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Don Laird

The Accidental Existentialist Issue 3

Read the SUMMER 2018 edition of The Accidental Existentialist now or download it to read later. In this issue you will find great articles and new works by mental health professionals Dr. Chloe Paidoussis-MitchellMorgan Roberts, Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk and Don Laird. We would love to hear from you, please leave a comment below – Enjoy!

The sun struggles up another beautiful day,
And I felt glad in my own suspicious way,
Despite the contradiction and confusion,
Felt tragic without reason,
There’s malice and there’s magic in every season…
— Elvis Costello

TAE_JanFeb18_Issue1
Click Cover to Read or Download PDF

In spite of the sunshine and best of intentions, the summer months can sometimes feel like a glass half-empty, glass half-full question. It is the noontime of our seasonal clocks and, in my case, a faint reminder of the noontime of existence. Seasonally we are poised to reach our yearly zenith of sunshine, warmth and outdoor activities. Yet, at fifty-two years of age I am situated well into the second half of my life. With luck, I might have another 30 years, but the reality of it is, and existentially speaking, there are no guarantees. For all intents and purposes the shadow of death grows just a bit larger with each passing day. Unlike when I was in my thirties, I feel it now. It’s not a concept, theory or construct; it’s physical and it can haunt my thoughts at the damndest times. The words of Nietzsche seem to echo for me these days in a different, but comforting way, “We would consider every day wasted,” remarks Nietzsche’s Zarathustra, “in which we had not danced at least once. And we would consider every truth false that was not followed by at least one laugh.” May your summer be long and filled with as many hopes, dreams and fulfilled wishes as you can imagine.

Peace,
Don

In this issue:


(Smultronstället) Wild Strawberries: Therapy and the Art of Aging
by Don Laird, MS, NCC, LPC, DCC

eTalkTherapy - talk with a counselor onlineSince their inception, motion pictures have allowed us to explore the human condition through an amalgamation of sound, lighting, editing, musical score and performance, coupled with traditional storytelling. To claim that one film more than any other illuminates the arc of human existence that it has become a standard by which all other films of its type shall be measured may seem like an overstatement. Yet, Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries manages to accomplish this in 90 minutes of postwar beauty. Read more…


Love Wins: Groundbreaking LGBTQIA Leaders Through History  
by Morgan Roberts, MSPC

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Every June, there are Pride Parades throughout the country and world, celebrating gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual individuals. Nevertheless, there are many who continually attempt to invalidate the lives of those in the LGBTQIA community. More conservative states frequently pass legislature hindering the community which contradicts public opinion. The Human Rights Campaign reported in 2014 that 59 percent of Americans support marriage equality, with 61 percent of people favor allowing same-sex couples to adopt. Read more…


Grief Matters: Living with Loss
by Dr. Chloe Paidoussis-Mitchell, Cpsychol, UK Chartered Counselling Psychologist
(Follow her blog at https://dr-chloe.com

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As a Grief Psychologist, I have the privilege of working with people from all over the globe who are struggling to find a way to embrace life meaningfully again after a very painful loss.

Grief is inevitable. All of us will experience it at some point in our life and how we respond to it is unique to us. Grief is a personal, psychological response to the death of a very loved one and when it happens – whether expected or sudden – it is painful, disorientating and knocks our sense of who we are, how we are and what feels relevant and meaningful again. In grief, our regular way of being is no longer relevant. People often talk about feeling lost and alienated. Read more…


The Impact of Chronic Stress
by Mandi C. Dalicandro-Turk, MSPC

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Stress is difficult to contend with for many. Chronic stress has the potential to impact an individual’s physiological and/or psychological health and well-being. Long-term, the probability exists for stress to spillover into important facets of daily life, and affect an individual’s capacity to function.

HPA Axis
Health related issues begin systematically, many times, prior to an individual having awareness of physiological and/or psychological issues being present or the associated long-term effects. The hypothalamic pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis has an important role in fighting and managing stress. Read more…


Do you have an idea for an article or would you like to contribute to our magazine?

This is your opportunity to submit educational and informative content that promotes growth in all aspects of mental health issues from an existential or humanistic perspective. Upon publication of your article, you will receive a $25 stipend.

Submit your queries at eTalkTherapy.com/submit.

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Middle of the Road, What Crisis?

By Aurora Starr

Common mythos dictates that when a bell rings an angel gets his wings, and correspondingly when a woman turns 40 a cougar is born. It’s unclear to me how men were given a pass on not having their midlife years branded with some analogous wild-critter reference.

Men get new sport cars or over-sized urban assault vehicles, or new “hair,” and the inevitable young blonde from the marketing department with the lively boobage. Oh, and that office relationship started off as the bullshit of all pop-psychology terms “an emotional affair.” Midlife women often get unfairly tagged as older horn dogs or bitches who pursue younger men in search of wanton sex to fill their empty and sad lives. That’s not to say some of these women don’t exist. Who doesn’t know some surgically altered, Forever 21 shopping, “milf” or milf wannabe? Let’s be real. Yet, isn’t it sad that we need such labels to begin with, especially for females?

I am still a few miles away from the signpost that is 40, but I am close enough that I still get some peculiar and often rude questions that are the curse of being a single gal in her waning 30s.

Did you know some women are having their first baby in their forties these days?” They are! That’s awesome! They must be so hashtag Blessed! Since I won’t be there for a few years, can I sign-up now for my little bundle of pre-menopausal joy?

Still haven’t found Mr. Right?” Excuse me, but maybe my love meter doesn’t necessarily light up just for men. It does, but let me parry this assumption for a moment. If Mister or Miss Right does exist (and he/she doesn’t), I was clearly having too much fun at Madam Spinster’s School of Old-Maidery to give a shit.

I’ve been thinking about getting my first tattoo…does that count? I traveled to some exotic places a few years ago…does that count? I take care of my cats… I rarely bounce checks… I am very much aware that my 30s are nearing their sad, sad, sad demise. What have I achieved? I’ve been adulting for almost twenty years. Shouldn’t I be more secure in what and who I am? Isn’t that the way it is? For who? For me? Well, I feel just fine.

Is 40 such a big deal? Is it the new 30? How much more time do I have left? If I’ve got 30 or 40 years with luck, will I be healthy for most of them and be able to do the things I want to do? What do I want to accomplish? Well, the short answer is I want to give, learn, explore and be helpful in the second and final chapter of my life. There is no master plan, but I think trying to be a civil, honest and giving person may just have its own rewards. But hey, who knows, maybe I’ll adjust my love meter and hit up that young blonde from marketing.

Shine brightly,
Aurora

Please note: The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of eTalkTherapy. Aurora Starr is a freelance writer, not a therapist, and her views, thoughts and opinions are her own. However, if you are easily offended then Aurora’s blog may not be for you.