sharing my life experiences, reflections and insights as a mother, a writer, an Occupational Therapist and and a spiritual being having a human experience

Spiritual Connections

When my husband was in the hospital after his massive heart attack, I had many spiritual experiences.  My husband experienced  near death as he went into cardiac arrest in our living room on May 4, 2011. He left the house in ventricular tachycardia, a fatal heart rhythm.  The medics had used the defibrillator several times before they wheeled him out of the house on the gurney. I remember his dark blue face as they took him.  I am forever grateful to the wonderful medics from Mint Hill Fire Department and Robinson Fire Department who took care of my husband and then stayed with me to help make a plan to get to the hospital.  And Lia Schwinghammer who came to my rescue and drove us to the hospital and stayed with us until I got to see Don like 4 hours later. She was one of my many angels and I had many, so I will just thank all my family and friends here.    I am also thankful for the cath lab at Presbyterian Hospital in Charlotte and the entire team who fixed his occluded arteries with stints allowing him to be with my here today, nearly 5 years later.

He spent 4 days in the CCU and then 8 more days in the step down unit.  I had family helping my kids at home and I would wake up usually before 4 am and head to the hospital each morning and spend the entire day with him and come home in time to put my 2-year-old to bed.  It was a crazy time and yet my priorities have never been so focused in my life as they were for those 12 days.  My husband was disappointed that he did not remember experiencing “seeing the light”.  I told him that I saw it for him.  I really do believe that.

I don’t even know how to begin to explain the spiritual experiences.There were many.  The first one was at home. I called 911 and 5 minutes after the medic arrived, my husband went into cardiac arrest.  The medics immediately moved me and my three children out of our living room.  I vividly recall taking the children to the stairs off our kitchen and sitting down with them and tapping.  I have since decided that the only way I was able to calmly sit with them and use EFT, was because Don’s soul guided us.  Later, when he was recovering in the hospital, I vividly recall being in the cafeteria getting food and hearing a song being piped into the cafeteria and I knew it was Don speaking to me.

The biggest experience was around day 8 or 9 after going with only 3 hours of sleep each night.  Because, the first night at home after his heart attack, I awoke after 3 hours with a horrible dream reliving the experience and I told myself I wasn’t going to do that again.  I did not consciously choose to not sleep more than 3 hours but that is what then happened. So by day 8,  I was very sleep deprived and living on adrenaline, and maybe even having blood sugar issues or just panic attacks.

 I had this one night at home where I  felt panicked and scared and I called my good friend and EFT mentor and therapist, Jan Luther. It was very early in the morning, too early to make a phone call, yet I decided to call her.  I heard the line pick up yet there was no one there on the other side, I began talking. I have no memory of what I said but all I know is there was silence, no dial tone, no one talking, just silence.  I think I tapped and talked.  Later, I talked to Jan about it and she told me the phone rang, she picked up and no one was there and so she hung up the phone and began tapping, because she knew someone needed her to do that.  She hung up the phone, yet I heard no dial tone.  We both knew that was spirit at work.

Just last month, my father had back surgery for his spinal stenosis.  He had the surgery on a Friday and I showed up at the hospital at 5:30 am to meet my parents to help my mom navigate the hospital system.  Surgery went well, took a little longer than expected because it was worse than the doctor had thought from the MRI and he took longer in recovery because of breathing issues. We got to see him for a few minutes in recovery area  but he was in a lot of pain but they couldn’t give him too much pain medication because they needed his breathing to improve.   An hour later, he was in his room and we went to visit with him.  He did well that day, he had to lay flat for 24 hours as a precaution but then the next day even got up with the nurse and walked to the bathroom.  I left after dinner Saturday night, with the plan to return in the morning again.  I woke up at 3:45am.  I have been waking up early for many weeks, most like from peri-menopause but usually after at least 5 hours of sleep.  I woke up and looked at the clock and said, “Why am I waking up now?”  I  had been asleep for like 3 or 4 hours.  I knew it was strange.  I should have gotten up.  I went on my phone like I usually do when i wake up early, using it in the dark in my room.   I got a text from my mom who had seen my posting on Facebook and so she texted me. It was 4:11am: 

 I’m in the family waiting room while they put restraints on Dad. Med Dr saw him then They gave him something for hallucinations and for blood pressure. Thought he finally fell asleep  when he awoke and starting lashing out violently. He is having some kind of psychotic meltdown. REally scary to see him like this.  

I immediately replied to my mom

Oh mom.  I’m so sorry.  I’m awake. I’ll just shower and come in.  It’s going to take time for the meds to clear out of his system. (We new he was reacting to anesthesia and/or medications.)

My mom was surprised how quickly I arrived, less than an hour after her message.  I showered and gathered my things for the day and drove to the hospital. It was 4:45 am, no traffic, easy drive and plenty of parking. I walked into the lobby at 5:13am.   She didn’t realize I had experience with this from the 12 days I spent going to the hospital to be with my husband.  I also had the strong feeling through my dads 5 day hospital stay that this was in part the reason that I became an Occupational Therapist.

It helps that I texted all of this on my iPhone and therefore have all the times of our conversation including the when she texted me, and I let her know when I got in the car to head to hospital and again when I arrived in the lobby.  As I read these posts, I see that she had also contacted me at 12:27am via text because my dad was asking for me. I was asleep and didn’t see those texts until morning.  I can share that in another post.  I talked to my dad tonight to get his permission to share this story and he is happy to sit with me and tell me more so I can share more of it. He believes he was talking to God and telling God to decide about leaving his body or staying.  I believe that he did experience that as well.  More on that for another post.

My dad slept all morning. They had to put him in 4 point restrains and  give him Haldol which is an injectable antipsychotic.  He had kicked a nurse.  It was weird seeing my dad in his hospital bed in restraints.  AFter talking to my mom when I got to the hospital, I had told her to get some rest. The waiting room had a couch.  I went to sit with my dad to be there when he woke up.  I was able to explain to dad as he was waking up that he was in restraints and he was calm.  Later when he was fully awake, he shared the experience with us.  He actually remembered the psychotic episode and described what he experienced. he also appologized to all the nursing staff that saw him for the next few days.   I will just summarize: he explained feeling like he was in a box and there were bad guys trying to hurt him and he had to get away.  He explained it with much more detail but I don’t want to misquote him. But he also told me he heard me laughing. He couldn’t see me or get to me but he heard me laughing.  As the day progressed, he continues sharing about what he remembered in detail from his Psychotic episode.  I wondered if some of what he was sharing was also from when he was under anesthesia for his back surgery (3 hours) as well as the 3 hours he spend in recovery getting his breathing back to normal before he could be moved to a room.

It didn’t occur to me right away, but then I realized some things. I woke at 3:45 am which is when my dad had his psychotic episode and I knew it was odd that I woke up.  Looking back, I should have realized it was my dad.  But then I got ready quickly and grabbed my things and headed out in the car at 4:45 am. I turned on the radio and “Crazy Train” was playing on the radio.  I laughed out loud.  I switched stations and heard, “Take a Walk on the Wild side”.  I had the instant feeling like I did when Don was in the hospital, that my dad’s spirit was speaking to me.  Hearing these two songs both playing at the same time on 2 different local stations tickled me.  I talked to my dad out loud in the car, laughing as I did.  And sending positive energy and love to my dad.  Cause, I am weird like that and I talk out loud in the car.  I really do, all the time.  My favorite thing to do is scan stations to find a song that fits my mood.  I never listen to commercials, ask my kids and Don, I am always scanning for a song, a good song.

Wow!  I was laughing out loud in the car and my dad heard me! 

Some would call this coincidence yet as a student of Unity, Neale Donald Walsch, Conversations with God books,  and just my own personal spiritual beliefs, I don’t believe in coincidences.  It all has meaning, at least the meaning we give it.  I believe on a spiritual level, we are creating our reality, all of it.

 Creation is energy and all of life is energy.  

I Will Be OK 

Songs can bring me out of my darkest times if only for a moment. Sometimes all I need is that moment to propel myself forward out of my stuck place.

You’ll be okayYou’ll be okay

The sun will rise

To better days
And change will come

It’s on it’s way

Just close your eyes

And let it rain
‘Cause you’re never alone

I will always be there

You just carry on

You will understand
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

Just look inside

You know the way
Let it go

Fly away

And say goodbye

To yesterday
‘Cause you’re never alone

And I will always be there

You just carry on

You will understand
And I will be strong

When love is gone

I’ll carry on…
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

The sun will rise

To better days
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

Just close your eyes

And let it rain
When you need it the most

And all you’ve got is a prayer

You must carry on

You will understand

You will understand

You will understand
You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay

You’ll be okay.
Thank you once again to: A Great Big World

I was so fortunate to hear you live when you opened for Phillip Phillips and Matt Nathanson.

Such a wonderful experience taking my daughter to her first concert. And one of my favorite opening bands of all time that I first discovered at the concert. You have such meaningful lyrics that are simple yet powerful as well as such an upbeat soul to your sound that brings me much joy. Your music has been what I have needed most in such a difficult time in my life. How ironic because I took my daughter to hear Phillip Phillips because of how powerful his music was for us in her most difficult time in her life. I know it helped me through the pain. And it formed a bond between my daughter and myself.

And thanks once again  to A to Z Lyrics for making it so easy to find the full lyrics.

“There Is An Answer”
I am just a sailor in a great big sea

Searching for what’s meant for me

And I thank my lucky stars every single day

I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be
When the storm begins to blow

When I’ve lost my way back home

Oh, there is an answer

Oh, there is an answer
There is a ripple to every wave

A rhythm to the days and nights

And all our thoughts, they make the world go round

All our efforts multiply
Make a change, and you will see

One small step is all we need

Oh, there is an answer

Oh, there is an answer
There is no difference between you and me

It lies beyond our history

And if we only take the time to see we’re all we need

Just take my hand, and see me as a brother
Look inside, and you will find

Love exists in every kind

Oh, there is an answer

Oh, there is an answer
Near or far, oh I believe that love will find us there

Through the dark, oh I believe that love will find us there

Oh, I believe that love will find us there

Oh, I believe that love will find us there

Oh, I believe that love will find us there
Oh, there is an answer

Thank you to:

-A Great Big World for a great big song with so much meaning.  

-AtoZ Lyrics 

Unpack Your Heart

Tonight, I was listening to a lesson from The Ego Tamer Academy and this song played over the loudspeaker at the restaurant where I was spending my night to myself. It is not a song that I hear often on the radio but is from one of my favorite young artists and my favorite song from his most recent album.  phillip Phillips has special meaning to me. My husband gave me his first album as a gift the Christmas before my daughter’s OCD became extreme. I used to play his songs and sing to her when she was stuck in one of her impulsive rituals that robbed her of precious hours of her life. I took my daughter to her first concert over the summer to see him.  It was a special time for us.

The timing of this song juxtaposed with the lesson I was listening to was so powerful. God or spirit or however you define the universal connection we share in this universe, speaks to me through songs.  Something that I have not felt lately as I have been attempting to pull myself up out of depression once again. When this happens, I feel lifted and a connection to my god self, to spirit, to the universal energy of the devine.

Interestingly enough, early in the lesson, Jan played background music during a meditation. I believe the music was Yani which was music I used years ago to record in the background of my personal affirmatiaons that I would play for myself. My first thought as the music played, was a sense of familiarity and peace.

I big thank you to  Ato ALyrics and Phillips Phillips for this poignant and powerful song that reaches me on a soul level, pleading with me to release my fears and open up and let it out so I can let go and let, God!
Meet me where the sunlight ends

Meet me where the truth never bends

Bring all that you’re scared to defend
And lay it down when you walk through my door

Throw all of it out on the floor

Your sorrow, your beauty, your war

I want it all, I want it all
Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

And unpack your heart
Show me something the rest never see

Give me all that you hope to receive

Your deepest regret dies with me
The days when you stumble and fall

The days when you grind to a crawl

The treasure that hides behind your walls

I want it all, yeah I want it all
Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence

And unpack your heart

Unpack your heart
Oh, I’m on your side

So shed your shadow

And watch it rise
Oh, I’m on your side

So shed your shadow

And watch it rise

Into your darkness

I’ll shine a light
Bring your secrets, bring your scars

Bring your glory, all you are

Bring your daylight, bring your dark

Share your silence
Bring your honor, bring your shame

All your madness, I will tame

Won’t you lay down, down your guard

Share your silence

And unpack your heart

Is this rock bottom?

Slowly, it creeps.  Silently.  Without warning.  Almost out of nowhere.

Was there a trigger? 

No way to know.

Surely i can only move up from here. 

Or maybe from here.

When will the madness end?

When will I bounce up again?

How did I get here?

Why did this happen, again.

I thought I was past this.

She told me that I was cured.  I knew that wasn’t true. 

Yet, I prayed I wouldn’t return here again.

Why?

Why me?

I don’t like it here.

I want to go back.

I want to go back to when I felt on top of the world.

I want to go back to when I could only sleep 6 hours at night and yet had so much energy.

Pressure pushing down on me

Pressing down on you, no man ask for

Under pressure that burns a building down

Splits a family in two

Puts people on streets


It’s the terror of knowing

What this world is about

Watching some good friends

Screaming, “Let me out!”

Tomorrow gets me higher

Pressure on people – people on streets


Chippin’ around, kick my brains ’round the floor

These are the days – it never rains but it pours

People on streets – people on streets


It’s the terror of knowing

What this world is about

Watching some good friends

Screaming, “Let me out!”

Tomorrow gets me higher, higher, higher…

Pressure on people – people on streets
Turned away from it all like a blind man

Sat on a fence but it don’t work

Keep coming up with love but it’s so slashed and torn

Why, why, why?


Love


Insanity laughs under pressure we’re cracking

Can’t we give ourselves one more chance?

Why can’t we give love that one more chance?

Why can’t we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love?..


‘Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word

And love dares you to care for

The people on the edge of the night

And love dares you to change our way of

Caring about ourselves

This is our last dance

This is our last dance

This is ourselves

Under pressure

Under pressure

Pressure


Thank you Queen and David Bowie for those words.

And than you to A-Z Lyrics. You make it so much easier than recording the song off the radio and slowly playing it and stopping it repeatedly,rewinding and replaying.  

Depression

I am listening to my self created play list entitled “Writing inspiration” on Spotify.

This song by Tom Petty came on and it just fit my current state of being.

No, I don’t do drugs, never have.  That is not the point. The point is the title and reoccurring line..

“You don’t know hot it feels…. To be me”

Thank you once again AtoZLyrics

Let me run with you tonight

I’ll take you on a moonlight ride

There’s someone I used to see

But she don’t give a damn for me


But let me get to the point, let’s roll another joint

And turn the radio loud, I’m too alone to be proud

You don’t know how it feels

You don’t know how it feels to be me


People come, people go

Some grow young, some grow cold

I woke up in between

A memory and a dream
So let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint

Let’s head on down the road

There’s somewhere I gotta go

And you don’t know how it feels

You don’t know how it feels to be me


My old man was born to rock

He’s still tryin’ to beat the clock

Think of me what you will

I’ve got a little space to fill


So let’s get to the point, let’s roll another joint

And let’s head on down the road

There’s somewhere I got to go

And you don’t know how it feels

No, you don’t know how it feels to be me

I wrote this post over 3 years ago. I never published it.  I am going to share it as I wrote it. It feels unfinished at the end and that is exactly how our life felt at that time.  I am happy to say that Abby is now functioning like a typical 14 year old for the most part, or at least like a typical unschooled 14 year old. She has overcome so much and come so far in 3 years.  Whenever I stop and think about this, I feel speechless,breathless,  amazed at how she has overcome such a severe disability. And then I breath out as reality brings me back to my current life, because we are now going through similar issues with our youngest child.  Somehow, my husband and I have two children with OCD.  We both feel compelled to help others who suffer, Don, with his coaching business, and me with my writing. We know how isolating having a child with OCD, or any mental illness can be, and we want others to know, you are not alone, there is help.  Don has recently written an ebook on OCD. His website

 

I woke up this morning and my little one was still asleep.  I checked my phone and saw my husband’s text:  “Left at 6:50, she was still sleeping”.  I stayed put checking email and facebook on my phone until my youngest woke up at 9:30.

We then headed downstairs to check on my daughter, Abby, asleep on the couch.

She said she had been up for a while but was curled up and calm.  (Thank God!)

I went in the kitchen and got her supplements and a new glass of water and a fresh straw.

I brought them to her and gave her the supplements one at a time, dropping them into her mouth and waiting for her to  reach her body across to the table where her cup sat and drink from the straw.

I then started breakfast.  I heated up pancakes for the kids as I started some hot water.  I got pancakes ready for my 4 year old.  He wanted a special cup for his juice and so I told him to get out the one he wanted which he did.  I then started sausages and then brought my daughter’s plate of pancakes, with syrup and cut and the box of spoons to her in the living room where she sits watching TV.  I set down her plate and opened the box of plastic spoons, moving the lid out of the way for her to reach in and take one.  I pointed out how many spoons were left and reminded her that we will not be buying another box of spoons.

I went back to the kitchen and started my breakfast, cut up apple, and quinoa and got it cooking on the stove and used hot water to make myself tea.  Jason was done eating now and so I got his vitamins out.

The sausage was done and my daughter was now in the bathroom.  I called up to her but she said she was too full for sausage.  I put them away in a container and labeled it “Abby” and then I put on some other sausages that she doesn’t like but Jason and I will eat.

Then she called me upstairs to help her wash her hands.  I pumped soap into her hands and then turned on the faucet, waited for her to finish, and then turned faucet off for her and went back downstairs to kitchen to finish making my breakfast.

Jason managed to play by himself and things were relatively calm.  It’s easier when only two kids are home.  My oldest had spent the night at a friend’s house.  And my husband had an all day workshop and wouldn’t get home until after 6pm.

I managed to eat, and make a batch of nettles (I soak dried nettle leaves in hot water to make an infusion which we then let cool and freeze in ice cube trays to use daily in smoothies and to drink.  Nettles are full of minerals and great for allergy relief.)

Keep in mind that my 4 year old talks almost continuously and comes in frequently to tell me or show me something or requests me to come see what he is doing.  Abby and Jason managed to play together briefly but it ended because Abby made too many rules and Jason came to me crying.  He desperately misses playing with his sister but it is not easy to play with her because he can not touch her or her spot on the couch and she does make a lot of rules when they play.  Abby tried to negotiate with him asking him which rules he didn’t like, but Jason was done.

By now it was about 10 am and so I reminded Abby that she was supposed to be Skyping with her cousin at 12.  Her cousin lives in PA and about 2 times each week they chat on skype or Google Chat.  They are working on a story together and building a house for the imaginary family on Google- Auto Desk Homestyler.

I ask her if she has a towel to use after she showers and clothes to wear.  I go to the kitchen to finish cleaning up, unloading the dishwasher etc.  She finally decides she needs to wash clothes and her towel as well as sheets.  she goes upstairs to get her clothes and comes down, “Mom, I need you to open the washer”.

“Just a minute”  and then I head down and open the washer, she drops clothes in and I tell her to get more and then I start the washer and add the soap.  She brings a few more items down and her towel but tells me she can only wash the clothes she is going to wear today.  And I tell her she needs to wash more because I can not wash clothes for her every day.  She gets mad and huffs off.

 

One of my biggest challenges in helping my children with their mental health issues, has been doing so while dealing with my own mental health issues.  I have diagnosed myself with Bipolar 2 because the mental health professionals have failed me in that area. They diagnosed me with Major Depression despite my repeated information on my bipolar symptoms. One practioner wanted me to see if my insurance would cover generic testing, in part to see if Bipolar disorder was likely. I don’t need to take a test for that. My brother is diagnosed with Bipolar 2 and has been for a long time. My brother and I share much other genetic similarities. 

I have found in helping my children, that I have been more qualified than the so-called professionals with diagnosing myself and my children. Especially my youngest child who I know has OCD and social anxiety despite failed attempts with professionals to get these diagnoses. I am a health care professional after all and hey, who knows my children better than me? No one. I homeschool/ unschool them based on my knowledge of who they are so I guess we unschool mental health too. 

That being said, we do use professionals for assistance. We have a OCD specialist therapist who has been vital in helping both my daughter and my son.  But we have been unable as of this writing to find a well qualified Psychiatrist who specializes in OCD.  We had one that was competent and who we liked (we liked her even more after we went to other Psychiatrists) but she was self pay only and we already have enough debt from medical expenses. 

Back to my intent of this post….

Helping my children when I myself am suffering my own mental illness. 

When I look back over the years, there are large periods of time that feel like a fog and in those times, just getting through each day was a big challenge for me.  One area that has been a big issues is getting my children help or following through with referrals and other things when they are doing better. 

When your child suffers with mental illness, it is exhausting, emotionally and often physically. When, they are doing better, there is a feeling of relief and wanting life to “just be normal for a while” or more normal.  As an example of this, last spring, my youngest had a severe flare up of OCD, anxiety and behavioral issues.  We went to a hospital ER to get immediate psychiatric help but because he was less than 7, we could only seek a referral to a developmental and behavioral pediatrician or go to the local mental health behavioral unit which would have been at least a 3-5 hour wait without knowing if they could even help us. We opted for the getting referred to the pediatrician specialist which involved going back to our primary for the referral and then I called to follow up but did not receive any information from them for 6 months.  I repeat, it took the Develpomental and behavioral Pediatrician practice, 6 months to send us information in the mail to complete to be seen.  Well, 6 months later, he was doing so much better. We had started OT services as well as going to the therapist we already had for our daughter. I intended to fil out the paperwork.  I must add that about 4 months prior to this visit to the ER, we had taken him to a psychologist for evaluation, but she was unable to complete her evaluation due to his inability to answer all her questions and complete her tests. It took her a couple months to send her results to us which said nothing really that I did not already know. 

Back to the referral to the pediatrician specialist.  I truly intended to fill out this lengthy paperwork to get my son seen.  I even contacted a friend who had taught him in a class situation to help with filling out some of the information. Since we homeschool, we don’t have a teacher to answer things.  He also acts differently with me than with other people, so I thought her input would be helpful. She is also the person who first pointed out the idea that he has “social anxiety”.  Yet, I have yet to begin to complete this paperwork. Now, I want to get my daughter referred to this practice in my hopes that they will have experience with OCD, particularly child-onset OCD. Because, she needs a prescribing doctor to follow her on her medication. Our previous Psychiatrist, who we did not like at all, does not take our current insurance. 

So why did I not fill out the paperwork for my son when they finally send it to me, 6 months after I requested the referral?

The only answer I really have is: my own depression and anxiety. 

My own depression made doing daily activities difficulty and anything extra was really a stretch for me to complete. I just did not have the time nor the energy to do it. I wanted to do it. It bothered me that I did not complete it. I also think that I did not have much faith anymore that these so called “professionals” could help my son.  Having the experience of taking my time to go to the psychologist assessment and gaining nothing from the experience other than frustration with the incompetence of the psychologist with knowing how to handle a kid with severe anxiety and getting help for us, I had little motivation to pursue this next avenue of help.  

So was it my depression and Axiety that prevented me from getting the help for my son?  

Or was it because I no longer believed that the professionals could help my son?

Most likely a little of both. 

I took some steps today to get my children the help they need.  Despite the utterly inadequate NC government health care system, I soldiered on with 2 different phone calls and even talking to the person who is my “case manager” who I find particularly incompetent and unprofessional.    I know know that I need to do research to find a psychiatrist that takes our current insurance, NC assisted: NC Healthchoscie for Children (when your income is too high for Medicaid). They had Medicaid until the beginning of this year. My husband is self employed and my prn work status does not qualify me for health insurance through my employers. I work 2 jobs. 

I also plan to find that paperwork and fill it out for my son too. Hopefully, I can find it, buried in the piles of paper at my desk. And I do plan to ask my friend to help me fill out the information. She now has seen my son at least weekly in class and might have some valuable insights and opinions to share. 

So this is my affirmation to myself to make these items a priority. 

If you also deal with mental health issues and have other family members with mental health issues, I would love to hear your challenges, thoughts and insights.   Let us help each other.