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Mad Women: What Are You Mad About?

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What Makes You Mad?

Posted by Joanne Martin
Joanne Martin
Joanne Martin has not set their biography yet
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on Wednesday, 22 August 2012
in Blogs

What Makes You Mad

All it took for me today was a headline in the morning newspaper. It read, “Low-income mothers prone to anxiety”. “Anxiety”. That is what they call it today. What I’m talking about is that dis-ease that women get when they are simply overwhelmed.   In Freud’s day it was called “hysteria”. When I was still a child, my mother had a bad case of it. They called hers “a nervous breakdown”. She had several, in fact. They treated her with shock treatment. Not surprisingly, it didn’t help. Because it didn’t address the cause! The woman had eight children for heaven’s sake, one every two years. (She literally had them “for heaven’s sake” since she had tried the then new “birth control pill” but flushed it down the toilet because she was Roman Catholic, and the Pope had called it sinful.) Meanwhile, she had no family support. She was isolated, frustrated, exhausted, and broke!   “Breakdown”? Well, duh!

Psychology was a young science back then - in the 50s - and it still is! Shock treatments are much less common now though. And there are many more women in medicine now. But the majority of doctors are still diagnosing this dis-ease that women suffer as though it were a mental illness, or a psychological disorder. And, for the most part, they are treating it with pharmaceuticals. But medication is never enough. And it certainly does not address the cause. Which is? In my opinion, and it is one shared by others, the problem is that for many women, her roles tend to subsume her very self. In those feminine roles she loses the opportunity to express herself and, with the exception of childbirth, to be creative. She becomes like a “caged bird”.

A woman’s psychological development requires integration of many facets of herself in order for her to become a whole and healthy human being. When a woman is limited to only one or two roles, she can feel or act mad because the unactualized parts of herself are struggling to express themselves. If she is not aware of her frustration, her anger at her unlived life is likely to be directed unconsciously at her children, her husband, her parents, her friends, or even herself. This accounts for the inexplicable moodiness of many mothers who seem “mad” to their children.

                                                   ~ Linda Schierse Leonard, Meeting the Madwoman

Doctors don’t have time to address this need; and pharmaceuticals certainly won’t do it. “Talk” therapy is expensive, and beyond the reach of most women. What is the answer? Other women! You need to know that while you might be angry, you are not “mad”, not if “mad” means crazy.   You are not crazy; and you are not alone. Talk with your “sisters”.   Join a book club. Or join a writing group! Go where your voice will be heard. Express yourself!

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December 21, 2012: What if….?

Posted by Joanne Martin
Joanne Martin
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on Tuesday, 01 May 2012
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Cosmic Event  300x200
Where will you be on December 21, 2012? How will you spend the day, and with whom? You might say: December 21st!? Why, who knows!? That’s a long way off. Why ask? What is the significance of that date?  

Well, it’s winter solstice, for one thing. But it is not your regular annual winter solstice. Scientists and modern computers have been able to confirm what Mayan, Hopi and Hindu elders had predicted, that on that on December 21, 2012, Earth and our entire solar system will move into an astronomical configuration so rare, that the last humans to experience such a phenomenon lived in the year 3114 B.C. That’s 1800 years before Moses!

What does it mean? Depending on whom you listen to, it will be either the end of the world, or the end of a World Age. Which do you think it is?

Personally, I don’t share the view that this is a “Doomsday” scenario.   I do see this event as the end of a cycle. There is evidence that our ancestors have endured four such cycles, possibly five, which have included changes in global magnetic fields and climate, diminished resources, and the rising sea levels that come with the end of time. Our ancestors lived to tell the story.   And that is what interests me. How will we tell the story of our time?

Just imagine. What would we know of the life of pioneers who settled this continent, if it were not for the journals they left behind? That was mere decades ago. How much more important is it, if we are truly approching the end of a world age, for us to tell our descendants about our time? What would you want them to know?

In her book Storycatcher, Christina Baldwin describes how, in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, she feared it was the end of the world.   Even at age sixteen, she felt the link between story and history. Accordingly, she felt an urgent need at that time, to bury a time capsule, to tell future generations something about the time in which she had lived:

I had found this file box in our basement, full of my parents’ old tax records. Considering that death might come before taxes came again, I stashed their papers and replaced them with my own contents: a recent issue of Life magazine, photos of myself and my family, a map, a copy of Anne Frank’s The Diary of a Young Girl, my own diary, a small Bible, and a brief, dramatic note. “Dear future, if there is one, this is who I was before the Bomb. This is what life looked like. Here are the faces of those I loved. Here is the girl who inspired me to write. Here is the basis for a religion we did not follow. Remember me.

What book(s) and magazine(s) would you put in your time capsule? What photos? Who would you like the future to know was your source of inspiration? Why? What texts would you offer the future, as evidence of the beliefs and values of our time? What would you write in a letter to the future? December 21st will be here before we know it. Why not write that letter? And when you have written and reflected upon it, will it change the way you live today and over the next few months? I know that I feel much more aware!

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