Realeywell

After much consideration and no apparent followers other than a few, Realeywell is going the way of the Covid world and shutting down its door. All employees are furloughed until further notice. We appreciate the few followers we had.

COVID-19: OMG! A compassionate memoir by an Anxiety Disorder & Health Psychologist.

3/16/20

When there are more unknowns than knowns in an emerging public health crisis, self-care for all is critical. Bilateral stimulation and behavioral activation helps induce calm, combats flight-fight-freeze-faint so we can make informed decisions. Create a meaningful routine in solitude or with virtual or distant connection.

Know that many of us are thinking aloud in emergency situation mode, particulary since we engage in shallow chest breathing, which makes it even more conducive to do so. Diaphragmatic breathing exercises, on an as needed basis for prevention of escalating anxiety symptoms. When there are more unknowns than knowns in an emerging public health crisis, self-care for all is critical. Some who are prone to escalating anxiety, panic or related distress may need to work harder through extra self-care. Some of us are more easily “hijacked” by the amydala when anxious, so it is most preferable to make informed decisions, engage in a routine that will feel increasingly normal when alone, more distant or online to stay connected with your purpose. Regulate media exposure and screen for only reputable news sources, including scientific ones that publish on COVID-19. Bilateral stimulation (tapping on both sides of the body), and behavioral activation helps induce calm, combats flight-fight-freeze-faint so we can make informed decisions. Create a meaningful daily/weekly/monthly routine in solitude or with virtual or distant connection.

A wise shaman wrote that during this public health crisis, we are learning through paradoxes. To add to that, remember, many public venues, services and facilities are closed or working on limited hours FOR NOW to best serve us, the public. 🙂


Later this evening:
So a cousin of mine in China wrote the following in our vitual correspondence re: easing up on lockdown requirements from what I’ve been reading online. I don’t know what’s real, sensational or fake news these days. Upon my inquiry, the following is an excerpt of what he wrote:

“In Hangzhou, where I live, the local government required businesses to apply for restarting work and permits were issued based on priority of business – starting with essential services. Number of staffs allowed to return was limited as well and gradually released in batches – don’t have exact figures but was about 30% for first 2 weeks.

On top of that, they issued a “green code” – a QR code for the citizens. This allowed “safe” people to move around. The code was based on AI research- encroached privacy but was efficient and brought convenience to safe population rather than a blanket quarantine during the early days.

So …. privacy is a double edged sword.”

Thoughts on govt. issued QR codes to maximize public health safety based on AI research? Oh boy. How do you think that would work in the “free” states of the West?


It was reviewed and got back my green code though in like half and hour.”

Wow, codes for citizens to move around in their country. Thoughts?

Advertisement

COVID-19: OMG! A compassionate memoir by an Anxiety Disorder & Health Psychologist.

Legal disclaimer: My blog is not a subsititue for or an agreement to particpate in medical and/or mental health treatment. My content is for educational purposes only. Should you need or continue to need professional care from a health practitioner of any type, please consult with or seek them.

3/15/2020

Oh my God! Eyebrows rose after learning about COVID-19 in China, then we hear about a national lockdown in Italy— “We don’t have any time. The numbers are showing that there has been a significant growth in infections, people in intensive care and deaths,” announced Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy in his national lockdown speech. “Our habits have to change right now. We must give things up for Italy.” Huh? Whispers are turning into confusion and escalate into intense anxiety, preparation, some panicing intermittently when Cristina Higgins, an American who currently lives in Italy, painted a daunting picture of the devastating spread of COVID-19 infection spread among the Italian population, the hospital healthcare system with its triage, nurses collapsing at work with their masks on during the national lockdown in Italy.

So, a little about me: I’m a health and gerospsychologist in NYC. Upon entering the long and short term care facility at work, I’m screened with questions and for a fever before going beyong security. My patients and their families and friends have strong, mixed reactions to the visitor ban. OMG. My patients are lonely and do not know when and in some cases, IF they will ever see their loved ones again. In my 10 years of geropsychological work, I have NEVER seen such drastic and severe changes in such a short amount of time. With older parents who have underlying health conditions, I’m qite concerned. Heck, I have underlying health conditions and will be 50 in less than a month. Holy moly. Is this real?

An escalation of scientific articles online, some questionable “is this sensational or fake news” articles (such as China claiming that COVID-19 is “airborne”, date Sept 2, 2020 and posted on about March 14, 2020 haha wink wink), a barrage of updates from Mayors, Senators, and Federal officials concerning the ramifications of the virus in every aspect of our lives that is removing ourselves from our benchmark of normalcy at pace with which we can barely keep up! One day Mayor De Blasio of NYC insists that the ppublic schools will NOT close with his reasons, people demanding he reverse his stance, Governor Cuomo of New York insisting that the schools close and voila! Today, at about 5:41pm Sundnay night, the Mayor announces that the public school system will be shut town starting MMonday March 16th 2020 until at LEAST April 20th, 2020. Also, tonight at around 10:15, bars and restaruants and cafes will only be able to offer take out and delivery services while nightclubs, movie theaters, small thereater houses and concert venues will be shut down by his Executive Order on Tuesday March 17th! Unprecedented and unfamomable not only to those born after the H1N1 influenza post 1918-1919, but to all of us just about 4-5 days prior. What a humbling experience not only for the public, but given the conflicting, falllse and undetermined factors that coincide with COVID-19, humbling to the medical and scientific communities, political and overall health care industries as well. Which leads me to my next point…..

This gives each and every one of us to push the “reset” button for the greater good on every level as we know it. Be safe and well everyone. Let’s take care of ourselves, each other, and the planet.

When an apocalypse feels like it’s at the tip of your fingertips, waiting to usurp you and those you care about, remember this: informed decisions and preparation help regulate the nervous system. Panic mode is a train wreck waiting to happen. #frazzleandfrenzyfreeamidcovid19/20!

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. Day 39



3/2/20

39 days to fifty years 39 juicy days!

“A wonkey eye is a good symbol of a life that has gone awry.”— Dr. Manju

So here I am creeping ever not so slowly into 50 years old. They weren’t kidding wwhen they said that time goes faster as you get older. Apparently, it has something to do with living more years, so the more time you have behind you, the faster it seems to go since time is so familiar. Meh.

Today I went to Quest Diagnostics for a routine procedure and although it was a warm day for Febraury in New York City, I felt my wonkey, wandering wall right eye giving me grief. It was hard to focus. The swollen feeling in the eyeball, the surrounding muscles not being tame and in sync with the muscles surrounding my left eye. It was discombobulating, annoying, making me wonder how to fix this? God forbid I get a stroke, would my intermittent wandering right eye be permanent? That would make me look wonky forever. Willy Wonka didn’t have a wonkey eye. Why should I?
I could feel my 50s approaching. While reading a number out loud at Quest Diagnostics, I had to verify it a second time, walking slower as I approached the woman who helped me, feeling my ailing eyesight requiring more time and patience, at least on my behalf.

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. Day 40 “Even if you believe everything is meaningless and a random series of events by chance, your ability to make meaning out of what happens is Divine.”— Dr. Manju

3/1/2020 40 days to fifty

“Even if you believe everything is meaningless and a random series of events by chance, your ability to make meaning out of what happens is Divine.”— Dr. Manju

This is so true! I see other people making milestones in their lives at the lifespan trajectory continues, yet here I am…still strategizing about my career and wishing things were better. It “should” (should statements are cognitive distortions), have been better, hell even easier than this.

I see these sci-fi movies making major leaps in the box office. Hmmm. As a newly claimed “child of the cosmos”, my response to anyone who immediately asks, “Where are you from?” without knowing a smidgeon of my humanity. These cosmic, sentient forces that people can relate with…not so far fetched from the different manifestations of Brahma via all the Gods, Goddessess and hybrids of humans and animals. Surely premonitions, intuition, “close calls”, deja vus… all by random chance without explanation, even explanation beyond human reasoning? Well, even if everything is meaninglesss and random, my ability to make meaning out of what happens is amazing. In fact, it is Divine.

And so it is 40 days to 50 years of age for me. That makes me relfect on letting go of my 40’s with love. Bittersweet. A friend of mine and I were talking about heterosexual relationships and she clued me in to the preconceived notion that women in their 40’s are nymphs. Looking back at that conversation, that is (sort of) funny, in a sitcom way. I wonder, what will the 50s be like? Older women 50 and beyond used to tell mme that “When you’re over 50, you’re invisible.” A patient of mine at a group practice told me this as she discussed being layed off from her job. I remember jumping in and saying (as an almost 39-year old), slightly defensively to downplay the advantges of female youth, “Even when you’re 40.” No, my 40s were a gift with a lot of pain. Looking for Mr.Right to start a family. Calling adoption agencies, hoping that the prospects of adopting a child from Nepal would brighten. Perhaps other foreign countries would lessen the requiremments that appeared even more difficult for single wwomen to adopt? Going to fertility clinics and attending Single Women by Choice meetings, considering having a child without a man. Heckk, I even sponsored a child in Nepal only to learn that her biological mother murdered her and her brother due to family strife. This is unheard of among Sherpas, so that was mortifying, not only tragic. For my plethora of health issues, I couldn’t have a child of my own without being partnered. I wonder how I will feel about that after 50, on my deathbed? Flashbacks of one of my patients who had flesh eating syndrome, also had been recovering in subacute physical therapy and with a chronic medical condition I have as well, told me of her miscarriage. She was in her apartment, screaming while witnessing her baby’s umbilical cord come out of her body. That memory burned into my soul.
Another patient who was very cognitively impaired looked at me before our session formally began. I do not disclose my personal life very much with patients, so it is amazing what her higher self picked up without my disclosure while working with her. She said, “You feel bad that you never married and had children.” Thhen she continued compassionately, “There is a lot of problems that happen when you marry and have kids. God knew that was too much for you to handle. So, don’t feel bad about it.” My patient, married twice and bore 4 children, was not even being condescending, pitying or self-righteoous. It seemed as if she were channeling in to a higher force and delivering a message as a medium. She conveyed that my singledom and childlessness was an act of compassion by God.

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Never mess with a men-oh-pause, oh please (eye roll) woman.”—Dr. Manju Day 42

2/28/20
42 days to 50

Let’s pause: Speaking of power and privilege, a theme on my blog and how it relates to turning 50, pardon the heterocis language. I own my immediate biases and unearned power and privilege as a heterocis woman.

Looking back from my post yesterday (written less than an hour ago got to catch up haha): Being 50 definitely is going to have its quirks. I’m okay with using my intermittent menopausal resurgence of chagning hormonal levels to use the real “don’t fuck with me attitude” with others. When pissed, I can rightfully pull off the “Honey, I have lived and will be living life, so don’t fuck with me. I can see through your bullshit. Cut the crap and cut it now.” While I’ve always maintained this stance, I can back it up with my years. 🙂

Sarcasm, mockery, imitation about the absurdity of one’s behavior, thinking and judgment is exaggerated for me to make a point with more brazenness and confidence, given the years behind me.

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Today is the oldest you’ve ever been, and the youngest you’ll ever be again.”—Eleanor Roosevelt Day 43

43 Days to 50.

Vulnerability and aging. It’s really 2/28/20 going into 2/29/20. I”M countinng. 😉

My 74 year-old patient was seen for paranoia, which I thought was going to lead into a conversation about racism and his perceived forfeited authority as a successful White male and in a short-lived career as a police officer. Trauma from being on-duty came about, to my surprise I did not know he had shot and killed what seemed to be a very paranoid middle-aged Black male, reportedly from Bellevue on the street who asked him, “What are you doing?” Apparently, my patient was doing a mundane task of documenting what he was doing while patrolling, and sadly, patrolling alone, which is typically against the rules. Before my patient could respond, the guy unexpectedly took out a pipe from behind and struck my patient on the head, to which my patient instinctively responded by taking out his gun and shot him i self-defense for his life. So, my patient’s beliefs about “uneducated people,” “justice,” and suvival instincts in a nursing home came about. Towards the end of the session, my patient became teary-eyed, during the emergency hospital visit in which he had to get 14 stitches on his head after the blow by the guy with the pipe, his father told his mother he was “too tired” to go to the hospital. His mother tried to expolain such strange behavior by saying his father “might have not been feeling well” at the time. According to my patient, his father was an alcoholic. Was his mother using code words for drunk? Neither my patient nor I will ever know.

Justice. Aging. How does that fit together in a long term facility? How does that fit even when independent and in reasonable health 50 and beyond? This is where I try to clutch onto my “old age of youth” in my very dwindling days as a” 40 year-old something” to dear life. Oh God. Are my 40’s really slipping away from the tips of my fingers? Yes they are. I have to stay in the moment. I’m going to modify Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote from above: “This moment is the youngest I will ever be for the rest of my dear life as I blend into my 50’s in spacetime.” 😮

Being 50 definitely is going to have its quirks. I’m okay with using my intermittent menopausal resurgence of chagning hormonal levels to use the real “don’t fuck with me attitude” with others. When pissed, I can rightfully pull off the “Honey, I have lived and will be living life, so don’t fuck with me. I can see through your bullshit. Cut the crap and cut it now.” While I’ve always maintained this stance, I can back it up with my years. 🙂

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age.” —Victor Hugo Day 50

02/22/2020 48 days to 50

So, not a good day. Still sick on my forth day of azithromycin but still coughing more than I would have otherwise expected. And, one of my favorite things to do…go to the dentist for a cleaning, second year in a row learning that I have a cavity refill that is needed. Yay! More bills to pay.
“You’re PMSing,” my boyfriend told me.
Yes. And no. I’m premenopausing, a constant transition that intensified depending on where my hormones levels reach and interact as my fertility decreases; if it even exists at this point.

Men —oh–pause. I hate to say it, but my boyfriend is right. And I could feel the PMS without him even having to say it. We’ve gone down this road on ground hog’s day many a time, one too many.

My third eye is seized by Rupell’s griffon vulture’s aggressive tendencies to want to seize and devour what it can. Uh-oh. Time to go to bed. Good night.

One good thing—I took care of myself with a massage today. Self-care is not to be sneezed at as I approach 50 on every level.

Enough said. Don’t let the bed bugs bite. 🙂

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.. 😉

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Wisdom comes with winters.” —Oscar Wilde

Day 49 02/21/2020, 49 days til 50. Wow. That’s amazing. I don’t have a linear of logical explanation for my awe, but it feels amazing in an odd way. That reminds me, 49 days–I am 49 years old and letting go of my 40’s with love. Despite not having been married, which continues to make “love” and a bond legitimate, I still feel it in a way those who never made the societal standard “cut” like me would perhaps feel more inclined with which to resonate.
Stop babbling Manju.

So my 50-day journey, begins in the doldrums of winter (yesterday and today were quite cold) and I hope the season will indeed attract the wisdom that I seek to always hone. The gyps ruepellii, or Rupell’s griffon vulture, is the African bird species type that can fly at the highest altitude known to humankind to date (37,000 feet above sea level). It depends on its vision to identify prey and when this is done in flight, it will bear down, spread its wings accordingly, extending its neck into its feast, and can eat ravagely. They are so resilient, the Rupell’s griffon can safely consume toxic meat that would kill people and other species quickly. While I do not consider myself to be predatory, I use the adaptive physical nature and sharp, panoramic vision that Rupell’s benefit from integrated with the third eye chakra for intuition, our “sixth sense” into my 50s. Funny enough, Rupell’s are known to live a span of 40-50 years. So I take the Rupell’s bird spirit into my 50th birthday as a mortal sentient human being. 🙂 The bird’s eye in the cosmic third eye.

A Woman’s Personal Fifty Days to Fifty Years: A Loving Tribute as a Geropsychologist. “Forty is the old age of youth, fifty is the youth of old age.” —Victor Hugo

Day 48 It is 02/20/2020, perfect “vision” for the first day that I embark on Fifty days to Fifty. On April 10, 2020 I will be fifty years old! Fifty is a very emotional milestone for people to hit.. Outdated images of women with mostly grey hair, sagging skin and wrinkles dressed in unbecoming matronly clothing flash into many people’s minds, whether spoken or not.

“Men-oh-pause” as the joke goes, 50 and 51 is the average age for menopause, when the age of natural childbearing is scoffed at or highly discouraged.

Wow, half a century—to be 50, the first birthday one is allowed to join the AARP club!


“Middle aged”

“Once you turn 50 (as a woman), you become invisible” — I have heard this so many times as a young woman, it’s chilling and dare I say, obsolete now in 2020!

I am undertaking 50 days to 50 as a therapeutic tool for myself to compassionately embrace an age that I have conflicting feelings about, including but not limited to: joy, awe, sadness, amusement, strangeness, denial, acceptance, bewilderment and curiosity; to walk my audience through my experience of entering the milestone age, and to impart wisdom in the process. What you are reading is my writing in real time. 🙂

As I release my 40’s into the proceeding 50 days, I do so while reconciling my regrets (failed trials of trying to settle down and start a family), anger and failed relationships with family, friends and colleagues, and not having launched my private business in full swing (yet)….that is for my upcoming 50s! Most of all, however, I embrace letting go of my 40s with love, which I am determined to dovetail and guide me into the new decade of my years. To turn 50 in 2020 feels like a symbolic honor in itself: newness, hindsight, foresight with a balanced perspective.

Namaste, ’til tomorrow.