I want to share something. I hear so many people complain about their husbands or wives, but you don’t very often hear someone say something really nice about them. Mostly people just complain. Maybe we should be doing just as much talking when there is something good going on. I had surgery a while back and I was laid up for weeks. I couldn’t move much of me without help. My husband was wonderful. He did everything for me and I mean everything. He never complained about how much hard work I was. He never asked if I thought I could do more for myself, he simply knew that when I could, I would. I could not have had better care or caring. I can’t use our names because I didn’t tell him I was writing this.
— Grateful Wife
I have often told my patients that one can have respect for someone without having love for that person, but one cannot have love — true love — without having respect as well. If there is nothing of substance to respect, then what you are feeling is not love, it is something else. What your delightful letter has demonstrated is a shining example of a spouse who truly respects and loves. From what you have shared, your husband demonstrated real love for you and then some. I have to imagine that he is shown that same level of respect by you as well. Thank you for sending high praise to brighten our reading. May you have a speedy recovery.
I have been getting a lot of nightmares lately. This isn’t like me, I almost never dream and I’ve never had nightmares before now. Do you know anything to get them to stop? I liked it better when I wasn’t having any dreams at all. Now I’m almost afraid to go to sleep.
To the best of my knowledge, just about everyone dreams. Probably every mammal dreams. You very likely dream, but do not happen to wake up in the middle of your dreams, so you do not realize that you had one or more of them. Most dreaming occurs in the morning as the last part of sleep. For many, that is when their alarm clock goes off, so they are far more likely to be in the middle of a dream when they are awakened. Those people will realize that they had been dreaming. They may even want to remember their dreams, but few can for very long without writing them down right away. Persons may be more apt to awaken by themselves in the middle of a crazy, scary or otherwise bad dream. Self awakening may be the brain’s defense against allowing us to become too upset or frightened.
When it comes to dreams, causes are hard to pin down, but we can look at some known triggers for bad ones. Eating close to bedtime can mean that foods are digesting as we try to sleep, which for some people coincides with bad dreams. Certain medications, including a stop-smoking med famous for bringing on bad dreams, can be the cause. Have you started a new med, or recently stopped one? The timing of your letter may give us a big clue, because more people have bad or wild dreams during times of great stress, including the kinds of stress brought on by the recent self-quarantining, jobs insecurities, economy issues and threats of illness. Perhaps when all of the COVID fears are behind us, your dreams will go back into your own personal obscurity. Let’s hope so.
As I am writing this column, Walmarts in urban areas are closing. They are in danger of being looted. If this happens, it is likely, too, that many injuries will occur. In an effort to protect their shoppers and employees, they have decided to close down, no doubt with some protections in place. What is sad is that we as a species continue to demonstrate that we cannot learn from past mistakes. We re-make them. There has never been one single identifiable good that has come from rioting. There have been amazing numbers of good that have risen out of peaceful protests. Stories of those fill the history books of many countries.
The rioters will say that they are doing this on behalf of a certain wronged person, or a certain right cause. While there may indeed be persons who were wronged, or causes that are right, the violent means of expressing through rioting is definitely not effective to bring about a good change. This tells me that the people rioting are well infiltrated with those who are simply angry about some element of their own lives and have coopted this cause to release that anger on anyone and everyone. The most current frustration shared by the greatest number of people — mostly peaceful people — is related to the changes imposed as a result of wanting to stop the spread of a potentially deadly virus. Other frustrations are the ones always there — the ones felt by persons who feel disenfranchised in many areas of their lives. Put both frustrations together, and you have a social bomb waiting for its fuse to be lit. It was. And what are we left to do? I can think of only one effective tool for what is happening: prayer. It is likely in our communities that you already know and use this tool.
[Gayle Wright is a mental health counselor doing area agency and hospital social work. Write to Gayle at: LV MY TAKE ON IT, 435 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org where your anonymity will be maintained in keeping with all current HIPAA standards.]