Reality Shootings


It’s not surprising (to me anyway), that our society is crumbling under an opioid crisis, people suffering from mental illness or comfort eating and heart disease, plus all the many other myriad diseases and problems afflicting us nationally.

One answer seems obvious to me, part of it anyway. Many of us are suffering from PTSD and survivor guilt.

With all the horrible events that have been going on now for years, and I repeat, years—our brains are inundated from the media and our devices by the trauma of seeing the scenes of these events. Many years ago, we rarely would experience the raw horror that we do now–first hand (sometimes from a phone of someone right there): the noise, the blood, the screams, the carnage. And not just once, but over and over. How much can the brain  handle, day after day, year after year, without going over the edge? Mine is certainly on overload.

What is PTSD? It is caused by the triggering of traumatic events: disasters, abuse or any kind of trauma. It can happen when someone you love has been harmed also. Normally we don’t experience it ourselves unless we have been through the event, but what about now? Do you think it’s possible seeing footage from the phone of someone who was actually there during a shooting, would this do the same thing to us? How do these ‘pictures’ stay in our minds: people falling from buildings, human blood everywhere, kids running from a school or actually watching someone being shot…

Let’s face it people, if you are at all caring about your fellow human being, this can’t be good. We are pretty much experiencing these things as though we are there. It’s like reality shootings. Maybe they’ll make a new TV series. They might as well for as much as they play the stuff–and we watch.

What does all this watching do to us anyway?  How does it make you feel when you go out somewhere (or maybe you don’t even want to)? Do you check where the exits are now? Does your heart rate go up if you hear something weird? Are you simply numb to this stuff now? Are you mistrustful of others? Do you feel sad a lot?  Can you sleep at night or have your dreams changed? I know I have been greatly effected by the heinous crimes crushing our country.

Even if we weren’t at these places, we can’t help but feel: why these people? As we pour through their stories, it makes our story feel somewhat meaningless. When it’s a kid… there’s a collective: why so young and what if was my child? It’s so chilling.

And the roulette guilt of: I’m here, they’re not. I’m enjoying my life, those poor people aren’t anymore. My feelings of gratitude just get ruined by the extreme senselessness of it all. It’s just hard to hold those two feelings in the same space.

It’s all this nation wide secondary guilt because nothing is being done about it. We all just sit around waiting for the next one to happen, because we know it will, while law-makers tell us now isn’t the time to talk about any changes in the laws. It’s all so frustrating! So we just wait…holding our breath and wonder where will be next. What venue? How many? What city? Is there a person out there now contemplating it…?

How’s that for your health, while we think: will it be me next time or my kid? That makes my heart thump. This is why I don’t sleep. What about you?

So I ask: do we really need to see this stuff so much? Is it only me that thinks the perpetrators may sometimes do these things because they understand they will be glorified by the media? And all of us watching and watching and watching… Their sick moment of fame.

I’ve made a promise to myself: I will watch no more (or listen or read). What if none of us did? What if we heard about these awful things and said prayers for those dead (and their families), but didn’t pick up our phones, or look on our computers, or shut off our TV and radios? What if we refused? Could we demand from our media sources to stop flooding our minds with such gruesome images and sounds? Instead just report the facts and move on.

Sadly, I can’t seem to create change to laws by my vote, but I can do this one thing instead. It’s something that I do have control over: to reduce the bombardment of the grisly media show to my brain. And by doing this, allowing more space in there for good energy.

It’s ultimately up to us. I’m not saying we can stop people from killing, but maybe we can stop ourselves from becoming a more ill society than we already are, and if we do, maybe this in turn will help in the long run.

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Dis-Ease


My blog has become such an important and integral part of my life on many levels. It started as a project as a ‘public journal’ to help me discover myself more and dabble as a writer. But over the last year or so it has come to be so much more. The friends and followers I have come to connect with has made it greater than a project. In fact, I got off of Facebook so I could spend more time on my blog  rather than waste time reading silly posts on FB.

This all leads into today’s topic. One particular avid follower of mine, who has become to be an “off blog” friend, emailed me yesterday to say she has been ill. She is such a lovely woman, amazing photographer and creative writer. I’ve been honored to have her as a follower and now as a pen pal. The news of her illness really struck me. It made me think of illness– and being a medic, I’m surrounded by the topic on a near daily basis.

I once read about the word disease. How if you break it down it becomes: dis-ease. Our bodies being not at ease with ourselves. Made perfect sense to me. After hearing this I began to look at where disease landed in a particular person. What part of the body does the disease live and does it correlate to the person’s personality and lifestyle?

The closer I looked, the more often I found it to be true. The above mentioned blog friend has such a huge heart and has suffered many emotional struggles related to love, family and other ‘heart’ related issues. Her illness is now cardiac, obviously one directly attacking one’s heart.

I have a dear friend, a woman completely devoted to her children her whole life for all the years I’ve known her and from when they were babes. She nursed them, cared for them, was a stay at home Mom, doing all a woman could do. She’s lived a healthy life and discovered a year or so ago she had breast cancer. This, to me, is such a dis-ease of we women that carry all the weight of womanhood, motherhood, sisterhood and femininity in our core.

Recently I watched an amazing TED talk where a woman who studied strokes had a stroke herself! One wonders if we almost create our own realities? She studied her own stroke while she was having it! I actually did this while I have having my own first seizures.

And I’ve thought about why I have my mild seizure disorder-a neurologic disorder of the brain. Mine are caused most likely from traumatic injuries to the head. I’ve had repeated ones. Why do I keep injuring my head? Do I live too much there or do I need to live more there? Is the Universe giving me some messages? Many famous people had seizure disorders and were able to use them to create. Is my disorder truly a gift?

Maybe there is food for thought about where we hold our dis-ease, our anxiety, our pain. What parts of our bodies do we make ill? Our minds do control our bodies. This is proven. And if this is true, can we control these things and be more healthy? We all know mediation, calming thoughts, happiness, positive relationships make for better health. The question always is how to attain it with regularity.

Then of course, we have always met the person we believe is at utter peace but falls ill. And this is the mystery of the Universe. What each of our cells holds may not be ultimately known by us. All we can do is the best we can is to relieve ourselves from any unnecessary noise, feelings or emotions that may produce possible dis-ease within us. To this end we may lead the healthiest and happiest life we can.

As Long As You Have Your Health


Today I walked in a race in honor of my friend who died this year of breast cancer. She was an amazing and wonderful person, a little younger than me (in her 50’s). She had 11 children, had been an EMT for many, many years and had just signed up to become a RN when she got her diagnosis. But she pressed on anyway and graduated just before her death, never to practice. My friend would have been an incredible nurse as she had the gift to heal. Just her presence calmed a patient. Her gentle demeanor and quiet tone always defused any scene that had started to unravel. I’m sure if she was watching today’s festivities in her honor she would have been annoyed that we all had made such a fuss, because that was her humble nature. She was loved and is missed constantly.

I learned today that another EMT recently turned paramedic just learned she has stage 4 colon cancer! This woman too is in her 50’s and was in my first EMT class. My heart sank. This is has been such a bad year for that service and for all of us. I lost my Fire Captain to liver cancer, found out my cousin has breast cancer and two dear friends have breast cancer.

While I teach CPR classes all the time and catch every class with the question: What’s the number one killer of women in this country. The answer I get all the time is: breast and ovarian or uterine cancer. I have to correct them saying that no, rather it’s cardiovascular disease. But it’s hard to believe with what I’ve experienced recently.

On this amazingly lovely Autumn New England day, as I walked along the paths of the ski trails, I thought of all the people I know struck by this mysterious disease. I think about all the technologic advances we make all the time! Some are mind boggling. And yet, and yet….we can’t figure this cancer thing out. Not really.

Sure there have been some good changes. I had my yearly mammo this year and they used the ‘new’ machine on me (as well as the old). It’s suppose to detect to a greater degree any abnormalities. What I couldn’t believe was that insurance didn’t cover it! If I wanted the ‘better’ scan, I had to pay for it myself! Wow. Surely I did it, but that doesn’t seem right.

So I guess we will all just have to keep walking, running or whatever it is that we do to continue to raise money to figure out what this disease is and why it kills people. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or reason.

Which reminded me again: be grateful. Be grateful for each day. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t worry, be happy. Say you love people before you leave them for the day. Fill your bucket list. Follow your bliss. All the clichés plus the one I made up: peace, love and granola.

My wonderful Jewish Granny used to say (with the NY Jewish accent): As long as you have your health….   Ain’t that the truth!