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 (gam-anon.org) and Al-anon (al-anon.alateen.org) 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 (samaritaninsititute.org) , Nami (nami.org) and support groups such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (dbsalliance.org) and Recovery International ( lowselfhelpsystems.org )
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 .
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 .