Just simple practical suggestions for many of life’s difficult situations.
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As those of us from the “Baby boomer” generation continue to get older, there’s an increasing discussion about memory; the loss of it from age or disease as well as ways to increase and restore memory.
As a psychologist I have always been aware of hypnotherapy, regression therapy, the power of suggestion and a variety of short term memory induced medications which have the ability to expand the far reaches of our mind.
The hippie movement and psychedelic drug use of hallucinogenic medications such as LSD along with the research of Dr. Timothy Leary as well as Angel Dust and others brought new meaning to the terms of “getting high” and “mind expansion”. Ironically, these illegal medications were in wide use by the military in an attempt to seek out how much the human mind could be expanded for use in memory and neurological research.
Reportedly, the results were quite incredible.
Many test subjects claimed they could remember all the way back to their birth and some claimed they were even able to recall some of the womb experience.
The interesting reports were from the test subjects claiming to remember past life and even “other worldly” life experiences.
I have often utilized the power of suggestion as a therapy tool to help patients cope with grief or a traumatic experience; even to the point of helping them to forget. I also worked with a Psychiatrist friend who was also a certified hypnotherapist and he would often utilize this tool in taking some of my patients back to a point in their life they needed to remember in order to forget.
All of this said, I thought very little of mind expansion drugs or medication; I considered it all “bunk” and nonsense, that is until I was fully and officially diagnosed as an epileptic.
Although I am a genetic epileptic, I wasn’t officially diagnosed until 2005 when after a full blown Grand Mal seizure (in which I was pronounced dead) I was put on anti-seizure medication. Until 2005, I could not remember nearly anything from my childhood before age nine or ten and even much of that through age fifteen was often strained at best.
Once I began taking the anti-seizure meds, I almost immediately had clarity of memory going back to when I was six years old. It’s actually quite amazing; I now remember things I had totally forgotten.
Even more amazing, is that after my most recent two grand mal seizure this past December my neurologist added a second daily dosage of an additional new anti-seizure med and now I can remember many things all the way back to when I was two years old.
Talk about precious memories, I was recently holding my nearly one year old grandson and watching him smile as I let him hold the TV remote control. Suddenly, my mind flashed backed to when I was about a year older sitting in my granddaddy’s lap and he gave me an old style striped peanut butter candy. He used to save them after the barber gave them out at the barbershop. Anyway, my granddaddy saw me trying to eat thru the cellophane wrapper so he tore it open and let me lick it. It was great.
After he saw how much I liked it and nearly licking the candy to death, he took his pocket knife out of his pocket (every man and boy use to carry one back in the day) and he began to scrape the candy into his hand and then fed it to me. This is such a wonderful memory.
Memories are indeed wonderful and should be cherished.
The Apostle Paul said “Let the mind of Christ Jesus be also in you” (Philippians 2:5); in other words think like Jesus and live like Jesus and the result will be good living and good memories… just like Jesus.
Paul went on to say, “…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”
Paul is basically telling us that good and Godly thinking produces good and Godly memories. Good in and good out.
I am always amazed at people which have been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease that have lost most of their memories yet still have vast memories of church, scripture, old hymns, Sunday School and Baptism. It’s as though the Godly memories rise to the surface of their life.
Let’s exercise our memories and think on the things of God.
God bless us all as we think on HIM.
© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
My late father used to say, “Just wait till you get to be my age boy”.
Of course, like many of our parents that was one of many of my Dad’s favorite sayings to me throughout his long life of 83 years; from the time I can remember till just before he died.
The older we get, the more we tend to reflect on our age and the past. If it’s not the result of a deep lingering memory, it’s that old sports injury or new diagnosed illness which creeps up behind us, taps us on the shoulder and says, “you’re old”; you want to just turn around and slap it but then you realize you can’t turn around like that anymore.
None of us want to believe we’re getting older. I know a writer I met a few years back in her nineties told me she couldn’t believe she was as old as she was because she just didn’t feel like it.
One of my university “Geriatric psychology” professors used to say, “You can try to run from it, ignore it or simply change the subject but the fact is, if you’re lucky age will catch up to you.” Think about his remarks,”…if you’re lucky…”. He would also add, “If you’re not lucky enough, it won’t really matter and you and God can discuss what happened up close and personal”. Most of the class didn’t appreciate his dry humor at the time but it was his way of saying “don’t take life too serious”.
In other words if we’re fortunate enough to experience all that accompanies a long life, we will have aches, pains, difficulties and the emotional stress of moving forward in time and “getting old”.
A Christian Psychologist colleague of mine (who is no spring chicken) says repeatedly that the older we get the more important it is to have a daily personal reaffirmation which involves positive affirmation about our present life situation; regardless of our current circumstances.
Everyone should formulate their own daily plan. My simple fifteen to thirty minute daily “re-affirmation” (reaffirming the life God has given me) usually goes something like this: I pray thanking God for today, my life, my family, church and our nation. As an epileptic I also ask for a “seizure free day”. I sing one of my favorite praise choruses, “Let’s forget about ourselves and magnify the Lord and worship him”, I read scripture (currently reading through Proverbs and Ecclesiastes), I read a portion of a favorite book or two and finally I formulate a plan for the day.
We must never dwell on the past because we’ll never get it back. The past poisons and penetrates our mind and very ounce of our being; to quote a popular cliché’ of our day, “Just let it go”.
The bottom line is that each of us are “Ageless wonders”. Leave the past behind, don’t worry about the future and pursue the present.
Jesus said it best, “And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?” (Luke 12:25:26)
God bless your day.
© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
In follow up to my previous article, “Depression is everybody’s problem”, this article will point out the danger of depression when gone unchecked.
The 2015 crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525 on March 24, 2015 which killed all one hundred fifty persons on board is a stark reminder of the need for closer scrutiny of those who are put in charge of the lives of others.
In the crash of the Germanwings Airbus A320 flight 4U9525, the co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had apparently been struggling with mental illness and depression for some time. He even received a letter declaring him unfit for work (at some point)which somehow officials are only finding out about now as a result of Lubitz hiding the letter.
Like many depressed and psychologically distressed people, Lubitz apparently was able to hide his illness all too well; many who knew him, found him, normal, capable and even fun.
Even when he was originally hired by Lufthansa in 2008, the company said Lubitz was psychologically sound and completely fit to fly.
As of today however, after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Bild (a German Newspaper) citing unnamed sources claiming that Lubitz had suffered severe mental illness, Lufthansa has now admitted they learned in 2009 that Lubitz had suffered a “previous episode of severe depression”.
Although Lufthansa, the parent company of Germanwings, knew of Lubitz’s battle with depression, they allowed him to continue training and ultimately put him in the cockpit.
Lufthansa contends however, that because “Lubitz had a valid medical certificate, had passed all his examinations and “held all the licenses required”; there was no reason not to let him fly.
This is a staunch reminder of the need by every one of us to take a proverbial pinch of our mental capacity to see if we’re really ok. We all need to maintain good mental and emotional health but unfortunately not everyone is willing to check their mental and spiritual compass.
If you doubt your mental stability for even a minute, for goodness sakes talk to somebody professionally. Don’t be so proud that you endanger yourself or those around you.
On another level of mental health, too often like the recent German Air crash, someone with less than competent mental capacity gains control of people and either limits or ends their lives.
The potential for anyone with power over people to take such control to the extreme is just too fragile to allow incompetency to be put in control.
Having worn so many professional hats over the years as a pastor, theologian, psychologist and insurance adjuster, this writer has seen far too much incompetence among those in charge of others.
The old saying of “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” is so true.
This writer has seen good men and women totally collapse under the obligation of power and control.
I’ve seen pastor’s attempt suicide after major catastrophes like hurricanes which wiped out their churches and homes, theologians who couldn’t handle a flaw in a theological truth they once held firm, attorneys who lost major cases, athletes who lost the big game, parents who lost children and on and on.
In short, everyone is vulnerable to mental illness and associated depression at some point in their life.
When life becomes more than we can handle on our own, that’s when we need to talk to someone professionally.
But what about the professionals who think they’re above talking to someone?
Does this not support the need for a required mental assessment of every major professional?
Certainly all pilots, bus drivers, train operators, ship captains and personnel, doctors and hospital staff, law enforcement, attorneys, prosecutors and certainly all politicians should be required to have an extensive mental health screening; not just a criminal background check but an intensive mental health checkup.
Most of all both the Democratic and Republican Parties should include in their Presidential Candidate vetting process a mental health checkup made public to all.
Good mental health is very important and should never be taken for granted because the mind can indeed be a dangerous thing.
Please, if you are having strange or unusual thoughts, feeling depressed or lonely, call someone today at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also call your political party requesting that a mental health checkup be required in all political candidate vetting processes; especially of those running for the office of president.
© 2019 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III