Category Archives: Regrets

A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

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A Life Altering Experience – Part 2

So many losses. Mercy. Words painted gray with disappointment in my head. What was wanted didn’t come. What came wasn’t wanted. We’re left with shattered lives. In the dark, there resides a pounding and persistent uncertainty between us. Ron isn’t who he was. I’m not who I was. The lost parts of ourselves are vast. How do we proceed with a life altering experience? Good Lord, what’s next?

With a blood clot still in his brain two years after his stroke, Ron, tried to settle 10888736_945259278841328_7498673198762713532_ninto the reality of a different life, and so did I. Physicians had decided that the episode of dizziness that Ron had at work was actually his first stroke, not a pinched nerve. Well, that pissed us off. You mean he was misdiagnosed? How do you miss a stroke? A little more than a week later after his “pinched nerve” on that September day, a major stroke turned his life upside down.

There were many activities he could not do. I was sad for him. He hated taking blood thinners to prevent additional clots. He hated the caution he needed to take so he wouldn’t bleed out from unintentional cuts or injuries. He hated me pushing him to do more than retreat to the sofa. He was quiet, withdrawn. Depression was a companion. He battled to accept the many losses of things that were once routine: his job, playing sports, being able. Now he was disabled with no job, and could only watch sports.

It was about this time that I noticed a tremor in my hands. Like that jitter when you’ve had too much coffee. Except I didn’t drink coffee. Maybe it was a fluke. When I saw my PCP, she thought it was anxiety–stress from Ron’s condition and the stress of my job, and stress of medical bills, yeah, stress. No doubt. I had that!

Anxiety medication did nothing, the tremor remained. Then one day at work when providing an oral report in the daily meeting that takes place, the paper I was reading from was quivering. It was quivering because it was in my hands.

IMG_1027Now I was having anxiety over this alleged anxiety!! Then, while in treatment to determine the cause of my hand tremor, on January 18, 2012, my employer of ten years, suddenly and without warning, “eliminated my position.” What? I was devastated. Wait, what? Crushed. Hurt to the core. I laid in a fetal position betrayed. No one could console me. I didn’t understand. I did nothing wrong. Why did they do this? Was it my hand tremor? Because I was unable to hold paper still?

Ron was on disability and I had no job. Fear pooled in all the spaces left in me.

There were many tests of my nerves, muscles, brain, and blood. There were second and third opinions from the best movement disorder clinics. In April 2012, a month before Ron’s third stroke, at the leading Movement Disorder Clinic in the country, I was diagnosed with Parkinsonism at Rush Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I have the symptoms of PD, but it has not progressed into the full-fledged disorder.

I must seek a way to put myself back together because I feel like someone dropped me on the floor. I’ve broken into pieces. What was God doing? God broke me. He dropped me and I broke. What was I going to do?

I didn’t have much time to reflect on that question. Ron came to me saying he had a headache–that’s kinda a big deal when there’s a blood clot lodged in the brain. He also had sudden vision problems.

Back to the hospital where they again tried to remove the blood clot stuck in his brain. No go. It’s still in a location that they didn’t want to mess with. The physicians agreed he should be transferred to Northwestern Memorial in Chicago where leading neurosurgeons were having some success with cases like Ron’s. Well, that could be a life altering experience.

Nope. After a gazillion tests at Northwestern, they weren’t going to touch it either. But they did discover that Ron’s left carotid artery in the neck is 50 percent blocked. Wonderful. Ron’s lodged blood clot is on the left side of his brain. Oh, AND, he’s diabetic. He’ll need insulin injections, twice a day. Okay, so now I know this was some kind of joke, right?

No.

So that’s the story of the past six years. This is how I became a Life Coach and IMG_1267blogger. Ron does a lot of volunteer work at church and it’s given him a purpose in life and it makes him happy. He gets tired quickly, his speech is off, his attention span is non-existent, and he forgets things most of the time. But he’s stable.

We’re both on disability. Oh, and, we’ve lost everything.

I know there are many people with disabilities that are in even worse situations, I empathize. Tell me how you make it through the day. I want what I don’t have. I wish things were different–the way they were before. I play moments the way I want them to be, not as they are. Damn Reality! A life altering experience.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

Letting Go, Holding On – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Letting Go, Holding On

We’ve heard the phrase many times: The past is the past for a reason.

Did we not know that? What does it even mean?

It’s a nagging whisper to remind us that whatever or whoever we’re clinging to from the past should be let go. We need to set it down. It’s a jarring reminder IMG_2250that we can’t go back. The past is the past for a reason. It’s a sounding alarm.

How do we set down a past that occupies a great deal of our present thoughts? How do we let go of prior regrets, lost love, anger, and betrayals? These experiences may be dead in the past, but jeopardize our life, happiness and success today, right now.

When we can’t let go, we drag along with us a sack filled with yesterday’s aftermath that we refuse to leave behind. The sack is heavy so it holds us back, weighs us down, and handicaps our current efforts. We’re not able to keep up with the opportunities that are offered today. We may struggle to get ahead because we’re dragging around this sack of the past, we’re stuck in yesterday.

Dragging our pasts through life everyday will never allow us to change any bygone circumstances. Holding on to yesterday will not provide control over IMG_2321what has occurred. But we can be invested in our future and have 100 percent control over our thoughts and actions today.

The past is your history. It’s a history that may have been painful at times, but also made you more wise, more cautious, more kind, and more confident. You can honor who you were by becoming who you are meant to be. I love this quote by Jeffrey McDanielI realize there’s something incredibly honest about trees in winter, how they’re experts at letting things go. How fitting after letting go is their return to the living in spring, more ample.

FullSizeRender (8)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

 

 

 

 

Use Of Anger To Get Your Way – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Some people use anger to get their way. Do you know someone like that?

They adopt anger for power. They mistakenly blame others for their own weaknesses, choices, or situations. In anger they justify hurting others to boost their deflated ego—to conceal their own fear and inadequacy.

Any situation that frustrates us, especially when we think someone else is to IMG_0508 - Copyblame for it, is a trigger for anger, resentment, and aggression. But detonating anger, and acting with violence, does not set one thing straight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Reacting in anger destroys relationships—we lose cooperation, we lose integrity, we lose respect and we lose loved ones.

Anger that’s expressed reactively murders. It kills happiness, peace, trust, love, success, and dreams. It shortens life. People who can’t keep their temper under control and who tend to explode in anger double their risk of a heart attack.

How anger and resentment from disappointments, frustrations, and setbacks are handled influences not only our character, but also our physical and emotional health. While anger can be justified, exploding in anger is NEVER condoned.

whoaToday, if you’re about to lose your temper, remember it’s more than your cool that you will be losing. You will be losing not only the respect and regard of others, but also put your health in danger. If you want to be a leader in your company, in your family and in your community, you will need to manage your anger, and use self-control—refuse to blow up.

Learn to express anger calmly, showing regard for the people in the room. They will be more apt to listen and respect you for it. And you will be more on target to get what you want.

Think about it.FullSizeRender (8)

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated

Are Little White Lies Okay?

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Like most other kids, you and I were taught in childhood not to lie. The lesson usually came early in life when by the age of six we knew the difference between right and wrong; and what was true and what wasn’t. The first time we made up a story to avoid wrath, we may have discovered that the penalty for our inventive tale was worse than if we had truthfully admitted our error.

IMG_0862Dishonesty, basically, is avoiding truth. It’s not surprising that people whose lives have been influenced by a damaging past really struggle with honesty—they’re afraid to be honest. It isn’t a type of dishonesty that is pathological and conniving. Rather its motive comes from a sincere desire to avoid conflict, disapproval, disappointment, and rejection; and to make others happy. They might see their dishonesty as being harmless or as merely “little white lies.”

Truth though, is a necessary choice in life, if we want self-respect, self-esteem and a reputation for possessing integrity. When asked, for example, if we like someone’s haircut, outfit, spinach casserole recipe, car color, or wallpaper, there’s always something truthful that can be said, instead of a little white lie. “Oh, that looks good on you,” “I can totally see you in that color,” and so on. We can be truthful without being mean spirited and without hurting someone’s feelings.

Psychologist, Dr. Chris Thurman writes: There is another important reason why IMG_1595we must seek the truth and live by it. There is a direct, inescapable connection between our self-esteem and whether or not we are dedicated to truth. If dedication to truth characterizes our way of living, we develop stable positive feelings of worth. The moment we wrap our lives around lies, genuine feelings of self-worth are virtually impossible. We’ve all had moments in our lives when we suddenly saw that something we believed to be true was false. Instantly, the truth cuts like a knife.  http://www.drchristhurman.com/

A pattern of telling little white lies can easily get out of control with a drive to appear adequate and flawless. We may find ourselves deceiving others about our opinions, actions and accomplishments. In a need to be loved and accepted, we justify fibbing.

IMG_2761 (1)Yet, isn’t it true that if someone is dishonest with us, we get all bent out of shape? In a warped way of thinking, we can be merciless to other individuals that we’ve caught lying. We park in the denial of our own dishonesty and feel betrayed, used, made a fool of, or taken advantage of by others we catch being dishonest with us: How could they do that to me! We, however, tend to not see our own dishonesty when we do that to them.

Think about it.

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
IMG_2731Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn?

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Long time writer for The New Yorker, S. N. Behrman¹ said on reaching the age of 75, I have had just about all I can take of myself. 

Has your inner voice become a nagging critical bullhorn? If your inner monitor has you feeling like a louse because of some wrong doing, then it’s time to investigate if those feelings of guilt are true or false.

IMG_2286True guilt is that icky gnawing feeling of remorse and regret when you have failed your moral standard. But after amends are made and you forgive yourself, you’re free to do better next time; and those icky internal feelings dissipate. False guilt is that same icky gnawing feeling that flogs you day after day when you decline to make amends and refuse to forgive yourself. Instead, you feel compelled to punish yourself and rolling in guilt is the most popular choice.

Believing the truth about who you are is necessary for a happy and successfulIMG_1720 life. If you’re dragging around the weight of guilt, regrets, and self-condemnation, it’s impossible to be happy and successful. Guilt won’t allow the belief that you deserve happiness and financial gain. Regrets won’t allow self-confidence and self-esteem. Your opinion of yourself is powerful fuel for life. The words you say to yourself, about yourself, have an enormous impact in the body, and in your mind.

As long as you hold yourself hostage for past mistakes, you’re chained to the pain of yesterday. You hold the key to those chains today, right now. Pardon yourself. Make amends if you’re able. Realize that staying in bondage to the past won’t allow you to make a difference in your life today, and that’s just another mistake.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹http://snbehrman.com/biography.htm
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday?

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Margaret Bonnano¹, famous author of seven Star Trek novels, wrote: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

Do you live day-to-day? There’s much attention placed on the catch phrase “One day at a time,” but do we really live that way? Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday? Our brains feel like a swarm of bees bringing back and forth to the hive worries about yesterday’s fiasco, and tomorrow’s anxiety about money. All this buzzing going on while we try to face today’s demands while sustaining sanity.

IMG_0702Most of our blunders from yesterday, last month, or last year are rubbish–we forget them. We make mistakes, we learn, we grow. The End. But sometimes, the memory of a past fault creeps into our minds and tortures again with its pain and regret. It makes us feel shame, depressed and unworthy. Don’t let that memory of the past have its reign over you again. It’s true that we face the future with our past. But a huge part of who we are today, what we stand for, and what we believe about ourselves and life comes from the lessons we acquired from screwing-up, yes, even those major debacles. Those of us who show up everyday in life expecting the best, doing our best, and giving our best have not been discouraged by yesterday’s failure, or reduced in value by its hurt.

IMG_1614Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan² once said: Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more. Doesn’t that describe most of us? There’s enough to sort through, solve, organize and work-out in one day, imagine if we were expected to handle the toil of two days in 24 hours? There’s enough to be concerned about today so adding worry about tomorrow and regret from yesterday isn’t a good use of time and energy.

Monitor your thoughts and notice how much time you’re spending dwelling on yesterday and how much you’re thinking about tomorrow. Deal with what’s happening now and what needs attention now so that when you awake tomorrow morning you’ll have energy to do it again.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

 

¹http://www.margaretwanderbonanno.com/
²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What are you doing to have happiness?

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What are you doing to have happiness? Notice the question is not: Are you waiting for someone to stop doing or start doing something so you’ll be happy? Or: What situation do you need in place before your happiness can arrive? The question also isn’t: Who are you depending on to make you happy?

IMG_0830Some people are easily soared into joyful spirits. What’s their secret? Some people always seem to be in happy or good moods. But exactly what is happiness? Is this disposition genetic or dependent on specific neurotransmitters in the brain? Is there an unhappiness gene distributed to a select population? Scientists are searching for answers to these questions which means they still do not know what specifically causes depression, or for that matter—happiness.

Previously called Melancholia, depression has been recognized as a common condition for more than three thousand years with documentation noted from the 2nd century. Some experts think that depression is the result of learned experiences. Others say it’s all about brain chemistry. And then there are those who believe it’s all in the genes. I think a state of clinical depression can be a combination of these factors.

Similar to other disorders, there’s evidence to support that depression can run in families like diabetes or heart disease. So if a parent or grandparent experienced episodes of clinical depression that increases the likelihood at some point you will experience clinical depression. A depressed state of mind can also be a learned behavior acquired during childhood, just like negativity or anxiety.

IMG_0080 - CopyA tendency to be down in the dumps may have described some of the adults surrounding you in childhood. If as a child, you watched adults react to life mostly with sadness and despair; then today you may be more likely to display those same behaviors when things go awry. The body experiences many sorts of problems when its needed nutrients are in deficient supply. And Clinical Depression can be the result when the levels of serotonin, dopamine, or norepinephrine are at a shortage in the brain or off balance.

Everyone knows what depression feels like because all of us at one time have experienced its character traits of hopelessness, tearful hours, helplessness, sleep disturbances, eating changes, heartache, consuming sadness, and an inability to function. For most of us these episodes are not chronic, last a day or two; and usually result from life events. Most of us are able to adjust to the changes in life that are usually uninvited and demanding. We pout for a time, rebel at reality, express our frustration, but then accept “what is” and move on to tomorrow. But for those individuals who have learned to be depressed, experience a neurotransmitter deficiency in the brain, or are genetically predisposed to depression, snapping out of it is like trying to awake from a coma. For these persons a state of depression sags their enthusiasm, interrupts their ability to function, keeps them tearful, and often not wanting to wake up.

sun28 - CopyThe full extent of depressed individuals in our neighborhood, in our churches, in our offices, in our friends and family is unknown because the menacing stigma towards mental health remains strong in our culture. Ignorant people judge mental conditions as being the equivalent of being crazy, so many people do not seek treatment for depression. They suffer quietly because of the fear of rejection they would otherwise experience if more folks knew their struggles. The stigma can trigger attempts to self-medicate. Alcohol abuse or other substance abuse could be efforts to block the chronic emotional pain. Other actions could also mask a deep on-going sadness: obsessive shopping, compulsive gambling, or sex addiction.

This accounts for the strong isolation depressed individuals experience. Our culture still believes on some level that we shouldn’t need help or support for the problems or events that pre-empt our plans and land us in despair. There’s still the idea that it’s a weakness to seek counsel or take medication for mental conditions. On the contrary, it takes strength and wisdom to seek help, and I respect those individuals who do so.

IMG_0682Just like the common cold, the symptoms of depression are generally the same for everyone, but the same can’t be said about happiness. Scientists know more about the state of depression than they do about the state of joy. Taking into consideration that happiness is the most important goal in the lives of people, experts can’t even agree on an explanation for it. What is happiness? Is it being in a good mood? Is it having fun? Is it securing the approval of other people? Lots of money? No worries? What is happiness for you? Americans might say that happiness is a consistent state of well-being, void of stress, worry, frustration, and disappointment. This definition, of course, is not realistic, or is it?

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

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©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Who are you now?

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“You are now at a crossroads. This is your opportunity to make the most important decision you will ever make. Forget your past. Who are you now? Who have you decided you really are now? Don’t think about who you have been. Who are you now? Who have you decided to become? Make this decision consciously. Make it carefully. Make it powerfully.”¹

sign2Are you defining your life today past on mistakes made a month ago, a year ago? If all the past errors in judgment were erased and all expectations from others were invalid, who would you be today, right now? Your future will be filled with negativity from the past only if you allow it to be poured into your current thoughts about yourself. Instead, take the wisdom—the positive—available from every mistake and from every heartbreak, and mold that into who you are at this moment forward.

“One of the best ways to educate our hearts is to look at our interaction with IMG_0108.JPG (2)other people, because our relationships with others are fundamentally a reflection of our relationship with ourselves.”²  It’s impossible to have a dysfunctional relationship with others unless you have a dysfunctional relationship with yourself. If you struggle with fears of disapproval, that fear will play out in all of your relationships with others—not just some relationships—all. Everything you do or say will be filtered through a fear of their rejection of you. That fear prompts you to be dishonest with others, to withhold your true opinions and needs, and to become whatever others want you to be. Look at how any unhealthy fears contribute to the status of your relationships, to the status of your life.

Stop at that crossroads. Today, make that powerful decision—who have you decided you really are? Share who you truly are with the people who matter and stay true to your real self.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

¹Anthony Robbins

²Dr. Stephen Covey

Do you know the cancer of emotions?

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Someone very wise once said, “No matter what the problem—relationship conflicts, addictions, work struggles, illness—handling anger and resentments in healthy ways is a key to its solution.”
IMG_0901 - CopyIn the spring of 1894, the Baltimore Orioles came to Boston to play a routine baseball game. But what happened that day was anything but routine. The Orioles’ John McGraw got into a fight with the Boston third baseman. Within minutes all the players from both teams had joined in the brawl. The warfare quickly spread to the grandstands. Among the fans the conflict went from bad to worse. Someone set fire to the stands and the entire ballpark burned to the ground. Not only that, but the fire spread to 107 other Boston buildings as well.
Reactive anger that’s almost always conveyed by ranting insults, threats, and angerintimidation; and often physical abuse, is the cancer of emotions. It’s at the root of almost every emotional and physical problem. Resentment has been called the chief destroyer of the mind and the leading cause of misery, depression, disease, accidents, broken relationships, and criminal acts. Anger that is expressed in a rage, murders. It kills happiness, peace, love, fulfillment, respect, success, and dreams It shortens lifespans.
One of Rome’s most well-loved emperors, Marcus Aurelius, ruled with this wisdom: The most complete revenge is not to imitate the aggressor. Why would not attacking back be the sweetest form of revenge? After all, if you remain calm while the other person continues in a tantrum of yelling criticisms, how would that look? It would look like one of you is behaving like an adult and the other one like a two-year old. Hmm.
Spend today aware of how you convey anger. If it’s common that you “lose your temper,” please understand what your actions do to people around you. This is an agonizing way to live and completely unnecessary for them and you. Behave like an adult.
Thanks for your time and comments. – Dr. Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net

Are you in a prison of previous mistakes?

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The prison of previous mistakes comes with jailers of guilt and regret. Together they hold you captive, torturing you with images of what you could have been and what you could have accomplished had you not done this or that or the other. 

If you allow it, there are three ways that the past can haunt you. You can be tormented IMG_0416(2)by memories of what happened to you, what you did, and/or what you didn’t do.                                                                                                                                                                        No matter how many times you think about yesterday, it isn’t going to change. You can’t rewrite it. Every single person since Adam and Eve, have noted at least one event they regret and at least one choice they wish could be reversed.

Dwelling in yesterday is delusional because you’re not dealing with the reality of today. Each morning you’re given a new beginning and a wiser mind-set because of the knowledge you gained from yesterday.

How will you live today so it won’t be a regret tomorrow? -Dr. Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net