO, but we also had to be a perfect wife, a perfect mother, a perfect housekeeper and a number of other time-consuming roles that meant we did absolutely NONE of them well. So, we spent a good portion of our lives feeling we were failures.

It wasn’t until the latter 80s and some of the 90s that we even had a GLIMMER of support in being the person we wanted to be, whether or not that had anything to do with the “traditional female gender roles.”

And, we are STILL fighting that same damned fight.

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Categories: body autonomy, Body Health, Feminism, Gender Inequities | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Special Diets

 

via Family: Mom Had Extreme Views On Nutrition, Only Fed Malnourished Boy Fruit & Nuts

I don’t give a flying fuck what kind of diet you choose for yourself, whether it be vegan or like Gandhi (a fruitarian – similar to the diet this woman gave her child) or any other special diet.  In fact, in cases of allergy, I do support you choosing for yourself the healthiest diet that you can.

HOWEVER if you plan to feed your child(ren) the same diet, you had damned well better learn how to read a lab report, and get used to discussing the lab results with your pediatrician.  (the link goes to a website that explains what the results of assorted lab tests mean)

I know many people in my life who have to eat special diets.  I know people with celiac disease, serious cases of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), allergies to common foods or herbs (garlic and onion are both foods and herbs – and yes, I know someone deathly allergic to both), serious insulin resistance, and other diseases/allergies/mutations that require a change in diet.

But, even the parents with these diseases/allergies/mutations keep an extremely close eye on their child’s/children’s health. They are actively working as a partner to the pediatrician, and any symptoms of malabsorption or malnutrition are dealt with IMMEDIATELY.

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“You’re A Mutant!”

I’ve made 8 posts now (why, yes, I DID go count it) about the fact that my ex-husband basically used this comment anytime my life experience was different or not what he expected from the rest of humanity.  In the beginning of the relationship, it was something he was proud of because essentially I was willing to look past his choices and protect him from consequences.

It’s only when my thoughts began to diverge with his opinion on things that it started to become a negative.

My previous post spoke about watching The Imitation Game, (a movie about Alan Turing). But I had not yet finished the movie.

When I was much younger, I cried at the drop of a hat. In fact, well into my teen years, I cried and raged a lot.  It was one of the reasons behind my father stating he would not discuss something until I could look at it logically.  Sadly, instead of taking this as advice to calm down before discussing an issue with someone, I went too far to the other end of the spectrum. I developed that Robot/Ice Queen persona that I discussed in an earlier post.

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Getting Tripped Up

When you have Google basic command prompt commands perhaps it is time to admit that your memory issue goes back further than just the last 2 years.

I learned back when it was MS-DOS, and tended to use that instead of Windows 3.1. Then transferred knowledge over to UNIX/LINUX commands. Windows, no matter how much else has changed, still uses a lot of the old MS-DOS commands.

I was good enough with the assorted different DOS types, and the commands, to get a 2-week gig with a major bank conglomerate, working on their DOS batch files that updated the changes in currency fluctuation. And completed the project in record time.

I’ve still used those commands off and on through the years. Often enough that the basic commands like renaming a file, listing a directory, deleting files, etc were always right there for me to use.

I remembered how to change a directory, but I had to actually look up how to list one or rename a file or some of the other basic commands.

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Categories: mental health | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being In Control

I don’t like not having a plan.  Yes, I admit, I am a control freak in a hell of  a lot of ways.  And yes, I do tend to vacillate between wanting to control those around me, followed fairly quickly by trying to take a far more hands’ off attitude, putting all my control in controlling myself.

And I have gotten far too good at trying to make sure I am always in control of myself.

It’s one of the reasons that as a young 20-something, I chose to lock away all of those chaotic feelings.  Highest on my list was passion.  I locked that away actually far earlier than 20.  I locked it up my sophomore year of high school (1983/1984).  I put passion deep down in an oubliette, and bricked up the hole. The way I was thinking, passion did nothing for me except cause more pain.  Without it, I was able to be more rational, more able to deal with the fairly normal ups-and-downs of teenage angst.

Aggression was next.  Note, not assertiveness.  Pure aggression, with all of the violence that it entailed.  I had spent far too much time dealing with keeping myself as safe as possible without having to join a gang, and wanted to end that willingness to physically destroy someone else to keep myself safe.  I forced myself into the mold of a pacifist (not that I could even honestly call myself one).

Shame was on that list too, but I was never very good at keeping it or guilt under control.  In fact, far too often both shame and guilt were fairly easily used for someone else to control me, or at least manipulate me into allowing them to control me.  A fairly strong lack of body modesty helped me to turn body shame (except in relation to romantic interactions) into my bitch, but instead of turning it onto myself, I externalized it quite a bit.  That left that huge hole open for my ex-husband to use against me.

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