A strengths-based view might make you think twice

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If the U.S. healthcare system does one thing well, it’s the diagnosis of conditions to be treated.

Our medical treatment model focuses on identifying disease and disorder. What is perceived as abnormal is pathologized, and the default response is treatment designed to return one to a “normal” state.

Since this model is the standard protocol, our automatic assumption is that these abnormalities are bad and must be fixed. So, we attempt to eliminate and neutralize.

Anxiety is no different.

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like…


Or how to not do what I did

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I’m what you might call an “experienced writer,” and sometimes Medium pisses me off. There I said it.

I can assure you I have a legitimate reason, but first things first. Who the hell am I, and why the F should you care?

Here’s the highlight reel: While in J school at Syracuse in ’03, I saw the journalism industry sinking into digital quicksand and jumped straight to the dark side: marketing and public relations. I spent the next decade and a half bastardizing my writing in the service of corporate interests — not infrequently in hostile and toxic work…


Don’t let yourself be fooled — our world isn’t supposed to make sense

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Friends, gather round. I have a story to tell. It’s a story of false expectations, magical assumptions and a crippling reliance on the way things “should” be.

It all started long ago in a land not far away — back in a time when we were little. The great brainwashing began during the magical hour just before bed time when we were told stories of giants and beanstalks, wolves and piggies, and homes made of gingerbread.

We learned about right, and we learned about wrong. We found out what happens to liars and hyperbolizers (eaten by a wolf). We learned…


How stories shape reality for better and worse

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No matter what you think you know, someone else disagrees. It’s a veritable certainty. There are far too many of us on this big, blue-green marble hurling through space for someone not to disagree.

More precisely, what some of us believe jeopardizes what others believe.

Each and every one of us has a truth. That truth informs the way we understand the world. Our truths conveniently tie together seemingly random occurrences into narratives that make sense. These narratives provide hope and purpose. They give us comfort in the face of fear. They make the world seem less hostile and unforgiving.


A waking dream of fear

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What if instead of red
You saw blue?
The molten lava
Flows back inward,
Hardens in the core.

What if your happiness
Is their delirium?
Unbounded joy
Freed from shackles
Of norm.

What if voices spoke
Without a speaker?
Seductively slithering
Down the maze to your
Inner ear.

What if panic pulsed
Without provocation?
Pumping pistons
Thumping cortisol
In silence.

What if white coats
Drew helpless fear?
Neat Little boxes
Straighten coats
And dole doses.

What if Baker’s actions
Spilled your ingredients?
A pile of misshapen Dough
Conforms with commitment.

Is a gown with loose flaps different
Than walking the…


When there’s nothing left to give

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Surrounded by takers
With outstretched palms
And panicky posture,
I often wonder:
Where’d all the givers go?

Sometimes I ask
But usually don’t.
What I get,
If I get,
Never was asked.

I just help myself
When I’m done
Giving to others.

Often the needs
Never drop.
Just stack up
Like juicy debts.

Why so stressed
About dues owed to an
Empty transaction?

How so fooled
By the sleight of hand
That took generosity
And returned
A bill?

The sly light flickers
And seduces,
As it leaps from lamps
Filled with gas.

The shadows
Dance along,
Do-si-doing
Between Gift
And graft…


Words to be alone with

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Worse than empty,
Heavier and hungry,
Always ravenous
For more.

Absence isn’t the same
When loss is permanent.

Paper over the hole,
Shovel into the void,
Blot out the lack,
Ignore the gap,
Nothing works.

Every diversion only
Adds gravity.

Clinging to the lost
Is like flinging your sanity
Overboard.

What choice is there
But release?

But how do you let go
Of memories that haunt
While asleep?

Cursed to recall
What I wish I held
Forevermore.

Analysis is arduous.
Talk is tortuous.
Empty laborious words
Only betray wounds
Who refuse to recover.

Pictures are poisonous
Injecting acid that
Corrodes my mind…


Adventures in the Land of Dry: Part Three

Image from Casino.org

Have you ever wondered why you can’t stop using a dating app? Or why you keep going back even after you’ve met someone you like?

I’ll tell you why. Similar to major social media platforms, dating app user addiction is baked into the business model.

How thrilling does it feel to receive a like, a match, a note? You don’t even need to know who liked or commented. It’s a like. Someone likes ME!

I MUST therefore be…worthy, worthwhile, attractive, smart, clever, funny, cute, a winner, successful, a good picture taker, an epic prompt filler outer. Right? That other person…


Dating App Adventures in the Land of Dry: Part Two

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Now I know what you’re thinking. There can’t possibly be a fool-proof way to spot a problem drinker based on a dating app profile.

There’s too little information. Dating apps are designed for truth adjacency. And, well, problem drinkers are just too clever.

After all, we very well know that it’s possible to have a problem, deny all evidence of said problem for years and then convince our closest friends, colleagues and relatives that we don’t have a problem. Doesn’t that mean that these diabolical masters of deception will remain undetectable until the first (or maybe third) date?

I think…


Dating App Adventures in Soberville: Part One

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One would think that identifying oneself as a nondrinker would be clear. One would be wrong.

Many dating apps have specific boxes to check that signify your status as a nondrinker, a sometimes drinker or an always drinker. It’s not complicated. One of the few things tech bros do know is how to effectively convey information via an app — if they didn’t, well, the VC kingmakers never would have applied their Midas touch.

Just because information is conveyed effectively, however, has no bearing on whether or not it is accurately received. Based on my experience, it appears that others…

Russ W

Recovering agency survivor. Writer. Creative. Empath. Human. Hit me up: russellweigandt@gmail.com

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