Closing old doors

I recently had an old friend send me a message telling me that he is very aware of the pain he caused in my life. The constant drama, the pain of lose of friendship by a person I called my best friend for many years.

And I find myself at a loss.

I have forgiven him before after a different seperation of friendship, just to have him do the same thing again.

I know better then to fall for this again.

I felt nothing however and I thought I would.

I felt no relief, no concern, no worry about how he has been.

Have I grown that much that I have figured out how to shut the door permanently on people who have shown constant negativity?

September is Suicide prevention month

September is Suicide prevention month. After being very personally affected by suicide during crucial growing years I feel as if I will always dedicate whatever I can to help prevent anyone from having to go through the loss.

Mental illness is still considered to be a thing people think that we chose.

Who in their right mind decides to spin the wheel and have it land on an invisible -illness?

From a chronic pain patient to a schizophrenic with bipolar tendencies and all things in between the reactions of disbelief are the same. No one believes that either could be a real thing. As if a person sees a tv show where someone acts a certain way so they are going to attempt to mirror their life around them. Don’t get me wrong, there are assholes out there that must do something like that. But the few that do should not be considered the normal.

Normalizing mental health awareness is something that has been long coming and should be held at the utmost importance.

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Reach out. Find someone that is willing to listen. Make sure they understand how important it is to you. You don’t have to fight alone.

Learn the cues. Find out how to see the signs. Let them teach you how to help.

Find a support group on social media. Find a group in your community. Make the call. Send the text.

1-800-273-8255

24 hours a day.

 

Her story sounds like millions

Her story is personal, but it echoes all around the world.

Everyone has stories they don’t tell. For some, those are the stories that need to be told more then any other conversation that they have in life.

Today I listened to a woman tell me the story of how she learned to believe she deserved the fists that pummeled her on a weekly basis. She talked about how she would much rather take the abuse then allow those said fists to harm any of the beautiful creations of love that had been born to this relationship.

Now just a few short months ago I lived in this ignorant bubble of peace that allowed me to beleive that these things were not common life around the area I live. Maybe I focus more on them because of that alarming moment in my life. Then again maybe the weather has kept people inside more this year then normal, and these are some of the consequences.

I find myself staring at this woman and questioning who she was before. Was she always this weak? Was she a people pleaser that went along with the crowd? Had she ever had a backbone?

She spoke of the good times before the anger. Explaining a wild love that swept her off her feet. She told of laughter, joy and love. She spoke of the exact moment that the car they were in got blasted by a another car that blew a stop sign and sent them tumbling.

The batlle of addiction started there. The pain pills while fighting for full usage of his body. The depression when they realized he would permentantly be disabled, unable to hold down any physically demanding jobs. The behavoiral change that came from the jobs he attempted and failed over the next few years. The pregnancies that started happy only to be a quick reminder of why he needed to make more money. Pain pills seemed to work less the longer he was on them, so alcohol was his next solution.

Everyone can see the writting on the wall as to how we get to this woman in my care today. I cant help but wonder if computers hadn’t taken over our record system, would I even be able to lift her chart?

So I ask the question that is rolling around in my head. I am positive that she has been asked before.

“Are you ready to leave yet? Are you ready to show your kids that you love their father, but you love them more?”

She stares at me for a full minute, unblinking.

“I cant leave him. I love him.”

My soul aches for her. So I do the only thing that I can. I help fix the problem she came in for today. I look her in the eyes and I tell her that I am here. Even when I am not physically in this building, I will give them permission to call me in if she needs me.

Then I watch her grab her things and leave.

There are days that go by that you get to just enjoy everything that goes on.

In comparison there are days that it seems like you are making choices that feel like they shouldn’t be yours to make.

As a parent there are times where you find out things about you children that takes your breath away.

Maybe its an anxiety diagnosis to a young child who has stopped sleeping and eatting like they had been. The realization that this will be a long term fight that your adorable little child will face. Hours of research on your behalf to find ways to handle the behavoirs and prevent anything from worsening, all while having medication pushed on you that you are just not sure if they are safe for your baby.

Maybe its your elementary aged child coming home talking about how they have been being bullied at school for the color of their hair or the glasses they have to wear. Obviously there is nothing off the table when it comes to bullying, so the reasons will always be different. It’s impossible to fully prepare them for how this will feel, and how to handle it. Their tears will rip you apart and make your soul growl with the urge to protect your baby cub.

Maybe it’s finding something in your teenagers bedroom that reminds you that no matter how close you think you are with them, they are still a teenager. The fears of the unknown comes on strong when you think of how the future will go as you stare at those cigarettes or drugs. Maybe its condoms, or money that they shouldnt have. One way or another it is something that serves as a smack in the face that could be the wake up call you needed to start helping you and your child figure out where to go from there.

Maybe its taking your adult children with you on a weeklong vacation to a relaxing place to reconnect, and they bring their girlfrind who cant handle her liquor that she insists on drinking everyday. The idea of listening to your child trying to keep them in check in front of the family or kids that are there. How do you discuss domestic decisions your child has made that you dont agree with? What do you do if your child has chosen someone that is horrible for them or for there children? At what point can you intervene or chose to stand back and see where they plant their feet?

Or maybe no matter what age you are when it happens, you find yourself burying you parent or parents. The devastation is the same whether you are 10 or 60 when this happens. Obviously there are more complications the younger you are, however the void in your heart is the same. How does ones heart handle the hole thats just been punched thru it? How do you make the decisions you need to make in the middle of those feelings?

I watch another side of this in the hospital I work for when the conversation of when to allow them to give up the fight happens quite often. As a worker bee in these situation my heart is not on the line, but watching others break during this process never gets easier.

How do you handle having a day that this type of decision looms over you?

I have seen everything from relief that the persons pain will finally be gone, to refusal to understand that the basics of the situation.

Old, young, sick, healthy, planned or sudden.

I’ve watched selfishness as people can’t face living their life without them, and I have seen selflessness when people realize that the other persons pain is more important then their feelings.

I’ve watched elderly family member peacefully check out after a full life, and I have seen a young child fight for every breath after a car accident, just to lose the battle.

I’ve seen everything from heart attacks to suicide, and the families that have to react and make decisions they never saw themselves making.

Those days, and heart-renching feelings, make the days that I dont have to make, or see, any decisions being made even better.

Sometimes you just need to breathe.

**All stories here are things that I myself have seen or dealt with this week. Respect your medical feild people that you find yourself dealing with. From the CNA that shows compassion, to the nurse that seems to be always running. From the person that answered your emergency call to the person that shows up with flashing lights. The social worker that helps the decisions being made to the secretary sitting behind the desk at the station of the hospital or nursing home. They see you and understand you better then you think. Yes they are busy, sometimes TOO busy. Most have your best interest at heart, even if they can’t take the moment to tell or show you because there is so much else on their plate.

Blew my mind

I was watching a youtube video the other day of Jason Segal and Bryan Cranston when they stumbled upon an interesting topic. 

Not many actors find themselves qualified to talk about suicide in front of a camera. These men are no different, however they were speaking on behalf of an author/director that they both knew. 

 David Foster Wallace. 

To be honest, i know none of this mans work. I know very little of his story. 

What i do know is that in September of 2008 he committed suicide after a lengthy, likely life long, battle of depression. There are plenty more specifics that I will chose not to add in here, but that information helpes me understand who would be able to blow my mind with just a few sentances in book. 

As Jason Segal says it, there is a woman who had attempted to hurt herself. She finds herself at the therapists office afterwards and this conversation happens. 

Therapist: Why did you want to hurt yourself? 

Survivor: Laughs and says “Youll never be able to help me if you think I was trying to HURT myself. I was trying to STOP the pain.” 

I’m not going to lie, this blew my mind. Please understand as a person deeply affected by suicide in my life, i felt as if i understood the mindset of someone leaning towards this decision. While I am sure this knowledge is out there, I suppose I have never heard it said in my language until then. 

I have always felt that they were running from demons that were bigger then them. Some maybe are unable to keep up with lifes demands, or find themself heavily relying on a substance. 

I watched the battle in my best friends eyes but NEVER understood it. I couldn’t see the signs, I couldn’t understand the feelings, and I flat out missed the pain behind the walls. 

I vowed to never again miss the signs, but it continued to happen to other people around us and we were startled and devastated every time. 

The masks they wore changed. 

The pain ate away at them. 

Until they only could focus on the relief. 

What are you to do, when the thing that hurts you the most is invisible? When your own body attacks you. When your mind never takes that break, and gives you that ability to regroup before the next big thing hits. 

At what point does it become socially acceptable to seek help? 

At what point do people understand that this is the same thing as any other medical diseases or disorders that you could have been born with? 

At what point is it socially acceptable to admit defeat? 

Every day you see people quit their diet, their relationships, their jobs and their schools. 

How do you quit your mental illness that you didn’t ask to be born with? 

Are you aware?

Have you ever really sat and tried to pay attention to how you affect the people around you? The people close to you but also your old friends and relationships.

Recently I watched a weird video on Facebook that they put old friends, or old lovers in a room together and had then ask each other a series of questions. Some of them were simple questions about when they were closer, how did they interpret or appreciate certain behaviors. Or now that they are so far removed, can you discuss a problem that occurred between the two of you that caused the end of communications.

It made me start to think about whether people who I have severed ties with, their choice or mine, know what kind of memories or hurts I came away with.  Then I realized that was a selfish way to look at it. Did I really feel like I had a grasp on how they felt and what memories that they walked away with?

I don’t.

I never spend the time to care what they walk away thinking or feeling because I am too worried about my own. Which I am led to believe is normal.  I am fairly positive that the majority of them do not spend much time thinking about my feelings.

Matter of fact, I am fairly positive most of them spend the majority of time assuming how I feel without every actually asking me how something has affected me. When did that become the norm?

So here I start thinking about if I have ever left a positive emotion to people who I no longer spend time with. I have always tried to be pleasant with strangers and acquaintances that I touch base with from time to time, so I am not as worried about them right now. I fully believe in the act of kindness to a stranger or person in need. That is what drew me to work in the medical field.

For a person to be an ex lover or an ex friend, that means that at one time they had to be my friend/lover. To be considered that close to me, that means that I liked you enough to allow you that close. I cared enough about you to allow you inside my boundaries. At some point, I loved you.

Sooner or later, in most situations the betrayal that happened in our past will fade, the emotions will diffuse. Sooner or later, the hurt is not fresh. The feelings don’t cut as deep. The wound isn’t open anymore.  And at that point you get to make a choice. Do you decide to move past the feelings and be able to shut the door to the person? Or will you keep that emotion close to your sleeve and react every time you see them or have to talk about them. We all know that it is healthier to forgive and forget, but it sure isn’t easy.

It is much harder to face the realty of what kind of memory they have of you. They got to see you at your worst. When you were hurt, yelling, crying or maybe even just at your wit’s end. Maybe they got to see your jealous side as things got weird.

They saw your mistakes. You saw theirs.

While the friendships or relationships are irreconcilable, you should still take a moment to think about the effect you had on them.

Were you the one that scarred them to hell and back? Did you cause them real emotional damage? Are you the person that they talk about when they describe the horror’s of their life?

The next time that you are complaining about the things that they did to you, the ways they made you feel, can you honestly explain your side of things out loud to another set of ears and not be embarrassed?

Now  of course you should never live your life always apologizing for the things that you have done, and everyone knows that mistakes happen. Everyone has reasons to do the things that they have done. I am not asking you to reconcile with any person in your life, nor do I think that you have to forgive them or look around the wrong doings that they have done to you. I also don’t mean that you have to change yourself in any way because of a jerk who may have a low opinion of you. This is strictly about knowing that you have the ability to effect people, good or bad.

Defend yourself. Respect yourself. Honor yourself. Understand yourself.

Most of all, be yourself.

 

What did life chose for you?

We all like to think that every single thing about ourselves could be a choice. Doesn’t it make you feel a little helpless to realize that some things, no matter how much that we try to say otherwise, are just not our choice?

Is cancer a choice?

Is being born with a birth defect a choice? Yes I understand that a number of those come from a choice of a parent, some are also NOT.  Some are genetic. Some are just a rare thing that happens for unknown reasons.

Is naturally having red hair a choice?

Dyslexia?

Thyroid disease?

Brain disorders?

So how can we accept those to be problems that we are born with, but depression is something that we must have chosen? When did mental illness become so shameful?

Why has it ever been frowned upon like it was a choice? I guess I don’t understand the reasons that it was ever looked at like it was not just another disease that you need to fight with regular medication and therapy, just as one would need to do with diabetes or a medical disorder that affects the muscular system.

Who gets to make these decisions? Who gets to decide who is better than who because of the way that their genetics made them?  Who gets to decide who lives their lives in hiding and who gets to be loud and proud of the lifestyle their DNA setup for them? What about the judgmental people who later in life has life events that change circumstances? Like a woman dealing with postpartum, or a man trying to deal the loss of his parent. Now is it suddenly acceptable?

Were you chosen to be the lucky one who lives their whole childhood healthy, watching others have asthma attacks or seizures? Did you ever have to go back and ask your parent what childhood diabetes meant and why some people needed to check their blood sugars?

Only to grow older and get told that you have cancer and will have to fight for your life while they inject more and more poisons into your body to fight the poison that is already there?

I hope for you judgmental folks to have healthy babies who have healthy babies. I hope for all of you that life doesn’t sneak up on you and teach you the reality of most people in the world. I hope that you never have to be proven wrong.

However I know you will be.

Because that’s what life is all about.

Being born into a life where most of our health conditions are not a choice.

Here is to hoping that the health conditions that life choses for you is on the “ACCEPTABLE” list.