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Just don’t do it

L.W. Outlaw PhD

One of the greatest concerns among those of us in the mental health field today is the increasing problem of “suicide” or attempt thereof. Among adults within the USA, approximately 142 people take their own life every day and of those adults, 132 are men.

Needless to say, Covid-19 has only increased these numbers.Crying man

In essence, suicide is a big problem!

Suicide can grow out of many irrational and negative thoughts and emotions, such as feelings of hopelessness and despair.

Most often a person has already been diagnosed with a serious mental health problem such as Bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia and out of these problems, sub-problems such as Clinical depression has given rise to various negative results such as suicide.

Usually,(but not always),if a person has already been diagnosed with Clinical depression, they will NOT commit suicide; especially if they’re threatening to do so. It’s simply a cry for help and need for attention from family and friends.

Warning Signs of potential suicide:

  • Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
  • Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
  • Unbearable emotional or physical pain
  • Making a plan or researching ways to die
  • Withdrawing from friends, saying good bye, giving away important items, or suddenly making a will
  • Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Eating or sleeping more or less
  • Using drugs or alcohol more often

If you have, family or friends that are experiencing these feelings, just STOP, caution_diamond_warning_sign_sticker-650x800“Don’t take them for granted; get them or yourself professional help immediately!

It is not God’s will for you to debate your own existence or theirs’. It is God’s will for you to have LIFE and have it to the max! (John 10:10).

© 2021 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

How do you feel about that?

Psychologist will utilize personal and group therapy as their primary method of assisting their patient

The big difference between a Psychologist and a Psychiatrist is the psychiatrist  has an MD as well as a PhD and that at his or her option can prescribe medication that can assist their patient with their particular problem. A good Psychologist will utilize personal and group therapy as their primary method of assisting the patient.

If we take it one step further, the Christian Psychologist will also utilize “lifestyle” teaching and scripture within his or her personal or group therapy sessions as additional tools to assist their patient with their particular problem.

One of the greatest challenges of the Christian psychologist is knowing what teaching and scripture to apply to the situation without turning the session into just another “ad hock” small group or Sunday School class. It’s always important to keep it professional.

People with problems want and need solutions. Getting to the heart of the problem is essential.

As I work through my counseling sessions with my patients, I try to keep them focused by keeping them on point and periodically referring back to what they believe to be their problem; what they believe is not always the case.

I try best as possible to refer them back to Philippians 4:8-9 “ 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.”

People need to focus on and accentuate in their lives the “positive things”; they’re what really matters.

If people focus on the positive long enough, it won’t be long before they’re feeling much better about everything.

I also like to ask my patients within the session, “How do you feel about that?” when discussing a potential solution to their problem.

If the patient feels better, he is twice as likely to get better faster because he helped solve his own problem.

So, “How do you feel about that?”

© 2021 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

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How should we then live?

At the Heart of Christian Psychology is Repentance

In one point of my Psychology internships I served as a Chaplin at a Juvenile detention center. This facility was mainly for older boys and young men between  ages 12 to 17  and most had committed very serious crimes. I was often asked by these young men how I could help them “fix” their lives. They were off to a good start in doing so themselves  just by asking me that question. Their soul was yearning to be free and as my mentor Dr. John Drakeford would say in his book, “Psychology in Search of a Soul”,  his soul was seeking to meet his psyche’.

Ezekiel 33:10 tells us that at one point in her history, “Israel had become so offensive to God, that she wasn’t sure what to do  about it; just like those young men, their  soul was seeking some serious repair and she knew it; she just wasn’t sure how to do it. “Israel was so aware of how far she had strayed from God that a  public saying had developed among them which some say was even chanted: “(Our) offenses and sins weigh us down, and we are wasting away because of them.” Yet with all of this, Israel wasn’t  repentant of her disobedience to God.

This idea of Israel asking God how they should live has come to the forefront of American Christian Psychology; you have to realize you’re sick and  if  you want to become spiritually and emotionally well, you must change your world view; that is you must repent.

In other words, you must change from living your way to living God’s way.

In his book, “How shall  we then live”, author, Francis A. Schaeffer says the very same thing to America and Western civilization  that Ezekiel said to Israel.

Schaeffer points out that America is no longer obedient to God and as a result if she continues to do so, America will ultimately self destruct; bear in mind Schaeffer wrote this book in 1976.

© 2021 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

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What is the truth?

Screenshot 2021-07-25 153448

As I begin this article, let me say from the onset, I am not a medical doctor, however as my own GP recently reminded me, I am a Doctor of Psychology and my counsel and opinion are valuable and I should never apologize for being a doctor; no matter what my specialty. I should also point out however, that I did work for a very large Pharmaceutical Company in my twenties and I learned a lot about medical research, trial studies and test subjects.

Never in the history of our country has the question of “What is the truth” been more important with all the concern about Covid-19 and the Delta Variant.

Over the past month, I have seen four separate doctors; each for different reasons; 3 specialists and my GP. Each ask if I had one of the Covid-19 vaccines and each volunteered their own thoughts on why I should consider getting the vaccine since  I have not been vaccinated.

Only one of the four doctors was insistent that I should get vaccinated and he was extremely forceful and told me to ignore rumors and only look at the science; which I have. That particular doctor looked me right in the eye and told me he had read ALL the information on the various vaccines and had studied all the science and there was nothing to support increased risk to epilepsy patients or non- epilepsy patients prone to seizure. So, I came right home and studied the “science” provided to doctors and contrary to that doctor’s obvious miss-information each of the manufacturers had dozens of pages on the negative side effects for epilepsy and seizure prone patients and not only concerning epilepsy but literally hundreds of other medical problems.

It seems part of the problem is, that not even the “so called” medical research scientists agree on what is supposedly the truth and facts concerning their own conclusions concerning their own vaccine.

What our government tells us is that Covid-19 is one of the easiest viruses to catch and fastest spreading the world has ever seen. I guess they forgot about the Spanish Flu in 1918.

What our government is less open about are the side effects of any of the 3 Covid-19 vaccines.

The reason that the government is less than open about the side effects of the 3 Covid-19 vaccines   is because all of the vaccines are still “technically” in trial use and we the entire world population are the trial subjects; it doesn’t matter if we die or not, you see that’s what happens in trial studies. Of course, Big Pharma can do no harm, right? But I can tell you what one Pharmaceutical executive told me back in the 70’s, while I worked at that major Pharmaceutical company, “What the public doesn’t know about the medicines they’re taking won’t hurt us” (the Pharmaceutical Industry).

When I checked the Covid-19 vaccine interaction with two of my three Anti-seizure meds, this is what I was told:

No interactions data were found for Covid-19 Vaccine, Azd-1222 (Astrazeneca) (Pf) 0.5 Ml Im Susp (Unapp). That does not mean there are no existing interactions (In other words there could be, negative interactions but since we are fast tracking this vaccine, we don’t have time to study. My words NOT  Astrazeneca). Consult your pharmacist or healthcare provider before taking these medications.

We do know minimal information about the various vaccines.

This is the consensus of the information provided by the vaccine manufacturers:

When we get a vaccine, it activates our immune response. This helps our bodies learn to fight off the virus without the danger of an actual infection. If we are exposed to the virus in the future, our immune system “remembers” how to fight it. All authorized COVID-19 vaccines provide significant protection against serious illness and hospitalization due to COVID-19. (Their words, not mine)

The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines use messenger RNA, or mRNA. mRNA vaccines do not contain a live virus — they give our bodies “instructions” for how to make and fight the harmless spike-shaped proteins that will protect against a COVID-19 infection. While these vaccines use new technology, researchers have been studying them for decades.

The Johnson & Johnson/Janssen vaccine is a viral vector vaccine and also does not contain a live virus. It uses a harmless adenovirus to create a spike protein that the immune system responds to, creating antibodies to protect against COVID-19.

Although the mRNA technology being used supposedly does not effect our DNA, one doctor told me what we know about DNA is still in it’s infancy and in his opinion their is no certainty that the mRNA can be guanteed as to not effect our DNA. 

The fact that no live virus is being used also leaves a lot to be questioned.

Even though they (The vaccine manufacturers) admit those with epilepsy may be seizure susceptible after receiving the vaccine. And this is only one example; there could be hundreds more side effects. That’s why normally it takes five to seven years in a research study for any medication to receive FDA approval, in order to factor in all of the possible existing medical conditions and pharmaceutical interaction; in other words, there are so many variables that the fast track approach to FDA approval that the current vaccines has overlooked that anyone taking these vaccines cannot be assured of complete safety.

I am not anti-vaccine and if there is ever a vaccine developed utilizing normal research and development procedures, I would personally consider taking it. Unfortunately, there will probably never be a normal research and development procedure of a vaccine that is safe to use because Bill Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci have convinced our government who in turn has convinced the American people that the current vaccines are not only safe but essential in destroying the spread of Covid-19 and it’s variant as well as they have too much to lose financially.

If you read the science along with all of the information provided by the three manufacturers ( for the general public) of the vaccines being utilized, it’s very easy to understand why the American people are being fearfully pressured into being vaccinated.

The irony to all of this is that even the three manufacturers won’t guarantee that if you take their vaccine that you still won’t get Covid-19 or the Delta variant; in fact, there are many people that have been vaccinated and still gotten Covid-19.

Most of the manufacturers agree that the vaccine only gives approximately a 68% advantage in not contracting Covid-19 while the use of Hydrochloriquine along with the antibiotic, Aziththromycin (Z-Pack) and massive amounts of Zinc and vitamin D-3 have anywhere from a 78% to 98% chance of complete virus eradication.

Incase anyone missed it, President Biden had a town hall the other night and said if you get vaccinated then you can’t get covid, you won’t be hospitalized and you can’t die from it.  He’s also  considering another round of mask mandates even for vaccinated people.

In fact, the CDC made it clear that the information President Biden gave the White House Press Corp in this most recent Press Conference was wrong.

So “What is the truth?”

Jesus said He was the way the truth and the life. He is the only truth you can believe.

You have to decide for yourself what you will do concerning vaccination and I know many Christians are concerned that vaccination is the mark of the beast. I do not.

The following is my recommendation for dealing with the Covid-19 vaccination: 

 1. If you haven’t done so, accept Jesus as your Saviour.

2.Pray diligently about what you should do. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. 16 Rejoice always,17 pray  continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV)

3.Make sure your prayer is effective The prayer of a righteous man (man trying to do right) is powerful and effective. … remember this: (James 5:16 NIV) In other words, even if you’re a Christian but living  a sinful life , your prayer won’t get above your ceiling.

4. Start or join a prayer group if your church doesn’t have one; also let me know and I will pray with you (For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”(Mtt 18:20)

Don’t let the CDC, FDA or our government attempt to scare you into your vaccination decision. Let it be your’s and the Lord’s alone.

2 Timothy 1:7 reminds us: “For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”.

God will guide you in your decision if you ask Him and allow Him.

© 2021 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

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Epilepsy: Identity? or Condition?

by Lee Outlaw, PhD

MLREPIL (Large)

It’s been quite a while, since I’ve wrote anything concerning epilepsy, but considering the fact that my own journey with epilepsy delayed my writing and brought me to this point, I felt the need to share this fact with you.

On December 26th, 2018, I was riding in the car with my daughter driving (thank God) on our way to have lunch with my wife but less than 10 blocks from our home, I had a grand maul seizure. My son was in the back seat and called for the paramedics. Neither of my 2 children accompanying me had ever witnessed me having a major seizure and was frightened terribly.  When the paramedics got me to the hospital, the ER doctor had difficulty waking me up. When I finally woke up, they performed a CAT scan and found me normal but when I was returned to my room, I had a second seizure and the doctors were considering inducing a coma; thank God they did not. They simply put me on two additional anti-seizure meds and released me 24 hours later and told to see my neurologist ASAP; which I did.

Epilepsy not only causes seizures but can cause drastic changes in a person’s life; for those of us that have had this dreaded condition since birth.

I have experienced physically the most changes ever since that dreadful day in 2018: my family will no longer let me drive(although I am legal to do so), or leave me at home alone, I was left with difficulty in using my left leg (although I can walk but often with the assistance of a cane),I must wear light weight shoes, I have lost some strength in my left arm and hand and I was also left partially incontinent and if that wasn’t bad enough, I can now easily experience photo sensitive seizures from prolonged use of artificial light, and using the computer or watching TV without the use of anti-blue light glasses.

I hope this explains a bit more why I have written articles in a while.

This article came about by accident as a reader sent in a comment about an article I wrote over a year ago; and not really about mental health but rather a neurological condition, namely, epilepsy which I have lived with since birth and mostly without medication.

Mind you I know the stigma. My grandfather suffered, with this dreaded condition; while running a farm and being the father to eight children.

None of my aunts or uncles would discuss it and tried to hide it from me.  My father was told I needed help from a neurologist when I was a child.  He refused to do so and told me just before he passed that he refused to let our family doctor label me as “crazy”. That was the “stigma” associated with epilepsy during the “50’s and 60’s”. If you had epilepsy; you were “crazy” at the least and “demon possessed” at best. Either way, parents of such children were seen as the problem and not the child themselves.   Parents were concerned about their social status in their church, their business, their lodges or clubs.

Those such as my father were afraid that people might think there was some sordid deed in his past life before he became a Christian that God was holding him accountable through his son. Fortunately that is not how God works. Jesus came to Earth to forgive human beings of their sin and to heal people spiritually and physically.

There are those that want to make epilepsy or any discussion of such as something which must be discussed from within the social, medical and political correct verb age of the day; In other words if you and your Neurologist have always referred to you as “epileptic”, yet suddenly one day, one of the many Epilepsy Foundations ( last I read there were 2 major foundations and at least 32 regional foundations in Texas alone) decides that particular term is offensive and you now have to refer to yourself as a person with epilepsy rather than an epileptic; it does nothing to help the person or treat the condition. In fact, changing the verb age actually damages our ability to get proper treatment, financial assistance and even the correct medication for your type of epilepsy.

Epilepsy has over the past several decades has experienced many changes in doctors moving from epilepsy specialist to Epileptologist that treat only epilepsy, dozens of new time released medications, DNA testing, new surgical procedures and much more on the way.

If we start moving the goal post of verbal discussion, it will simply preclude treatment for those that need our help.

I apologize to anyone I might have offended by referring to myself as an epileptic. I do have EPILEPSY and I don’t mind being referred to as an “Epileptic”. In my opinion, it makes no difference how you identify yourself, just be sure to get regular neuro checks, take your meds on time and get at least 8 hours sleep nightly.

I hope this will explain and clarify my stance on Epilepsy.

BTW, I do NOT receive any financial remuneration from Big Pharma but I do accept private donations via Pay Pal of any amount via Dr. Lee Outlaw Drtruthman@live.com

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Drtruthman Counseling is, Organized by Dr Lee Outlaw. This PayPal Pool allows you to contribute in any amount and your donation is deposited directly into my Pay Pal account. PLEASE Chip In About this pool: Although Counseling is always FREE, Your volunteer support in any amount is greatly appreciated to allow Drtruthman Counseling and Opinion to offer expanded services

This article will be moved to “Epilepsy in Plain Sight” in two weeks in order to conserve space.

Food for thought

In the world of Optometry 20/20 refers to clear and perfect vision, ironically the year 2020 for most of us has been anything but clear.

Having just celebrated 10 years on Drtruthman Counseling and Opinion. I want to thank each of you that took time over those 10 years to visit my website, read my articles and leave comments.

As 2020 comes to a close and 2021begins, please join me as I expand the Drtruthman.com site throughout the coming year with new features, original video programs and written articles.

My goal is to help everyone seeking clarity on life.

As each of us begin the journey into 2021, may God grant us clarity and love through His only son, Jesus.

The age old question returns: “What is wrong with people?”

Riot/Protest in Minneapolis

What is wrong with people?

by Dr. Lee Outlaw

 

With the death of George Floyd in the news, the age old question returns: “What is wrong with people?”
In general the question seems to be both cross generational and cross cultural but overall the intricacy of the question can be broken down as follows:

The negative behavior of people (both individually and within any group) seems to be a result of the following:
1. People don’t think things through thoroughly
2. People generally tend to take the easy way out
3. People tend to care more about themselves than the greater good of others
4. People tend to care more about themselves than the law
5. People tend to care more about themselves than God and their faith
6. People care more about feelings than consequences
7. People tend to believe the unbelievable but can’t believe in an all knowing and all powerful God.

In the area of psychology, we refer to this study of people and what sometimes appears to be a less than normal and lack of common sense approach to life as “Social Psychology”.
Of course within secular psychology, the study of such is an attempt to scientifically understand and explain how thoughts, feelings, and behavior of people are influenced by the actual, imagined, or implied presence of others within society. Simply stated, social psychology is all about understanding how each person’s behavior is influenced by others and their social surroundings; a.k.a “peer pressure” as we have seen in the protest and riots all across our country.

Although there are many theories concerning this man’s horrific death (including numerous conspiracy theories), the bottom line is that every part of this story from the police action to the resulting protest and riots are the result of humanity’s sinful nature. The Bible says, “All have sinned…”Romans 3:23.

The problem within mainstream secular psychology however, is that there is no real defined moral base or ethical value such as the Bible from which to standardize such a study of an individual’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Sadly, people, especially our youth no longer attend church or even believe in God.

As a result, apart from fluctuating statistics in comparison analysis of the same given criteria among ones peers or an established psychological norm (at any given moment) there is no established standard for people to follow, so if one person does a certain thing and it seems right to another person, then the same action is repeated.

Regardless of one’s philosophical, political, religious or psychological view, we have all been dissatisfied, disappointed or even frustrated by people either within or outside our social and family circle and we have asked the question or variation thereof, “What is wrong with people?”

It is time for this destructive behavior going on throughout our country to stop.
Either a strong rational behavioral modification must be attempted or a more radical consequence utilized to force these adult children to relinquish their riotous and dangerous actions.

Let me emphasize that I do not desire any further hurt, death or destruction but the recent riotous actions must stop and not be allowed to continue.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will give strength and comfort to our president along with the wisdom to make right and Godly decisions and may God intervene to destroy the demonic powers which have possessed those committing these heinous acts.

For more, read my series from 2018 on Drtruthman Counseling, “What is wrong with people?”
Links below:

https://drtruthman.com/2018/03/11/what-is-wrong-with-people/
https://drtruthman.com/2018/03/23/whats-wrong-with-people-part-1/
https://drtruthman.com/2018/06/14/whats-wrong-with-people-part-2/
https://drtruthman.com/2018/09/15/whats-wrong-with-people-part-3/

© 2020 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

The Importance of Sam’s Law

Hopefully, as I prepare to publish this article, “Sam’s Law”, House Bill 684, was being heard in front of the Senate Education Committee (Tuesday, April 30) and will be placed on the agenda for a vote prior to the ending of the current Texas State Legislature.

The reason this law is of vital importance is that it will require all schools to become epilepsy educated and aware. Epileptic seizures (of all kinds) are often misidentified and epilepsy itself is so misunderstood that many people don’t recognize a seizure when they see one. Some seizures such as absence, simple or complex partial seizures are simply unrecognized.

Even when a seizure is recognized, people often don’t know what to do. This is especially true in our schools. Children and teens with epilepsy can experience a seizure and depending on the type of seizure, teachers, coaches, principals, counselors and even some school nurses are unaware of how to proceed.

This is also true of School police officers and security. In fact certain seizures such as grand mal and petite grand mal seizures are all too often perceived by police and security as simply disobedience and a behavioral or drug related problem sending these epilepsy effected students needlessly and incorrectly to the local jail, juvenile detention facility or a behavioral hospital leading to misdemeanor or even felony charges against a sick person needing immediate medical attention and wasting valuable time.

Please remember, Epilepsy kills.

Sam’s law,  (HB 684), introduced by Rep. Travis Clardy, would require that ALL Texas public school personnel — meaning anyone who has contact with a child with epilepsy — will be trained in seizure recognition and seizure first aid. People who interact with children with epilepsy on a daily basis should be trained to care for them if they have a seizure.

Sam’s Law would ensure seizure education and first aid training for employees in Texas public schools who have contact with children. It would require teachers to take an online course effective Dec. 1, 2019. The bill proposes free seizure recognition and seizure response training for teachers and staff at Texas public schools.

The bill is named in honor of Samantha (Sam) Watkins, a Kilgore ISD student who passed away in December 2016 after complications from a seizure just three months after she had been diagnosed with epilepsy.

Again, not to be morbid (but as an epileptic myself) Epilepsy kills and both time and the proper response can be the difference between life and death.

Much of the foot work in getting this bill introduced into the Texas legislature was due to the efforts of former teacher, Shari Dudo who is also an epileptic. After suffering a seizure at the school where she taught, she founded the Purple Warriors of Texas. Samantha (Sam) Watkins’ mother, Barbara Watkins, also a teacher has worked with Shari to get this bill introduced into the Texas State legislature and bring it to its current point in the state senate.

At the same time, there are many others throughout the nation attempting to get similar legislation introduced into their own states.

Still others such as the RGV’s own April Flowers and her daughter Lili are spending time in Washington D.C. meeting with Congressional staff and Senators in an attempt to raise attention to the need for Sam’s law nationwide.

© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

Post seizure counseling

The need for post seizure counseling

by
Dr. Lee Outlaw
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Use of a counselor/psychologist can be beneficial in post epileptic seizure recovery

After thirty years of counseling people in practically every area of life including epilepsy, I am obviously an advocate for counseling. In fact, I have written several papers and articles on the subject of the need for professional counseling.

Counseling, that desire to talk to somebody when you just can’t figure things out is always helpful even if the person you’re talking to is only a friend or relative; we all do it.

Don’t think I’m referring only to other people; in my thirty years as a pastor and Christian psychologist, I had standing weekly appointments with both a close pastor friend and a Psychiatrist colleague to simply talk and discuss “things”, to keep from losing my proverbial mind. If you think personal problems are tough, try dealing with hundreds of people’s problems; it can often be more than one person can handle. I might add that this was long before I had been officially diagnosed as an epileptic.

The point is, we all need help from time to time and we need to talk about our problems and issues with life.

Unfortunately for those of us who are epileptics, the ones we want to talk too either don’t want to listen or have pre-conceived ideas about epilepsy. They often perceive epilepsy as a mental illness, drug abuse, anger issues or even demonic possession. In addition, many think we make it all up and are lazy resulting from having to give up driving, unable to work and often afraid to go out in public for fear of having a seizure.

Another problem for many of our friends and family members is they have never witnessed us having a seizure, or so they think. This alone results in a variety of arm chair counselors making unsubstantiated accusations and incorrect recommendations or suggestions.

After my two recent grand mal seizures just 3 hours apart (as stated in my last article), recovery has been tough, really tough”; it has been the most difficult post seizure recovery and taken the longest time for recovery I have ever experienced. Only now nearly three months since the seizures am I beginning to feel almost “normal”.

I believe sincerely the only reason I am even close to full recovery is due to seeking out personal counseling.

A colleague suggested that I might want to consider a series of sessions with a mutual fellow therapist, which I did. I knew this man and like me he is both semi-retired and a Christian Psychologist and he has some experience in counseling epileptics. I agreed and it has been the best thing I have ever done.

The first thing he asked me was, “What are your two greatest fears with regard to being an epileptic?”

Those of us who practice psychology are well aware that the one thing common to everyone is fear; it either drives us to success or failure. Fear can also induce or reduce stress in our lives.

I believe sincerely this is why the Bible tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2Timothy 1:7

My first fear like most epileptics is that of the unknown; that is the not knowing if or when I will have another seizure and what kind I might experience. Also, the older I get is the realization that the next seizure could take my life.

The second fear I shared with my counselor is very personal and something I had held onto for 19 years. Once I shared it with him and God I felt stress almost immediately leave my mind and body. It was and is a great feeling.

The past we hold on to produces emotional poison and develops stress after stress after stress in our lives. This is extremely dangerous for anyone but for the epileptic it can be absolutely fatal. If a past problem is long past and buried deep in your mind it will probably require professional help to eliminate.

The point of this article is simple, Professional Psychological and/or Clinical Pastoral Counseling can be of great benefit to epileptics in relieving stress.

This is part of my reason for starting LIVE Online Counseling beginning April 2nd.

Although epilepsy is not a mental health disorder, due to the extreme impact on an epileptic and their family, there can be associated mental health issues which develop along the way such as mood swings, depression, anger and personality disorders.

All of this can contribute to stress for the epileptic and their friends and family. Counseling can possibly help.

If you haven’t done so, please give Epilepsy counseling a chance.

May God bless us all as we seek to find a cure for Epilepsy.

© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

Unrecognized Seizure Signals


 
Epilepsy is certainly a disorder of mystery and unpredictability as any epileptic will tell you.

 After ten years being grand mal seizure free, just one day after this past Christmas I found myself waking up in an ambulance from a grand mal seizure in route to the hospital where I encountered a second seizure only three hours later. This has been the worst seizure ever and roughest recovery. After coming home from the hospital, I slept for nearly 3 days and remember almost nothing.

 Although unknown to me until I was fifty-seven years old, I was born an epileptic and had experienced seizures all my life; in fact my grandfather was an epileptic as was his grandfather and his grandfather before him and who knows how far back.

 For those of us older such as me, we grew up in a time when epilepsy had many labels and taboos even linked to mental disorders and demonic possession. As a result, your family or even family doctor might not pursue any detailed medical investigation. In my case, my parents and I were told it was just part of growing up; or so I had always been told. But shortly before my father died, he confided in me that our family doctor had suspected I might have epilepsy but to quote my father, he told “old Doc Holden, there was no way his son was crazy”.

 My father also, didn’t understand that what he witnessed so often in his father as what was called “fits” was actually epileptic seizures as well.

 Although I don’t blame my parents for my epilepsy, it’s very sad to think what just a little more knowledge and information might have done to help me today.

 Since having my first full blown grand mal seizure in 2001, I have made every effort to learn everything I could about epilepsy and how to recognize and avoid the proverbial “seizure triggers” and how to prevent them.

 As most epileptics know the two basics to control and prevention are, 1) take all your meds as prescribed and 2) get at least eight hours sleep every night. In most cases, if an epileptic follows this regiment of treatment the chances of having a seizure are greatly reduced.

 Unfortunately Epilepsy is a neurological disorder and not a disease resulting in the reality that at present there is no cure. The best that can be done at present is the prescribing of a variety of medication, electronic stimulators and surgery. As such the bad news every epileptic receives once diagnosed is “epilepsy is for life”; so your neurologist will instruct you in how to recognize the possibility or the signs of an upcoming seizure.

 Most epileptics are well aware of the most obvious sign of a possible seizure which is the dreaded “aura”. For most of us, we hate the aura worse than the seizure. The seizure strikes and is usually over in just a few minutes but the aura is totally debilitating and can last from a few minutes to several days. Like it or not, the aura is usually a sign of a potential seizure.

 The aura is difficult to describe; especially to non-epileptics.  The average aura time for most epileptics I know is about 15 minutes. My average aura last 24 hours but I have experienced a pre-seizure aura which lasted 2 days and a post-seizure aura which lasted almost a week.

Auras are terrible. They can be mild to migraine headaches, the proverbial “seeing stars”, visualizing “saintly” like glows or halos around people, visualization can take on a yellowish hue as well as the experience of strange sounds and odors.

But the worst aura experience of all for most epileptics is disassociation; the feeling of uncertainty of where you are or what many epileptics describe as the sensation of feeling like you’re in more than one place at a given moment. Some have described it as feeling like you’re here but also somewhere else. Some have likened the experience to a type of “déjàvu”.

The aura often causes an epileptic to lose momentary thought, focus and concentration.

Some research now suggests that due to their debilitating effect on the epileptic, these auras are actually partial seizures. Regardless of what these auras are, they can certainly slow a person down, delay or even force a change or cancellation to plans.

It is important to note that although some epileptics never experience an aura, those that do have different aura experiences. One such experience is “mood change”.

Mood change (which is usually a side effect of anti-seizure medication and not epilepsy) itself is often a signal or precursor to a major seizure. Of great importance is the “Unrecognizable Mood Change”. It might be subtle or it might be drastic. It might not be recognizable to the epileptic patient at all but very noticeable to everyone else. The mood change can begin weeks before the seizure.

As a lifelong epileptic and Christian psychologist I was well aware that mood changes could be a part of epilepsy but as a lifelong epileptic I had never seen myself as having mood changes.  Recently however, my reaction to what I interpreted as a bad smelling slice of ham was actually seen by family members as both irrational and mean spirited. The bottom line is others saw the mood change but I didn’t. In addition my family informed me that over the past forty years I had many similar experiences. 

The bottom line is if you haven’t experienced an epileptic aura, you simply can’t understand but you can try and be observant of the epileptic in your life.

If the epileptic in your life begins demonstrating unusual or a sudden change in behavior, be certain to make them aware of those changes in a very caring and constructive way. You might ask if they have taken all their meds on time or ask how they’re feeling.

If you’re an epileptic, listen to those around you, they might see things happening in you that you don’t see in yourself and if you listen carefully you might prevent a seizure or even save your life.

Let others help you recognize the unrecognizable signals in you.

© 2019 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

 

Too much information

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As a Psychologist, I am continually amazed at the amount of information people are willing to post about themselves on social media. Having observed this phenomenon for nearly a decade, it seems people become more emboldened each day with what they choose to tell the world about themselves.

These are the same everyday people that when I was in the ministry and private practice would come to me with a problem(s) yet reluctant to say anything; it was often near impossible to pry any information out of them. Many times, it would take weeks just to get a patient to open up enough for the two of us to have a meaningful dialogue much less the “Nitti gritty” of the problem.  

Today however, people post any and everything on the web and especially social media; every conceivable personal problem (emotional or physical) is posted, elaborated, sometimes with photos and hundreds of comments from around the world are given.

It’s simply ridiculous. People on my social media pages have posted everything imaginable from their problem with toe fungus, corns and calluses, constipation, hemorrhoids, hurt feelings, depression, anxiety, what they’re having for dinner, their pet’s illnesses, whether they think someone is a liar or not,  questioning or diagnosing mental disorders of friends or relatives, sexual dysfunction and  so much more.

Again, these are the same people that will not seek out professional help.

With no apology, if I were still in private practice, I would consider having about half my social media friends temporarily committed for observation.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with you people? I know many of you and some things you have posted on my social media pages, I just can’t believe.

I don’t want to hear about how your cat vomited all over you and the bed during the night, or how your hemorrhoids kept you up all night or why you think Uncle Jed or sister Sue is definitely Bi-polar or Schizophrenic or how you hope your boyfriend doesn’t find out about your one night stand with the guy you met at Starbucks on your way home from work; duh? He does now and so does everybody else.

The problems people used to bring to their ministers, psychologist, psychiatrist and counselors is now simply thrown out on social media like confetti being dropped from a tall building in a parade with their social media post dropped on anyone and everyone consequences be damned.

This is to say the least frivolous, irresponsible and (excuse the expression) just crazy.

Let me be clear, it’s not that I’m not concerned or don’t want to be your social media friend but frankly if you want to talk to me about it, contact me privately and personally.

I will be happy to listen as a Minister or Christian Psychologist or Addiction Counselor (take your pick, I’m all)  but be prepared to sign both a hold harmless agreement and non-disclosure statement along with my fee of $125.00 CASH (I also take Pay Pal) per hour (for a fifty minute counseling session) which I will be happy to conduct in person or via video chat.

Then and only then will I l be willing to listen to your earth shattering problems and difficulties which you feel  are so troubling that you must broadcast to the entire world over social media opening yourself to every Troll, Phishing scam, hacker, malware, ransom ware or worse and possibly losing everything you have including your very life.

Seriously people, grow up and stop thinking all of us as social media friends want or need to know everything about you; we don’t.

Posting too much information on social media is dangerous and psychologically speaking can speak volumes as to your mental and emotional state of mind.

If you are really troubled about something, please seek professional help.

© 2017 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD

NO Profanity Please

Updated September 5, 2018

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After writing this article almost two years ago, I felt it necessary to take a break from my current seven part series on “What is wrong with people? and time for an edit and update. It seems to me the flagrant and frequent use of profanity on social media is certainly another issue “wrong with people”.

Say I’m a prude if you choose but there is nothing more unpleasant and distasteful within social media today, than people using unnecessary profanity within their online post to make a point.

What amazes me most is that people who wouldn’t dare utter a “damn” or “hell” in public seem to have no problem utilizing the often known “Favorite Five” words of profanity without hesitation and cursing on-line like the proverbial sailor (no offense or disrespect to our men and women of the Navy; many of which I know seldom use profanity.)
Even more alarming is the use of the “F” word; used so much today, that it’s often referred to as the “F – Bomb”.  It seems some people can’t speak or write without using it. Especially upsetting is the ease and frequency of it’s use by women and children.
Since the original writing of this article back in February. 2017, I’ve noticed there are now even Facebook pages and websites all dedicated to the “F-bomb” with such titles as WTF, IDGF, WFC and many others. I even know several author friends that have incorporated this vile disgusting word into their email addresses and user names; how degrading. Why would any normal, rational and decent human being want to be known as “F’n this” or “F’n that”; it seems rather demeaning.
In addendum, it’s interesting that Facebook will allow the pursuit and use of profanity over their social media platform in defense of “Free Speech” while removing and blocking conservative news articles and those with differing intelligent opinions, including many Christian website posts.
Ok, it’s true on this point I’m extremely unapologetically conservative. I am also unapologetically a Christian. But right is right and wrong is wrong and profanity is simply wrong; don’t even try to justify its use. Nothing good ever results from the use of profanity; only those with uncontrolled anger issues and people given over to corrupt thinking feel the need for its use.
Women might be equal to men and share the right to freedom of  speech but “SHAME on you”!  Stop with the proverbial “potty mouth” and be a lady. By the way, we need more women becoming ladies again.
As to our children today, they simply need their mouths washed out with the soap that Man paying a swear jarfloats (completely harmless- can’t say the name because the company doesn’t advocate the practice) every single time they use a vulgar disgusting word. If we returned to that practice, we’d have most kids speaking correctly, decently and without profanity.
Call this practice abuse if you like but  my late mother, father and both grandmothers used that practice on me and it worked. By the way, at age 67, I don’t have any physical, social or psychological problems resulting from those experiences.  In Psychology we simply call it “Behavioral modification” and those that know me know I don’t curse. I find no need for it and find the whole thing disgusting.
Even in my time working in the auto body industry  while working my way through college, seminary and grad school, the body men, painters and techs were horrible with their use of profanity. Much of this filthy talk resulted from the difficult,frustrating and often dangerous work. For me, I simply chose not to curse or use profanity and I continue that same refrain today.
That’s not to say I’m a saint, I am not. I am a sinner saved by grace and yes, I have thought in profane words on rare occasions. Even in anger however,  I usually refer mentally to other descriptive words; words that actually have meaning, descriptive value and purpose.
The truth is, most people who use profanity actually have no idea what they’re saying. They’re simply repeating  words they’ve heard others say since childhood and because profanity is basically simple one or two syllable descriptive words, they became easy to learn and pronounce. If parents or grand parents didn’t squelch such use through stern reprimand or behavioral modification, the words were assimilated into their everyday vocabulary.
Most people only think they know what the curse words they use mean; in reality the meaning is not at all what they have been led to understand. The etymology (origin and history)  of the word is actually surprising to most people.
As a psychologist certified in the treatment of “sexual dysfunction” (and I’m not referring to the popularized medical ED term here), I have found in group therapy all too often the degree to which people are vocabulary ignorant. Men and women often can’t even describe their own sexual organs because they have been so used to a few descriptive profanity words.
The bottom line is there is simply NO need for the “gutter style language” so prevalent in today’s society.
If you’re a frequent user of profanity, ask yourself WHY ? Is your vocabulary so limited that any words containing more than 4 or 5 letters with the occasional adding of “ing”  are beyond your comprehension or ability to pronounce?
If that’s the case, start reading a Dictionary or Thesaurus  and develop a QUALITY vocabulary. Then, you can be stern, firm or “pithy” in your postings without the use of profanity. Vulgarity is never necessary and should not be tolerated by any of us; especially in on-line social media.  It is unbecoming, disrespectful and demonstrates a lack of character and morality; both which are sorely needed in social media.
I realize all of this is very Non-Politically Correct these days especially with regard to millennials and  those on the Progressive Left; so be it.  As a result, let me dig in a little deeper  in being Non PC by sharing a true story of one of the South’s favorite sons, General Robert E. Lee.
As the Civil War was winding down, Confederate General Lee was meeting with some of his key officers discussing serious strategy. The language was very hostile, frustrating and “colorful” (profane & vulgar) to say the least. In the midst of this very important and strategic meeting, history records that General Lee turned around and began to walk away. A Colonel called out to him and said, “What’s wrong General Lee, there are no women or children here?” General Lee turned around and responded, “No sir, there are no women or children here but there is a Christian Gentleman”; the general turned around again and walked away.
I am proud to say that my great grandfather, grandfather, father, myself and my oldest son as well as thousands of other men and women throughout the South were named after this Christian gentleman.
God’s Word reminds us, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone”. Colossians 4:6
There simply isn’t any reason ever for profanity.
May God both guide and guard your speech.
© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD
Once again, as a side NOTE, I will no longer tolerate rude, crude and distasteful language on any of my social media sites from ANYONE.

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