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.


To What Lengths…?


What are these creepy blotches you ask…and why are they so blurry? Well, they are bruises and they are on my back and they are blurry because I took the picture myself. So why do I have creepy, blurry round bruises on my back you ask? It’s a rather long story and it has to do with the lengths that one will go to get rid of pain.

About two years ago I started to have headaches. They began rather suddenly, always on the right side of my head and were fairly debilitating. Sometimes I have a earache too, pressure, no real stuffiness or anything else. They would move a bit around my head: sometimes to the back, over the eye, the temple–but always on the right side. Now, I do have a history of migraines from a child, but they were always preceded by an aura, which these do not have–nor have I had one for many years. They seemed to have triggers also.

So they got so bad and so constant I finally went to urgent care after months of dealing with them. They never saw anything in my ear except fluid and prescribed a med mostly to just dry me out. This barely helped. They continued. Then I tried my doctor and we thought maybe sinuses. So we tried antibiotics. This didn’t help either over the long run. They kept on…weeks turned into a year. Almost daily: if not pain, then at least pressure. My life was becoming pretty much a living hell.

I’m a paramedic as some of you know by now. I deal with many patients with chronic pain issues. I’ve always tried to be understanding, but I never really got it. Until one year turned into two years. I visited my neurologist for my mild seizure disorder and she sent me to their ‘headache’ specialist. This person’s main remedy was going to be medications…pills. Pills for the pain, for sleep, muscle relaxants etc. Typical western medicine’s answer to everything. Treat the symptoms, but no answers as to why this is happening.

My accident in September surely didn’t help whatever initiated this all. I have read reams of stuff now: on headaches, on migraines–you name it. Every provider I see has the answer. My dentist was sure it was tooth grinding and was going to fit me with a $500 ‘appliance’ that wasn’t covered under my insurance. No thanks. They wanted me to get a sleep study. I don’t sleep well, but I’m pretty certain I don’t have sleep apnea all of a sudden. But I did decide to try acupuncture.

This has been an adventure unto itself. Honestly, I had a lot of faith in it at first. I’ve had it before and it worked pretty well with other things. But right from the get go I didn’t have a great rapport with the practitioner. And the ‘answers’ for what was wrong didn’t intuitively feel right to me. It just felt like she was grasping at straws. I’ve had three treatments and the cupping with not a bit of changes. The cupping is what has left me with those awful bruises. I’m a bit embarrassed by the bruises to be honest. I’m not sure what I’ll tell the folks in the pool! Plus the acupuncturist kind of makes me feel badly that I can’t just leave work every week to get a treatment! Sheesh.

So I’m starting to think about a new way to think of these headaches. I may just simply have to embrace them as part of me. What if they will just never get better and I have to live with them forever? What if it’s like something that is part of me now? Can I learn to live with this pain level all the time? I simply refuse to be on drugs forever. I see my patients that get hooked and I just don’t want to do it. I will try a few more treatments and see if it works….and then, well, I don’t know. It may be that this is just me now. Can’t say that I’m thrilled, but I suppose it could be worse.

Aha Moment 2: Blending

 I woke up today feeling much better emotionally than I had in a long time! It was a really nice feeling. I’ve been rather down, muddled and anxious since my accident five weeks ago. This is not the way I usually roll (although I do have my moments) and I’ve found it disturbing on top of these feelings. The summation of it all produced odd crying jags, spurts of words pouring forth to anyone who would listen and other strange behaviors. It was very unsettling.

Therefore, when I woke up today feeling a bit cheerier, I was relieved…and puzzled. It was my usual 4:45 am wake up time to walk dogs and swim before work. Lately, these normal tasks have seemed to be extra painful or rather, it doesn’t take much to tweak a muscle for the rest of the day. One dog tugging too hard, or an extra hard arm stroke in the pool–and I’m in way more pain than I should be! Plus I’ve been plagued by a headache that has just ground me down.

So after my swim, I suddenly realized that I had some relief from the headache (yes with some help with over the counter medications) and my body felt somewhat normal today! And voila…attitude adjustment. Someone even said in the locker room that I looked pretty today. I believe it was merely that I was smiling from relief and the  subsiding of the pain.

Our well-being, I am reminded, is based on the bodies total blending of all our aspects: emotional, mental, spiritual AND physical. When any one of these is out of whack, it skews the others. And if one is grossly off, then forget about it! We become wrecks and may not even understand why. It gave me more sympathy for people facing chronic pain due to things like rheumatoid arthritis, or cancer, or recovering from any ailment or any chronic illness. And yet, I see so many of these people on my ambulance with wonderful attitudes! They have learned to balance their psyches. It’s wondrous.

For me the low-level pain, coupled with the ongoing moments of muscle issues, was fairly crippling for someone used to being constantly active. Shedding that all, even for hours, was like removing a cement coat. I felt light and free. And more like myself than I had in weeks. For this I am truly grateful and hopeful there is a light at the end of the tunnel.