A journal of healing

Posts tagged ‘therapy’

4th of July Liberties

 

I was born in America. I have never experienced anything but the freedoms we have here in this country. I do not know any better and so I take it for granted. I am disgusted by piss-poor politicians and can be vocal about my feelings. I am entitled. I take for granted the rights and liberties we have. But I am proud to be an American.

However, I hate the way we celebrate this holiday with fireworks. I personally love the display and the colors. But I hate the noise. It upsets my little Cookie.

Last night we were all sitting in the garden as is our ritual before bed. The dogs take a walk around the yard. We call it the perimeter check. And then we sit for a bit and meditate. There were a few little pops in the distance and Cookie was a bit nervous but still quiet. Then a neighbor set off a huge firework which exploded right over the garden. She panicked.

We ran inside and she took off for the bedroom. I had prepared for this and had the air conditioner and fans going. We crawled into bed and she crawled on top of me and shook. I finally calmed her down and she fell asleep next to me but in my arms. I thought we were ok when another one went off. She again crawled on top of my chest and buried her face in my arms. Finally they stopped and she fell asleep attached to me on my side.

I know everyone has the right to celebrate. I wish they would go back to making fireworks illegal in NY. There are enough displays that are set off by the municipalities to enjoy. I am sure tonight and the next night will be even worse for my little dogs. Browny does not seem to get upset by the noise. But he does get upset when Cookie is upset.

I wish I could teach them something I just learned. I am taking a class to become a Certified Trauma Professional. This class has taught me so much about PTSD and trauma. It is taught by Dr. Eric Gentry, who is an internationally recognized leader in the field of disaster and clinical traumatology.

He teaches that people cannot feel the effects of stress or trauma in a relaxed body. Seems so simple. But he explains in length how the human body is always reacting to triggers of some kind. People who have had extended periods of some form of trauma are in a hypervigilant mode all the time. There are chemical reactions in the brain and the parasympathetic and sympathetic systems go into over drive.  In short, our body is in control.

He explains that we need to be aware that this is always on in one degree or another. And we react by constricting our muscles all day. An example is when at the end of the day, you neck and shoulders are way up and hurt and you have no idea why. It is the constriction of the muscles that you held in a clench all day. We clench our muscles everywhere. It is one cause of leg cramps and back pain.

It is common now for people to understand the concept of just take a breath. Dr. Gentry talks about the power of just taking a breath. He talked about other methods for getting control. But the method I think is amazing and it works is called the pelvic floor relaxation. First you have to become aware of the muscles in you hip area. Do a few kegal exercises by squeezing the muscles that can stop you when you pee. Now just completely relax that area completely. Do that several times a day. Concentrate on those muscles being relaxed when something stressful is happening and you will find you won’t be as stressed.

The issue is that the effect only lasts for a very short time. This is something you have to do all the time. It only takes a second and no one knows you are doing it. Another method to use  is called the wet noodle. This is where you go absolutely limp in a chair for ten seconds. It is like a mini vacation. The effect of being in a relaxed body is how people are learning to deal with PTSD and every day stress.

I wish I could teach my little pup this. But for her, the only comfort is a dark quiet room and being held by her Mommer.

Midsummer Dreams

Nightview 2015

The light has shifted ever so slightly in the garden at night. I have been doing an epic battle to keep everything hydrated. But even so, things are crisp or wilted. My glorious ferns are gone and the grass is brown and crunchy. The trees in their deprived state are dropping leaves early. I fear for how brown our fall will be this year.

I am not good with the heat. The other night, the little air conditioner in our bedroom could not overcome the heat and it was still 80 in the room. I find myself longing for a storm or two. I realize I could never live somewhere that was sunny perpetually.

I spend my last hours of the day in the garden readying from my Kindle. It’s so dry that the bugs and mosquitos are less and so the light does not attract them. I finished a non-fiction book intended to reflect on what it is like to live with PTSD. It was a story of woman who was raped by her boyfriend over a period of times when she was 16. She lived with his threats and never told anyone. The book revolves around her growing up and dealing with the ramifications. She is splinter from her family, her own choice, and ends up as a disenfranchised woman living in a hovel.

Although the book explained about triggers it was not a good representation of what it is like to live PTSD. The woman in the story goes to a psychiatrist and is “healed” by simple breathing methods and other mindful exercises. She meets a man and life goes on off into the sunset. Although the authors attempt to help bring awareness, I think she misrepresents the truth.

People do not ever heal from PTDS. They learn to cope. And while some are better than others, it still can rear its ugly head at any moment. Triggers come from everywhere. I was reading where a female soldier (nurse) who had PTSD after being in Nam was fine for years. Then she moved to a new area to work at a hospital. She started having horrible flashbacks and attacks. She could not figure it out when on a very still night she heard the sound of a chopper flying to the landing pad at the hospital. It was not the first flight since she moved there. Normally it was noisy with other ambient sounds and this was so subtle she never paid attention. But her ears did. They heard and she would start to have panic attacks.

The shift in light for me is a trigger. I am so sensitive to it that I am aware before it really gets to the point where it bothers me. Something about the afternoon light before sunset in the fall and winter makes my chest tighten and other sensations. It has to do with sunset around 5 pm. This was the cocktail hour when my parents would barricade themselves away from us and start drinking. Yes, this still affects me forty years later. I am aware of it and can normally deal with it. But I still get a stomach ache and my mood shifts.

This morning, as many Sunday mornings, I sleep an hour or two longer than normal. It is very common for me to have nasty dreams but there is a prevalence of one reoccurring situation and it often plays out in these stolen moments of extra sleep. I have no idea why and I cannot control my dreams. Even after being divorced for over 13 years, I still have horrible dreams about the way I was treated. I am not going to dwell by explaining this as I need to let the dream I had this morning go. But my point is PTSD does not just end.

I know what I have to do and will tend to it. The summer ending is always hard for me. We are off to the River for our long extended stay in a couple of weeks. That will help me to focus and ground. There needs to be more awareness of PTSD, and not just for Vets. It affects many people in many ways.

 

In the throes of PTSD

Bunnies 2

There are times in my life when I think why? Why do we as humans struggle so much just living. Was it like this since the beginning of time? Is there anyone out there who truly has no stress, no difficulties and breezes through live without conflict? Or is this what human nature means?

Being diagnosed with PTSD was the biggest ah-ha moment of my life. So much finally made sense in my world. Diagnosis means being aware and of all the medications and treatments, being aware the one thing that matters. Because I believe there is no cure. There is only living with it.

I have done as much mindfulness and meditation as humanely possible. I have sought treatments from cognitive behavior therapy to AAT and other forms of energy work. I am not saying they do not “work” but they do not cure. There is no cure. There is acceptance and awareness.

Last week, something tripped me over the weekend. I have no clue what. That is one of the tricky parts of having PTSD. You do not need to know what trips you off, it just happens. By Tuesday, I was in a full blown attack. During the day, I am anxious about stupid things like driving and loud noises. I jump at the slightest provocation. I am bit short in patience. But the telling sign for me is I gain a few pounds that won’t come off. And I have not changed what I am eating. My body pain level is extremely high and I have sharp pain in certain spots like my neck and shoulders which were tight as a trampoline. I cannot take a deep breath even when I doing breathing exercise. But the most telling is I do not sleep. Tuesday night I had about two hours of sleep. The rest of the week my sleep was fitful and full of nightmares that stay with me during the day.

On Wednesday, I was asked to do a presentation for the whole management group on a project I am leading. I then have to drive 40 miles one way to deliver the same presentation to another group. Just as I seemed to becoming down a bit, or maybe just calmer because of lack of sleep, this set me off to an even higher level of anxiety. Just writing this made me catch my breath. It is not that I am nervous about presenting. I just hate presenting to this group. Hate it! It is like they are sitting there with bared teeth waiting for you to make a mistake or in total judgment (which they are). Driving is another big time stressor. By the end of the day on Wednesday, I was a mess. The rest of the week I was a walking nerve fretting about it.

On Friday, I sat down to finish the PowerPoint and having accomplished that helped to calm me. Later at home that night when I was somewhat at peace, I went into my work email. Big mistake. We have a Coach from the med center who is overseeing the program I am presenting on. I am supposed to be learning from her because when she leaves in a couple of months, I am supposed to fill in. She never likes anything anyone is doing. We have had people actually go to our CEO and complain about her. She always has something to correct me on. I think she is a terrible coach. Sure enough, she hated the PowerPoint and said that she thought that only three of the fourteen slides had value. I just burst into tears and sobbed for a while. I was exhausted from the week and then this.

I did something I usually do not do. I fought back. I forwarded the email to my boss who is aware of the situation with the coach. I also sent an email back to the coach and said that it seems I never seem to get things right with her and this was making me very anxious. My boss wrote me back and said the PowerPoint was exactly what the administrators wanted and she liked it. I have not heard anything from the coach. But I felt I stood up for myself and that in itself is powerful. Shame is often a big part of having PTSD and so to stand up for myself was a big deal.

My thoughts for this week included feeling trapped. That is a sensation I have lived with forever and it is not because of any one situation. It is from years of emotional and mental abuse. I felt feel trapped in a job that is frustrating and limiting and often does not bring much satisfaction to me. It does not make me feel like I am contributing to the world. I am trapped as I need to work and the thought of switching jobs is worse than living with it….which is why I stayed in a shitty marriage for 27 years. Fear.

I hate the thought of presenting to this group because of their critical judgment. This is all management including the ones who are clawing their way up the chain and would do whatever they could to push someone out of their way.  This group also has staff that have been there a while and like the way it was always done…. Change agents are not welcome.  Fortunately, there are less of them now. There is a woman who will be in the audience who looks and act so much like my mother and I have had a terrible time with her. Her reputation is that she looks for the holes or mistakes in presentations and will pounce on any weakness. She constantly interrupts to ask for “clarification” and asks a million questions. Everyone knows this about her and it is a big joke, but it is also terrifying when she is grilling you. It does not help me that I have her position which she held for 12 years and she feels I am inadequate because I am not a nurse. When I first started, she had a posy of peers who felt the same way and made my work life difficult. A few of them have left or retired but she perseveres on.

The thing is… I know this is only fifteen minutes max of my life. I know this will pass. I know I will be fine driving 80 miles as it is not snowing and I take back roads.  I know that by Wednesday night, all this will be over. I know all this. I fight to be in the present moment and not worry about the future. I know perseverating on this only adds and does not help. I am writing as another act of trying to cope. I am employing techniques that have I learned to calm. I am trying to think before I react, which is another sign of being in the throes of PTSD. My reactions are over the top and visceral. I am using all the techniques and skills I have been taught to cope. They are helping some.

But sadly the truth is I just have to wait for it to pass. I can only hope that nothing else triggers me and I can deregulate down to a more homeostatic level. I know I will emerge once again out of the rabbit hole.

Bunny and Dove

 

 

 

 

The Beast Returns

IMG_2172

People who are diagnosed with PTSD will relate to this post. I am of the belief that there really is no cure for it and that it is an easy beast to get captured by and eaten. All the therapy in the world will never truly vanquish the beast. But therapy may help to armor up and fight.

I am ensnared at work in a most ridiculous, piss-poor and totally out of control project. It involves almost every aspect of the agency. The two captains should have been removed months ago. Meanwhile, we all are being sucked down this path of disaster unable to stop the slide. And of course, there is a ton of money involved so just pulling the plug is not possible. But it really was the answer four months ago. Now, we are headed right for the launch at the end of this month.

We were about to roll it out in September when none of really knew what was going on. The night before the first training session, the team of six of us practiced how the training would go and discovered huge issues, so we stopped the roll out. Since then, the team was to resolve these issues so that things would work. But the reality is that they will never work. The system is faulty and does not meet our needs.

I am responsible for training all the staff on this system. There are two factions. One group was launched this week, and I do not foresee any issues with their piece. It is the training that commences with the 250 aides in the middle of the month that is a challenge. Even of the training goes through without a hitch, the after effect, the tsunami, will be awful.

I know that training will be blamed, even though everyone knows we cannot train to the level to thwart this disaster. It is inevitable as the users apply this product. The issue is that the product is not what we should be using. They needed a different system. But the Captain signed the contract and pushed it forward without testing. He continues to fabricate reports to the admin team about how wonderful this product will be. It could not be farther from the truth.

I am not sleeping. I had a cold at Christmas which seemed to get better and then last week it returned. I actually think this was the flu. I had chills Monday night so bad that I crawled into bed and covered myself with blankets and two comforters. But I had to muster on and go to work because there is no one to cover what I do. I have not been this sick in years. And everyone is feeling ill. That is what stress will do to folks.

Because of my PTSD, I have reverted to old reactions that I thought I had worked to subside. I need control in my life. When I do not feel safe, I am reactionary. I fire off in fear and anxiety. I feel trapped in a place I cannot get out and for me, that is the worse. I become a trapped animal. I wake in the middle of the night and perseverate on all the things that are happening and even if I work out a resolution, I will fret and worry for hours until sleep overtakes me again. I wake feeling exhausted and I have the shakes. I cannot meditate because I am so exhausted I fall asleep or I start a cycle of worry. I have tried to use my breathing exercises but have only successfully set off a series of hacking coughs.

In a month, it will be done for me. I will survive. It helps that I know what is physically happening to me. I can control some of the anxiety at times. I am aware when I am flying off and reacting in fear. But the hard thing is to control it before I lose it and it takes over. That is usually in the middle of the night when the demon seems so massive. I am aware again of that endless deep abyss that seems to be right below me and that my grip is weak. It really gives perspective to being on the edge for me.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Birthday wishes for me

roses

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.

 

 

ACE Champion

Chives

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.