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March 27, 2006



Has anyone besides me mentioned the most efficient option of all: a Family Therapist? These folks are trained to look at the family as a System, with the goal of the Health, growth, and flourishing of all components. Note: not everyone in the System has to attend every session. I used to go for Family Therapy all by my little self!


I am so glad you are calling psychologists for you and Eliz. HURRAY for you. Eliz will benefit tremendously. Go great mama, go!


We're all so strange, though. We have a rainbow of pathologies between us. And it seems like a children's psychologist would do something very different with our girls than she or he would do with us growups. i, for instance, need someone swift on her feet and constantly ready to parry and thrust, whereas Manny needs someone with infinite patience and the ability to strike with subtlety, zenlike.


I rest my case.


6:34pm and no Jo? Release the St. Bernards!


I don't quite get this .. Eliz is upset because you and Manny have behaved around her in an upsetting way. If you modified this behaviour then she would feel better. What is a doctor going to be saying to her? Is it a good idea to give a small child the impression that the minute something goes wrong with your life you rush off to an outside 'expert' in a victim-like way .. rather than attempt to sort it out for yourself? Why aren't YOU playing the role of this 'psychologist' or 'being a mother' as it is sometimes called?


Well, Iris, that came off as rather hostile...


Ignore Iris. She does not understand and it is obvious.

Jo, it isn't that your daughter "needs a therapist" in THAT way, it simply is that she needs an outside perspective from someone who is NOT in crisis to help her thru a bumpy patch in the family life. You know that already, of course.

I have used a family systems type therapist btw (mine was bipolar, how's that for a kick?) and he was marvelous. (I also used him for my regular counselor, and still use him if I need a tuneup.)


Iris, you are a regular reader. You should know that Eliz has more on her plate than Manny and Jo's interactions. What about her grandmother's cancer? What about her grandfather's head injury?

And how is Jo in this moment of her own crisis somehow not 'being a mother'? Jo is taking care of her daughter.

Your comment was harsh and actually rather misogynistic. I hope you'll rethink it.


If I recall correctly, Iris lives in the UK. In many ways, the US and the UK are "one people, separated by a common language," as a saying goes. Many of the functions served by therapists today in the US were at one time fulfilled by members of the extended family, who used to live nearby. A trusted Aunt or older Cousin often served as a confidente, and the need is still there, even if the Aunt or Cousin isn't, either because of geography or smaller families.


UGH. UGH and double UGH. I can't be silent and I will do my best to not attack.
Here's what I think -- this is NOT rushing out to an expert in a victim like way the minute something goes wrong. Jo has not taken Eliz to a therapist when things have gone "wrong" in the past! And nothing has gone "wrong." Jo has been diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder that impacts her and her family. Jo is modeling good health for her family. Professional assistance is good, not bad. No taboo. The anaology that's been used repeatedly is having a physical illness and then not seeking medical care! Why so many hang ups about mental health professionals? The world would be a better place if everyone was in therapy.

To add to Jo's response about this "thread" -- people can be in therapy and benefit greatly when there is no "need" or "crisis." Self-exploration, understanding, and personal growth are wonderful gifts to the person in therapy and his/her loved ones. When we change for the better, our loved ones reap the benefits as well.

Jo, you are being a fucking GREAT MOTHER. You are doing what is truly best for your daughter even if it's hard -- which makes it an even more fabulous parenting decision. Most importantly, you are sending Eliz a wonderful message -- "I love you. You are important to me. You matter." A life long gift to her from a loving parent.


I think there is enough kid gloves and namby-pambyness here to bear a little harsh drill-sergeant-like barking of "buck up, private! stiff upper lip! snap out of it!" now and then. Jo can take it in the spirit it was meant and she knows that good friends get impatient. She is not made of glass, psych ward or not! As if she doesn't tell herself that whole "snap out of it" speech about 100 times a day, I'm sure. maybe saying it out loud, pissing you off, and making you defend yourself is a Good Thing.

Consider, Jo, the things we've said at times about our own friends... in harsher moments... and how one often wants to slap them for their own good or say "oh for fuck's sake..." at something, impossible though it may be. Of course beside some basic no-nonsense scary Britishness, Iris is good at this. (So is Minnie - it is one of her superpowers...) Yes it comes off prickly and in fact, is. So the fuck what, we don't need to exist in padded cells where no one ever has a different perspective, gets exasperated, and says a harsh word.


...well, THIS should be interesting.


Badger, I can't find an email for you...but oh well.

I wanted to say that yes, We Who Are Bipolar ARE strong, and CAN defend our decisions, and CAN deal with contrary opinions....BUT. (And this is a very big but, I mean, that baby got BACK) this takes an incredible amount of energy. Sometimes that energy needs to go other places. So I guess, pick your times carefully when it is time to have great debates.

You know your friend, and more importantly she knows you, so I am sure this will work out just fine, but it's hard to explain how much energy just trying to act normal, or defending oneself, or being firm about something important, etc etc really takes. Of course some days, it's jolly good fun and you are ready to take on the multitudes. But every day is Not That Day.

And thus ends my public service announcement.


Good Lord, people, maybe a step back from the comment box and a big deep breath would be a good idea.

So Eliz is going to talk with someone. Big deal. She talks all the time.

Besides, there'll be plenty of big issues ahead to get yourselves all worked up about. Save your strength.

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