ABCs of Hospital Chaplaincy: A is for Advance Directive

south-carolina-health-care-power-of-attorney-form

How do you want to die? Have you ever thought about it? It’s a line of thinking most of us would probably like to avoid, but as a hospital chaplain, my job involves a lot of thinking and talking about death. And in the hospital where I work, chaplains also have conversations with people who are not near death about what they want to happen when they get to that point. Upon check-in, every patient is asked whether they would like information about Advance Directives. If he/she says yes, a chaplain will go visit him/her within the next forty-eight hours, carrying a blank South Carolina healthcare power of attorney form. Where I work, it is one of the basics of what a chaplain does.  Continue reading “ABCs of Hospital Chaplaincy: A is for Advance Directive”

Advertisements

Hope Is Stupid

photo

I’ve always considered myself something of an optimist. But lately, it sure is hard to stay one. The other night, I had a very emotional conversation with my roommate, and she told me, “You can’t give up hope.” I blurted out, “But hope is stupid! You just keep wasting time hoping for things that never happen and then you feel like an idiot, and all the realists get to say they told you so.” I was, admittedly, in a pretty bad place, in the midst of all the terrible news in the world and a big disappointment in my personal life. Sometimes I just want to be miserable for a while and not have anyone try to talk me out of it. Continue reading “Hope Is Stupid”

Depression Is a Disease, and I Have It

The acting world has lost a legendary performer, a gifted comedian and dramatic actor. And according to early reports, it appears that Robin Williams’ death was the result of suicide. He had been open about his experiences with depression in the past, and that takes courage. Mental illness, and maybe depression in particular, is still stigmatized and misunderstood. (Buzzfeed has this great list of 21 Things Nobody Tells You About Being Depressed that just might help.) I’ve seen it in many of the social media responses to his death. So I feel the need to clear up a few things here, since I have quite a bit of experience from which to draw. I am living with depression myself, and I grew up as a member of a family in which depression and attempts at suicide shadow many of my childhood memories. I know a thing or two about what depression is, and what it isn’t. Continue reading “Depression Is a Disease, and I Have It”