Thursday, March 13, 2014

The Divided Mind by J. Sarno

My DH and I are going to be at Norwescon 37. I hope we'll see a bunch of you there!

For once, I'm not overbooked. I'll have plenty of time to visit with folks. I expect I'll be spending a lot of time at the NIWA (Northwest Independent Writer's Association) table and possibly some time at barcon. I'm a bit of a foodie so if anyone has a suggestion for fantastic food around the SeaTac area, let me know.

Otherwise I'm assuming that I'm going to relax, do some writing, go to some panels, periodically sit in a hot tub, do some reading, and visit with friends.

Speaking of reading, I'm currently being blown away by "The Divided Mind" by John E. Sarno (which looks like Samo in the current font I'm seeing it ... see the whining in my last post for more rant-astastic information on this topic.) It explains a lot about the state of the physical and emotional health of, well, pretty much everyone in the western world right now. I firmly believe that not enough people get help for their mental and emotional problems and I think that this is in part because there's not a lot of quality care available, or maybe people just have trouble finding it or funding it.

I think a good indicator of whether or not a mental health specialist is worth the research, referral (if necessary,) time and expense is if they make things better within a finite period of time. And that may be what's going on with the majority of cases, but the public perception, or at least my perception and I don't think I'm alone, is that it takes years to work out your problems with your upbringing, and that puts the expense both in funding and time out of reach of just about everyone I know. What I like about this book is that the author addresses a problem and puts it in perspective. He then lays out a blueprint for how to deal with this problem, and what it's going to take. If all is as he presents it, then his methods are easily accessible, take a relatively short period of time to bring relief, and isn't going to rob you and your family of valuable resources forever. If the average person believed that this was what they could expect from a mental health program, I think most of them would sign up.

If. If they knew that the problems they're experiencing are mental rather than physical, and it seems that many of the problems we're facing, including lower back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, dare I suggest planar fasciitis, GERD, etc. may in fact be caused by a rather insidious mechanism triggered by the subconscious. It's actually been recorded and studied for over a hundred years. And yet psychosomatic illness is what happens to the other guy, or to the hypochondriac, not to, well, everyone. Really. It's, like, normal to have psychosomatic stuff going on. I should have figured this out. I had horrible dizzy spells that stopped me from going to school. No cause was ever found. And when I stopped going to school and we finished moving and things settled down, so did my dizzy spells.

Normal. It's not dumb, or a deficiency. It's a coping mechanism. And like a lot of coping mechanisms, sometimes it's worse than what it's trying to help us cope with or get through.

This book makes me happy. It's hard for me to contain my enthusiasm and delight. I feel I need to, though. I can't foist this on people who I think might need it. I can't wish stigmas away. If I could, then yes, I could go to people and say, oh, oh, you have to borrow this book from me and read it right away because it might help you! and they won't feel like I've just slapped them in the face and called them crazy and dumb and on top of it intruded into their private life.

Sometimes social stuff makes me crazy. Sometimes I really want to open my brain to someone else and let them see that all the things they might imagine that I believe about them isn't true. Sometimes I wish I could turn off the feeling that people assume things about me, because chances are they're thinking about the latest awesome You Tube video and don't give a crap about what I think about them. All that can help us be nice to each other and polite and kind and considerate, but it also can be an excuse to not say what we really want to say and it keeps us from telling the truth. Not the mean truth, but the scary truth, the real truth, the truth that exposes ourselves as much as it exposes the person we're speaking to.

Anyway, I'm only halfway through the book, but so far, I can definitely recommend it. The style is repetitive, but I suspect that's because the author is accustomed to disbelief and denial. Be prepared to be amazed.

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