Category Archives: Chronic Illness

Chronic Illness Is Demanding

warrior

“I fight for my health every day in ways that most people don’t understand. I’m not lazy. I’m a warrior!” – unknown

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Perseverance

 

keep plowing ahead“No matter how much falls on us, we keep plowing ahead. That’s the only way to keep the roads clear.” -Greg Kincaid

 

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Winter Living with Chronic Illness

meme_image

Chronic illness quote: “If opening your eyes, or getting out of bed, or holding a spoon, or combing your hair is the daunting Mount Everest you climb today, that is okay.” – Carmen Ambrosio

I’m in bed fighting the flu with my impaired immune system, antibiotics, and rosehips tea with lemon. All my projects are on hold until I heal.

Being Victimized Does Not Doom You to Becoming an Abuser.

Choose not to abuse

I first began studying abuse in 1968 during my tenure at Juvenile Court in the Abuse and Neglect Unite. The idea of a cycle of child abuse was all the rage. I don’t remember what the theory was called then. But the theory was abused children grow up to be abusive parents. The same idea is expressed by the common statement: “Hurt people hurt people.” I don’t agree. And here is why.

Yesterday I was verbally abused and bullied. This woman wanted to force me to take an action I didn’t agree with. It went against my will and my better judgment. This happens all the time. People want what they want. Some have no scruples about how they get it.

When confronted, she used her history of abuse as her excuse. She threw her abuse feelings at me. She rapidly and loudly listed every single experience of abuse she may have ever experienced in her lifetime.

None of her history had anything to do with our conversation. She was trying to manipulate me. Without the words, her volume and tone said verbal abuse. She hit me over and over with her words. It really did feel like a beating.

I have mad coping skills, but limited physical energy. I live with a serious chronic illness. I must use good judgment and extreme pacing to function in the world. Her verbal abuse overloaded my medical conditions and landed me in bed all the rest of day.

I accept full responsibility for my well-being. Ending up in bed again all day is my clue to set better boundaries for myself. I have to be much more cautious about who I allow in my space. I’m on a learning curve with that. My desire for as much life as my health will allow me demands I learn to take better care of myself.

Today, when I politely severed contact with her, she blandly claimed she was triggered. No apology. No sense she had done anything wrong. She was sad that I would no longer be helping her.

Maybe she was triggered. Maybe not. Maybe she was just trying to get her way. Make me do what she wanted. I see that often.

Sometimes I saw it in my counseling practice. People who think having once been a victim gives them some special protected status. Somehow people believe they have a license to act however they please. Abuse does not give you a free pass on morality, ethics, and life’s consequences. It just doesn’t.

This is a real moral issue.

Categorically, it is wrong to throw your pain at other people. It was wrong for my abusers to do it. It was wrong for your abusers to do it to you. It’s wrong for me to do it to you. And it’s wrong for you to do this to others. You have the choice as to how you behave.

It is absolutely wrong to get your needs met using unwilling people.

It seems ironic that some seriously hurt people feel they have a right to harm others. That serious hurt people see other people around them as objects for their use. Other people are not tissue paper or furniture. They are not objects for and you don’t have a license to use them. It’s just as wrong for you as it was for the people who hurt you.

If I wanted them, I have a litany of excuses to behave badly, whine, complain, and stay stuck in my life. I could have been ugly to the woman yesterday. I could mistreat my husband when life is tough for me. I could treat my medical team to the frustration I often feel.

But, see, it’s wrong for me to take my painful experiences out on others. Even if they are inept, bad, wrong and mistaken.

My life is mine. And your life is yours.

How we live determines our life’s experiences. What we do creates the quality of our lives. Our thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and attitudes create our inner environment. And, that inner environment decides the caliber of your life.

Most people think they are helpless. They believe that what happens to them determines how they live. That’s only partly true. What happens to us is only one small part. How we choose to cope with what happened is more important. That’s the largest part of what our lives will be like.

I could blame other people for my troubles and stay stuck in my life. I could live in a rage about my chronic illnesses caused by severe medical malpractice. I could live angry, unhappy, frustrated, lonely and friendless. I could wallow in what was done to me and remain a victim of life. I can choose that.

You can choose that. But it IS a choice. My choice. Your choice.

This is such a terrible mistake. I know. I remember my early efforts to grow and heal. I thought I’d suffered enough. That my early abusive nightmare of a life was a free pass to an untroubled life in my future. That other people should absolutely NOT bump into my sore places and trigger me.

You cannot control other people or life itself.

None of what I used to believe is true. I cannot control other people. You cannot control other people. It’s wrong to try. I cannot control cancer, tornadoes, doctors, criminals, or other ugly life experiences. I cannot control being triggered. I can only control how I choose to respond.

To spend your life trying to control the life experiences outside of you is like spitting in the wind. You end up all wet with your own efforts splashing back all over you.

This is a serious quality of your life issue. You can choose to spend your life tilting at windmills. Spinning in place trying to control others. You will suffer needlessly. Or you can work on healing.

You can heal if you choose to do the work.

You can take that energy and determination you were using to control others and work on healing yourself. You really are the only person who can help you. I know this as sure as I know my own name.

Abuse causes deep inner pain. It causes us to distort our lives from who we could be and what we could have done. I am the only one who can work on bringing me back to myself. You are the only one who can work on bringing you back to yourself.

And you cannot do this putting all your attention on other people. You certainly cannot grow by abusing others. You can only grow if you put that attention on yourself and work hard on your own healing. You cannot get there from here if you wallow in misery, blame others and throw your pain at them.

I think I’ll sum up what I’ve been trying to say. It’s wrong to harm others no matter your excuse. It’s self-destructive to cherish your pain. It harms you to concentrate on the wrong others do. And the path to personal healing from abuse is to look at yourself and try to grow. You can do this by choosing to participate in any growth process available to you.

This has been my attempt to make sense out of a series of experiences that troubled me and turn them into a positive helpful posting. I hope it does just that. Helping others is one of the ways I cope with my life. It means that hurts have been turned into something beneficial.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) and Chronic Illness

aces and resiliencePart One

The first time I read about the ACES study (Adverse Childhood Events) by Kaiser Permanente in San Diego and the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), I became enraged.

It felt like they were talking about me. Or my psychological slip was showing. Vulnerable. No clothes on naked. Unmasked every time I needed medical care. With multiple rare chronic illnesses, I need care a lot.

I didn’t want to face this.

The ACES study connected childhoods spent in abusive and dysfunctional families to adult risky health behaviors, chronic illness, and early death. People are getting a lot of hope knowing that their illnesses are related to their earliest childhood experiences. It leads to solutions at any age. Solutions such as building your resilience. I’ll write about that in another post.

In this writing, I want to discuss their original underlying research assumptions. That ACEs lead to risky health behaviors. And risky health behaviors lead to poor health.

Sounds logical, right? Logical but not really very helpful.

My rage turned into denial. I pretended I didn’t read that, feel this, see whatever, or understand what I had read. I acted like the mythical three monkeys covering their eyes, ears, and mouths. I forgot all about it. With a pout face.

But the issue kept popping up in my mind. Nagging me to deal with it. I’m a specialist in recovery from childhood abuse. First my own, then the schooling, and finally other peoples.

Recently, I kept stumbling over rocks and boulders named ACES.

ACES include psychological abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and intimate partner violence. Also included are the experiences of having people with the following problems live in your home: Substance abuse, mental illness, suicidal impulses, or being incarcerated.

I’ve written before about my childhood full of sexual abuse, bullying, poverty, my gentle father’s mental illness, and my mother’s dislike of me. The gaslighting, isolation, and rejection. What I’ve resisted, except for a few articles and some poetry, is writing about my health.

I’ve had two rare chronic illness since I was a child: Hyperinsulinism and Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID). I repeat these are rare diseases that require special knowledge to diagnose and treat. They were never diagnosed until I was an older adult.

I’ve always been sick a lot. This became another aspect of my abuse experience. My mother took minimal physical care of me, but took me to the doctor. She yelled viciously at me for needing her care. She accused me of being a hypochondriac, running away from life, and of wanting attention.

As a child, the medical profession became an extension of her abuse.

We were scary poor. My Dad was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. My mother, whatever her many and multiple faults, begged for whatever services I needed.

Just imagine the reactions of an overburdened physician who would not get paid. Presented with a child he couldn’t diagnose. Most doctors in this situation judge harshly and reject the patient (See Kaye & Groves, The hateful patient, 1979).

Kaiser & the CDC looked at adult risky health behaviors and disease. This is the blame game. Where care stops and judgment starts. It’s called ‘blame the victim’.

Most abused children believe they are at fault. Besides being told they are wrong, it’s easier to think everything is your fault than to understand you have no control over events. I know I did. Judge me. Judge myself harshly.

When I was studying the literature on childhood trauma for my graduate degrees, I saw that people cope with their horrific childhoods in the only ways available to them. They do what they know until they learn better.

Sexually abused children become hypersexual to master and gain control over their abuse. Other people sedate themselves with drugs, alcohol, food and cigarettes. And gambling, spending, stealing, all addictions.

Being trapped in a severely dysfunctional and abusive family leads to, guess what, feelings of being trapped. Depression and suicidal impulses are natural outgrowths of a reality that includes hopelessness.

Risky health behaviors were listed in the research as excessive drinking, depression, suicide attempts, unrestrained smoking, multiple sexual partners, STD’s, lack of exercise, and morbid obesity.

As an adult, far from my family of origin, I’ve worked diligently to not be who everyone told me I’d be. Not be a waste of space. Not the cause my own problems. And certainly NOT a victim. Not even a survivor. A THRIVER.

I’m a sober alcoholic, clean drug addict, abstinent food addict, and former smoker. I have personal boundaries, great friendships, and a loving husband. I eat organic food as available. And until my second cancer, I was a vegetarian.

I alternately use stress management, self-hypnosis, assertiveness, and healthy communication skills. I implement positive thinking and affirmations daily. I meditate, do deep breathing and whatever else will help me.

I’m still stuck with chronic illness.

It’s the underlying judgmental assumption that denies people the medical care they need and deserve. If medical people assume that patients are choosing to be unhealthy, they can easily write people off or give minimal care.

The ACES research found what behavioral researchers have been saying for decades. People from severely dysfunctional families lack healthy habits and indulge in destructive behaviors that impacted their health. The more exposure people had to adverse childhood events, the greater chance they had of developing risky health behaviors.

It’s a leap from blaming people for their problems to seeing their problems. But the research courageously made that leap. People with childhoods full of adverse events had serious health problems in adulthood. Problems such as heart and lung diseases, cancer and liver disease. The more adverse events people experienced, the greater their health risk.

There is much more research on this today. Studies on the physiological impacts of childhood trauma on the brain and the body. Some of it is beyond my psychologically trained mind. Other more accessible research is on resilience as a counter to adverse childhood events. And still more work is being done to change the institutional systems that interact with children and adult victims of abuse.

All of this made me angry. Very, very angry. More writing on these topics in the future.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

 

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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Resources

Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., … & Marks, J. S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American journal of preventive medicine, 14(4), 245-258.

Kaye, B., & Groves, J. E. (1979). Taking care of the hateful patient. Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 63(1), 149.

Stevens, J. E. (Ed.) nd. ACEs Too High (J. E. Stevens, Ed.). Retrieved June 5, 2017, from https://acestoohigh.com/

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

 

Gambling with the Cat Scan Machine

 

cat-animal-portrait-domestic-cat-538877

“CAT SCan Machine: Just my attempt to apply humor to my Cancer experience.

 

Cancer day is this Wednesday. I have my annual lung cancer checkup on that day. Lung cancer was my second cancer. My first was Lymphoma. I spend the year between cancer checkups thinking of myself as cancer free. It’s not really true.

Cancers seem to breed future cancers. At least the chemotherapy does. One thoughtless oncologist relieved himself of his own guilt by calling this, ‘the price of staying alive‘!

There is more cancer living for me. My chronic illness of Common Variable Immunodeficiency also makes me higher risk for more cancers and other unpleasant goodies.

At any rate, I do know my experience with Cancers is not unique. I once read about a man who had experienced 8 different cancers. Eight! I certainly admire his courage and strength. Cancer is difficult six ways from Sunday.

Here is my poem about what I name Cancer Day.

I don’t
gamble
no lottery tickets
slot machines
contests
cards
horse races
or even ball games

The house always
wins
games of chance
are rigged
fixed
in advance

I did once
feel the
fever
to play
and
play
no matter
the cost

I don’t gamble
except
that noisy
round
white
doughnut
machine

Around
and around
twirling
spinning
hold your
breath
let go

Positive thoughts
rabbits foot
crossed fingers
four leafed clovers
a buckeye
in my pocket

It’s April
Fools Day
I don’t
gamble
except
the CT Scan
machine

The house always
wins
games of chance
are rigged
fixed
in advance

I wish
I knew
what the house
planned
the con
the scam

there is no
fever
to play
this round
no compulsion
no desire
to bet my
life
on that
CT Machine

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

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The Day A Hero Became A Villain

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It was a a day that lets you breathe air fully
sun a blazing light
so bright you cannot look into it
sky a healing fantastical blue
suggesting boundless possibilities
gossamer clouds spelling peace
birds singing a song of spring
a day suggesting freedom and hope.

Today I ponder how I came to this place
where I was irrevocably harmed.
How an epic hero doctor on a beautiful day
wearing his white cape and a brilliant smile
worshiped by many
admired by most
used to giving comfort and thoughtful care
made a deliberate decision to betray himself
violate ethics and morality
and selfishly harm a patient.

I’ve howled my own pain to the sky
written volumes of rage
torn papers into shreds with my pen
while I examined my feelings
indignation
betrayal
rage
distress
woundedness
devastation
grief
sadness
resignation
acceptance.

Today, I’m writing his story.
It’s a cautionary tale
a warning for all of us
how a good man could go so wrong
and fall from grace.

There was a moment
a second
an infinitesimal instant.
He could have gone either way
hero or villain.

He chose villain
when he made a coward’s decision
to hide his mistake
instead of face it and
be the person he had been before.

It is true that I was irrevocably damaged
by his decision and cowardice.
It is equally true that he changed his
character in that second
and was himself irrevocably damaged
by his behavior.

No more hero
coward
wimp
weakling
chicken
yellow-belly
candy-ass
craven
cur
scaredy cat

I had lymphoma and finished 8 rounds of chemo.
Six months later, my CT Scan showed a new mass.
Ideally we would have run a PET Scan before I was hospitalized
but insurance was being difficult.
He ran the PET Scan the morning of my admission to the hospital.
The results of that testing told him not to give me chemotherapy
but treatment had already begun.
Those results that said I had no new cancer.
He could have stopped the treatment.
It had only been an hour or two of poison in my veins.

All else followed from that one cowardly decision.
He lost his ethics, morality, and integrity.
It’s a warning for all of us
how one bad decision leads to another and another
until finally you have lost your soul to evil.

Instead of being honest and facing a mistake
he waited a day and lied.
He told me the machine was broken
and had the test run again.
Another moment in time
another decision to be a hero or a villain
show courage or be a coward.

The results were the same
no cancer.
He chose to be a coward
protect himself
wait to find out what to do.
Truly I can only guess at his motivation
his thought process.
I imagine he panicked and envisioned his
life going down the drain.
Maybe the medical center lawyers were involved.
Who really knows what was going on in the privacy of his mind?
Whatever his reasoning
he did not tell me
he did not stop the chemotherapy at all.

Seven days of advanced chemotherapy
24 hours per day for seven days
168 hours of poison designed
for the purpose of flattening my immune system
and making way for a bone marrow transplant.

He telephoned me a month later after I lost my hair
and was completely chemo sick
to tell me in a quirky way that I was lucky.
“Good news,” he said
“You don’t have cancer again at all,”
ignoring the elephant he had placed between us.

He did say, “sorry” before he became brutal
blocking my disability
refusing to sign any papers
preventing me from obtaining any medical care
at all.

That’s the descent into villainhood.
From one decision to another and another
until he behaved as a monster.
Making me sick by accident
and keeping me sick on purpose.

And that’s the story, morning glory.
It was thirteen years ago and in a different state.
It took a long time to figure it all out.
I worked very diligently and
got out from under the thumb of a former hero.

A hero who made a mistake and then did a very bad thing.
He treated me as an object causing him a problem
instead of the living breathing human being he had harmed.
I found medical care after I moved away and
blocked anyone from obtaining my medical records.

This is a true story and it bears a repeated warning.
Cherish your honor and make it your own
because every decision you make leads to your next decision.
Every casual selfishness creates your future life
because whatever we do builds into our next action
and we too, each of us
can change from a hero to a villain.
It begins with a small decision and
the fall into becoming a despicable human being
spirals faster and faster
until you might not even know yourself anymore.

My emphasis is on walking your journey with you as you work toward realizing your dreams, hopes, wishes, and goals.

Your feedback is important! Please let me know your thoughts and feelings about this writing.

Just scroll a little further down the page and use the “Leave a Reply” box to add your opinions. Make your suggestions and let me know what your needs are.

If you wish to say more, e-mail me at agentledrlaura@mail.com or by using the contact me box below.

If you like my writing and are interested in applying some of these ideas, subscribe to my newsletter.

email: agentledrlaura@mail.com                                         Telephone: (615) 464-3791

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©2016-17 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.                    Privacy Policy

Pearls in My Soul

 

256px-Laad_Bazaar_Pearls1

Photo attribution at bottom

A few moments ago I answered the phone. I was writing this posting on positive thought and stopped. Oh, yuk, that was unpleasant! Not what I wanted to hear. Not at all. My mood evaporated, and I brooded. A full on stomp my feet, yell and express my unhappiness tantrum. It’s tempting to roll around in negativity. It’s difficult to shift into an affirmative frame of mind.

I closed the program and shut my computer off. It took a few minutes for me to find my inspiration again. It was an uphill battle against falling mud thoughts decorated with negative rocks of ugly, painful feelings.

My experience today sheds real light on positive thinking.

Life spits on all of us to greater and lesser degrees. Things happen. Abuse, crime, poverty, discrimination, and much ugliness. People die, others get sick. Cancer. Oh, cancer sucks!

We don’t get the job we wanted or the partner we lusted after. We stub our toes, fall down and have automobile accidents. On and on, I could fill this page with the anguish inducing events in life.

I don’t want to live inside the painful events of my life. I’m kind of a big baby. I want pleasure in my life, not pain. And what I focus upon is what I experience. My most important environment is inside my heart and head. What I concentrate on is where I dwell. I can view pain or pleasure.

I cherish the spiritual power of positive thought. I’ve been working on this skill for the past 43 years. I believe our lives conform to what we hold in our minds. If we can change our insides at a deep enough level, we can also influence our outside experience. An ongoing dedication to this process makes a huge difference. I trust this.

I have confidence in the psychological power of positive thought. We can make or break our days in our thoughts. It’s an effort sometimes. Like today. I had to put some mental elbow grease into my mental processes. After that telephone call, I was tempted to watch television, read a book, or something mindless. After all, I deserve it! Because, because, well, just because. There is the pull of whining and “it’s so awful!”

I wanted to write about my experience of yesterday’s (8/21/17) total eclipse. I was joyful in my ability to sit and write in spite of chronic illness and my history of abuse. Yet, I almost let one telephone call derail me.

So, here, this is me. Deciding once again to take the positive path. Maybe even the “road less traveled” (Frost, Robert, The Road Not Taken, 1916).

I collect memories. I think of them as lustrous and finely colored pearls. My memories are gems of great value. Large pearls, small pearls, fresh water pearls, deep from the ocean pearls, black pearls, perfect ones and misshapen gems. Each memory added to a strand residing in the center of my being. I look at them often.

Memories of delight, pleasure, triumph, happiness, rebellion, and freedom. I pull them up and review them at will. Rejoicing in a long ago event. Pearl memories inside me that cheer me up, make me smile and enrich my life day-to-day. With friends. Laughter on the telephone with other friends. Intimate sharing conversations with people I like and love.

That sunny day I mastered the high diving board at the swimming pool. Climbing the ladder, walking to the final third of that board, striding the board and launching. Flying in the air for that few seconds before I hit the water.

My defiant friends in high school. Smoking on the corner, slouching with great attitude. Hours on the telephone. Walking and walking all over town, talking and thinking of mischief.

My first day at college, feeling free and grown up, walking across the campus of Kentucky blue grass. It’s not an authentic blue, but a beautiful blue-green in the summer.

The births of my sons, holding them in my arms first the first time. Different boys, different years, and different experiences, each one a memory pearl that adds to my inner necklace of warmth and happiness.

My small weddings, surrounded by loving people and simple dresses.

The day my husband, Keith, got on his knees to propose. We’d already agreed to marry and I still smile as I remember him asking again with the ring.

The day I walked across the stage for my Ph.D. diploma, hearing my son yell in the crowd, “There’s my mom!”

Or the one year we celebrated Christmas twice. So like children, we were, opening our presents too early until there were none. We decided to do it again.

The eclipse on August 21, 2017, is one of those pearls. We planned and prepared. I couldn’t explain the sense of need and urgency I had about this. I wanted, needed. I live with somewhat debilitating chronic illness, so we had to plan and prepare.

My sense of awe and raw pleasure sitting on our front porch, surrounded by an all around sunset. Then totality. The full eclipse. Our one country street light went on. The earth dimmed. The universe lowered the lights an increment at a time. I watched birds fly west in a group. A few birds flew back east as the lights came back a little at a time. Words fail me to describe this memory and the feelings it produced inside me.

A once in a lifetime experience. A pearl in my soul. A new memory on my smiling necklace of happiness.

Today is my 72nd birthday. I’m writing, cheered at the freedom to sit here and share my thoughts. Keith came home with smiling flowers. Sunflowers, red carnations and something yellow. Another smile, one more pearl.

Now I’m finishing my medical treatment. A once weekly infusion of immunoglobulin to build up my failing immune system. The disease is called Common Variable Immunodeficiency. The treatment is an elixir full of gems, energy, and bullets aimed at bacteria and other beasties. This, too, is a pearl.

I can sit in my chair, sometimes almost unable to move and pull out that necklace. My memory necklace is long. Pearls too long to lift if the necklace was manifest in this world. Inside me, it’s just the right size.

Contact me if you’d like to create your own set of inside pearls.

Email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

*By Abhinaba Basu (Flickr: Laad Bazaar Pearls, Charminar) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Abuse, Chronic Illness, and Positive Thinking

 

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Photo by LPHR Group

I study positive thinking books.
Take in and apply what they say.
Using affirmations as an eraser.
Obliterate the ugliness of my past.
I work hard at this laborious task
believing I can change my thinking
and change my life.
Holding fast to the idea that I am capable
of washing my past right out of my mind.

 

Naysayers assert that affirmations
are useless
a fantasy
an illusion
prevent real action
create a blame game
and all manner of other proclamations.
I do disagree.
Then I think, “So what if they are right!”
Affirmations help me cope.
Positive thinking gives me a sense of control.
My past was overwhelming.
My present does not have to be.

Opposing ideas roll around in my psyche.
I’ve always believed in life itself
a rich life full of love
friendship
music
dancing
laughter
success
much more than my history
would grant me.

Deep within me are beliefs
planted by mom and bullies far and wide.
Destructive and dark thoughts
leftover from a childhood that haunts me
with its awfulness.
“Don’t let your light shine”
“Don’t let people see you happy”
“Stay invisible”
“Fail because failure is easier than her wrath”
A pratfall is a better idea
than facing mom’s most positively creative acts
of psychological violence on my personhood.

When I’m in a medical crisis
an illness flare up
I use Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body
looking up the symptoms I experience
then I say those affirmations over and over
hoping to take some degree of control over
things that feel more powerful than me.
As always, there is a theme to my condition.
A mental script that heralds my past again.

Research shows that childhood pain
can come out in the body.
It’s pain I reject
ideas I don’t want
a history I wish to re-write.
Different parts of my body all saying the same thing.

I want to change these ideas
wash them right out of my being
I’ve spent my life dedicated to this task
getting rid of mom
and the influence of her feelings toward me.
And those bullies
all those bullies
whose motives are unknown.
Let’s erase them too from my world.

So, I wake up each day
open the book of affirmations
look up each and every current yelling body part
and say the affirmation corresponding to it.
In extreme situations throughout the day
with pain beyond measure
I turn to the book
and chant the affirmation on pain
over and over and over.

Body memory is deep
and bites back
As I laugh and love and enjoy my life
my body remembers what my mind wants to forget.
But my body is mistaken.
Mom was wrong.
The bullies were stupid.
Life is to be lived.
We all have value.

And so I repeat:
I lovingly release the past.
They are free and I am free
All is well in my heart now.“*
Believing firmly that I can erase
the impact of my history.
I cannot go back in time
nurture the girl I was
I cannot prevent or erase the past.

I can throw the past backward into history.
Not allow the past to intrude on today.
I have to work diligently at this task.
It takes effort to have a life worth living
experience success
reach my goals
laugh
love
be happy.
I think that effort is worth it.

*Affirmations from Louise Hay’s Heal Your Body

Contact me if you’d like to change your thinking.

Email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

My Broken Vase

A dream has haunted meStillleben_mit_Schachteln,_1941
for days and days.
A nuanced dream
with many layers
all singing me a message
that I am refusing to hear.
Covering my ears
closing my eyes
an ostrich head in the sand.
A teenager fighting the world
resisting and rolling my eyes
fluffing my hair
in a posture of outrage.

My late husband bought me
a dusty teal colored vase
with a crochet flower bouquet
full of memories of fun
laughter
sunshine
and freedom.
I often look at that vase
with fondness
of my life well lived.

I gasped in my dream
as the vase dropped to the floor
breaking into pieces
too small
too many to fix.
Grieving, I awoke.
Mourning, I think, the vase
and the life that is no more.

But, wait, look, think.
The crochet flowers remain whole
sitting there on the floor
In the middle of all those broken pieces.
Whole flowers
needing a good cleaning
and some tender loving care.
Undamaged flowers making me think.

The only sure thing in life is change.
As long as I breathe
live on this side of the dirt
life will happen.
When the sun shines
rain will eventually fall.
And back again to the sun.
With laughter, prepare for tears
and tears for laughter.
Vases we love will break.
Maybe the flowers within
will survive.

We live in the middle of life’s changes.
I’m here
alive
and not always well.
I will adapt
adjust
accept
flourish.
I can live a full life
no matter what happens.
I’ll be the flower that remains.
Yes, I will.

Contact me for life coaching about the changes in your life.

Email: agentledrlaura@mail.com

Telephone: (615) 464-3791

©2017 by Laura Coleman, Ph.D.  All rights reserved.

Painting by Felix Nussbaum (https://www.tumblr.com/search/Felix+Nussbaum) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons