Saturday, March 19, 2005

"Too Soon Old: Too Late Smart"

It's flying off the shelves - a self-help guide that promotes personal responsibility:
"The statute of limitations has expired on most of our childhood traumas... .Any relationship is under the control of the person who cares the least... .Feelings follow behavior... .Only bad things happen quickly... .There is nothing more pointless, or common, than doing the same things and expecting different results."
The author, Dr. Gordon Livingston, MD, is a Maryland psychiatrist. In Psychiatric News, he's praised for "avoiding sound-bite solutions to life's eternal problems." He's been compared to Job:
In 1991 Livingston's 22-year-old son Andrew committed suicide after a long struggle with bipolar disorder. Lucas, his youngest son, was diagnosed with leukemia six months later. That child died at age 6 after an unsuccessful bone-marrow transplant from his father.

How does one deal with such losses? Not with the aim of reaching closure about the experience, said Livingston.

In fact, he wrote, "Like all who mourn, I learned an abiding hatred for the word `closure' with its comforting implications that grief is a time-limited process from which we all recover."

Instead, Livingston wrote of the possibility of honoring the memory of his children by expressing the love he feels for them to those who still need him.
He has some harsh words for psychiatry:
"Managed care and insurance company reimbursement schedules have turned many of us into pill pushers."

He laments the diminishing role of the psychiatrist as a "source of wisdom and guidance for people seeking help with the eternal questions of how to live meaningful lives."
Click for Eugene, Oregon Forecast