Jacob and Judy start their talk by taking a couple of moments of silence to center themselves. Judy pulls the number eight - tribe from Wisdom of the Oracle Divination Cards. They talk about seeing the needs within a community and ourselves and what it is like to start new things. Judy shares about some of the community organizations she has helped create.
Jacob and Judy pull the Major Arcana card XXI Completion from the Osho Zed Tarot deck. We decide that completion is not always about the specific result but is more of a phase that we go through. There can be many completions that happen. We talk about the need to slow down and look at Judy’s morning ritual as a way of centering herself and connecting with the land. We also discussed our Indigenous ancestors and the land we live on, and how we should be honoring those that came before us.
Over the years, I have talked with many families and individual clients about medications. It is a scary proposition for clients to consider starting a regime of medication. Every family has different reasons to both want to start or not start medication. In my practice, it is crucial to be centered around the client’s desires for medication. My role is often focused on talking through options with clients, discussing where they can get more information, and processing some of their feelings.
Many of my clients have been worried about the length of time they might need to use medications. Sometimes the medicines that people take are indefinite, and they will always need the support offered. Other times, people need more of a short-term intervention. The symptoms that they are experiencing are so severe that it hinders their ability to make any forward progress. One metaphor I have used is that of going up a mountain. They need the help of the medication to make it to a place where they can learn new coping skills and have a period of time that is successful before they are ready to maintain that progress without the support of the medications.
My own experience of quitting smoking is not a one-to-one correlation to the support that psychiatric medications can help, but it feels very related to me. During the start of the Pandemic, I got extremely sick and was struggling to breathe. Since I was a child, I’ve often had an illness that affected my lungs. This last time scared me enough that I decided that I needed to quit smoking finally. Since I was about fourteen years old, I’ve been smoking. This means it has been well over half of my life that I’ve been a smoker. I’ve tried quitting a number of times, but never successfully. I have often, sardonically said that I quit quitting… because I don’t like failing. I decided to talk to my doctor about stopping smoking and was prescribed Chantix. It helped curve my cravings for long enough that once I stopped taking the medication, I was able to stay strong and not restart smoking. It has been almost a year since I quit smoking now. I don’t think I could have done it without the support of Chantix.
The study was completed by a survey sent out to members of National Alliance on Mental Illness, there is also a NAMI Tri-Cities locally. As a case manager years ago at Tri-Cities Community Health, I went with one of my clients to their meetings. I have frequently referred clients to NAMI and feel their organization is a pretty awesome service to the community and those with mental health (and their families). Their mission is “Dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with mental illness and their families through support, education, and advocacy.”
In Bentley and Thissen’s (2021) study, most of the respondents were parents of those with mental illness. Their sons and daughters’ medications were most frequently antidepressants, anti-psychotics, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers. The responses were most frequently from parents of those with mental illness. Out of their report, I found the narrative description their participants provided the most useful as a practitioner. For example, the following is some advice that participants wished they could give to mental health providers:
Increase family inclusion in care: believe, involve, appreciate
Show respect through honesty and access
Educate patients and caregivers in an unbiased and balanced manner
Listen more fully to stories of lived experience
Seek knowledge on new treatments
Embrace collaboration with families and other providers
Be upfront about costs and strive to use affordable options
Provide a milieu of open dialogue, hope, and empathy
Slow down and be kinder and more patient
Bentley, K. J., & Thissen, R. (2021). Family conundrums with psychiatric medication: An inquiry into experiences, beliefs, and desires. Community Mental Health Journal. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-021-00792-y
Jacob and Judy use Pathfinder’s Tarot deck to pull the Fool Card. They talk about the somatic Writing Class that Judy is taking. As a part of the class, she wrote a short Mantra she shared, following the same format as one Amanda Gorman described using. They also talked more about personality and how our parents impact our temperaments.
Judy and Jacob pull the Major Arcana card, breakthrough. They talk about Judy’s time after the Convent in Portland, the breakthroughs and challenges we have in our lives. Judy tells a story about getting into a scary situation while working in a psychiatric unit. We also talk about how experiences growing up can impact us and the need to identify what is happening in our minds.
This one was a fun one. I also got my mom to give me some photos of her in her habit, while she was in the convent.
As a young child, I spent a lot of time in cars. Whether we were going back and forth between the Walla Walla State Penitentiary or going on a road trip, my mom and I listened to a lot of “books on tape.” We heard murder mysteries, educational books, and so many more. I remember listening to Dune traveling down the Oregon Coast and talk about our car being a mobile university.
I also listen to a lot of podcasts. In 2014, I wrote Jump in The Stream, Favorite Podcasts where I shared some of my favorite podcasts at the time. I still listen to most of the podcasts on that list, but the number of different podcasts I listen to has grown along, and which ones get priority. Maybe at some point, I will write up something about my current listening habits. If you are looking for some great shows, I value the Relay FM network and all of the great shows.
I have also been trying to get my kids interested in listening to audio. We have listened to some audiobooks. They enjoyed The Wizard of Oz, which was one of the first books I got them to listen to on the way to a camping trip a couple of years back. They have also enjoyed WOW in the World and Circle Round. Lately, every time we get into the car, even if we are only going five minutes away, they say to put on the Mother Dearest Show. When I have put it on, they always get reticent and listen, but afterward, they tell me that I should make it less boring. They figure the way to make it less boring would be for them to be on it.
What is this, you might be asking yourself, how would they get on to the podcast? The Mother Dearest Show is a new podcast made with my mom (Judy Dirks) and me. It is actually so new that it’s not even listed in the Apple Podcasts directory yet. I recently submitted it for review, but it takes about five days to approve new shows. If you search next week, you should be able to find it there.
So far, we have done two episodes, and it has been enjoyable. The general premise is me talking with my mom about a subject. If you know my mom, you know that she is a pretty amazing woman. She helped start a couple of non-profits. The last couple of years, I have had her come in and speak to the students in my Social Work Classes. She always gets them excited, and they tell about how great her time was with them.
To start each episode, we have been drawing tarot-style cards and connecting with the topic. The first card was from my Zen Deck and was going with the flow and the second one was from My mom’s Oracle Divination Cards and the Yang card. It has been fascinating to see how each episode how it connects with the topics. We have explored some counseling practices, my mom being in the convent, and some other interesting conversations. I figure the topics will range from areas that we have some shared interest or family interest.
The initial notes that I took when I was first starting thinking about wanting to do this project were dated October 2015. I had started brainstorming what it could look like and some possible topic ideas. I’ve considered it on and off again for years but have kept putting it off. I finally decided that this was something I’m going to start now. My intention behind this project is multifaceted. First, I want to have an excuse to talk to my mom. I think some of our conversations will be about her growing up, or maybe about my dad and all kinds of things I want to be able to capture and save. Second, I want to learn how to create a podcast. I must share that Relay FMs member-only podcast, Backstage, really helped me start learning the basics. I think it sounds ok so far, but I would like to make it better and know that going through this process will improve my editing skills and speaking skills. I don’t have any other projects I’m looking to start right now, but who knows what the future may hold.
Anyways, I’m proud to share these and would love for people to check them out. You see the episode at our website https://motherdearest.show/ or right here… and eventually, they will be everywhere you listen to your podcasts.
Jacob and Judy pull from the Wisdom of the Oracle Divination Cards and get Yang card. We talked about the Course of Miracles, Judy’s time as a Postulant with the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace. We also talk about silent retreats and connecting without ourselves and systems U-Theory for systems thinking and co-creation.
Jacob and Judy record their first episode of this podcast. We pull the Ace of Water: Going with the Flow from the Zen Tarot Card deck. We talked about using Tarot style cards in individual mental health services, along with her use of EMDR with clients who have a history of trauma.