A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind, even when honesty makes you feel uneasy.”— Dr. Manju

Day 47 2/23/02 ( 47 days to 50 years old hooray! Actually it is technically 2/24/02) 12:03 as I start to write this particular loving entry.

I feel like a college student again, writing notes for work, referencing education points on tricky topics for my patients. Luckily, my boyfriend keeps me on track so I don’t let my commitment to 50 days to 50 fall by the wayside. Although it may feel like a pain at times, his honest encouragement is kind. He bought me breakfast and a light dinner due to my not feeling well. That is kind. Yesterday 2/22/02 the bus driver let me in despite my metrocard being almost empty. That was kind.

As the countdown continues with compassion, I realize just how kindness can be taken for granted yet so enriching and contagious for all. On social media I have shared my conviction that “nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind”. Honesty in a compassionate way, that is.

RIght now I am trying to adjust to a difficult work situation that has caused disruption in my life for about 5 months now. I lost a patient with transdiagnostic personality disorders among other mental health issues after he dramatically started yelling about me in the facility lobby in his wheelchair.. There he was creating quite a scene, after considerable weight loss, being called back by administration to hear his continued rant and his claim that there is “no chemistry” between us and saying he wanted me fired. All done in my absence after an interdisciplinary team meeting calling on a consistent pattern of medication nonadherence and related behavior issues. In the heat of anger, I knew he felt uncomfortable with my presence, despite being explained why I was there at the meeting and our positive therapeutic alliance. Why wouldn’t I be there? I am part of the team and was invited by the Medical Director. Women with professional influence intimidate you much despite you benefitting from my help, Sir? So, he acted impulsively and destructively. That was his MO.

But I was kind. My honest contribution about his observing his medication nonadherence firsthand in session at the team meeting was delivered out of compassion. I wanted to help him minimize the risk of a repeated unnecessary decline in physical and mental health that led to a recent hospitalization after a serious, life threatening infection. I took chances with him despite his known volatility to help implement change that would serve him. I could have easily skipped the meeting altogether. I went out of my comfort level as a geropsychologist to do that. All that time, work with and investment in him through kindness in sessions. Thankfully, no one took his rant at the lobby by the receptionist desk during my physical absence. Seriously? Seriously, dear former patient of mine, you’re in your 70s. Surely life after 50 can be better than this with wisdom and experience. It has been said often enough that working with an “older population” is challenging in that “older people” are “set in their ways” and “more treatment resistant.” Hmph. There is something to be said about neuroplasticity and ongoing learning throughout all of one’s life stages.

Always acknowledge and learn from kindness, even when the compassionate honesty makes you feel uncomfortable.

Yes I have mood swings. Menopause years are not easy. I thank my boyfriend and friends who use wise compassion honestly to build and fortify our bonds. It was my boyfriend who told me that I’m moody and can sense when my hormonal and related behavioral shifts are most intense. Twitch. Flinch. Growl. I’m at a place where I can hear that from him because he’s right, and he says it out of compassion so neither one of us combusts and can gain perspective in the moment, not menace or misogyny. He is at a place (mostly) ;-P where I can be compassionately honest with him, too.

It’s not always easy, but it’s kind. And that helps keep me going, it helps keep him and me going together.

My personal quote of the day: “Nice is pleasant, but honesty is kind, even when honesty makes you feel uneasy.”— Dr. Manju

Good night. Good morning. It’s so fun to be pushing 50.. 😉

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