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

Archive for the ‘Learning Through Living’ Category

June 26,2017: Seeing the horizon

I decided that i needed to try medication again for my depression.  Since Prozac has been working for some of my family members, maybe it would work for me. Making a doctor’s appointment was a big deal for me.  My trusted nurse practioner who valued alternative medicine along with traditional medicine was the first person I went to 2 years ago.  But their practice is now a membership practice and I could not justify paying for membership in addition to the cost of an appointment  since it is not covered by my insurance. So i needed to find a new doctor.  Ugh

Amazingly, I found an OB/Gyn at a new practice 5 minutes from my house.  And a woman nurse practioner, my choice of doctor.  I called and made an appointment. At least it was super convenient to the house! Things went well, started on fluoxetine at my request to start at 10mg before increasing to 20.  She recommended a referral to a psychiatrist which I know is a good idea with my history.  Last time I tried an SSRI (anti-depressant), Iwas having many side effects and felt it was making me manic. 

So today was the psychiatrist appointment.  It went ok.  It is challenging for me to see a medical person who does not embrace my wholistic views on energy and alternative therapies.  I have realized that I can still stay on top of my own health and beliefs and utilize the western practioner when I need them and do my own research and still be in charge of my health and the decisions that are made. 

I have been on the medication for 5 weeks now and am feeling like my mod is lifting, I have more energy and more motivation to do things.  This is my first time writing in months. I decided since my doctor appointment was in a different part of town, that I would go to a new location for my me time, and to write to help shift the energy since I have not been writing despite going out for my me time at my usually places.  I came to a shopping center where I had bought my wedding dress over 23 years ago. The shopping center has changed greatly since then and looks so different and the dress shop is no longer here. 

I found a Panera and inside, a comfy chair but the outlet was not taking my charger and so after sitting a little, I decided I needed to walk around. I wanted to see the whole shopping center as well as get some fresh air and take in the beautiful weather today.  When I came back into the Panera, I decided to look for a different spot to sit near an outlet.  I found a table and noticed at the back of the restaurant, 6 tables away, there was a guy sleeping on the floor.  Or was he sleeping?  This is known as a pretty nice area of town and yet I have not been here in over 15 years and so who knows, maybe homeless people sleep on the floor here.  Sounds silly now that I say it.  It sounds more than silly, absolutely ridiculous that I thought that.  I decided I needed to get an employee to check it out.  It bugs me but I did not feel safe walking up to him myself to see if he was sleeping or passed out. Luckily, someone else had seen him before me and gone to get an employee, they walked over as I stood there.  I heard the employees check on the guy and he made a noise and then another employee came and cleared out the area and rolled him on his side.  I was frozen. I kept thinking, I know CPR and I should go up and state that. Someone was on the phone with 911 and so i knew that was taken care of.  It is one thing to have CPR training, because it’s required for my job, but I have always prayed that I would never need to use it. 

I feel guilty writing this and i felt so guilty standing there while the employees who obviously did not know CPR were attending to him.   I know CPR and I am supposed to use it to help people. Amazingly, a cop showed up within a few minutes.  So there was relief that someone now would know the right thing to do. My heart was racing. If you dpon’t know much about me, you may not know that my husband suffered a severe cardiac arrest in our home 6 years ago. Much to our surprise, we had no idea he had a heart issue and he had very atypical symptoms with his heart attack.  So for me, this was personal and my heart was racing as I relieved my own expereince with this.  When an employee said he was turning purple and went to get ice, I knew, yet,  I was frozen. 

Quickly after the first cop arrived, another came and then the medics.  I moved out of the area to allow them to. Do their work. My heart was still racing and I still felt frozen. I kept asking myself, why didn’t I approach the man to see if he was ok?  That is what I have been taught to do.  

“Annie, Annie, are you ok?”  

I was just sharing memories of CPR with my kids when the Michael Jackson song, “Smooth Criminal” which I refer to as the “Annie are you ok?” Song, Came on the radio recently.  When I hear that song. it makes me think of CPR.  The dummy we worked on for some reason was named Annie.  The first thing you learn in CPR training, is when come across an unconscious or potentially unconscious person,  you shake them (in an effort to arrouse them) and ask if they are ok.  “Annie, Annie, are you ok?”

I was relieved when the medics wheeled him out and I could see his face wasn’t blue but they were doing chest compressions on him. I hope he is ok. I know the reality of heart attacks and oxygen deprivation.  I guess I don’t know for sure it was a heart attack.   I realize that my going up to him most likely would not have made much of a difference.  I don’t know. how long he was lying  there before he was found .  It feels cold for me to say that.  I would like to believe that should I encounter such a scene again, I will have the confidence to go up to the person to see if they are ok and use the knowledge I have to help in whatever way I can.  I would like to be the kind of person who acts quickly to offer help to a stranger.  And maybe if no one else was doing any thing, I might have stepped in.  Someone else came  running in, I guess that person might have had CPR training but after the cop arrived she soon stepped away.  I think I can forgive myself for freezing and not stepping in.  

I am a therapist and not a doctor or nurse in part because it is not in my personality to respond quickly under pressure and jump in to an emergency.  Yet, I feel guilty and if anyone knewthat I had CPR training and was just standing there, they would be appalled. Right after, I wanted to talk to someone who would get it, someone who was there when my husband went into cardiac arrest.  I did text with my son later and I knew he got it.  He was 13 when it happened but he is 19 now.  I am curious to talk with my fellow colleagues who are therapists to see if anyon of them have ever had to use CPR or been in a similar situation.  Surely, I am not he only person who has frozen, wondering what to do, feeling like I should help but feeling so panicked and frozen. 

Heck, it took me a while to respond correctly when my own husband was having a heart attack.  He was still alert and conscious until after the medic arrived and I thank God every day for that.  Yet I wasted a few minutes before I called 911.  He said it was back pain. He has back issues.  It was his upper back and his right arm. AFter I wasted time looking for my stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, I remember saying to myself, “Gina, his arm is cold and clammy, You know what this is. Even though it was the “wrong” arm.” Don had no idea it was a heart attack. I was there in the ER when he finally was alert and the doctor told him he had a heart attack before they wheeled him up to the cath lab. I saw the look on his face, like”are you crazy? I had a what?”  He did not see me and has no memeory of that until he woke up after having cardiac catheterization to place 2 stints in his arteries leading to his heart that were 90% and 100% blocked. 

No matter  ho w much I write about that experience or tell people about it, I guess even to this day, 6 years later it still  shatters me- no, shakes me?- (there is no good word to put here)  when I think about it. Yes, he survived and is doing great today. That doesn’t take away from how traumatic the experience was.  And I live with it every day, wondering if it might happen again. I was ignorant before, had no idea he had heart disease, neither did Don.  But now I know he does. Now we both know. We both live with it in different ways. It happened to him but he does not remember when it happened. He did not see his spouse go into cardiac arrest before his eyes in the living room, wheeled out on a stretcher in a hurry with a dark blue face in front of his 3 children, ages 2, 9 and 13.  I did not wake up hours later in the hospital being told I had a heart attack, flat on my back with a tube up my leg and a pump assisting my heart and sore from the repeated defribillations the  life-saving medics performed.  He spent 12 days in the hospital and I spent those days being his advocate and making sure my children’s basic needs were being met.  I did rise to the occasion in the crisis and handled it well.  I asked friends and family for help and juggled their schedules while spending most days in the hospital from about 5am until 9pam, coming home to get my kids off to bed. 

I feel that I am in a weird fog.  I don’t want to use someone’s suffering to figure out my own life. Yet this expereince today has affected me. I want to take from it to move forward in my life and in my choices.  I send healing love, light and energy to the man from Panera and to his family and loved ones. I pray he is alive and able to fully recover.  I ask my family for patience as I come out of depression.  I never realize how depressed I have been until I am on the other side.  I can see the hozizon.

Wildflowers: Part 2

Tonight, the song Wildflowers began to play on the speaker system at my coffee house spot where I come to write.  Funny thing is I was listening to my playlist while Billy Joel began to sing Pressure and I had to stop my playlist to hear Wildflowers.  As I listened, all I could think was that I don’t belong living this life of depression.  It is not who I am.  I don’t belong living this life of hiding and disappearing from my life.  I belong amount the wildflowers, feeling frees, full of life.  

I have been feeling a sense of hopefulness lately.  I’ve been healing from a long suffering respiratory illness that left me tired and worn, just like the depression.  ( I have son,any ,omens now where) not sure what this was supposed to say?-NOTE: editing this 6-26-17; ) I just want more for my life.  Today! I took a walk at 1 pm.  Totally out of character but the weather was perfect and I was waiting to be able to go out since we are juggling 2 cars and three drivers right now.  

I took a walk! In the sunshine on a beautiful spring day! I even said to myself that I wanted to go hiking or exploring somewhere outside.  I had the desire to do that.  My back flared up while walking that put a damper on my idea but I decided it was minor and later went to the chiropractor and decided it didn’t need to define me.   I didn’t go on an outside adventure but I feel like I am so much closer to really living my life again. 

Sounds weird when I say it that way and doubts slip in. I can embrace that feeling and move on. I can choose to live my life howerver I choose.  I get to choose.  

I can choose to live among  the wildflowers…

…or not 

I can choose.

And now A great Big World sings so appropriately , “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 AtoZLyrics

And a huge thank you to Tom Petty and A Great Big World. 

 

Changes

I sit here listening to my inspiration play list.

The goal is to inspire myself to write. 

Because the reality is I have not been writing and I realized today that the life I choose to live is one in which I write.

The life I choose is one in which I choose to write about what matters to me.

Right now what matters to me is my mental health and if writing is my way back to myself….

then I must write, no matter what

Two weeks ago i came to my cozy spot, sat in my comfy chair and I only felt ready to write when the place was closing.

Tonight, i realized, I needed to facilitate my spark to write much sooner. 

Or maybe i did not realize that consciously but after watching a touching episode of an old TV show,

I took stock in myself and my current situation.

David Bowie played, “Changes”, a fitting title

I have always loved this song and it felt like my song for tonight

Then I looked up the lyrics….

They surprised me

Even though I knew some of the lyrics,

I had not really heard the song as a whole before

Of course, it seams so fitting for me and my struggles

I still don’t know what I was waiting for

And my time was running wild

A million dead-end streets

And every time I thought I’d got it made

It seemed the taste was not so sweet

So I turned myself to face me

But I’ve never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I’m much too fast to take that test

Not sure if I really know what all of it means

I don’t think it matters what David intended in the meaning

I believe all that matters is what it means to me

Sure, I would like to know what the words meant to him

Yet, on a spiritual level, I know I need to just allow it to bring out my own meaning

As a means to help me on my path 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Face the unknown

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t want to be a richer man

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Face my fears

Ch-ch-changes

Just gonna have to be a different man

Everything in my life. Changes who I am

In each new moment, I am created a new

I can’t go back and be who I was before all my challenges 

I can only be who I am now….

And accept myself in who I am now

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time
I watch the ripples change their size

But never leave the stream

Of warm impermanence and

So the days float through my eyes

But still the days seem the same

Theses lyrics are poetry, as is the entire song

All I gather from it is that I watch life move on and yet feel so stuck in the same low place
The next lines have always been my favorite ranking alongside, “Another brick in the wall”

The message within these next four lines are what compels me to write

The message in these lines is what compels  me to be the parent I choose to be

And to always strive to be a better parent

It is my passion for living my life


And these children that you spit on

As they try to change their worlds

Are immune to your consultations

They’re quite aware of what they’re going through

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Don’t tell them to grow up and out of it

I almost overlooked this lesser known line

Let children be children

Let them be who they are now

They have value at any age

They will become adults in time

We don’t need to “train them to be adults”

We need to respect  them where they are now and allow them to be children

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Where’s your shame

You’ve left us up to our necks in it

Time may change me

But you can’t trace time
Strange fascination, fascinating me

Changes are taking the pace

I’m going through
Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Oh, look out you rock ‘n rollers

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

(Turn and face the strange)

Ch-ch-changes

Pretty soon now you’re gonna get older

Time may change me

But I can’t trace time

I said that time may change me

But I can’t trace time

I like how these lyrics leave me thoughtful and looking for deeper meaning.

Looking for meaning beyond what I see as the obvious meaning in the words

Searching

Is a good place to be in 

And most certainly so much better and more full of life than in a slump of depression

Avoiding and zoning out and “medicating” with distraction

Thank you
AtoZLyrics

And an enormous burst of gratitude to David Bowie for writing and for singing

Pressure

Pushing down on you

Pushing down on me

These are the days it never rains but it pours 

It’s my life 

This is my fight song 

Take back my life song 

Why can’t we give love a chance 

Love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the light 

And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves 

This is our last dance 

He was my husband 

And then he became my patient 

Life will never be the same 

I was grateful, oh so grateful 

And then the grief rose 

Within my lungs, a cough that persisted 

Until it knocked me out cold 

On the side of the road staring at the sky

That Saturday in May

When my sense of invisibility came to life 

She saw me, after she hit me 

She saw me 

She said she didn’t see me, but after her white SUV smashed into my sweet grey civic

She had no choice but to see me 

I knew I would be ok 

They put a neck brace on me

As a precaution 

I Knew I would be ok 

There were bits of glass everywhere 

I found a piece in my ear like a week later 

I told the medic I felt like I had glass in my arm 

He told me, “there is no glass in your arm”

There was glass in my arm, tiny pieces. 

I have the scars to prove it 

I grabbed my phone and my purse before I climbed out the passengers side of the car 

because I thought the car was smoking, I had to get out, it could catch fire

It was the airbag, the passenger side air bar

The police officer asked me if my air bag deployed, why didn’t he just look in the car?

What did I know? I was just blind sighted and pushed across the road into a vehicle at. Stop sign

No air bag deployed, I hit my head on the steering wheel

Did I loose consciousness? Maybe for a few seconds. How am I supposed to know 

One minute I saw a car coming at me and I tried to swerve. It then I knew there was no time to get out of the way

I felt and heard the crunch of metal

And then I opened my eyes and my car was on the side of the road 

The window on my side in tiny pieces, the frame of the car door protruding 8 inches, I heard one medic tell another 

Some nice lady walked up to me as I came out of the car

The woman who hit me was a medic and she told the woman that I needed to lie down

I layer down on the grassy hillside 

I asked if  anyone else was hurt

Always the caregiver 

I was relieved no one else was hurt 

I later learned about the third car

I had no idea there was a third car involved

They stayed my lungs because I was wheezing 

All that grief still stuck inside

I had been having recurrent bronchitis for 6 months

I can’t remember if I still was having issues before the accident happened, maybe I was 

How was I supposed to remember?

I remember Don meeting me at the hospital while I was still in the ambulance

Jason and Don were there to meet me and followed me back into the all white room

Where I waited to be checked out 

They usually didn’t deal with trauma at this small hospital close to my house 

The room they put me in wasn’t a real room

I don’t know what it was

It had one door and no windows

I knew I would hurt the next day but but was I surprised how much pain I had

I was still nursing so I wouldn’t take any strong pain medication

My arm was so tender and painful all wrapped in gauze to bandage the glass cuts from the glass that wasn’t in my arm but really was

Jason was so gentle when I told him to be careful with mommy’s arm

Jason was 3

He was 2 when his father went into cardiac arrest in our living room

At least mommy got to come home that same day

For Jason’s sake

But I really needed a few nights at the hospital

Or maybe not, I needed my family yet I neeeded rest 

Recooperation from the shock and trauma of the past year and 3 weeks 

Since Don had his heart attack

Full cardiac arrest, ventricular fibrillation in our living room on the couch

They had to cut off his favorite worn blue rabbit t-shirt

They mixed up my cheap stethoscope with theirs and took my ice pack

I had tried to take his blood pressure, I remember his pulse was weak

I remember when it hit me, 

His arm was clammy and cold

Sure it was the wrong arm, but it was COLD AND CLAMMY!

Gina, his arm is cold and clammy, he is having a heart attack

And that’s when I called 911

I left his side searching for aspirin that I knew I didn’t have but knew he needed 

Thank God the medic showed up and was at his side when he went into cardiac arrest 

it looked like he had a seizure and he lost consciousness

and a medic escorted us out of the room, me and my three kids

Harrison was 13,  Abby was 9 and Jason was 2

Don was 52

His father died at atge 56 when Don was 17

He dided of a massive heart attack while in the hospital wiaiting for Bypass surgery

They called Don’s heart attack, “the widow maker”

He cheated death

he choose to live

He lived

That same year, 2 friends lost their husbands to heart attacks and another from cancer

Survivors guilt, its real 

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 

“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