The two-time Olympic hurdler is eating 9,000 calories a day to gain more muscle so she can better move the 400-pound sled to make the U.S. team for the upcoming Winter Olympics, USA Today reported. For comparison, the average American woman downs 1,770 calories a day, according to a USDA survey.
Part of Jones’ daily regimen includes two 1,365-calorie shakes and double bacon cheeseburgers at McDonald’s, USA Today noted. The splurging has increased her weight from the 133 she carried when she finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles at the London Olympics to her current 157. “I’m still cut, just super solid,” she told the newspaper.
While her intake is impressive, Jones still falls short of a sumo wrestler’s daily consumption of 20,000 calories.
It’s not always clear to patients what to ask a potential psychotherapist and how to know if he or she is any good. It’s also hard to know if it’s working. Most people find it easier to assess the skill of a medical practitioner. Although by no means always reliable, the medical school and residency where your medical doctor or surgeon trained is sometimes significant. Sometimes he or she might be mentioned as one of the “100 Best Doctors” in a magazine (although such lists are rather suspect). The intelligence, interest, and care that your doctor communicates are all usually apparent right away and, most of all, his or her treatment recommendations either help you feel better or they don’t. Their interventions relieve you of your symptoms, cure your illness, or the practitioner offers a good explanation as to why not. There are exceptions to all of these considerations, but, in general, there are some obvious guideposts in assessing traditional medical care.
But are the same things relevant to assessing your therapist? For example, psychiatrists (practitioners with M.D.s), clinical psychologists (Ph.D.s), clinical social workers (LCSWs), marriage and family therapists (MFTs) all offer some form of psychological therapy. In addition, there are counselors of various kinds and “life coaches” that, for all intents and purposes, talk to and help clients in ways that are often similar to traditional “psychotherapy.”
Obviously, this proliferation of degrees and training doesn’t mean that there aren’t important professional differences and boundaries. For example, only clinical psychologists are trained to administer and interpret many psychological tests. And almost all therapy of the sort I’m describing involves talking and not touching (although there are powerful approaches to healing that do involve work with the body, but that’s outside the scope of this blog).
With the exceptions already mentioned involving medications and testing, the fact of the matter is that degrees matter very little in “vetting” the ability of a therapist. I’ve known MFTs who are much better therapists than those with Ph.D.s. I’ve known coaches who have helped heal someone’s suffering every bit as thoroughly as a licensed clinical social worker. In the therapy world, each degree-based “professional” likes to sell him or herself as unique, but my experience has taught me that the letters after someone’s name and the plaques on his or her wall are rarely the most important consideration in choosing a professional to help you with your psychological suffering. Finally, there seems to be a wider range of individual differences in the effectiveness of practitioners within each of these so-called specialties than there is between professions and certainly more variation that one usually sees within medical specialties.
Our field, then, is a veritable Tower of Babel of degrees, approaches, and specialties. Add to this the aforementioned chasm of individual skill and experience levels within each category, and the consumer is often left confused. To make matters worse, when that consumer doesn’t feel any better either in the short or long run, there is a natural but insidious tendency for him or her to feel responsible. Such a person’s original self-doubts and pessimism are reinforced. Self-blame is often the terrible price paid for failed treatments. Demoralization can result.
So, what can one do? Bearing in mind that there are exceptions to every rule and that, when it comes to the human mind and heart, few generalizations are 100 percent reliable, here are some guidelines for someone seeking psychotherapeutic help:
1) Trust your gut. After a few sessions, you may not feel “better” or “cured,” but you should be feeling more optimistic, relatively understood, and have an intuitive sense that you and your therapist are on the right track. If you do, stay the course. If these feelings are clearly lacking, don’t continue and, instead, get a referral to someone else. If you’re not sure, then go back and raise your doubts and uncertainties about the process directly with your therapist. A good therapist will often respond to such doubts in a smart and empathic manner, enough to immediately reassure you that he or she “gets it” and is worth some further investment. On the other hand, some therapists will respond in ways that are defensive or subtly blame you for whatever doubts you are voicing. You’ll feel worse. That’s a clue that the relationship is probably not going to work.
2) Nothing that I’ve just said should imply that therapy isn’t sometimes hard, even very hard. Digging into what ails you isn’t much fun. Giving up old assumptions, addictions or familiar defenses can unleash painful feelings. Feeling pain isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you can see where it comes from and how experiencing it might help you eventually get better. For example, you might leave a therapy session feeling lousy, not because your therapist didn’t understand you but because she or he did. The therapist’s empathy helped you experience something important. My view is that a patient can usually differentiate between feeling something painful more deeply as a result of insight and empathy and feeling bad because a therapist just didn’t “get it.”
3) Good psychotherapy usually involves acquiring a deeper understanding of how your mind and heart work and something about the reasons that you’re suffering. But therapy isn’t an intellectual exercise. You have to feel understood and you have to feel that there’s a connection between what you’re learning about yourself and the suffering that brought you into therapy to begin with. In other words, insight is usually a core part of any good therapy, but not for its own sake. In a good therapy, you will have a gut feeling about how self-exploration will help you with what ails you.
4) Good therapists don’t have to be right and shouldn’t act like they do. We understandably endow therapist with authority in the same way we do anyone upon whose expertise we depend, but an expert who always has to have the answer, can’t admit mistakes or change his or her mind in response to what a patient is saying, is not someone you’d want to entrust with your care.
5) Good therapists can explain not only how their approach can potentially help you feel better but can periodically and non-defensively review with you the progress — or lack thereof — of your treatment. It’s your treatment. Your therapist isn’t using a secret decoder ring to plan and plot it all out. Good therapists are comfortable with honest and transparent conversations about your progress and, if its stuck or lacking, are open to trying different approaches or taking different tacks. Problematic therapists are covertly defensive, always throwing the question of progress back in your lap and, therefore, appearing to avoid their responsibility for at least half of what’s going on.
Unfortunately, there are many people practicing the psychological healing arts who are poorly trained or unable to empathically tailor their approach to the particular personalities and difficulties of their clients. Given the degree to which people who are suffering from emotional problems are often self-blaming, suspicious of their own judgment, and struggling with a secret belief that they are doomed, it’s easy to see the potential for damage in any therapeutic dyad. Patients have to be encouraged and taught how to judge the abilities of their therapists and the value of the therapeutic outcomes that result.
As a young child I used to have a reoccurring dream that my neighborhood burned down and took everyone and everything with it.
Fast forward to New Year’s Eve 1986. I was 21 and living in Washington, D.C. My boyfriend at the time had invited me down to Richmond, Virginia, for a New Year’s Eve party. We were driving there with another couple, and then staying overnight and returning on New Year’s Day.
Like any 21 year old who was smitten with her boyfriend, I couldn’t wait for my first overnight trip with him.
As I was getting prepared for the trip, I was listening (and dancing) to Earth Wind & Fire when there was a news interruption on the radio about a hotel fire erupting in Puerto Rico. My heart skipped a beat — my parents were vacationing in San Juan for the holiday week.
I called my brother and learned that my parents were not staying at that particular hotel. In fact, they were staying on a different side of the island. Phew. Instant relief. I went about curling my hair, trying on a dozen different outfits until I found the right one and putting the finishing touches on my makeup.
Finally at 8 p.m., we began our 90-minute journey to the party.
Once in Richmond, we attended the bash until well past midnight and then headed to the Hampton Inn.
When we turned on the TV at the hotel, CNN was the first channel that popped up. Splashed on the screen were horrifying images of the hotel fire that I had heard about earlier in the day. By now they were starting to count the number of dead and interview some of survivors. The Dupont Plaza Hotel fire had been set at 5 p.m. ET by a disgruntled employee and within minutes, spread from the casino to many floors of the building. Images flashed showing terrified victims jumping from windows, ambulance sirens shrieking in the background and smoke billowing from every opening in the building.
Deep breath, Susan. Your parents were nowhere near the hotel. My boyfriend suggested — actually demanded — that I turn off the TV and go to sleep and we’d find out all was okay the next morning. But the TV was like Pandora’s box for me. How could I shut it off? Thankfully he won the argument, as what I would have seen had it stayed on would have probably caused me to go into shock.
My father was next up to be interviewed on the news.
The next morning, I woke up at 8 a.m., startled – an early hour for anyone on New Year’s Day. It was sleeting, which only added to the dreary feeling engulfing all four of us. We started our trek home, slowly, because of the weather. Legend says that Virginians don’t drive well in freezing rain and snow.
When we stopped for gas, I decided to call the apartment I was staying in to see if anyone had called for me. Reaching into my jeans pocket, I fished out several dimes and dialed. My roommate answered the call before I could even blubber out a whisper of “good morning” and almost shouted: “Where are you and how far are you from D.C.?”
He told me that my brother and cousin had each called before 9 a.m. A wretched feeling came over my body, and I felt as if I might throw up. I asked for more info, but he didn’t share — all he said was hurry back. My head hung low as I wandered in a blur back to car.
As we headed north, I stared outside counting the icicles drop from the sky as they smacked the sides of the car. Washington’s all-news radio religiously repeated the headlines every seven minutes with the increasing numbers of the victims. First 35, then 45, then 60 and up. The drive seemed to go on for an eternity, and remember, these were the days without Internet, smartphones, or even in many cases, answering machines. There was literally no way to get updates.
Finally, four hours after leaving Richmond, we pulled into my aunt’s driveway in Rock Creek Park in Washington, D.C. Standing at the door were my cousin Anna and my Aunt Arlene. I began my dizzying walk up the long staircase. When they opened the door, I knew that the worst moment of my young life had occurred. My beloved mom was missing and not expected to be found. I fell into their arms.
Ninety-six people perished on that fateful day and left 96 families and loved ones in utter despair. I came face to face with the nightmare that had plagued me as a young child. The fire had won this time. My life would be irrevocably changed forever. There was no turning back.
Almost 30 years later, there are few days that go by that I don’t think of her and the senseless and tragic loss of her life. What I do carry with me is a strange and rather bizarre gift – a gift of having experienced one of life’s worst tragedies. I confronted terror head-on. It was challenging and harrowing — the hardest time of my life. But ultimately, I survived. I endured. And I know that no matter what life throws my way, I will eventually be okay.
For more by Susan McPherson, click here.
For more on emotional intelligence, click here.
One must refocus and rely only on one’s personal connection to infallible guidance from highest source, while politely passing over solutions stemming from frequently “common sense” suggestions offered by programmed and/or traditional minds. More often than not there is such opposition in various viewpoints that it requires much discernment to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Eventually humans may fully evolve to the extent that the left-logical and right-intuitive hemispheres of their brains will harmonize and become a single unit, presenting only thoughts that are fully integrated and aligned with well-being.
Since practice makes perfect… I shall practice, practice, practice!
I am now noticing small, or not so small, synchronicities. To clarify, I shall enumerate them chronologically, more or less:
My daughter, Carol, called me from California a few days ago to tell me that someone she grew up with in this building, Tammy, gave her the name of a real estate broker, Judy, who reputedly knows every apartment on the Upper East Side. (I prefer to remain in my present neighborhood. It feels like home.)
I met Judy yesterday in the lobby of a building a few blocks away to look at possibilities. Previously in the week, I had inquired about rentals from an office I just “happened” to pass. The young man from this agency showed me an apartment suitable in every way except price. The location was next door to a drug chain, across the street from a supermarket and my bank. In front was a crosstown bus stop.
Interestingly, Carol’s father, Arnold, had lived there after our separation. So did Carol, when at 14, she decided that living with mom was much too restrictive of her personal freedom. Later, Carol’s new step-mom-to-be, Linda, joined the household. She still lives in the same premises with her significant other. Not to worry if we should meet, Linda and I are cool. If those walls could talk!
Now it just “happened” that the building Judy showed me was in the same vicinity as the location I have just described, only not quite as pricey. There are presently no vacancies. In May, my projected moving date, something could open up. So where is this path leading? I haven’t a clue.
There are times when I wonder what actions I should be taking. The spiritual leader and founder of the “Sedona Method,” Lester Levenson, recommended use of “the butt system” when faced with seeming difficulties.
I sometimes sit and watch old movies. Often they contain encouraging dialogue, such as when in Alice Adams, the family is in dire need, her father counsels that something always comes along — and it does!
Frequently when I listen to music the old Ellington standard “Do Nothing ‘Til You Hear From Me” is played, I interpret this as a sign from divine guidance to take the message literally.
It’s a gorgeous early spring day. A walk in the park, observing Mother Nature decked out in her new finery reminds me that it’s time to put away the heavy winter gear and don something lighter. This can carry over to maintaining sunny thoughts.
How can I have weighty matters on my mind on such a light airy April day? I shall don some spring finery, park my butt on a bench in the park and do nothing ’til I hear from source.
For more by Irene Tanner, click here.
For more on wisdom, click here.
Cmdr. Cindy Murray, a Navy nurse, hadn’t seen her little brother, Robert Williamson, since he was six and she was 14.
“We share different mothers,” Murray, now 51, told 10News. “My dad went a different way from my mother and we just lost touch.”
But in July, after speaking with her father for the first time in nearly four decades, she learned something new about her long-lost sibling: He also worked in the Navy.
Williamson is a chief petty officer aviation ordnanceman working at the Lemoore Naval Air Station in Lemoore, Calif. — less than five hours from the hospital his sister works at in San Diego.
On Friday, the two sailors finally reunited at the San Diego Naval Medical Center after 37 years apart, U-T San Diego reported.
“It’s just so emotional. It’s the greatest thing,” Murray said. “I’ve looked for him for a long, long time. And now here he is.”
“Never in a million years did I think I would be standing here in this situation,” Williamson told 10 News.
As adults, both had tried to find the other, but Facebook searches yielded too many results. Now, they’re looking forward to being in each other’s lives.
“He’s never left my mind, ever,” Murray said. “I’ve always wanted to find him and now I have.”
I hate dogs. Hate ’em.
To me, dogs are evil machines of unquenchable hunger that need to be removed from the face of the planet and any other planet like Earth.
I used to know this because when I was four, a pair of vicious canine carnivores wedged themselves underneath my grandpa’s backyard fence in Minneapolis and chased after me — a sweet, delicious snack, despite my lack of teriyaki sauce — before I found a gate I could lock myself behind and summarily pee myself from sheer terror. I pretty much avoided anything furry after that. Rest in peace, Aunt Gladys, but your untweezered facial hair gave me post-traumatic stress disorder.
This went on until a visit to my uncle’s farm a few years later, when I was introduced to a cute little German Shepherd puppy. He was playful and affectionate and tried to hump my 8-year-old leg. I liked him. A year later, I returned and found that the cute little puppy was now a full-grown adult with bloodlust in his eyes. This time, he tried to rip my entrails out. But hey, at least I was still delicious!
Then, nearly 30 years later, came Rufus.
My dog fears had lifted by then — I had a new enemy, cats, which I’m allergic to. And have I mentioned that cats are evil watery-eye-inducing machines that need to be eliminated from the face of the Earth and any other Earthlike surface? — my partner and I had long planned on adopting a rescued dog from a local animal shelter. We even settled on Rufus as a name a year before we started seriously looking. He liked the moniker because it sounded vaguely like a bark; I liked it because it reminded me of ’70s R&B act Rufus & Chaka Khan. Tell me something good, tell me thatcha like it, yeeaahhhh …
The way the adoption process at the shelter worked, if there was a particular dog you were interested in bringing home, you had to show up on the day and time it became available. If more than one person wanted the same dog, numbers were drawn from a plastic bowl, with the winner getting first crack.
At first, we had our eye on a poofy white four-legged cottonball that seemed purposely bred for maximum clickage on Cute Overload. I showed up at the appointed hour (the boyfriend had school) and found about nine other people lined up, all hoping to take the living, breathing, crapping Furby home.
I drew number two, but I could see that the winners, a family, were easily going to bond with the very popular pooch. I slinked away, casually peering into other cages, when I noticed a sort of Golden Retriever-ish/Australian Shepherd-y dog with slightly matted back fur and — heart skip! — an adorably droopy left ear.
There were no hordes of people lined up for this one; he was there for the taking. I rang the boyfriend, we met later at the shelter, and we instantly became family. Our Rufus fantasy had become Rufus reality.
As an added bonus, Rufus leaned forward whenever he peed — no worries about him ever lifting a leg on our Sopranos DVDs.
Rufus was smart, and great with people and kids. He didn’t do well at dog parks, so we took him to empty school playgrounds where he could run around and chase Frisbees. He loved going after the wild bunnies in our condo complex, and probably could have prepared a lovely hasenpfeffer for us if he only had opposable thumbs. We even taught him to sing — and by “singing,” I mean a tuneless howl not dissimilar to what comes out of Justin Bieber’s piehole.
Because of my cat allergies, I was concerned that I might have the same reaction to Rufus, and if that were the case, then we might have to return him to the shelter. So my partner and I made a deal: I’d pay the adoption fee, and he’d put the registration under his name. No problem. After all, we loved each other, and we were going to be a couple for the rest of our lives!
Until three years later, when we were no longer in love, and I couldn’t get away from the personal baggage he liked to throw around fast enough. We broke up, I moved out — but what would happen to Rufus?
I was screwed — I had never got around to putting my name on the registration. At first, my ex was diplomatic and said he wanted me to still be in Rufus’ life, and that we could make arrangements for frequent visits. That, however, only lasted until I landed a job that paid me $20,000 more a year than the one I had when we were together, and he saw how much happier my life had become now that he was longer in it.
So he did what spiteful people do, going all global thermonuclear war on me by cutting Rufus out of my life forever.
Yep. He was like that.
I consulted an attorney, who confirmed what I suspected — that California law considers dogs to be property, not children. Without my name on the registration, there would be no custody battle.
Tears? Only a medium-sized reservoir’s worth. Mere hours after realizing I would never see Rufus — my dog, the one I picked out by myself — again, I found myself moping down the aisles of the same animal shelter we brought him home from three years earlier.
I was not planning on getting a new dog. Instead, I was searching for comfort, wanting to be consoled by a furry, empathic face.
A small black dog caught my grieving eye. She looked up at me through the cold steel bars of her pen. I put my hand up to her nose. She licked it.
Well, hi there, friend.
I took her for a walk on the shelter grounds. She seemed happy, for a dog found abandoned on the mean streets of Orange County just days earlier. At one point, I sat down on a bench and, without prodding, she jumped up on my lap and stuck her tongue in my mouth.
At that point, I knew I wasn’t going home alone. She was even on sale — $45, no Groupon required!
I wasn’t sure what to call her that first week, so while we got to know each other, her name was pretty much Hey You. Then one day, she was doing something she shouldn’t have been doing when I reflexively yelped “Rufus!”
She stopped and looked at me, as if to say “Yeah, dude, keep calling me that, I like that. Now take me outside, I have some asses to snort.”
This Rufus, Rufus 2.0, is different from the original edition, of course. She loves the dog park, for one thing. The first Rufus loved to play fetch, but his sequel hasn’t quite figured it out. No endearingly droopy ear on her — but she does have pretty chocolate-chip-spotted paws everyone talks about. She’s endured several moves and apartments, can’t wait to meet other dogs, and only fears the occasional hairdryer and sneezy person. She’s … my baby.
But I still think about the first Rufus every now and then. He’d be about 8 in human years now, and I’m glad I have plenty of photos and videos of my boy, through which he’ll live forever.
About a month ago, I met up with a guy who had dated my ex after I did, and it was fun to compare notes — what was good, what was bad, what was learned, what was best forgotten.
He got to know Rufus pretty well during that time, and was able to give me an update — Rufus is doing fine, he said. Ultimately, Rufus is the part of the relationship he misses most, just like I do.
But I have a new furry kid to look after now — she’s the best dog in the world! Man… who couldn’t love dogs?
This post was originally written by Rich Kane.
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