Down To Earth Newsletter
Volume 7 – Issue 3 – March, 2008
NAMI Walks – March 29 – Join Dr. Marlo’s dyNAMIc Do-Gooders on Saturday down at the Arizona State Capitol for the Annual NAMI Walks event. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is the nation’s largest grassroots organization for people with mental illness and their families. Founded in 1979, NAMI has affiliates in every state and in more than 1,100 local communities across the country. NAMI is dedicated to the eradication of mental illnesses and to the improvement of the quality of life for persons of all ages who are affected by mental illnesses. Walk with our team in this leisurely 5K or make a donation to NAMI.
Debunking Myths – I’m too old for that!
Myth: Imagine a suggestion from a friend, family member, or even from your therapist, to which you would respond, “I’m too old for that.” It happens all the time that we tell ourselves and others that we are “too old” to do certain things.
Fact: There is very little that is truly limited by a maximum age.
There are plenty of things that are restricted based on a minimum age. You cannot babysit until you’re about 12 or drive until you are around 15, you cannot vote until 18, drink alcohol until 21, reserve a rental car in your own name until 25, be President of the United States until 35, or begin collecting your Social Security until age 62. However, there really aren’t many formal limits that declare a maximum age.
Oh sure, you can’t join the Marines for the first time if you’re over 28 (although you could still join the Army up to age 42), most police and fire crews discourage starting that career after 35, and you might be limited in your professional practice as a lawyer over the age of 70, but chances are, those aren’t the sorts of things we’re talking about when we say, “I’m too old for that.”
Often, the types of things we say we’re “too old” for are fun things like going on amusement park rides, celebrating birthdays noisily in restaurants, or getting all dressed up for a night out on the town. You’re never too old for fun.
Other things we say we’re “too old” for are challenging things like going back to school, changing careers, starting a family, learning a new language, or picking up a new hobby. You’re never too old for challenge.
We also like to say we’re “too old” for scary things like moving to a new city, traveling overseas, starting a business, writing a book, dating, getting married, getting divorced, going to a movie by ourselves, skydiving, race car driving, or playing on the monkey bars on a playground. You’re never too old to do scary things.
However, you may be “TOO EXPERIENCED” to want to do those things.
That is, you may have done enough scary things in your life, hurt yourself enough, and are no longer willing to trade the chance of injury for the fun. If you have lived a full and exciting life, you have done a number of physically – and mentally – dangerous things, you have had some fun, some pain, and now you have enough experience to evaluate your options and choose the ones that are most likely to maximize the fun and minimize the pain. That’s not “too old,” that’s just plain smart!
Now, when you haven’t really taken many risks, you haven’t put yourself too far out there, you haven’t really challenged yourself and you’re starting to see your desired options disappear, that, again, is not you getting “too old,” but rather, getting hopeless, remorseful, and regretful and those conditions are just as dangerous as whatever the feared activity might be.
Although allowing yourself to fall in love with a charming stranger might result in your being swindled out of your life savings, living year after year alone with your money isn’t necessarily a better life. Although the business you start at age 65 may only run for 3 years before going under, that makes you a business owner. Living the 20 years between age 65 and 85 wishing you would have tried only makes you a bitter old person. Although hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim at age 85 might result in death, living every single day of your 85th year in the house, doing nothing but ruminating on all your regrets may also result in death.
So, the next time you’re tempted to say that you’re “too old” to do something, ask yourself if you actually mean you’re too experienced and too smart to try something that will injure you again, or if you’re just becoming hopeless of ever fulfilling your dreams. If it’s the latter, and you’re still breathing, get going. There’s still time!
February Discussion Question: What do you think is the single-most important requirement of a successful relationship?
Lynda B, in Arizona, had this insightful answer:
I would venture to say that the most single important requirement of a successful relationship with others is to have a loving relationship with our self. Being true to who we really are, having the belief that we are a whole human being first is key to being able to have a successful relationship with someone else. Without feeling like a whole person (without someone else to make us whole), the tendency is to try to fulfill our needs and make ourselves whole through someone else – setting up the other person and the relationship for disappointments and failures.
Now, if the question is not geared towards relationships with others, but rather what is the most important requirement for a successful relationship with our selves, I would say the ability to be true (honest) with ourselves.
Also astutely answering was Deb G. in Arizona:
Being open to hearing others is the single most important requirements to a successful relationship. Many people I encounter believe that relationships should be based on being open and sharing feelings, thoughts and beliefs. One must also be able to receive information to form the relationship. Hearing the other person, through words, emotions or social cues, is what starts the relationship.
Dave F, also from Arizona, offers this thoughtful response:
I think there is no one thing – I think theres 4 things required for a successful long-term relationship that can survive the unexpected events of life:
* Shared core values – Those deeply held values and beliefs that determine how each will behave, especially in difficult situations
* Shared life hopes/dreams – Those few key life goals each hopes to achieve
* Compatibility on key relationship needs – Hard to describe briefly other than what it isnt – take a case of a wheelchair-bound person with a high-energy dog; they may love each other dearly but the dog will trash the owners house if it cant get the exercise it needs, the dog will be perceived as “misbehaving”, and the owner will be pissed off
* That “spark” or “magic” that attracts two people in the beginning
And I really don’t think common interests are all that important if these 4 things exist.
Ida S., of WI, reports this key to her happy marriage:
The single most important part of a relationship is humor. First and foremost – humor. Laugh out loud – belly aching – humor.
Jennifer P, in Arizona had this fantastic answer:
trust. if i don’t trust you, i won’t feel that i can make myself vulnerable enough to you to love you, to share my love and my heart, and all the hopes, dreams, and desires that includes, with you. if i don’t trust you, i question you; i have doubts about you and, thereby, your love and our relationship; i won’t be fully present and authentic in the relationship so that you can truly get to know me and i you; and, as so often happens, i may unwittingly–or even knowingly!–sabotage the relationship.
And, Bill W., of Colorado, states succinctly: Spontaneity.
Thanks, everyone! Your DrMarlo prizes are on their way!
March Discussion Question: What “mistake” have you made that positively enhanced your life in ways you didn’t anticipate?
E-mail answers to: email@example.com and answers will appear next month. Your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used unless you tell us not to use them. Anyone who responds and also includes a mailing address will receive our fantastic information cards, RECOVERY REMINDERS, and a couple of temporary tattoos, just for fun.
Thought For The Day: Watch for blessings wherever they occur.
GUEST WRITER – Rachel Thomas, MA, LMFT
The Struggle With Infertility
It is no secret that men and women cope with stress differently. When infertility creeps in upon a relationship it is often one of the first true crises that a couple encounters. Infertility is on the rise. Greater than five million people of childbearing age in the United States will experience infertility (Domar, 2002). Infertility is defined as the failure to produce a pregnancy that results in a live birth after six months of attempting conception for women over the age of 35 and one year for women under the age of 35.
Typically, the most common marital issues that couples struggle with are sex and money (Domar, 2002). With infertility, couples struggle with both. What was once a fun and carefree adventure of “creating life” may become a chore and lead to internal pressure to perform. Eventually both partners may associate sex with failure, frustration, and anxiety.
The cost of infertility treatment may be in the thousands of dollars. This has the potential to compound the couples issues related to sex and finances to a higher degree. Unfortunately, few couples have health insurance that covers multiple procedures or any procedures at all. This leads towards big decisions and discussions over whether to take out a loan, borrow money from family, and/or deciding how much they want to invest in this unpredictable process (Domar, 2002).
Along with sex and money, infertility can also interfere with work, family, and friends. Strong feelings of jealousy, rage, and longing arise and are communicated and shared in different ways. Since most people are unprepared for infertility, the grief envelopes them as they cope with hopes and dreams being different than they planned. While stress does not cause infertility, infertility definitely causes stress (Domar, 2002).
The good news is that two-thirds of infertile couples who seek medical intervention are able to give birth (Domar, 2002). Eventually couples do move through the infertility chapter in their lives, whether it ends with a biological baby, an adopted baby, or a choice to be childless.
The goal in the therapy process is to provide a safe environment for couples to reconnect and find ways to support each other. Helping couples stay mindful and in the present moment, finding new ways to stay intimate, and listening to each others needs, will not only help them through infertility, it will also provide a foundation of mutual support as their life continues on. It has been said that infertility is like riding a roller coaster with anticipation, nervous-excitement, and some jerks and twists along the way. As therapists, our role is to provide the mindful support, and remind them of all of their choices that are in this amusement park called life.
Domar,Alice D.(2002). Conquering infertility: Dr. Alice Domar’s Mind/Body guide to enhancing fertility and coping with infertility.New York: Penguin Books.
Rachel Thomas, MA, LMFT is currently in private practice in Scottsdale. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Arizona and California and has been practicing for over 10 years. She specializes in infertility/reproductive care, grief and loss, and couples issues. Rachel is the Professor in Charge of the MFT Concentration at Ottawa University. Please feel free to contact her at (480) 888-5380 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Her website is www.therapywithheart.com.
E-Coaching! Try it Now!
Not every problem is a mental illness. Not every issue is a trauma. Not every botherment is an emotional disorder. For life’s daily issues and for personal growth, now there is E-Coaching! Dr. Marlo Archer offers a 10-session consultation package for people who are not diagnosed with any mental illness who would just like some coaching, some guidance, or some personal growth. We are offering the 10-Session package for $500. Begin by using PayPal to send a $500 payment to DrMarlo@drmarlo.com, then send an e-mail to that same e-mail address, expressing your specific area of concern to begin!
Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness – Entertainment and Education
Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness has entered YEAR FOUR and we have moved the date to Thursday around lunch time. We continue to show a free movie with a mental health theme and interested parties can stay after the movie for a discussion about the movie. One credit informal CE is awarded for a $10 fee. Networking 11:15am-11:30am. Movie at 11:30am, Discussion until 2pm. Suggest movies for April, May, June, or July. If your selection is chosen and you have included your mailing address, we will send you a FREE DVD MOVIE from previous years’ Dr. Marlo’s Movie Madness. Sign up for Movie Madness updates by sending a blank e-mail with ‘subscribe’ in the subject line to MovieMadness@drmarlo.com.
Publish Your Work – Promote your Practice – Two ways to publish – for free as a semi-anonymous author (your state of residence, your first name and last initial will be used), or, for $15, as a professional promoting a mental health practice (your full name, with credentials, address, phone number, and e-mail address will be included). We reserve the right to decline to publish any submissions. Current subscribers = 2793. Send creative contributions to: email@example.com.
Dr. Marlo in the Media
We write a monthly column about teenagers for Arizona Together Newspaper, Arizona’s Good News “Newspaper,” Established 1991. Read March’s Article, “It’s Trauma to Me” online. Arizona Together currently reaches 50,000 readers monthly who are interested in recovery from addictions of all kinds.
The Psychology Session – Internet Radio Show – SEASON THREE IN FULL SWING – Season Three is attracting MORE GUESTS! Our March 11th show featured Karen Gage. All three seasons of The Psychology Session are available online – and – you don’t have to even download them anymore, you can just play them right out of the webpage! Let’s hear it for Producer Jon! We continue to welcome show suggestions and advertising sales. E-mail suggestions or inquiries to PsychologySession@drmarlo.com. Order SEASON ONE AND TWO ON CD! Only $20. Send requests to PsychologySession@drmarlo.com.
Dare to Dream! –Marlo J. Archer, Ph.D.