Tag Archives: Disappointment

A Life Altering Experience – Part 1

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A Life Altering Experience

When my husband, Ron, had his first stroke in 2009, he had just turned 58. How is that possible?

It happened before my eyes. It was Saturday, September 26th around noon. Isn’t it remarkable how we remember small details of a life altering experience?

Ron was standing in front of me; we were chatting about his pinched nerve. Just a week before, Ron became dizzy at work, and his employer insisted that Ron go to the emergency room. A co-worker took him to the closest hospital, and an ER doctor suspected that Ron had a pinched nerve that was causing his dizziness. The doctor referred Ron to a chiropractor.

He had just arrived home from treatment with the chiropractor when it hit.

While standing in front of me, in an instant, the left side of his face from his forehead to his jaw drooped down, and his words became a little slurred. He could walk and move both arms. He had no tingling anywhere or dizziness. Was it a stroke? He’s only 58. Was I overreacting? Did he fit the criteria or warnings of a stroke? I had that debate in my head for about 30 seconds and then took charge.

I told him to get in the car; that I was taking him to the emergency room. Like most men, he argued, but he couldn’t see what I was seeing. Hospital personnel approached my car as it came to a roaring stop in front of the ER entrance. I shouted to him that my husband was a “stroke alert.”

A stroke alert upgrades the time frame and service for medical attention, like upgrading to Firsthospital3 Class from Coach. A page overhead was heard throughout the hospital: Stroke Alert, Emergency Room. The page was repeated two more times. Unwillingly, I began to take this all in. Ron was seen immediately by a slew of doctors and nurses. He started having some paralysis on the left side of his body. Alas, the tingling symptom arrived at the party. And he had a headache now. Ron had IVs inserted, and wires slapped on, and beeping in under five minutes. The doctors asked me a lot of questions. They were glad I got him there when I did. I started trembling, realizing, praying. Everyone had solemn facial expressions and serious voices. They believe Ron was suffering a stroke.

The color drained from my face and fear flooded my body. I looked for a chair and sat down, frozen. Ron went for a priority MRI. I waited. Alone for the first time since this nightmare started, I called our son and totally lost it. He couldn’t understand what I was saying. You know how garbled your words are when you’re hysterical and try to talk? That was me. I finally got out some English—”dad,” “stroke.” Our son was on the next plane home. He also had the good sense to call family, but I didn’t know that until they appeared in the ER. I had some support now. And we all waited. Waited to hear how badly the brain was compromised. My mind drifted.

DSC00239We were living comfortably, at the time, in our empty nest. Ron played softball in a league during the summer and coached basketball during the winter. He was very active and fit. We were both working with great jobs that allowed us to have security in our retirement. Ever since childhood, a dream of mine was to live in the country on horse property. We started looking at small farms nearby.

Our son was happy. He had moved to New York City to pursue his second Masters Degree, plus his girlfriend (now wife) lived there. It was a win-win for him.

Life was good.

Then the MRI results were back. The neurosurgeon approached me. He said Ron was being moved to ICU. They found a blood clot in his brain. The plan was to go in and try to remove it. Surgery was scheduled for the next day, first thing. I swear I can hear this conversation like it was yesterday.

Ron handled the surgery fine but because of the location of the clot, it could not be removed hospital4without making matters worse, like killing Ron. It would have to remain in his brain. The hope was the brain would construct pathways around the blockage. So after a week in ICU, two weeks in rehab, and three months of outpatient psychical therapy twice a week, Ron could walk again and use his left arm. His speech improved. But cognitively, the damage was permanent. Ron would not be able to work again.

The medical bills were staggering. And I mean staggering. Ron sold his 79 Roadrunner, his motorcycle, and his Mercedes. And we still owed over $100,000.

But we were just at the beginning of our crisis. A life altering experience for us wasn’t over.

Tune in tomorrow for A Life Altering Experience – Part 2.

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

 

 

 

Ditch That Godawful Attitude Here – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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Beyond your heart beat, and everything, how do you know if you’re alive? Is there any excitement or interests in your life? Any passion?

Vernon Howard was a man on a mission. In his books and lectures, it was clear that each day he aspired everyone to experience an emotional awareness of being alive. He was probably one of the first trailblazers for mindfulness in the 1950’s with this statement Try to see what attitudes rule your day, then ask yourself what kind of a day you usually have.IMG_2308

What kind of days have you been having lately? Are you sick of the same crap? If the past week has been bleak and negative, or filled with resentment and criticism, chances are high that your attitude on those days has not been working well for you. The bold truth is that if you latch on to a negative outlook you’re experiences in life are going to be negative which then prompts a negative outlook, and so on.

Instead of waiting for life to treat you better before changing a negative attitude, change your attitude first. Focus on the good in your life, find it, accept “what is” in everyday situations, be thankful for what hasn’t gone wrong, and then expect the positive. With that outlook, you’re bound for a good day which then prompts a good attitude!

IMG_2327Joan Baez reminds all of us that: You don’t get to choose how you’re going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you’re going to live.

Most of us are guilty at some time or another of taking life for granted. We’re blinded with the eluding belief that there’s always tomorrow, and next week. In taking life for granted we become immune to the treasures found in each day and instead complain about this or that unfairness. We’re indifferent with other people. Instead of filled with kindness and gratitude, we’re filled with indifference and resentment.

Each dawn is to be a celebration because it’s a gift.  If tomorrow’s arrival was up in the air, how would you live today?

FullSizeRender (7)

Dr. Sandy Nelson

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

Still Surprised by Disappointment? – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the acclaimed 1936 novel Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell writes: Life’s under no obligation to give us what we expect. We take what we get and are thankful it’s no worse than it is.

Everyone knows that life is unfair, yet it’s incredible how we still appear panic4surprised by disappointment and unwanted events. If we really believed that life is unfair, we would expect disappointment and injustice, and be pleasantly stunned when a day passed without it. We would be enormously grateful for whatever we received that day, and view ourselves as fortunate because it wasn’t less. And it really could be a lot less and a lot worse.

Instead, some people expect life to unfold without a hitch and according to plan, and when it doesn’t they’re blindsided. It’s reasonable that some time might be needed to deal with the letdown from setbacks. But then it’s time to regroup and get back to living.

panic3How do you handle the unfair and difficult times in your life? Can you be found in a pouting slump; complaining about how you’re a victim of life? Or, can you be found facing trials with a determination to endure?

Helen Keller wrote: Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

I don’t know any happy and successful individuals who view themselves as complainers or see themselves as victims when adversity arrives. Those individuals who are determined to face difficulties and accept trials are the ones who become successful and have joy.

There is no doubt that throughout life you will come face-to-face with many trials and hardships. And, there’s no doubt that today, it’s how you handle those trials and hardships that will determine your success or failure; your happiness or misery.

As you go about your activities today, notice what could be worse, but isn’t instead of what’s going wrong that shouldn’t be.

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

Dealing With Loss

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photo-camera-219958_150In the past decade, Americans have endured such ruin and bereavement that it compares to the years of the Great Depression under the failed policies of Hoover¹. People have lost their jobs, their savings, their homes, their cars, plus in many cases, their self-confidence. And there’s still an additional one in three Americans on the verge of financial ruin.²

American author and Social Worker Virginia Satir wrote: Life is not the way it’s supposed to be. It’s the way it is.

Well, unless you’re rich, the way it is sucks. It’s a good thing that we’re Americans because there are days that it’s only that spirit that has kept us going. It’s that tenacity found in our heritage that stirs the fight to endure. That and are own guts.

Psychologist and Business Consultant Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer says: People who suffer a loss must reinvent their lives.

Really? You think?

That reinvention isn’t a choice, it’s survival. It’s motivated by a resentment that isn’t often able to let go of the whys, the regrets, the anger, and the pressing sadness.

No one wants to grieve this crap. No one looks forward to Friday because they plan on grieving over the weekend. Grieving involves sadness, regret, heartbreak, weeping, suffering, and pain. Who wants to experience all that, at the same time, for a period of time?

It’s not only loss that requires change, it’s reality. It’s not optional. Something 793c70f5-805c-4b35-8655-785a91de8436-mediumisn’t the way it used to be and will never exist again. Something isn’t the way it should be and never will be again. The purpose of grieving is to adjust to the change in life that reality demands. It’s to bring us to the point of making necessary changes so we can adjust in healthy ways, even if we resent having to do so.

Think about it.

¹http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2007/12/bush200712

²http://www.marketwatch.com/story/1-in-3-americans-on-verge-of-financial-ruin-2015-02-23

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

Dealing With Disappointment

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There’s no doubt that today we live in a spoiled society. There’s little delayed gratification and a lot of stuff we feel entitled to have, or to experience—now. The more things we think are deserved or that we should possess, the more disappointed we are when it doesn’t occur.

IMG_0866 - CopyDr. David Brandt, author of Is That All There Is? wrote: Not all disappointments are equal. Some are devastating. Others scarcely seem to matter. It all depends upon the degree of emotional involvement in the expectation. The greater the investment, the more severe the disappointment. The greater the underlying wish for an event to occur, the stronger the pain when it doesn’t. 

French author and Nobel Prize winner, Andre Gide, was right when he said: Long only for what you have. However, no one really wants to hear that. Instead of recognizing on a daily basis what we already possess and then work towards what we want, we may recognize on a daily basis what we don’t have and ignore what we do. We may dwell on what’s lacking in our life, and harp on all the instances we failed to acquire what we wanted. This type of attitude towards disappointment can destroy self-esteem, gratitude, and motivation.

Individuals who often experience disappointments may not be able to identifyfailure1 what disappointments are intended to teach. There could be a pattern of expectations that are not rooted in reality. Dr. David Brandt puts it this way: Whether out of fear, disapproval, or anxiety, those who repeatedly experience disappointment have a psychological history that has produced expectations that are unrealistic, too absolute, too high or low. They need to readjust those expectations, but forces in their personality prevent them from doing so. 

If we don’t process disappointment, accept the outcome and adjust to the reality that is presented, we’ll continue to want what we can’t have while taking for granted the many blessings inside our front door. We may think that having something or someone is necessary in order to feel happy and okay. Thinking that we “have to have” anything places the source of our well being and happiness dependent on something outside ourselves.

Acceptance of “what is,” is a struggle only when we can’t let go of the attachment to what we wanted. This doesn’t mean that we don’t try again or plan something different in order to get what we want, it means that we accept that it wasn’t acquired this time. It’s important to accept and appreciate what we have, and to keep thinking of what we want and plan the next effort to get it.

Think about it.

 

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

What do you do when you’ve hurt someone?

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IMG_1564When you’ve hurt a person by something you’ve said, what do you do? Hurting someone’s feelings is usually unintentional and spoken in a moment of high emotional intensity when you’re not thinking straight. Whether it’s a girlfriend, boyfriend, spouse, family member, co-worker, or friend, what can you do now?

1. Apologize face-to-face, not in a text, email, or by phone. To really make amends you need to be present. Your apology must be sincere–trust has been broken so strip away your pride and humble yourself.

2. Take responsibility. Own it. Make no excuses. That means do not attempt to IMG_0491 - Copyblame someone or something else for your screw-up. That means not trying to shift blame onto to the very person you just insulted. Whatever the circumstances, what was said that was hurtful came from you. No one forced you to say insensitive remarks, it’s no one else’s fault, so take responsibility. Own up.

3. Sometimes it’s fitting to explain. Providing a reason for what happened is different than trying to excuse what happened. “I know I shouldn’t have said those things, but I’m under so much pressure right now,” is an excuse. “I’m under a lot of pressure right now, but that doesn’t dismiss the hurtful words I said,” is an effort to explain, not excuse.

IMG_24194. Don’t just say “I’m sorry,” ask to be forgiven. Promise it will not happen again. Describe what you’re going to change so it doesn’t happen again. “I’m going to talk to someone about managing the stress I’m under.” This action is the best choice if you truly want to make amends. Otherwise, the hurt person only has your say-so that it won’t happen again. Since the trust element is shattered between you and the other person, an action plan on your part goes a long way to rebuild trust.

5. Give it some time if the person isn’t able to accept your apology at the moment. Allow the person a couple of days to think and sorts things out–free of harassment or stalking. Bugging or nagging the person won’t speed up the forgiveness process, and can make the situation worse.

6. Forgive yourself. Beating yourself up is pointless. And listening to someone lecturing you about what a jerk you are is also pointless. Making a mistake or screwing-up doesn’t make you a bad person. No one is perfect. Everyone make mistakes. We all do things we regret.  Meet tomorrow as a wiser person.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

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

Can love exist without getting hurt?

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Songs in the country music arena are often tuneful soap opera’s. Or, perhaps it’s that these particular song writers touch on the heartbreak reality that millions of people endure each day. Maybe you’ve seen this list of actual song titles that represent the jilt of love:

How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away
Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth ‘Cause I’m Kissing You Goodbye
I Don’t Know Whether To Kill Myself Or Go Bowling
If You Don’t Leave Me Alone I’ll Go And Find Someone Else Who Will
I Still Miss You Baby But My Aim’s Gettin’ Better
She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger
If I Shot You When I Wanted To I’d Be Out By Now
And my personal favorite: I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Like Having You Here

love2Funny, uh? Creative individuals make reflective writers, poets, and artists; and thanks to the dynamics of love relationships, our culture has been successful in producing sit-com’s, movies, music, plays, and books that portray the triumphs and tribulations of personal relationships. When it comes to a union between a woman and a man, along with a pledge of love, the promise of hurt is also guaranteed.

love3When someone is hurt or disappointed by the person he/she loves, there are various ways that wound is communicated: disbelief, anger, silence and sadness. When something is expected to happen, and it doesn’t, hurt and disappointment result. When something isn’t expected to happen, and it does, hurt and disappointment is experienced.

We’re hurt when an outcome isn’t what we anticipated. If we don’t care if something happens or not, then we don’t experience hurt. If we don’t have a preference, then we don’t have disappointment. The remedy then, to dodge heartache, seems to be clear—don’t expect.

But, is it realistic to think that relationships can exist without expectations? Is it possible to experience a love relationship that won’t disappoint?

Think about it! In caring, Sandy

 

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

Will you hurry the hell up?

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Impatient people are trying to have a life that can never be. They struggle to accept a world that is not perfect. Everyone has a different speed of performing patiencetasks. There will always be situations where delays exist in waiting rooms or waiting in line. Postponements and cancellations are part of life. So is road construction, dead batteries, noise, indigestion, rules, pet hair, potholes, and static cling. But a disturbance in the plans of an impatient individual often produces anger and intolerance. Psychologist and author, Joseph Bailey, says “When you get impatient, you become irritated and judgmental, and that creates distance between you and the other person.”

If you are burdened with impatience, you embark on a never-ending voyage of negativity and unhappiness. When your day is interrupted with delays and inconveniences you may act on faulty thinking and just give-up in a heap of frustration. You might conclude that if there’s going to be obstacles than just forget it—if there’s hassles, then you don’t need the aggravation. You may give up on your job, your education, your relationships, your family. That’s one way that impatience impacts thinking—you give up, quit.

Another outcome from impatience is reactive behavior. You might impulsively do something or say something without thinking—you wig out. When someone isn’t following your game plan, you’re off on a tirade. You explode with criticisms, you make degrading comments—you hurt other people.

As it was last year, last month, and last Friday, the same is true today: you’ll encounter many situations where your way, choice, expectation, or preference doesn’t occur. Around each bend there are cliffs of failure, walls of disappointment, and highways of the unexpected. Each day presents you with numerous moments that require patience—restraint of anger and frustration.

Some people would debate that it’s human nature to be disappointed with an unwanted outcome. That it’s natural to experience frustration when met with defeat. That it’s to be expected to feel a let down when expectations fail to patience1materialize. Yet, the reaction or response to disappointment, frustration, and mistakes that befall human beings varies. Some people display unhealthy tantrum-like opposition in rebellion. Some people, smiling or not, patiently endure waiting with little or no outward demonstration of upset. One thing for sure: you can’t have patience and lack self-control. When you’re impatient, you’re not self-controlled—you’re not in command of yourself. Patience is tolerance that allows and respects others’ preferences or methods without necessarily agreeing. Since an impatient person isn’t a happy person, you’ll not likely experience happiness without a high level of patience—patience with yourself and others.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

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

Why appear perfect?

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This epitaph adorns the grave of Ellen Shannon, 26, of Girard, Pennsylvania: Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with “R. E. Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid.
IMG_0560(2)Apparently, R. E. Danforth thought his non-explosive burning fluid would not explode. Most mistakes are not fatal like Danforth’s product, but merely inconveniences and disappointments. A mistake is an unwanted outcome, not necessarily a reflection of adequacy. Mistakes are messages that more information or knowledge is needed to create the outcomes you want.
I have heard that an eagle misses 70 percent of its strikes. Why should I expect to do better?¹ Our thoughts are delusional if we think life can unfold without mistakes. In fact, the more we’re compelled to present ourselves as error-free, the more it indicates delusional thinking. You and I are going to make mistakes the rest of our lives. We’re imperfect, with flaws, weaknesses, and limitations. There are things we do not have knowledge of; things we do not know how to do.
If you didn’t focus energy on appearing error-free today, where else would you focus that energy? Today, view any mistake as an unwanted outcome and instead of beating yourself up for it, admit the mistake and seek a different solution. –Dr. Sandy

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

¹Sophy Burnham, American author

Do you fear making decisions?

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Abraham Lincoln once said, “We have all heard the story of the animal standing in doubt between two stacks of hay and starving to death.”¹ Well, I never heard that story, but it creates a good image of what the fear of decision making can produce. The dread of making the wrong failure3choice can keep us immobile as we watch opportunity go by.

Does the possibility of making a mistake paralyze you? It shouldn’t. Your worth and significance isn’t dependent on your lack of errors. Making mistakes doesn’t indicate there’s some abnormal level of inadequacy within you.

People are respected and valued because of their character, not their lack of mistakes. This is an imperfect world with imperfect people. Strive for excellence but don’t be surprised when mistakes happen. Errors provide insight into what needs improvement or change, but errors never indicate your inadequacy as a person. –Dr. Sandy

¹From Politics, Lincoln’s Wit by Abraham Lincoln