Dan Knoepfler, MC, LMHC
Individual, group, and family therapy
Thoughts for the Day
Links to the archives of previous months are at the bottom of the page.

I have mentioned that I love watching the TV show "Catfish".   I am not sure why people bother pretending to be someone they are not.    As your fake persona you are attracting someone who wouldn't otherwise be interested in you.  That seems like it would make a person feel worse rather than better in the end.  It would reinforce that the person you are now is not good enough.  The energy seems like it would be better spent becoming more of the person you want to be and as a result attracting people who are more interesting to you.   I believe Catfishing is treating the symptom of a bigger issue in a way that makes the underlying issue worse most of the time.    One exception might be if you are really shy, and as a Catfish you have more confidence to talk to other people.  If the goal is to become more comfortable talking to others as yourself over time, it would make sense.  However, you are still using someone else by misrepresentation to accomplish the goal.   What is interesting to me about the show is how much energy people will put into their lies.

Yesterday I was watching the Premier League game between Man. City and Tottenham.    Given Man. City's domination, I tend to root against them.   Man City should have won.  However, having a goal disallowed in stoppage time for an unintentional handball had to sting.   I love that they only earned a point instead of 3.

Last  night I went and saw a concert at Marymoor Park.    There are a lot of whiny complaints I could list, chief one being that the seats are worse than on a budget airline.  However, seeing Herbie Hancock and Kamasi Washington under the stars playing their hearts out definitely made up for it.   Kamasi Washington's message of unity in the world and Herbie's magic were awesome.  And then there is a dreaded exit from the parking lot after the show.   Marymoor seems to have that down.   We exited from the back of the lot taking a very circuitous and somewhat confusing route.  But VOILA! I came upon the 520 on-ramp and I was home free.  Overall a great show.

I have a friend who is a member of the grammar police.   She goes bonkers when people misuse to, too and two.  Or their, there and they're.    And I can't forget  your and you're.   I notice when people (including myself) do it.   But some days "your" sounds like "you're" in your head.   Anyway.    Please take your time, I will too.  Because their's nothing worse than having too read something to times two get the meaning.   Ha.   I misused all three to/two/toos and a their in one sentence.  Yay me!

It's feeling like summer in Seattle.  We're experiencing the upper 70s and low 80s.   In my mind, it is perfect weather.  Not too hot, not too cold.    Don't get me wrong, I love chilly and rainy.  I couldn't have lived in Seattle for almost 50 years if I didn't.  But it makes August and September that much sweeter when 10 months of the year it isn't sunny and warm.

Ambiguity.....    Some people tolerate it quite well.  Other people struggle with it.   Our criminal justice system in part relies upon people's desire to know something concrete to get them to plead guilty with a definite outcome.   Research shows that time is a defendant's friend.  The longer a case tends to take to resolve, the more favorable the outcome for the defendant usually.  But in the meantime people tend to feel like their life is on hold.  That an indefinite pause button has been pressed.   How do you tolerate uncertainty?   Can you handle it?   Or is it the enemy?  If you knew there would be a much better outcome that would be unknown to you until the very end, would that make tolerating uncertainty easier?

How conscientious are you about taking care of yourself?  Sometimes when we aren't our body sends us messages through illness or being overly tired or perhaps with a headache.    The upside to self-care is that when it's vacation time, they are much more enjoyable because you aren't using them to recover from overwork or being stressed.

We all have moments when the world feels like it's shrugging with indifference to our plight.   People are encouraged to "just do it" or "man up", and told  "don't be so difficult."   But advocacy for oneself is important.   And remember we all get caught up in our own stuff and it's hard to see other people needing a little extra time, attention, or TLC.    It's OK to ask for that.   It's OK to say "no".   It's OK to ask for an alternative way of doing something that is more compatible with one's own beliefs or comfort level.    Sometimes it is more practical to go with the flow than make waves.  Just be clear within yourself about your motivations.

Revisiting the struggle with depression....   In our culture we hand out antidepressants like they are candy.  Maybe I should say gluten free muffins.  But there are non-pharmacological options worth considering.   Probably the most effective intervention is to "do" something.   Especially a physical activity.   Many depressed people have too much time on their hands and overthink situations.   When you are doing, you tend to spend less time overthinking.  And if you are exerting yourself and having a little fun, you also will release endorphins which are our internal chemicals that lift our moods.    You don't have to do an intense workout, or climb a mountain.   It can be as simple as a 20 minute walk.   If you aren't into nature, walk around a mall or box store.  If you don't want to deal with people, rearrange a room in your place.   Put up new pictures on the wall.  Change things up so you aren't staring at the same four walls.   I am a big list maker.   With that in mind, create some short term and long term goals.   I love the feeling when I am crossing things off a to-do list.   And when there aren't many items left I make a new list.

One more thought.   So you've been kind and compassionate, and handled your disappointment maturely, yet you find yourself in the situation all over again.  Being kind and compassionate doesn't mean we can't have boundaries and limits. Sometimes people truly are manipulative, or disrespectful.  And maybe it isn't even purposeful, but they are just too busy or disorganized.   If there is a pattern of disappointment, and we feel like we have done our best, sometimes we may just need to distance ourselves from a person, people or situations.   You may leave things open to reconsider if the circumstances change.  Or you may just say to yourself that you have had enough.     I am just advocating that we all be thoughtful in thee situations.

OK, so you have been disappointed, now what?   I remind myself and caution others to be careful about responding in a knee jerk fashion.  Many times we say or do things we regret when that occurs.   Don't say the harsh things you are tempted to say.   Don't send the nasty email.   Maybe do a little digging and find out more about the situation.   You may discover that you didn't know the whole story.   Or the situation may have been bad, but the other person is working to fix it.  Or maybe it is as bad as you believed it was from the outset.   However, we all make mistakes, both inadvertent as well as intentional.   And we all hope for some understanding and forgiveness when we mess up.   So offer that to others in the spirit of we all are trying to do our best we can.   And many times we fall short.  And we may need others understanding and compassion and the more we give that, the more we will get that in return.

Disappointment is one of those emotions that is complicated.    Usually there are unmet expectations that go along with it.   The questions that I think about when feeling disappointed are....  1)  Did I? Or do I have any control over the situation?   Am I the reason something didn't go the way I wanted it to?    If it is me, then I need to be better prepared in the future if I don't want to repeat this pattern.    If I don't have control, then were my expectations realistic?   Did I place my own hopes and dreams on to someone else?   Was that reasonable?   Sometimes it's hard when someone makes decisions that have different priorities and goals than our own.  We all have to remember that they are their own person, and have a right to have different priorities than we do.    And finally, sometimes it really is just a matter of circumstances arising that are beyond anyone's control.  The weather can turn bad, someone really did get sick, the bus or car really might have broken down.    

Day two, of four days in a row of concerts.   I may not go tonight, but I'll see how I feel after work.  I don't really like the venue in Seattle where it is at.   So I may not.   But I may be the designated driver for those I know who are attending.

A person supervised by US Probation in the Western District of Washington had a book written about him and his time on supervision.   I have no connection to his case at all.   I had had hopes that the book would be interesting, but sadly, it was poorly written and didn't hold my attention.  This is in spite of knowing people mentioned in the book.   Sometimes I take for granted that if something is published it is well-written.   That is certainly not the case all the time.

Do you struggle with anxiety?  Do you have self-soothing techniques?   Some people take a walk.  Others distract by playing video games or listening to music.   Sometimes having a little snack helps.  Many times though there is no substitute for human interaction.   Having a go-to person helps a lot.   If you don't have one or more than one, there is no time like the present to develop some.   If you are shy or not sure where to turn, for many 12-Step programs are great.   Even if you don't develop friendships there, or get yourself a sponsor, just being around accepting people, and not alone can really be helpful.   

Back to work.   I need to write some brief reports and return phone calls today.  Not my favorite tasks.  But easy to remove from the "To-Do" list once completed.

Today has been a lazy day.    I haven't done much other than cook, and do my crossword puzzle.  and watch the Sounders game.

I have started digitizing records at work.   My goal eventually is to not have years of paper records at the office.  Furthermore, if someone wants records, it will be much easier to provide them in a timely manner.

Kind of a disjointed day.  Several appointments spread out throughout the day and one wasn't even at my office.   I did end up having a productive day in spite of the weird schedule I created for myself.

Next week I have a bunch of shows to see in Seattle and Portland.   I am looking forward to seeing a show at the Portland Zoo.    What a smart way for the zoo to make money to support its work.

I have begun cooking more again and buying prepared food less.  It always tastes better when home made.   Plus this time of year I can grill outside, which is also a big treat..

I am feeling fortunate that we haven't had any major fires this summer yet.  My lungs are very happy.

One of my contractors is on vacation this week.   It means a little more work for me while she is gone.   I really like having people work for me.  The office would feel so empty and quiet otherwise.   And she is really good at what she does, which makes having her around great! Have a great trip C. and look forward to seeing you back in a week

Back into the routine of things.   I did my Sunday crossword puzzle and enjoyed it.    As a result of my brother publishing his third book, I was inspired to work on my own.  I am not sure whether it will go anywhere but it is fun to work on it.   My mom has also been inspired to work on her book as well.

On vacation we met a person who was amazing and totally cool.   The person asked me for a favor once we returned to Seattle that is pushing me outside of my comfort zone.   I emailed him and asked him whether he really wanted me to assist him.  He said he does.    On Tuesday I will make the request on his behalf.   I am nervous for him, and I am just the conduit.

What a hectic Friday.  Normally they are mellow.   I took a break in the middle of the day and worked on the planter boxes outside of the office to clear my mind and get some fresh air.   Boy that was a smart move.   Gardening is so relaxing.

An interesting dynamic that happens with some clients occurs when they are under stress.  You would think that they would want to attend therapy and yet they cancel.   Seems backwards.   But it happens all the time.

They are remodeling my local grocery store.   Actually they are reorganizing it.  It's really annoying.   And it is taking forever to do.   I really wonder how much disrupting everything really impacts sales and profits.   It must or they wouldn't do it.   

I made a HUGE mistake today.  I missed my first appointment at work.    I did something very foolish that was partly the reason.   I scheduled my first appointment at a time I  NEVER schedule anyone.   Then I broke another rule, which is that I normally take a picture on my phone of my work schedule for the upcoming week so I know when I need to be at work.   Of all the things I did to prep for my vacation, I forgot to take a picture of my schedule last Wednesday (probably because it was Wednesday and didn't feel like the end of the work week.)    When I see the person whose appointment I missed, I owe him a big apology.

There is always a nice  "ahhhh" kind of feeling walking in the door of "home".   As much fun as vacations are, there is no place like home.    After settling in and unpacking, it was nice to have a restful evening.

It's weird on vacation because you not only get a break from work, but other routines too.   I didn't do the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle for the first time in probably over a year.    I didn't really miss it.  But I will get back into the routine next week.

The shows we came to see in Napa were at the "Blue Note"   Apparently they are only loosely connected to the original Blue Note.  They are franchising the name to owners around the world.     I have to say it was another great night of music.  There is an irony coming to Napa and not really seeing the town or drinking any wine.   But we came for music and that is what we got.

We drove from the hotel into Napa, California to go to a bunch of music shows.   Today's were awesome.   A cool venue and a great performance.   Tomorrow there are more to see.

Our hotel is within walking distance of a Sonic.    I love Cherry Lime Ade drinks. And it is so convenient.   The Sonic here has a young trans. carhop.   Given that we aren't in a bigger city I am kind of impressed Sonic hired her and all.  Maybe I am prejudging the area and the people who live here.  Or perhaps this is an oasis for her.
It's funny how a lot of people hate take-offs and landings when they fly somewhere.   I am the opposite.  I love both, and dislike the in between.   Take offs are great because it means you are on your way to wherever you are going.  Landings are also great because that means you're there!   The in-between is boring.   I keep thinking, "Are we there yet?"   

Gearing up for a vacation, even a relatively short one is work.   You have to get stuff ready before you go.   I am ahead of the game at this point, which makes the days before the trip a little more relaxed.

I have a client who takes pictures with his phone of things he doesn't want to forget.  He prefers to take a picture on his phone because it's something he can carry with him.   Funny thing is that I started doing the same thing.  It is a handy trick.   Picture taking with a purpose.

I visited with my 92 year old aunt today.   I hadn't seen her in-person in about 4 years.   Although she might disagree a little, she seems to be sharp as a tack.   It was very enjoyable spending time with her.   I hope my mind is as clear as hers is when I reach that age.

My brother's book which was co-written by my niece is about to be published.   This will be his third published book.  Pretty amazing stuff.   I believe one of his goals growing up as a kid was to be a published writer.   And he is there.    

It's Friday!    What a week.  I finished my audit and did fine.   But it's just been a week.  The one upside is having a nice support network when it comes to work.   Whether it was receiving support in difficult situations, or offering it to others.  This was a hectic week.  It's unlikely next week will be less hectic since I will only be working three days.

Free Slurpees at 7-11 today!.   Don't miss out on it.

Only about a week until my vacation begins.   Looking forward to it already.

Apparently summer is lagging a little this year.   Not that I am complaining.  If it rained all summer I'd be happy, quite honestly.  

Preparing for an audit at the office is stressful, but also a good thing.   It's easy to overlook things, and an audit forces you to check to make sure all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed.   The audit is routine, so it's not like it is the result of a complaint.   Still, it's sort of like going to the dentist for your routine cleaning.   You don't really want to do it, but once it's done it feels good.

Putting money into savings is a good idea for all of us.   Having  a financial cushion in case of an emergency allows a person to sleep a little better at night.   I personally have a savings account at a credit union without a debit card or any access to it without going into the branch.   By doing this, there is no impulse spending.   If I need access to that money bad enough to drive to the branch and withdraw the money, then it must be important.   It may seem foolish if you can only put $20 in a month, or maybe a $100.   But it adds up.  And there is a sense of accomplishment.   Lately I haven't dipped into my savings, but I hadn't been putting money into the account either.    I am back in the routine.  I have to remind myself that the act of putting money into savings is as important as the amount, because I want it to be a habit.

Now that the 4th of July has passed it is officially summer in Seattle.   Hopefully things won't get smoky again for the third year in row.    Breathing is not over-rated.  And as a person in a sensitive group because of asthma, I am holding my breath....

I read an article last week about groups that are starting to clean up the Pacific Ocean, removing tons of plastic that have turned into these islands that endanger marine wildlife.  They have only made a minor dent in what is out there but are determined to persist..    We all benefit when the water and air are cleaner for not just us as humans but all the living things on this planet.

I am not always that nostalgic about birthdays and anniversaries.   Today is the U.S.'s birthday.    Happy Birthday to my birth country.    Hopefully we will see calmer and smoother sailing in the future.

Today is my parents' anniversary.   I admire that their marriage vows lasted "until death do us part."    I was hoping they would make it to 50 years, but they were about a year shy of that milestone when my dad died.    Not every marriage can or will last until one partner dies, but it is pretty amazing that my parents' did.

As technology evolves so does my job.   In the past I never had to review people's on-line chat logs as part of doing evaluations.  Nor did I view web-pages of information they have posted.  Now it is becoming standard.   Remember this -  everything you chat or post about can at some point be obtained and read by other people.  Many people accused of crimes have sunk their own ships by posting incriminating information.

I had lunch with my mom yesterday.   As the Democrats start moving toward picking someone to run against Pres. Trump, it's fun to talk with her about who we feel is emerging.