A journal of healing

Archive for the ‘trauma’ Category

I am a sinner!!!

pink clouds 8-15

“I am a sinner. I have done something so egregious in my life that I deserve completely the issue at hand.”

This is how someone who has PTSD brought on by childhood trauma thinks. This is how a woman copes with the reality of living within an abusive relationship of a spouse or family member. This is what the perpetrator tells them and when it is someone you are supposed to trust, you take it as gospel.

The lesson is learned early when in innocence, the child or woman stands up to the inflictions and is beaten worse or punished even more cruelly. There is guilt placed on them that they are so flawed that their judgement is totally wrong. When you add isolation, which often happens, the person is so humiliated because they are led to believe they have caused their own situation and it is their entire fault. So they submit which is why so many people end up either dead or remain in the relationship.

Children often have no escape. They hear nothing but ridicule and criticism. They are abused mentally, physically and sexually by members of their closet trust unit, their family. This circle of constant wearing down of any self-worth is worn like a cloak and the energy given off to others in the world is a reflection of this lack of confidence. People treat people as the person treats themselves. And this only perpetuates their loss of confidence. When all hopes of a bright future are dashed at the malicious behavior of others, the person mentally gives up.

What happens in the body is another story. The body is designed to protect us. I have written a lot about the reaction of trauma and there is a ton of information on the physical deterioration of the human life form from trauma whether it is a one-time happening or many. There is evidence based research on the impact of trauma and the propensity of chronic illness later on in life. Please read the Ace Study information here: http://www.acestudy.org/

Now repeat this treatment for fifty years and then ask, who could possibly have a different outcome of low esteem and self-deprivation? How could the body after all those years of cortisol floods and other hormones and muscles in a permanent clinch all the time not affect the health of someone? This is my story. It is not about sympathy and it is very difficult, more difficult to talk and write about than anything I have ever done because you see….I am a sinner. I still in my subconscious think I deserved everything that ever happened to me. And so the manifestation of chronic illnesses is only another reinforcer.

The reason I am writing about this stems from another blog of the dear Dr. Victo Doloro: https://doctorly.wordpress.com/2015/08/27/eroding/ . It is about how obese patients are treated by the medical community. I wrote a long reply to that but it made me come to grips with something currently in my own life.

A week or so ago, I started to feel like absolute crap. We were headed out for vacation; I was able to quell the uneasiness of my ickiness with the anxiety of the trip. I always am anxious to some extreme, but going away is very difficult. I lose what little safety I think I have. Once away, I still was anxious and I thought it was about work. It is what I do. I find a reason for something so I can deal with the guilt of not being perfect. Although we had a splendid time, I knew something was wrong Big Time. We got back and the symptoms did not get better. If anything, I felt worse. I had my nurse educator take my blood pressure and sure enough it was up there, more so than it has been for a long while. I decided to look at my glucose, and yup, it was up. I took readings for four days and it was constantly up there.

I did a very difficult thing. I called my doctor and made an appointment and I asked him to order all sorts of blood work. On Friday, the lab tests came back and there was nothing significant in the findings. I was within a range I had been in before. This summer had been a whirlwind of barbeques and going out every weekend and enjoying ice cream cones while sitting by the canal. And I just came back from vacation where we treated ourselves to what-ever we wanted including shell fish. I had brought all my numbers down when I was on Weight Watchers and because of the change in eating habits, I actually as mindful on the trip and not a crazy fool. I only gained four pounds back from which meant I was still 20 pounds lighter than where I was less than a year ago. Just knowing that made me feel better.

This morning, the last test came back (urine) and it was off the chart. From what I can tell, my kidney crashed again. I had taken a shot (Simponi for my Psoriatic Arthritis) the Wednesday before we left. I had a reaction at the injection site I have never had before (I have had seven shots of this product) I noticed the next day that I felt like my blood pressure was up and I was very stressed. As I said, the anxiety of the trip and so forth. On the trip, I was not drinking water as much as I normally do because of how much I have to pee every five minutes and you can’t do that when you are traveling. I also consumed restaurant food which has a ton more salt than I use. But according to what I have read, I should have edema, and I don’t. There is also the possibility that the test was contaminated and the outrageous reading is inaccurate.

But here is the point of this long epistle. It took me four days to call the doctor. Why? Because in my mind I am totally blaming myself for whatever is happening. I am in a state of being triggered from guilt and the fear of oncoming punishment. For me, having to go to the hospital for more tests makes everything in my body tighten to the point of almost being crippled. I am sure it is adding to the heighten BP. Worse is the treatment I know I will receive. My GP is not like that. But this will surely mean a trip to a nephrologist and/or endocrinologist. My last experience was beyond awful and I wrote about it in Victo’ s post and I have written before about it. Even the nephrologist I saw never talked to me about kidney disease, but only about he bet me I would be so much healthier if I lost 25 pounds. HELLO??? I did and this happened anyways.

I feel in the depth of my soul like I have been captured like a caged animal and I am trapped. Now I will be paraded like a circus animal where people can poke fun and ridicule me. They will tell me that this is all my fault because I am fat and from the front desk to the person who will have to weight me, they will treat me terrible. It is an awful feeling. But I know I have to do something. My fear at one point was so strong that I almost said “screw it. I have to die of something.” Then my new found bravery came into play and I am facing this head on. First asshole who says something that this is my fault because I am fat is going to get an earful from me. I wish I could come up with a card to hand out starting with, “ you are an uniformed asshole! IF you only knew…..” The other thing that this and the conversations on Victo’s blog did was reinforced my desire to continue to work in trauma informed studies. I completed a certification last year in working with organizations to be more trauma informed. There is another longer certification in becoming a trauma informed specialist and I am going to go for that this year.

I know that the fear of seeking medical help is extremely common. The level of anxiety brought on from illness for people with PTSD from any form of trauma is unmeasurable. It is a major cause of suicide. It is only in recent years that PTSD is acceptable for people in the military. It was not uncommon and is still prevalent for soldiers returning to suffer major uncorrectable illnesses because of PTSD. They try to treat the illness and not the whole situation. There is still a stigma of being a weakling. People with childhood trauma and domestic violence victims are very much not understood or even accepted. Countless doctors do not do a trauma screen to see the route of diseases started back when they were physically abused when they were five. And until we stop  degrading and humiliating the victims, they are not going to speak up.

I am going to add to this, although I know this is going to be another post at another time. There is a lot of work out there dealing with people with PTSD and downregulating the body reaction to it. There is ton of stuff on mindfulness and meditation and sensory and energy work and other therapies. I have spent a ton of money and years on trying to find a solution. Although it has helped, some more than others, I am convinced that this is not the cure. I believe there is some so deeply engrained in the body that no one has actually discovered and is able to truly turn off. They can dim it, but not eradicate it. And, like anything, it is hard to say that this too is a failure. But this is all for another time.










“Relaxing don’t come easy……..”

cu charlene We are currently at the River. My house and furbabies are safely being watched by a loving friend. There is should be nothing for me to worry about. But even here, the most beautiful place in the world, I did not find the calm I so needed. But I did get some fabulous photos which I will share in time.

If you know me, my favorite bird is the Blue Heron. Every year since I can remember, there has been a heron who comes at night across the little lagoon from our room. She comes and fishes and stays for a while. I have gotten close shots of her only a few times. This year, she spent a couple of nights on our side of the cove, and I went out to photograph her. ( I could not type shoot her.) This year, it was like she posed for me.  At one point, she actually walked towards me. I was delighted.

Why can I not relax? Although I have been going to bed exhausted, the sun and water really takes it out of you, I have had nothing but troubling dreams. Dreams of my past marriage and the pain inflicted by my ex’s cheating. Why does this haunt me only in my dreams? It has been 13 years since I spoke to him, and have no desire to contact him at all. One night I woke up to chest pain and flutters. It was a very weird sensation and not pleasant at all. So then I perseverated on the possibility of a heart attack and sleep again alluded me. One night, I was being chased by something and I have no recollection of what other than I woke up with a startle. Maybe it is because it is not my own bed.

Before we left, my father-in-law was in the hospital and near death. My Mother-in-law fell and broke her pelvis. My FIL is now in rehab, having survived a miracle. He is however, very depressed. My MIL is in a nasty nursing facility. 62 years of marriage and this is how they will end up. I too would be depressed. I am not sure that living so long that you end up just hanging on day by day is the way I want to end up. What is life if there is no quality to it? I dread the idea of just sucking up the maintenance care of being in a nursing home, knowing there is no way out. As I sat out at night, pondering the meaning of life, my last thoughts of the day are to make the next one count.

One thing I know for sure; people who are affected with PTSD never really get over it. I continue with my research and reading on the topic. Although there are many methods of down playing the hypersensitivity, it NEVER really goes away. For me, new places with strangers puts me on high alert. Even though I know the Islands so very well, when it is crowded up here, it stresses me. We went out on a packed boat tour that lasted three hours. The idiot next to me had to have his wife sit with him and so three of us were crushed in a seat for two. I could not move, and I do not like strangers touching me. It was also 90 degrees. Usually the water turns me to mush, but not that trip. I was so sore when we got back from being all tightly wrapped and on hyper alert, I actually had a muscle spasm in my back.

rock charlene  There was also a situation at work that happened just before I left. It really had me tweaked as it had to do with one of my employees lying. I hate lying in any form. But this was about me. I could not let it go. I perseverated on it for  days when something came to light that sort of put me at ease. I spent every morning connecting with work because there was so much going on when I left. I will be coming back to a very large project which includes the whole agency, all divisions and departments. I am co-project manager. It will entail the loss of jobs and that is very hard to know about. It will be a complete restructure. But before I left, I was promoted to Director and given a new division. I had a new employee start the week before we left and that needed me to  keep in contact with her as well. She will be great and I am excited about the future for this program. We also lost our Corporate Compliance Director on Friday and she left me completely in the lurch for some training she was supposed to write months ago, and did not. So that has me pretty well tweaked as well.

take off charlene I do know that this year was hard for us with all the things going on back home. My husband’s daughter moved back and is living on her own for the first time. She is extremely needy and it has put a strain on us, well me actually. I resent her in truth, even though I know I should not. But she is manipulative and very, very immature. She has never worked in her life, not even babysitting because she hates children, and does not drive. But it has brought my husband great joy to have her back and I think he loves her neediness. But for  me, it is one more thing to have to deal with. The issue is if she has stayed with us, instead of living with her mother who let her do NOTHING, she would have completed college and been driving and having a life. BTW, she turns 26 in September. We are dealing with a 16 year old instead. An example of what we are dealing with is what happened this morning. Because she was the sole heir to the money her mother had, it has created an issue with her uncle, who is a moron. He expected her to give him a huge some of money to save his over mortgaged house. She did not give it to him, which was the right thing to do. As far as we know, there was no agreement that she would from her mother, which is what he is charging her with. His family took her in after her mother passed away and helped her to move up here. She did pay rent and paid him to move her. He is furious and is now spreading crap about her on Facebook. She called this morning all in tears. Honestly, Facebook? We are talking a 50 year old and a 25 year old.

This time of year for me is the end of my year and October is my New Year. There are so many changes happening this next year. My husband turns 65. I turn 62 and will collect my teacher pension. It is not great, but it is something else. We are talking about retirement and what will that look like. Spending 8 days together doing not much showed me I am not ready to retire for awhile. While he is content with playing golf, which he is doing right now, or sitting on the computer playing a game, I am not able to just relax. Even forced relaxation does not happen for me.

Birthday wishes for me


On turning 61

I am not sure how and when, but tomorrow I turn 61. My last birthday at 60 was terrible. I am more used to the number but still overwhelmed with the swift passing of time. As the years accumulate, the time seems to expedite like traveling down a slope, picking up speed as I tumble and slide. There are no brakes.  I can see how the feeling of hopelessness can accompany someone as they age but that is not how I am feeling. Ok, well not all the time.

My dearest friend and I spent Friday night sitting in the garden and talking about our lives. We asked each other what we would do if we could do anything in our golden years of retirement. Her dream is to get into an RV and drive the country taken pictures and blogging about them. What a wonderful idea. My brain immediately went to all the reasons why I would not be able to do that. Fear is the biggest road block to happiness.

I have no clue what I would do. I could only see myself as I am now, working where I am and in my current home. That is not the real desire, but I could not put myself to the future and relinquish the controlled life I have now.  It spoke volumes about the level of stress I am in right now.

I am a believer of the power of vision. We all have the ability to close our eyes and “see” things, but you have to be ready and you have to really concentrate. The concept of the third eye and dream visions and so forth are real and has been around forever. I am not gifted like some with the power of vision, but I have an amazing empathic sense of the current situation. This is not to say I haven’t ever had visions or knowledge of something without tangible proof.

I find the lack of a plan for the future unsettling. I like to have a direction or path with a destination of some sort even if it is only a stopping point to the next place. Some say it is the journey not the destination that counts. Not having a plan is making me feel a bit lost and hitting this marker of my birthday had caused this concern to resurface.

I know every day is a blessing for me at this point. I watched my parents and many friends and family depart this plane of existence too early. I have always said I want to leave this world a better place because of my influence. I thought it would be through my own children, and that was not to be. I thought teaching was my contribution, but my level of influence in that area is negligible.

There is something  deep within me that says there is something I am supposed to do that will make a bigger difference in the world. I really only became aware of this in the past few years. It is like a simmering pot that has been turned up. We all have a calling, but many people do not hear it. For me, it burns within and shouts in my head. But it is unclear as to what it is supposed to be. It is very frustrating and being so adds to the noise and muddles the resolution. Meanwhile, time keeps ticking away.

I spent a lot of time studying many spiritual things. I read about neuroscience and the workings of the brain. I have done energy work and spent a small fortune on taking classes in Healing Touch and Reiki and Mindfulness. I have read volumes from the nonsense of Doreen Virtue, the science of many doctors like Peter Levin, and Robert Scaer to the prophecies of Eckhart Tolle, Brene Brown, Eric Pepin and Don Ruiz. I have over sixty or so spiritual books in my Kindle alone. My newest author is Stuart Wilde and I am devouring his books like candy.  I have studied Christian, Buddhist, Zen and Pagan methodologies and teachings. I lean more to a Pantheist viewpoint with rituals and the Craft.   I have taken classes in trauma treatment and may work on another certification in the fall.  It all is leading somewhere.

On this eve of this birthday, I am sending birthday wishes for a few things. I need a guide. I have known this for a while and have been asking every night for a guide. I had a dream about a friend of mine at work who is the Spiritual Chaplin for hospice. The next day, he stopped by at my desk. Was that the opportunity and I blew it? We talked about Weight Watchers as he was part of the group who was taking it at work. Not all is lost, but I am not sure about his connection. But that’s the point.

Am I supposed to take this next certification? It will cost me but the result will be a certification as a Trauma Specialist. I can work as a consultant for providers and schools. Do I  make this investment of time and money at this point? Not sure… So I wish for clarity of my path.

And my other wish is the health and strength to be physically able to do whatever is next. Some say if it is to be, I will be strong enough. I was lucky that there were other drugs to take when the Enbrel stopped working. The Simponi I am on is finally working. My 25 year old step daughter cannot keep up with me when we go shopping or work around the house. Granted, she is in terrible shape for a 25 year old. But I seem to have regrouped some of my energy and strength. I am so much better than I was a year ago at this time. Although I have stopped being extreme on my diet, I am still holding off the weight I lost. This month is not one for diets. We start celebrating the first week of June, and it goes right on until Father’s day when we celebrate that. You can never have enough birthday cake. We also are heading for The River for a while and I am going to enjoy myself. (I have a whole post brewing about being on a diet and how people can be so invasive of your life.)

I am hoping my time at The River will help me focus and find my footing again.  I am off to sit in my garden, give thanks for all I have received in my life, and acknowledge my gratitude to the Goddess for all she has given me and the world.  I am so blessed in so many ways. And I will again ask for guidance and direction.

So mote it be.



Never a borrower nor lender be


This first week of June, my most favorite month, has been amazingly raining and cold. Adding to the gloom is a family situation that arrived in my email last week. Seems my second oldest brother is in need of a substantial loan. It happens all the time in families. Accept in this family, for me, there are always triggers. And this situation has triggered all sorts of things for me especially anger. And because of that, I am physically suffering now.

My brother is 70 years old, 10 years my senior, and married to a woman who is younger than I am. He moved to Florida this winter under a big fanfare of how wonderful it was going to be and how fabulous their new place was. Prior to moving, they had the condo completely redone. They moved down there from Colorado after completing their annual cruise, this time for 16 days. Mazel tov!

When my Aunt passed away three years ago, she left to all of us a very large inheritance. We all got the same amount. I put a portion of mine into my house and the rest remains invested in hopes of an easy retirement. My sister bought a huge house, but that was her dream. My oldest brother put into his investments and retired. My other brother bought a vintage car and spent his whole inheritance on this car. He is broke. We all thought that this brother had put his into their Florida dream. Not so. He is penniless, neither one of them have a job after being there six months, and the condo is mortgaged to the hilt. He is in deep do do and could lose the place and the small amount of money he put down on it.

The problem is he is not explaining how he got into that situation in the first place since he could have bought the condo outright and still had money left over. He has nothing. They have been there since the first of the year, and six months later they still do not have jobs.

My oldest brother wants us to react to this like a family and the three with some money left contribute and bail his ass out. My sister has agreed to a very nominal amount. My brother is will to cough up as long as I put in three times in what my sister has. He will double my contribution making the requested 10 grand.  My brother already owes my oldest brother and wife 5 grand which he never paid back over twenty years ago. This is not a good risk. My brother wants us to just give it to him and forget it.

NO…. this is what I am screaming in my head. NOOOOOOO. We all had the same amount of inheritance. Other than that, my life has been  complete affected by their stupidity and I have been paying for them since I was a baby. This is what is stirred up:  They all had opportunities I did not. They all were sent off to college, and not just any college, good schools: U of R, Syracuse, RIT and Fredonia. When it came to me, the answer was no way.  Only my oldest brother finished. I had to pay my own way and it took me to age 51 when I completed my Masters totally on my own dime. I am the only one with a Masters. I have a good paying job because of that effort. Not my fault they don’t.

The laundry list of infractions is huge and I do not want to open this all up on paper. Believe me, it is all in my gut right now and I am reliving everything. My triggers are firing off all sorts of lovely reactions. No sleep, being cranky, upset stomach and huge flares of pain and immobility. I wish, other than the oldest brother, they would all crawl back into their holes and remain there. Instead, they slither out when they are in trouble and want something.

FAZZI, FAZZI was a …

Goddess of the garden

Fazzi, Fazzi was a bear. Fazzi, Fazzi pulled out hair. Fazzi, Fazzi, wasn’t fuzzy was it? NOPE. The last three days we were visited by Fazzi Consultants who are the primo home care consultants…. They came as requested by the Mothership. They were going to do an “engagement”, but the reality was it was a witch hunt to cut back positions and duplications from the merger of the two agencies. They visited with everyone on the admin team and then a select few on day one. They visited with the management team at our newly acquired agency day two. Then came back on day three and visited with the next level at our agency. I am on that level.

So with a lot of fear being induced throughout the agencies, this was not a comfortable visit. The preliminary was general oversight and who did what. The new agency reported a stream of infractions of how they do not like us and that we are horrible to them. Then the second stringers chatted about their roles.

There was a lot of consternation about having an audience and who had the most time. I knew the truth was they were visiting the longest with people who are probably going to be assimilated or let go. One includes the educator of the other agency. She is nice to my face, but has made it very clear she is not going to report to me. Except….she is. That was the original plan. She had a 45 minute meeting with Fazzi. I am sure she sang her virtues as she is really well skilled, clinically. She is an NP, but from pediatrics. We do not do peds at all. As far as training, well, again…. It is the adage that if you are a nurse in any form you are also a consummate teacher. I beg to differ.

My appointment this morning was with the other two HR managers. Fazzi ran late, and one of the girls decided to talk about the virtues of Wegmans to Fazzi. Meanwhile the clock is ticking. She clearly had a ½ hour for all three of us and that was it. She started with the other two. One has been there almost 35 years and is looking to retire soon. The other is only there 2 years and does not HAVE to work. So finally she gets around to ask me what I do….and my tongue goes into slow motion. She had to leave very soon. My list is so long I knew I would never get it all out. I clearly (hopefully) express that I am in charge of ALL education at ALL locations at ALL levels. But then when I tried to explain, it got confusing. It did not help that I have the cold from hell and was feeling like absolute crap.

So now I perseverating that the report is going to come back to AXE the unintelligible Manager of Education and Organization Development. I am also very paranoid.

I am writing this because it helps me to package my feelings. This has triggered all sorts of physical issues with me. I am sure that is why I am sick. This swinging blade has been dangling over everyone’s head for the last month when it was announced. The gossip and innuendos are pervasive. To try to explain my perseveration to my fellow managers is futile. They do not know about my PTSD nor much of my personal history. And it will stay that way. They do not understand that I have a horrible complex about being inadequate, especially in a clinical setting. And I worry that the NP at the other agency talked a good game. Clinicians like fellow clinicians. Even though my credentialing is more appropriate for education…it does not matter in this clinical world.

I am going to go sulk, and sniffle out in the garden. I do not want to go to work tomorrow but I have so much happening. I could type something incredibly sarcastic, but the snot is pouring down my face and my head is pounding. I need to sleep….. I mean meditate.

ACE Champion


I have been working on a professional certification in Trauma Informed Organizations from the University of Buffalo. I want to champion this cause for people like me.  You know; the overly sensitive ones. Someone who seems to be fine and then all of a sudden, they seem out of it, depressed and short tempered. And you cannot figure out why they are “over-reacting.”  This person goes into a tail spin over a simple comment. These are people who seem to be worriers and drama queens. They can be a co-worker or someone who is a customer. It can be terribly difficult to work with them, or try to provide a service for them. If you are a fixer type personality, this kind of flighty reactionary personality is very trying.

The first thing I got involved with is the ACE study. Here is a link to information about the ACE study and the findings: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html  This information was so connecting for me. I took the test and have an incredibly high score of  8. I came from a white affluent family with no apparent (to the world) issues. But the truth is my parents were alcoholics, abusive alcoholics. And my sister has mental illness and she too was abusive. I have come to terms with the history, but it affects me often in how I deal with things as an adult.

On top of this, I am an empath. That is someone who is very sensitive to how others feel. In the Woo Woo World, we are considered seers and fortune tellers. We are able to “read” people. The truth is it is a skill set necessary to survive in a family or any dangerous environment. You need to be able to “read” people to see if there is a dangerous threat coming from them. I read eyes very well as they really are the portal to the soul.  For some of us, it is not desirable as you cannot turn it off. I can sense people’s real feelings sometimes before they can. People love to come to me to tell their tale only because I am often able to dig in and see things they may not.

But I am also affected very much but the climate of the people around me. For example, right now at work the climate is one of fear. When people are fearful, they turn nasty and Nasty is what it has been every day for the last month. The Mothership has ordered an “Engagement” with a consulting group, Fazzi, to come in and look at the organization. We were told heads would roll. So far, two people have been let go. The Admin team is sweating bullets and so they are sending terrible fear throughout the organization. One VP announced her early retirement already. It was a wise choice.

Two years ago, we bought another agency and we were supposed to be one organization by now. All of their executive team left and what is left are a few directors who are in a tenuous situation. The bigger issue is that they have not played well in the sandbox. One of the things this engagement is to discover is where services can be combined and supervision eliminated. Finally. This was the plan all along, but our touchy feely board did not follow through with the combining. Two years ago, the then CEO told me that I would be in charge of education. The person at this other organization was not scheduled to be let go because she only works part time. But she is to report to me. She is a NP. I am not. She does not want to report to me. Bottom line and she has made it very apparent. It has caused some major compliance issues because she does not embrace our way of documenting. There is a lot more to this. There are little battles of strategic survival all over both agencies. This is just one situation in a sea of pissing contests going on right now.

The result for me right now is I come home from work totally exhausted. I have been keeping to myself as much as I can. There are a lot of projects that I am responsible for that require cooperation from many people and it ain’t happening. Part of the issue is the uncertainty; the other part is the underlying flow of fear. I sense it and it has triggered me to be in a hyper arousal, hyper sensitive mode. By the end of the day, I am so worn out from just trying to keep it together. My mind knows there is nothing I can do about it. I do not have the ability to control anyone else, only my reaction. But clearly, I am not controlling myself either. I slipped up at lunch recently with my fellow HR managers. We go out to lunch periodically, and to have not gone would have been worse. So we were talking about how tired and cranky we were and I said, “I know, I went home and sat out in the garden last night and just cried.” Later, one manager came over and was totally freaked that I would be crying over my job. I do not have the desire to tell her all about trauma and my history. Crying for me is a release. The breathing and shaking all release pent up chemicals and relax my muscles. She is trying to be a friend, but I know she wants to fix me.

This type of stress is very prevalent in companies that are looking to “squeeze the buffalo on the nickel to save a dime.” (That’s a father-in-law comment) The admin team and CEO could have presenting this engagement in a better light. They should have waited on the terminations for a few more weeks. Since these two were not administrators or even supervisors, the fear now has extended to all ranks. They announced they are changing the pay structure for only the field nurses. No more pay per visit, which has been a money maker for some. Yet, they have not implemented it so the fear of loss of personal revenue is floating around. They are putting together two new teams and are pulling existing staff from the field to do this without filling their positions in time. It is so simple: hire the amount of people now you need to take out later, train them, get them up and successful, and then form the new teams. But no, that would make sense. And let’s do this during the summer when we are short anyway from vacations. The list of incredible poor planning is extensive. If they could see how their lack of governance has affected the organizations and instead used mindful awareness of being trauma informed, it might change how this would all be going down. Trauma informed does not mean to pussy foot either. It means to eliminate unnecessary fear and ambiguity. It doesn’t change what will happen, only how it is communicated and presented. Have a clear plan, have boundaries and guidelines, and people will know what to expect. It is much easier to deal with than fear.





To schmooze or not

strom 1

Today was a really weird day. I felt like I was at odds with people. Ever have a day like that? I of course, was doing nothing wrong…. But it seems that every turn was an argument or discussion. It was beautiful and the temperature hit 84. I thought maybe people were angry because they were inside. I had a couple of meetings that it seemed if I said black, someone had to argue white.

Finally I got home and worked in the yard and had dinner later. As the day ended and a storm was blowing in, I sat under my tree in my garden and just thought about things. The air was beginning to swirl and I have many wind chimes that were ringing their tunes.

As the warm tempest began to build with the sky turning pink and dark I had a time to think about the day.

And like a slap to the forehead, I realized it was me. All me.

I wanted people to just instantly agree with whatever wonderful idea and concept I was pitching in the meetings. I usually have great luck with swaying people to my thoughts. Yes, I can schmooze with the best of them. I come from a family that was very good at this talent. My father made his living as a salesman of many things. My brother sells high end corporate properties. I make my living to some degree developing people, which is a form of selling people on themselves.

My issue is I want to control things. It is not so much about winning, but that is it to some degree. It is about people buying into my world, my rules and my way of thinking.

How freaking arrogant is that?

The truth is it is not about control and it is not about arrogance. It is about safety. And if people fall in line with what I need, I am safe. Arguing is not being safe. Different people’s methods of doing things creates exposure and is unsafe.

Funny how I can see this in other people, but it took a long time for me to see it in me. But recovery starts with identifying the issues and facing them.

Time to work on some releasing.




Family that sticks…..

little girl

You can pick your nose. You can pick your seat. But you can’t pick your family. Some people hold that you pick your family prior to coming to earth

When I met my husband his daughter was 12 and going through all the drama and crap that comes with that age. My husband had sole custody of her. Her mother was alive but lived on the other side of the continent. By the time I was on the scene her mother had married a wonderful gentleman. Stepdaughter (SD) went to see them at least twice a year, paid for by them. The whole relationship between all of us was actually quite pleasant and friendly. I actually worked for her mother for a while when I was back in college full time.

After living together, SD and I started to bond. The phone calls to her mother were filled with things we were doing and she often would say things that I had said. This made Mom pretty upset and she started to insert herself in our situation. I would say, “SD, please do this chore” and she would come back with the “You’re not my Mother” crap. She started to lie. She skipped classes. She spent a lot of time in her room. Some of this was just being 15. The rest of it was her mother.

After living with us for almost two years, she decided she wanted to stay with her mother. We were more than fine with it.

It turned out to be exactly what was supposed to happen. Her mother’s husband ended up having a brain tumor and dying. He did everything for those two. And he had money. It was a mess when he died and no one was there to take care of them.

Fast forward to fall last year and ten years after SD had left… We get a call from SD saying her mother was in the hospital and it was not good. She passed away this December. She left SD in a difficult situation. The ties of SD and her father and I were pretty strained. So SD moved back and is living with her mother’s relatives downstate.

This weekend she came here to stay for the weekend only. She is a mess. Her weight, which is a family issue, is very bad. She is in need of serious dental work. She has not seen a doctor in years. She has no direction and an inflated sense of what she is capable of.

Fortunately, she is also independently wealthy….she thinks. This is where it gets messy and it makes me angry.

SD is a 25 year old who has no idea of how to take care of herself. She has never worked a day in her life. Not even babysitting.

She has no idea of her trust fund and how to protect it. A friend of her mother is the executor. Yikes!

SD does not drive.

And she does not take care of herself. She has no health insurance. She could not even keep up with me when we went shopping for a bit yesterday. I am 60 and have PsA.

But as we chatted last night, SD opened up a bit. I had asked her why had her mother died so suddenly and we were not aware of her being so sick. It was not sudden. Her mother, a long time diabetic (II) never took her insulin or even read her BG. It was like this when she was married to my husband over 20 years ago. This transferred to kidney issues and then serious heart problems. Her mother smoked and her idea of walking was to come down three steps from the office in the house (she worked remotely) to the recliner where they ate and watched TV.

As SD sat at our table, she started to cry. She is angry. Her mother expected her to take care of her and yet, never provided her with the knowledge of how. Her mother was told many years ago that she was on a path of an early death. She needed to lose weight and exercise. SD used to fight with her to take better care of herself. Her mother needed to take her meds and she needed to monitor her BG. She did none of it. The progression of deterioration went to her liver. At that point they said she was not a candidate for a liver transplant because she was so non-adherent. There was no DNR, no advanced directive and we had to tell SD how to become the health proxy so she could do what needed to be done. Her liver failed and SD had to make the decision to have the medical apparatus that was keeping her alive removed. I also cannot fathom how that must have made SD feel.

She spoke about how her mother was so impaired that she could not get her out of her chair at night. You could hear the anger in SD’s voice as she spoke of how her mother made no effort to help herself.

And so, of course, SD has no clue at 25 of how to take care of herself. I chastise myself a bit that we let her go out there. Her life would have been very different. But even deeper inside of me is my own anger at her mother. SD has her faults as we all do. She is also a product of her childhood and the lack of parenting. But she was a child. I did have my own children and it is my greatest regret. It was not my choice either. I am angry that her mother did not cherish her life enough to honor this wonderful youngster and allowed this all to happen.

This is a very smart young woman who is a disaster and who is afraid.  SD has an amazing sense of humor and for all that she has been through, she is pretty resilient. I am hoping in time we can get her up and going in a healthy and better way. I think that this might be also incentive for my husband to be a better role model, too. I can only hope.







Present moment

writing spot 2014  My writing spot

Every Sunday for the past three years I get up and in the still of the morning I write. Today was no different. I had planned my post for a while and was writing it in my head the past couple of days. I thought I could share my most embarrassing moment.

I wrote four pages this morning. My stomach was turning the whole time.

As I got down the last memory, I realized the wound was still very deep. I was not really sharing a funny story. It was a tale of lies, betrayal, and corruption. There was no humor in what I was writing and there was no way it would be an easy read for anyone.

I decided I was not going to publish it. I may never. I may someday. It does not matter. There is nothing to prove from what happened. I realized the injustice of it all and there is no changing that.  But as I wrote, the anger was gone. I had been angry for a very long time about what happened. What remains is abject sadness.

I was also humiliated beyond any other time in my life. It was the lowest point of my life and I vowed to never get into a situation like that again. I doubt I could.

As I spun all the details out, I realized how really strong I was during that period, especially afterwards. It was nice to reinforce that. It was good to remember who stood beside me and who I could count on. The memory was something that would make me cringe thinking about it. There are few people who know about it and I think it is best that it remains that way.

I was going to write it to show how we all have terrible moments that can be turned around.  If nothing else, I was looking for some release from the shame. I was hoping to find some humor in the retelling. But, it was not funny then, and it is not funny now. I am going to put it back into its dark container of my memory and let it be.

Although it was snowing and grey as I wrote this morning, the day turned out to feel like there was spring in the air. Sadly, there was also a terrible fire in the area. We were out running errands and could see the billowing smoke. It turned out to be a very large kennel that has been here since 1930. I had looked into boarded one of my dogs there a long time ago. The reports are not all in but they did lose animals. How horrible. As I sat in the warming sun watching my fur babies frolic in the snow, I snapped back to the present moment. It’s all we really have.

kids in snow

The Scarlet Letter

3-30-14 snowfall

This morning I went to work to feeling like I needed to explain myself to everyone. It has been a bad couple of days lately…well not bad…wrong word. But not great is not adequate either. I am in one of my cycles that I will eventually spin out of…and there… I apologized. I need to stop doing that. It should be enough for me to be me and that includes the not so great stuff. Somewhere, that wiring of self-compassion short circuited.

Yesterday was a perfect example of what it is like to live with PTSD. It started when the first weather alert was broadcasted on Sunday for a wintery mix. ICE…my most unfavorite weather. In 1991, our area was decimated by a catastrophe of an ice storm. We went without heat and power for 14 days. It started to lose the “gee, we’re camping in our home” around day five.  Because my husband at that time was a cop, he was gone and working 24 X 7. (Later, I found out he was not working all those hours.)  I was left to tend the home fires, so to speak.  When they call for ice, I go into hyper-worry now.

On Monday night, they moved the prediction up to Tuesday afternoon.  I had a huge workshop to facilitate and would be stuck until the last which meant after five pm. I started to become hyper.

Tuesday morning, I was a mess. I did not sleep the night before. I was up and out early. And exactly as they said, it started to snow right after lunch. It was heavy, wet snow and coming down in buckets.  My physical reaction started in earnest. I was breathing short breaths. My gut was a mess. I lost my appetite, which was ok. But by two pm, I was starving and nauseous and had to eat. It went straight through me with vengeance. My voice was higher than normal and I spoke in short abrupt sentences, when I could say a whole sentence. I could not focus. I was not nice to be around because I was looking through people.  I kept getting up and leaving the workshop to either pace or go to the bathroom.

Finally I was released from my self- inflicted prison and headed for my car. I took a lot of gruff and ridicule for being so upset. My team laughed at me at first and then became condescending. They have no idea what is really going on with me. It is not really their business.  But I normally take a lot of kidding on many things. But this was too close.

I got home. The drive was awful. It is only ten miles, but it is up and down a lot of hills. I went from abundant snow to a down pour of ice that was so loud on the metal of the car, to just rain by the time I hit my town and my driveway.  I had to peel my hands off the steering wheel. I unfolded myself out of the car and realized how unbelievably tense ever muscle in my body was.

The evening was spent watching stupid crap on Facebook. I needed to numb. I had eaten a huge meal of pasta and broccoli and cheese. In truth, that is my comfort food. I could have eaten the whole three cups of pasta, but I stopped myself and put half away for a lunch this week. This demonstrated that I can be mindful even in the worse response.  I went to bed at my normal time and fell asleep.

At 12:46, I was done. I woke up and could not get back to sleep. I laid there and felt the chemicals still surging through my body. My hands, arms and legs were vibrating. I started deep breathing which did calm me. I had a few body discharges which is not to say I passed gas. (giggle) It means I do this shudder thing with my shoulder as a method to discharge tension. It is the same principal as an animal that plays dead and then has to get up and shake after the threat is gone. I kept cycling back between full alert to a milder calm by doing guided body mediation. But I did not fall back asleep for a couple of hours. Last look at the clock was the hour before the alarm was to go off. This morning, I was exhausted and muddle-headed.

I wrote about this in detail for a couple of reasons. Many people have some form of PTSD. It comes in varying degrees. Something in the person’s life programed them for this response. NO one asks for this. The programming is intense and can come from  a long duration of exposure. It can also be a singular event. Our bodies learn from events so that we do not repeat them. Some learn and move on. Others imprint and hold the reaction which becomes more sensitive in time to fewer stimuli. Continual negative exposure hardwires the mind AND body to react uncontrollably. The threat is only perceived by the individual and the reaction is as personal as their fingerprint.

I write this because compassion is required by everyone in order to understand the effects of PTSD. I am not a war veteran. I come from a wealthy upbringing with little material needs. It is the same misunderstanding that many people have that domestic violence only happens in the inner city and trailer parks. Trust me, that is so incredible false.

But I do not want to have to explain myself. No one should. I do not want to wear a Scarlet A for abuse around my neck. There are programs now being designed to support children so they have a chance to reprogram. But for the adults of my generation who were told to shut up or else, or for women  (and men) caught in an abusive trap, there is a lot of misunderstanding.

I even heard it yesterday.  “Get over it. It’s only snow.”  Well, not for me it isn’t.