Thursday, December 26, 2013

Yahoo!: The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of Senator Miriam (life coach, counselor, psychotherapist, clinical psychologist, psychiatrist, osteopath, quezon city, manila, philippines)

The Chronic Fatigue Syndrome of Senator Miriam
by Randy Dellosa

For Miriam Defensor-Santiago to add another feather to her cap is “ho-hum” news. It’s not surprising to know that of all 24 senators, she was the one who churned out the highest number of bills and resolutions for 2013.  Being the workhorse that she is, that would have been completely expected.  The real shocker however is that Senator Miriam accomplished her feat despite being afflicted with the debilitating disorder known as chronic fatigue syndrome.

To give you a feel of what chronic fatigue syndrome is like, just imagine yourself feeling physically weakened, mentally exhausted, and emotionally drained.  And then imagine having to stay in this wasted condition for weeks, months, or years!

As the name implies, chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized by long-term fatigue. It is a debilitating disorder since it disrupts one’s social life, work life, and family life. For Senator Miriam to have this disorder, it would mean that she experienced most, if not all of the following symptoms:
  • Extreme tiredness after minimal exertion
  • Extreme tiredness which persists despite enough rest
  • Medically unexplained body weakness, muscular aches, joint pains, and headaches
  • Insomnia or unrestful sleep
  • Forgetfulness and/or poor concentration
  • Sore throat and lymph nodes in the neck and/or armpits
  • Other respiratory, cardiac, and/or digestive problems.

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown.  Medical doctors think that it may be due to a viral infection, hormonal imbalance, or a problem with the immune system.  Some psychiatrists have a tendency to think that it might be a variant of major depression, hypochondriasis, or burnout from prolonged and intense stress.  As for Senator Miriam, her chronic fatigue syndrome was reportedly traced to a vitamin D deficiency. 

The treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome usually consists of
  • Symptomatic treatment for the body aches and pains
  • Antidepressant medication
  • Nutritional supplementation
  • Health coaching
  • Stress reduction
  • Wellness therapies such as meditation, gentle exercise, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, cranio-sacral therapy, massage, and other mind-body therapies.

Having had a first-hand experience of the condition, Senator Miriam filed Senate Bill 3195 which aims to increase public awareness of chronic fatigue syndrome. This campaign is important since many patients who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome don’t even know what their sickness is and what they can do about it. 

Clearly, Senator Miriam should serve as an inspiration to many. If she can be a top notch senator despite being afflicted by chronic fatigue syndrome, it boggles our mind just to imagine what Senator Miriam can accomplish if she didn’t have that dreaded disorder to bog her down!  

Saturday, December 14, 2013

The Commercialization of Christmas: In Which Mall would Christ Do his Christmas Shopping?

The Commercialization of Christmas:
In Which Mall would Christ Do his Christmas Shopping?
(Or Would Christ Even Celebrate Christmas?)
by Randy Dellosa

Filipinos pride themselves in having one of the longest Christmas seasons in the world. And this year, the season got even longer. As early as August, Christmas tunes had already been playing in some malls. This is clear proof of how commercialized the Filipino Christmas season has become.

In the movie “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown’s friend, Lucy, describes Christmas as “one big commercial racket!” And while hers is a cynical remark, no one can deny the truth of it. Businessmen know that their last chance at earning big bucks lies in the last quarter of the year. Of course, the only remaining strategy for raking up sales is to exploit Christmas by hyping it up as the “season for (buying and) giving.”

Christmas commercialism has become somewhat like a new religion. In this religion, Santa Claus replaces Jesus as the “reason for the season.” If we are honest about it, Jesus' birth is used as the “excuse” for celebrating a season marked by materialism, commercialization, and hedonism. The truth is, except for a few random thoughts about Jesus, we hardly think about him during the holidays. Instead, our energies are focused on buying exchange gifts for Kris Kringle, decorating our homes and offices with parols and Christmas trees, and practicing “nae nae” as a dance number for Christmas parties.

In Santa’s religion, we, as his devout followers, flock not to church but to shopping malls and parties. Spiritual activities get replaced by compulsive shopping, gift giving, food bingeing, and revelry. And despite Christianity’s strong condemnation of the “seven deadly sins,” at least two of those deadly sins, namely, avarice (greed) and gluttony are most blatantly practiced during the Christmas celebrations!  Whether we accept it or not, Christmas has devolved into the most un-Christian of seasons.

Those who are observant will also notice the slow and subtle “secularization” of Christmas. This simply means that the religious elements of Christmas are getting “phased out.” Take for instance the following developments:

  • Traditional images of Jesus' birth are now regarded as old-fashioned, boring, or too churchy. While Christmas can exist without images of the baby Jesus, today’s Christmas can never be complete without images of Santa Claus, Christmas trees, and candy canes. 
  • So as not to offend people of other faiths, the “Merry Christmas!”greeting is now getting replaced with more "politically-correct" and non-religious forms of greeting such as “Happy Holidays!” or “Season’s greetings!” 
  • In narrating the story of Christ’s birth, undue emphasis is given to the three magis/kings who gave Jesus the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Focusing on this portion of the Christmas story is the real culprit behind Christmas materialism. 
It is not the three magis but Jesus' parents who are the real heroes of the Christmas story. You can, for instance, imagine Mary's ordeal, as she suffered labor pains all throughout her trip to Bethlehem, up until she gave birth to her child in an unsanitary animal house!

And so, if we go by the trend, we see that Jesus is sneakily getting shoved to the sidelines. For all we know, Jesus himself may one day get eradicated from the very season dedicated to him! And with Santa’s materialistic values lording over the holidays, “Christ-mas” should more aptly be renamed “Santa Claus-mas!”

In discussing the secularization and commercialism of Christmas, this is not to suggest that we become ascetic and shun all manner of materialism and fun during the holidays. After all, gifts can be used as a tangible way of showing our affection to family and friends. And as for having fun during Christmas holidays, it is the natural way to de-stress and recharge at year’s end.

What this article does suggest is that amidst the noise and chaos of the Christmas holidays, perhaps we can momentarily retreat from our worldly concerns and give ourselves the much-needed gift of some quiet soul-searching. In spiritual solitude, we can reflect on the following questions:

  • What struggles did I face this year, and what was God teaching me through them?
  • How could I have handled those struggles in a more mature way?
  • What is God teaching me to accept? 
  • What is God teaching me to let go of? 
  • What should I be grateful for in this year that passed? 
  • What can aid me in my on-going journey towards spiritual growth and maturity? 
  • How can I translate my spirituality into action? 
  • In reviewing the Christmas story, what is Christ's personal message to me, so that I can make the coming new year a better one for me?

From the Christmas story, let us draw inspiration from Joseph and Mary who, through their strength of spirit, overcame the difficult circumstances surrounding their child’s birth. 

And more importantly, let us draw hope from the story of Jesus’ birth, which speaks of God’s fervent desire to be present among us and be intimately involved in our lives.

Holy CHRISTmas everyone!  You can still choose to make Christ the true reason for this season! :D

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Yahoo!: Anne Curtis’ Slapping Frenzy: The Booze Made Her Do It!

Anne Curtis' Slapping Frenzy:  
The Booze Made Her Do It!
by Randy Dellosa

Just like the super typhoon that wreaked havoc on anything that crossed its path, Anne Curtis reportedly brewed up a storm by slapping three innocent people and verbally attacking others.  Witnesses to the commotion instinctively wondered whether she was high on “something,” and indeed, she was.  By her own admission, she was high on alcohol and such intoxication transformed the charming red-lipped lass into an incredible hulk of a drunk. 

In getting herself drunk, Anne Curtis passed through these stages of intoxication: 

  • The Euphoria Phase.  In this phase, Anne’s drinking made her feel chill- that is, pleasantly relaxed, sociable, and talkative. 
  • The Excitement Phase.  As Anne continued to drink, she progressively became less logical, more emotional, and more impulsive.  Most likely, it was in this excitement phase of drunkenness that the scandalous slapping incident took place. 
  • The Confusion Phase.  If ever Anne reached this phase, her mood would have become highly unpredictable and changeable. Her muscular balance would have gotten severely impaired, and she would have just passed out. 
  • The Coma and Death Phase.  Thankfully, Anne was far from this phase.  A drinker in this extreme level of intoxication would experience loss of consciousness and possible death from respiratory failure and cardiac arrest.   

We all know that people get drunk in their own unique ways.  Commonly, people feel sleepy; some get giggly; others become weepy; and many act silly.  But in Anne’s case, her drunkenness made her go ballistic!  Just what is it that makes some drunk people go berserk and violent?  

In my clinical encounters with alcoholics, there are four common types of people who I consider prone to becoming aggressive or violent when drunk.  They are the following:
  • Naturally hot-headed people.  These are people who are naturally short-tempered even when sober.  For them, to gulp down alcohol is like pouring gasoline on a small fire.  A raging wildfire is the inevitable result!
  • People who suppress their negative emotions.  Alcohol intoxication has the effect of dissolving our defense mechanisms.  With nothing to hold down or suppress the negative emotions, the drunk person just goes mega-nega and explodes with the full fury of the volatile emotions!
  • Naturally impulsive people.  These are people who live in-the-moment and who never think about the consequences of their actions.  They have poor impulse control and when they drink alcohol, it gets them even more excited to engage in reckless behaviours. 
  • People with odd reactions to alcohol.  Some people ingest small amounts of alcohol but the resulting behavioral reactions are extreme.  They become paranoid, disoriented, psychotic, violent, or even suicidal simply because the alcohol doesn’t mix well with their body system. 

In Anne Curtis’ case, she did mention that she just came off a 3-day cleansing juice diet which really could have made her extra-sensitive to the intoxicating effects of alcohol.  The high level of alcohol could have “short-circuited” Anne Curtis’ brain, thereby making her experience what psychiatrists call a ‘blackout.” A blackout is a period of temporary amnesia in which drunk people become unaware of what they are saying or doing, and have no memory of what happened.  

If there is any good that resulted from Anne Curtis’ drunken behaviour, it is the reminder to us all that alcohol is no simple and harmless beverage. The truth is that alcohol is a powerful mind-altering substance which can make us lose our self-control and bring out the beast in us.  Perhaps, we should emulate Anne Curtis' resolution to "drink in moderation," or better still, not drink at all!