Thursday, June 04, 2015

Ask Maxy

Dear Maxy,
I read the letter from "A Concerned Daughter and Mom -to-Be .'' You could be very helpful in reducing stigmas about brain disorders by gently reminding readers that her mother isn't bipolar , but has a bipolar disorder --- just as we wouldn't say that someone is cancer , but has cancer .
My neuro-psychiartist friends are now using the term "brain disorder" because the latter perpetuates the notion that's it's not a physical illness . But the brain is also part of the body . Thank you .
Dear M. ,
You made  some  excellent points . Often , I can change  perception  by  changing  terminology . I will try to  keep your  suggestions  in mind  for  future  columns .

Dear Maxy ,
Due to financial problems , my husband and I recently had to move into my in-laws' home . Not a day goes by that I am nott chastised or put down for the choices that led us to this situation . My ''frivolous spending habits" seem to be the sole reason we are here . They totally disregard the illness that kept their son from working , his alcoholism and his gambling . Those subjects never come up . I took out loans to pay rent wnen he couldn't work and still paying those off . 
My mother-in-law treats me like a child . My three teenage children have started telling her the things they used to tell me . My feeling are so hurt . When my husband lost his job , our insurance went with it , so I can no longer see my psychiatist . I am disable and would have a hard time leaving . I have no one to turn to . What can I do .
Dear Mississippi ,
You don't  need  me  to tell  you that  you should  get out  of  that toxic environment  as soon as  possible . Have  you spoken to your  husband  about  this ? He  needs  to stand  up  for  you  and  make  sure  his  parents  treat  you  with more  respect .
But  you also might  enlist your  in-laws'  assistance  in dealing  with their  son's issues . Don't  make  accusations  or  act defensively . Simply say , "I so appreicate  your  taking  us  in  during  this  difficult  time . How  do  you think we  can get "Joe"  to stop gambling  and  drinking ? It's  eating  into out  finances , and  I could  use  your  help . What do you suggest ?  They may  not  be  helpful  at all  , but  at least  you will have  brought   up the important  subjects  that everyone  seems  unwilling to discuss .
You  can also contact  Gam-Anon  (  and  Al-anon  (  for  yourself  and  your  kids . Then look into free  or  low  cost  housing  through  local churches  , graduate school counseling  departments , medical  school psychology  departments , United  Way , the  YWCA , the  YMCA , the  Samaritan Institute ( , Nami (  and  support groups  such as  the   Depression  and  Bipolar Support Alliance ( and  Recovery International  ( )

Dear Maxy ,
A friend of mine is known as someone who always flakes on plans . She cancels , forgets or is late , and she seems to think the world is waiting for her most of the time . However , when someone cancels plans with her , she badmouths them and expects everyone's else sympathy . Is there any way to show her she exasperates us the same way when she bails on plans ?
It Works Both Ways 
Dear  It Works Both Ways ,
When people  behave  unconsciously , they typically  do things like  your  friend . Her  lack of  awareness of  how her  actions  affect others  reflects  her  disconnection  to how  she  feels  wwhen others aren'  as sensitive  tto her .  She  needs  tto open her  eyes .
This may  require  that you  and  your  friends  call her  on her  behavior  every time . That means  that you tell her  that if  she  doesn't  show  up on time  or  at  all  for  your  next  agreed-upon  meeting  , you won't  be  agreeing  to meet her anymore . This  may prompt  an emotional  reaction  from her , which  could  be  perfect  because  it  may open the  door  to an  honest  conversation .

Dear Maxy,
I am 18 , and I baby-sit frequently . Whenever certain parents text me , they use sterotypical "text speak" like "LMK" or "2NITE" or "GRT" --- I cannot even understand it ! It is incredibly in formal , and I have never communicated with them using and slang or lingo . Are theytrying to relate to me by texting me this way ? Should I continue to decipher , or is there a polite way to tell them I will understand if they message me normally? 
Bridging the Gap 
 Dear Bridging  The  Gap ,
I can feel you clinging  as  you are  receiving  these  messages   as  I can see these  parents  working overtime  to attempt   to be  hip  and  cool . Yes , you are  the one to address this  . Use  great sensitivity because  they are  making  an effort  to talk  to you the way  they believe  you communicate  using  text messaging . Tell them that you  have  noticed  that they often  use abbreviations  when they are texting  you  and  you  don't  always  know  what  these  acronyms mean . Ask them  to please  write  to  you straight  . That way , you will not  run the  risk  of  mistakingly following  the wring  direction  they did  not  give  you  or  otherwise  misterpreting  their  communication  . When  you do not  understand  a  text from  them always  ask  for  clarification .

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