Life is Hard

I have been avoiding the internet, blogging, and all things online for the past week or so. I have touched in with facebook, and occasionally made sure I didn’t have any important e-mails pending, but mostly I have gone off the grid.

I have also been hiding in my room.

Here is why: my son was just diagnosed with Apergers, OCD, ADHD, ODD, a mood disorder, social phobia, and sensory processing disorders. He may also have an eating disorder. In the last week, I have seen what it is like for a child to lose control and rage without remembering the incident, or even knowing why. I have watched my son struggle to understand why he has to take new medications everyday and what the name/label of Aspergers means. I have learned that I am not alone amongst even my neighbors in dealing with this disorder, and I have cried for the child that I thought I had.

Life was not fun this week, and this blog is about the joy in life. My son was the one thing in our lives that we could count on as being good. My husband and I both suffer from chronic illnesses, my pituitary gland has [...] continue the story

The Moth Presents Anthony Griffith: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

A comic must earn his living as a clown while suffering the ultimate heartbreak.

Anthony Griffith lives in the mountains of California at 5,000 feet elevation in an animal protected community. It’s much different from the inner city of Chicago where he used to live, but he still travels doing stand-up. He says that the overwhelming positive response of him telling his story at The Moth has prompted him to write a one man show and pen other short stories now in development.

Nurses Grieve Too: Insights into Experiences with Perinatal Loss

This ground-breaking documentary shares what grief is for nurses who care for bereaved families with perinatal loss. This research-based documentary answers the research question: What is the experience of grieving, for obstetrical and neonatal nurses caring for families who experience perinatal loss? Nurses describe the professional and personal impact of grieving, what helps them and how the experience has changed them and help them to grow. The documentary makes the invisible grief of nurses – visible. It aspires to support nurses so they no longer feel alone or isolated in their experiences of grieving, as many nurses can carry the pain and memories of the families’ loss and experiences with them for years.

Jonas-Simpson, C. (Producer) (2010). Research team: Jonas-Simpson, C. (PI), Macdonald, C., McMahon, E., & Pilkington, B.

Funded by AWHONN Canada ; Canadian Nurses Foundation: The Nursing Care Partnership Program (made possible with a grant from the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation). ; Faculty of Health, York University ; Health, Leadership and Learning Network: The Interprofessional Education Initiative, Faculty of Health, York University

To purchase this film, please visit the York University Bookstore.

More by Christine Jonas-Simpson

A Herd of Narcissists, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, I wrote about the relationship between narcissism and shame.  This brings me to my next point, which is that narcissists see themselves as “unique and special people.”

(Scroll down to get the rest of article.)

I’m looking at narcissism because I believe its submerged half, shame, is a shadowy but potent presence in many healthcare settings: its destructive force is shaping the behaviour of many working in the field.

I want to understand what went wrong with my mother’s journey through the healthcare system. I want to know why workers in it were so prone to lying, prevaricating and stonewalling. I would also like to know why advocating for my mother provoked so much anger and resentment.

I’m looking for answers because I am getting older and what I saw frightened me.

My mother’s journey started in an acute-care hospital. From there she went to a rehabilitation hospital, and from there she came to my home, where she lived for 20 months. She is now in a long-term care facility here in Montreal and is, for the most part, doing well. However, if you read Part 1 of this article, you will already know this wasn’t always the case.

Like many [...] continue the story

A Herd of Narcissists, Part 1

I’ve touched on the issue of shame twice now in recent articles. It’s because I believe it is a powerful tool for both good and evil.

When I refer to shame as a tool I mean that the evocation of it, whether self-generated or externally prompted, often triggers one of two responses: a self-correcting mechanism (I won’t do that again) or a self-corrosive mechanism (I’m no good). Brené Brown differentiates between guilt and shame by saying that guilt is attached to our actions while shame is attached to our identity. It’s the difference between doing wrong (Ooops) and being wrong (I’m such an idiot).

I sometimes experience a helpful form of shame when I drive carelessly, and my desire to avoid that feeling is probably what keeps me from doing it too often. On the other hand, being unfairly targeted or thrown into a bewildering conflict seems to evoke a different kind of shame. I’m talking about those times when I’m being treated as the source of a problem instead of just part of it.

Here’s an example: Driving to work one morning, I inadvertently swerved into a neighbouring lane on a one-way street. I corrected myself immediately, but another driver, who was behind me and in that lane, [...] continue the story