Thanking vets – A smile and a tear

Yesterday an older woman came for her appointment. It was the first time I ‘d met her boyfriend. In the course of talking, she noted a bit of his history — he was wounded in WWII. Of course I had to inquire. He was one of the many who landed on the D-Day beaches — he carried a radio — he called it ‘a really old fashion version of a cell phone.’ He was shot in the leg. And he is on a walker to this day.

I mentioned this to my daughter who was helping in the office — she spoke to me of never having met more than a very few WWII vets. Her grandfather, whom she sadly never met, was a WWII vet.

She shook his hand and said thank you to him for his service and for helping to make our world better.

“You’re welcome,” he said.  We could see the mixture of a smile and a tear.

His girlfriend then said he doesn’t like to talk about it much. As she said this he further nodded yes.

So unbeknownst to outsiders, my daughter and this gentleman had an experience that spanned 72 years; it also gave new life so it will live on to another generation. It was good for that man, for her, and for all of us.





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The Power of the Nuance

A patient and I spoke of marriage and politics.

“They are very much the same – one can’t make either work with only a sense of ruling – there has to a comfort of understanding.”

I encouraged him to elaborate.

“I’ve dated a lot of girls, and as a group many of them were fine people. But only a few seemed to vibrate with me and I with her.”

“How so?” I reached for more detail.

“They didn’t make glib summaries, they wanted to know the details, and, for example,  they wanted to know why I did not do the obvious about somethings in life. My wife – she asks why I have my fears, and doesn’t demand I first act and then study. She isn’t afraid, nor is she on a path to make me build false walls and unstable bridges. She wants roots to feed lasting changes.”

He continued: “it the power of the nuance, isn’t it? It’s knowing and respecting the nuances that makes for sustainable growth. Politicians often spew out promises and ignore the nuances in the service of quicker results. Quick activity may stop a festering problem from worsening but only knowing the nuances will fix its origin. We marry those with whom we share, foster and appreciate common nuances. Love in many ways is sharing nuances. Wow, the power of the nuance….”

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What an interesting word…it means an antidote to poison.

Sometimes the psychological poisons in us keep us prisoners.

Sometimes people will speak of enmeshing toxic relations that taint and control their lives.

Therapy is therefore the process of understanding the poisoning, the why, the who, the when, and the what of it all, and to step by sometimes slippery step remove or immunize oneself from the poison.

Too often denial, drugs or alcohol gives the impression of immunization. But this method is replacing one poison with another.

Insight, practice, a willingness to learn from others, and not being afraid to make errors and feel some pain along the therapeutic road — this is the antidote to poison.

This can be your theriac.

Use the term.


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Three Types of Talking

We were talking about talking and how good talking seeds ideas.

There are three types of talking:

The dialogue:  a intermixing of ideas with inputs from at least two parties, and whose ideas are dynamically shared with the intent to modify each other’s convictions to the end of stronger, broader, and more gripping communal conclusions.

The monologue:  ideas emerge from a speaker to at least one listener.  There is not the immediate and out loud dynamic response to an induced idea by the speaker, but still a breathing dialogue exists.  The dialogue is in the listener who develops new ideas and then has a quiet dialogue with his own insights. The monologue may not cause growth in the speaker’s mind because the speaker cannot tune into and feel the reflections of what the monologue induced in the listener. It is the listener’s silent dialogue  

The dictatorialogue:  the speaker does not want to induce seedling ideas in the listener.  Instead obedience, submission, fear, revenge, egocentric posturing, falsehearted education, and an admonition not to tolerate uncluttered dialogues are the goals, all nefarious, and all dehydrating the listeners’ roots.

To which my patient with marital troubles responded: my friend and I dialogue, my minister and I monologue, and my wife – sadly – and I dictatorialogue to each other.

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The Kept Woman Who Wasn’t Kept

I knew a patient for a long time.

She had very real money problems, few friends, abysmal estrangements with her family, and terrible anxiety and depression.

But she also had a past that was full of assumptions, glory, and money. Except that it was a world built on thick looking, but actually thin ice.

Her long ago lover was rich and famous.

She rationalized why they broke up, and she equally bragged how special she had been.

She is now in trouble.

Clearly she was the kept woman who was not kept.

From which we are reminded – again — that adult contentment and security grows from what we put into life, not what we are given.

Learn about the Zika virus, helping veterans, gambling, bipolar disorder, medical marijuana, a discussion with an astronaut (soon), and dozens of other topics related to your health and curiosity.  Visit the Experts Speak, a podcast of the Florida Psychiatric Society.

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The Zika Virus

Larry Bush is an infectious disease specialist in Palm Beach County, Florida.

This is a detailed but brief overview of the Zika Virus. This is part of The Experts Speak from the Florida Psychiatric Society. The entire project is at

The specific link for Dr. Bush’s podcast is below:


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Can’t Sleep? Our Environment and Sleep

Artificial light is a core environmental change; it will sway our biological sleep cycles

All living things have a circadian rhythm; evidence of a ‘clock’ can be found in early life forms, though that clock was closer to 22 hours, not the 24 hours that we see today.  Circadian is a Latin derivative from circa about + di (es) day. It gives a sense of the time. The pattern probably helped humans build communities because it gives an anticipation of social patterns, of when most people do the same thing – that of being awake or being asleep. Humans tend to sleep less than other primates, but in all creatures sleep is a powerfully busy time of repair and reconciliation. The fatigue we feel is fatigue in our brains, not in our bodies – muscles do not tire in the same manner as a brain.

Sleep depends on a central pacemaker, an oscillator so to speak, and it is set to the external world of light and dark. The eye sends light or dark signals to our clock circuitry — this consists of about 10,000 cells and is known as the supra-chiasmatic nuclei. The appearance of morning light stops the sleep program and lets the body switch to the awake program.

Needless to say, individuals vary in their sleep cycles and needs. Some have broken sleep, and some wake up without the ‘the morning’ signal. Others awaken because of pain, full bladders, babies’ crying, outside noises, room temperature, and so on. Age, caffeine, tobacco, some psychiatric conditions or medicals, and alcohol do modify sleep. There are many variables, but on the whole, the basic system is to sleep when it is dark and be awake when it is light. The arrangement is so critical that  the visually blind still respond to a light-dark circadian rhythms via a relatively newly discovered other light sensitive cell in the retina known as the photosensitive retinal ganglion cells. Certain genes turn on with sleep to allow the brain restore itself.  We may sleep, per se, but the brain does not. Nature is serious about this age-old cycle.

And that’s the way it was for uncountable years.

But now, because of artificial lighting, we can disrupt that venerable biological clock; things have changed.

To start, we tend not to think of artificial light as a core environmental change. But it is.

Sleep is better in the quiet and dark. So television’s noise and light can indeed disable some of the sleep processes. Many people say they cannot sleep in the dark – the question is why? Is it a fear? We should not be afraid of the dark. Likewise some people need noise to sleep – again, the question is why? Does it distract them from their own thoughts as they fall asleep? We should not be afraid of quiet. Or might there be other biological abnormalities, such as within the orexin or adonsine system, causing sleep problems.

The sleeping impaired might need some outside help. But first try simple good sleep hygiene. And turn off the lights and TV.

We eat organic foods to give our bodies a better environment. We need to think of sleep with the same environmental mindset.

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