Posts Tagged ‘dysfunction’

The Real Causes Of Depression Have Been Discovered, And They’re Not What You Think

Monday, March 12th, 2018

Johann Hari, author most recently of Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions, writes:

The more I investigated depression and anxiety, the more I found that, far from being caused by a spontaneously malfunctioning brain, depression and anxiety are mostly being caused by events in our lives. If you find your work meaningless and you feel you have no control over it, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you are lonely and feel that you can’t rely on the people around you to support you, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think life is all about buying things and climbing up the ladder, you are far more likely to become depressed. If you think your future will be insecure, you are far more likely to become depressed. I started to find a whole blast of scientific evidence that depression and anxiety are not caused in our skulls, but by the way many of us are being made to live. There are real biological factors, like your genes, that can make you significantly more sensitive to these causes, but they are not the primary drivers.

And that led me to the scientific evidence that we have to try to solve our depression and anxiety crises in a very different way (alongside chemical anti-depressants, which should of course remain on the table).

To do that, we need to stop seeing depression and anxiety as an irrational pathology, or a weird misfiring of brain chemicals. They are terribly painful – but they make sense. Your pain is not an irrational spasm. It is a response to what is happening to you. To deal with depression, you need to deal with its underlying causes. On my long journey, I learned about seven different kinds of anti-depressants – ones that are about stripping out the causes, rather than blunting the symptoms. Releasing your shame is only the start.


What’s better than the cold comfort of cliches for the hurting?

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

There’s something about being heartbroken that makes other people deeply uncomfortable.
It’s not just the excess of emotions; often, it’s a feeling of being helpless and unable to make the heartbroken person feel the slightest bit better. So what do we do when we are faced with someone’s grief? Why, we pull out a few shop-worn yet tried and true clichés to hand to them.


10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Relationship

Friday, January 19th, 2018

Our relationship with our significant other is what motivates us to get up each day, go to work and come back home at the end of the day. And yet, our relationship often is what we ignore; we allow other, less important parts of our life, to come to the forefront and push the relationship to the back burner. Here are ten things you can do right now to help make your relationship stronger and more satisfying.



Sunday, January 14th, 2018


Ted Jones, campus chaplain and English Professor in downtown Denver, doesn’t need more problems. His life has been full of them. More than a few of the clergy seem to think of the church as a sex club, and those who administer the English Department are vipers. Yet, at the beseeching of the spirit of an old woman who appears floating near the stained glass window of St. Elizabeth’s Catholic Church, Ted soon becomes involved with Sharon, the deceased woman’s grown granddaughter.

Damaged though she is, Sharon responds, trying to return the steadfast love that Ted offers. After her grandmother died, she lost that capacity in herself and couldn’t find it in any of the people who professed to love her.

Although Sharon and Ted’s trials are multiple, their love forms the crux of the novel. Such love reaches beyond time and space as we normally conceive them, to involve intersecting planes of existence that touch both past and future.

While fiction, and centrally a love story, it is essentially true. My experiences teaching at CU Denver and the Episcopal Cathedral stick very close to the facts. In light of the current #MeToo movement it is most timely.


The novel ends with a vision of meeting Sharon on the fields of eternity:

For a moment, my earthly sight blurred with tears, I glimpsed Sharon and me. We stood on fields of gold, there, where chronos meets kairos, and earthly time rolls into eternity.

Link to Amazon Reading the Signs page. Here you can examine the cover and read some pages of the book.

Signed copies are also available from me. See WRITING page of this site.

Surviving the holidays after we’ve broken up with our mothers.

Sunday, December 24th, 2017

This article is by Justin Haley Phillips and centers on a woman’s view, but I know from personal experience that men sometimes have to break up with their mothers too. If a parent is so toxic that you can no longer have contact, then you must distance yourself, female or male.
–Thomas Ramey Watson

Phillips writes:

If someone hasn’t experienced a toxic relationship with a parent, their first thought is generally, “But she’s your mother!”

As though giving birth renders a woman infallible…
As though “a mother’s love” is guaranteed selfless and pristine…
As though we should sacrifice our mental and emotional (and perhaps physical) health on the altar of the doting daughter…

Mothers are people, too, and while I love mine dearly, there simply came a time when I needed to set myself apart from her in order to grow.

It was not an easy decision to make.


How To ‘Break Up’ With A Narcissistic Parent

Thursday, December 14th, 2017

“Realizing and accepting that you have one or more narcissistic parents is a long and intensely painful road,” Julie L. Hall told HuffPost. “That’s because children, even adult children, continue to desire love and approval, often against all reason.”

Ultimately, asserting low or no contact with a narcissist parent can be a healthy, liberating choice.

“Creating distance with your parent means giving up the delusion that they will someday change and releasing the feeling of responsibility for them they may have instilled in you,” Hall said.


Who Gets to Choose Which Childhood Experiences Are ‘Appropriate’?

Friday, November 10th, 2017

Fom Christina Berchini’s thoughtful article:

Hard as some parents and guardians might try to shield their children from life’s difficulties and cruelties, other students bring adult issues to our classrooms. I certainly did. My students certainly did. An “appropriate” text, then, is also a text that honors this reality. Students who see their experiences ― however difficult ― reflected in the books they are asked to read might be provided with a coping mechanism through literature.

For example, the well-known young adult novel Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson addresses the issue of teenage rape ― a problem that Anderson’s supporters argue needs to be discussed. Children and teenagers lucky enough to live blissful lives ― the kind of lives my colleague assumed to be the rule, and not the exception ― are also served well by texts that illustrate the real trials and tribulations of childhood and adolescence. Such texts help to build empathetic classroom communities with a more complex understanding of the world, whether or not students have personally experienced such complexities.

8 Underrated Qualities To Look For In A Spouse, According To Experts

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

There are certain important qualities we’re taught to look for in our romantic partners: Are they honest? Are they strong communicators? Are they good at handling money? And the list goes on.

But what about the less obvious signs that someone will make a great husband or wife? We asked relationship experts to tell us what seemingly small things actually say a lot about a person. Below, find out what marriage therapists, psychologists and authors had to say:


Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, flooding, and fire

Thursday, October 19th, 2017

No matter what the media or your friends and family are telling you, we are at the threshold of our own man-made “hell,” and the Devil Winds are here to remind us that no one is immune.

Earthquakes, hurricanes, drought, flooding, and fire—we are spiritually, morally, and physically out of balance. The winds are a symptom, amplified by the warming trend, igniting a fire in our souls. It is time to tend to our communities, to come together to aid our fellow humankind, and to simplify our experience.


The Fundamentalist Christian Chokehold On America

Saturday, September 30th, 2017

The fundamentalist chokehold on American politics seeks to destroy the religious and cultural plurality on which the country, and the Declaration of Independence, was based. These theological divisions – which pit believers against non-believers, and those who believe correctly against those who don’t – are a major contributor to America’s sharply divided politics. When someone believes he or she holds absolute truth, there can be no compromise, no middle ground, and no discussion.

Fundamentalism – Christian, Islam, or any other religious ideology – is the antithesis of progression. Fundamentalism’s dangerous anti-science stance threatens the world’s environment, reduces the efficacy of American education, and leaves citizens unprepared for life in a global economy. Fundamentalism is shrouded in ignorance, backed by authoritarianism, and places an enormous amount of trust in individual leaders. To free us of the religious chokehold, citizens must recognize, and actively vote against the powerful political machine of the Fundamentalist Christian right.


Thomas Ramey Watson is an affiliate faculty member of Regis University's College of Professional Studies. He has served as an Episcopal chaplain (lay), trained as a psychotherapist, done postdoctoral work at Cambridge University, and was named a Research Fellow at Yale University.

In addition to his scholarly writings, he is a published author of poetry and fiction.