Category Archives: Nervous system and mental disorders

album covers from music by Carole King

Beautiful- remembering the music of Carole King

“You’ve got to get up every morning

With a smile on your face

And show the world all the love in your heart

Then people gonna treat you better

You’re gonna find, yes you will

That you’re beautiful as you feel.”

Beautiful, by Carole King


My husband and I enjoyed a date night at the theater watching Beautiful- The Carole King Musical. The play covers the start of Ms. King’s career as a songwriter, including meeting and marrying her songwriting partner Gerry Goffin.

husband-wife couple holding hands in front of poster for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

My husband and I at the theater for Beautiful The Carole King Musical

Together they wrote some of the most successful and memorable songs of the 1960s-1970s including


I Feel the Earth Move 

Will you Love Me Tomorrow?

Up On The Roof 

You’ve Got a Friend 


Sadly, their marriage was not as successful as their careers due to his infidelity and mental instability which culminated in hospitalization and divorce.

As I watched and heard the story portrayed on the stage  I remembered her memoir which I read and reviewed here. The memoir included this part of her life as well as subsequent years, which often were as turbulent as the ones in the musical.

Here is my review of her memoir –

A Natural Woman: A Memoir

Although Carole King did not write A Natural Womanfor herself (she and her first husband were asked to write it for Aretha Franklin), the song aptly fits her life also.

She grew up in a close Jewish family, attended school where she excelled in performing arts and graduated early. She married young and  loved her husbands (four of them) passionately. She doted on her four children and did all the typical mom things- driving them to activities, homeschooling, sewing their clothes. She cooked food that she grew herself and even milked a goat she owned. She welcomed grandchildren and cared for aging parents.

She could almost be any 70 year old woman- except she is a Grammy award winning singer/songwriter who has written over 100 songs, including many of the greatest hits from the 1970s. In 2013 she became the first woman to be awarded the Library of Congress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song.

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection

inserts from our Carole King music CD collection


Ms. King was at the height of her career in 1972 when my husband and I met, and found a mutual appreciation for her music, and still do. So, even though I don’t read memoirs of celebrities, I made an exception this time. I wanted to know more about this talented woman, and I was not disappointed.

As  I listened to the book’s audio version, read by the author,  I marvelled at  how she managed to live such a normal and successful life while experiencing a series of traumatic experiences starting in childhood. These included

  • a sibling with physical and developmental disabilities
  • the dissolution of her parents’ marriage
  • financial instability in her early career
  • the breakdown of her four marriages
  • an extended civil lawsuit
  • accidents resulting in serious physical injury
  • exposure to mental illness and substance abuse


The last issue led to two of her divorces, one of which followed several years of verbal and physical abuse .  She candidly admits that she submitted to it,  thinking that  she deserved it, he didn’t mean to hurt her, and that he would change.

Fortunately, one night she  woke up with the conviction that she needed help. Counselling helped her develop personal resources to resist and stop the abuse. She urges women in similar circumstances to seek help and recommends

 The National Domestic Violence Hotline | 24/7 Confidential Support.


I am sad that she  experienced such pain in her life, all the while brightening other lives with her music. She said that music helped her cope with the challenges in her life.

Her life reminds us that people who appear successful and accomplished in some areas of life, may be unhappy and hurting in others. We may never know the pain that some have walked through to get where they are.

Carole King insists  she never wanted to be a star or diva, and she zealously guarded her privacy. According to this book, she valued most her family, relationships, writing songs and sharing her music. I am glad she  decided to share this side of her life and the lessons it teaches .  Thank you Carole King.    It's some kind of wonderful! Beautiful The Carole King Musical- poster on window at theater

Here is a selection of Carole King’s music

(these are affiliate links)

Tapestry  Carole King’s first and most successful album

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical  the story of Carole’s life and career

Live at the Troubadour Carole King singing with her friend James Taylor

The Carnegie Hall Concert (Live) June 1971 


Listen  to Carole King on Apple Music 





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Thanks for your time and interest .

Sincerely, Dr. Aletha 

woman standing with arms lifted to the sky

Most viewed post #4 -5 steps to manage stress and strain

In the 4th most viewed post  I offered  some personal reflections.

I developed the  post idea after reading a medical journal article about ways to help patients dealing with depression with or without medication. The article offered advice helpful to anyone dealing with a crisis, or even the ordinary stress of life.

When I wrote the post, I was  dealing with a personal health crisis, so I had the chance to take my own advice. (We physicians tend not to do so.) Now, the crisis is resolving, but I intend to continue to practice the 


5 steps to manage the stress and strain of life


As a college graduation gift, I gave a friend’s son a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble Bookseller. He earned a  mechanical engineering degree  and will work as a rocket structural engineer.

He sent me a nice handwritten thank you note (which few people do these days) and said he plans to use it to buy a book that other structural engineers recommend. The book is Roark’s Formulas for Stress and Strain. Roark's Formulas for Stress and Strain- a book

Wouldn’t it be nice if there were a formula for handling the stress and strain of life?

Many health issues would resolve or be easier to manage if life stressors would just go away.  Three fourths of the patients treated by primary care physicians have problems aggravated by  emotional, social, or behavioral issues.

Life’s  interruptions and disruptions won’t disappear, but you can make them less of a strain on your time, energy, and resources. There’s usually no quick fix but 5 steps can lessen their impact.

I’m learning the value of these steps now as I deal with the stress of a foot fracture that is not healing as expected. I’m now facing surgery to correct it, and a longer convalescence than I expected. For someone who is used to being active, this prolonged inactivity stresses me both physically and emotionally. These 5 steps were already a part of my life, but consciously choosing them now helps me cope with what would otherwise cause frustration and sadness.

5 steps to manage life’s stress and strain

1. Create and maintain a routine and schedule.

Having a plan for your time helps you feel more in control of your life.  Resist the tendency to become socially isolated or avoid activities you usually enjoy. 

a smartphone lying on a calendar page with a planner and cup of coffee

from (affiliate) stock photo site

Times of crisis, loss, or illness may leave you feeling disconnected and adrift, but having a schedule provides structure and connection. When you are busy, you are less likely to feel overwhelmed and hopeless. 

2. Recognizing and reaching out to social supports

Your family and friends are your first line of  support during times of stress and duress. It’s nice if we don’t have to ask for their support, but their lives are busy too, so don’t be hesitant to ask for help if you need it. If they don’t call you, call them.

2 women talking over coffee with open bibles

Conversation over coffee can be therapeutic. graphic from the Lightstock collection( affiliate link)

Other sources for help include your healthcare professionals;  don’t be embarrassed to share that you need social and emotional support. Your doctor can help you identify and get connected with community resources.

Look for help from your or your spouse’s job, your religious community, organizations you belong to, your school, and online resources for support- educational sites, forums, support groups.  Although not as personal as face to face support, these are helpful  if  you are  geographically isolated or mobility is difficult.

3. Reframe by refocusing on the positive rather than the negative.

Recognizing and emphasizing the positive in life makes the problems less overwhelming and distressing. Look for something to be grateful for, or that brings a little joy into your day. It may be as simple as flowers blooming in your yard, your favorite tea and sweet,  a funny story in a magazine.  

balloons-get well IMG_2269.jpg

Balloons are nice, too.

Remembering and observing happy events, occasions, and celebrations can also be sources of renewed joy.


Norma, a woman facing terminal illness, reframed her crisis by finding joy in small things, like jigsaw puzzles, new foods, and a “good perm”. Read more about her at

Driving Miss Norma- a book reviewDriving Miss Norma - a book cover

4. Stay active mentally and physically

Physical activity doesn’t have to be a chore, boring, or expensive. Many things can be done at home or in your neighborhood-walking, bicycling, cardio, yoga. If exercise isn’t your thing, try dancing, gardening, swimming. 

If your  physical mobility is limited,  try something stimulating mentally-sewing, crafts, games, puzzles, writing, cooking are just a few possibilities.


5. Nurture your inner self

Sometimes we need to withdraw from outward activities and stimulation for times of quiet rest and reflection.woman with hands bowed in prayer

You may  find help from mindfulness, meditation, prayer, devotional reading, music, journaling,  or a combination of these approaches.

Breathing exercises can lessen anxiousness and tension.

Free Loose Leaf Tea Filter and Free Shipping with any Mighty Leaf Wellness purchase. (affiliate link)

woman standing with arms lifted to the sky

In this post, a retired nurse blogger uses gardening for both exercise and mindfulness.

The Zen of Gardening 

“But what I like most about gardening is how I can get lost in the moment of whatever I’m doing; whether it’s planting, weeding or pruning. It truly is a togetherness of body and mind.”





Tyndale House Publishers offers spiritual and devotional books.

Try their free Reader Rewards Club  at this link. Come Read with me-Tyndale







Affiliate disclosure; some of the  photos in this post are from Lightstock, a source for photos, videos, and graphics. With a free account, you can get a weekly free photo.

Learn more at this link. 

cheesy-free faith-focused stock photos

Please visit for quality photos, graphics, and videos (an affiliate link)


RoboForm Password Manager. (this is an affiliate link) 

You’re likely reading this post on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone, so you visit sites that require a password. How do you remember them all? You don’t have to if you use RoboForm Password Manager.

My husband introduced me to RoboForm years ago and I am glad he did. I have used it continually to remember my passwords so I don’t have to. It syncs to both my computer and my phone so my passwords are always available. It will even generate passwords for me.

Go to this link to try RoboForm Free; if you like it you can upgrade to RoboForm Everywhere version with all the features I mentioned above. With Roboform, you will have one less thing to feel stressed about.



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follow Watercress Words as we explore the HEART of HEALTH.  

Thank you. Dr. Aletha