I’d heard about but not seen the video of the police officer arresting a Utah nurse for following police and hospital policy. In the video, you have the nurse, fellow officers and hospital security telling the officer why he should drop it and the officer finally says “We’re done” and arrests the nurse and forces her out into the squad car. I heard today that the officer was fired and the hospital has banned all officers from care areas… After the video where the security guard rips the doctor from the plane, and with all the violence, I am not sure how some officers continue to lose control like this. Is it stress? PTSD? An “us against them” mentality? Or has it always been there and is coming to light? I personally would be treading lighter if I were an officer as more and more video surfaces of rough arrests, etc. but then again I am not an officer. On the one hand, I’m glad the officer was fired, but on the other hand I’d like to know why he lost it like that – does he need therapy? Do more police officers need therapy? In a way, it underscores the lack of mental health care in the US.
In China Marine, EB Sledge has a few episodes where he realizes that people cannot understand what he has been through. For months on end, he slept in mud, watched his good friends killed on a daily basis and lived in a constant (i.e. hourly) threat of instant death where 90% of the people he went into battle with were killed, some in hand-to-hand combat with the Japanese. (As much as any book I’ve ever read, With the Old Breed made me feel like I was there). Now, here he is at home, the parades are over and life has moved on, and nobody knows the grind it took on a daily basis to fight the war. So in essence he is left alone to deal with his feelings…
My experience was nothing like EB Sledge in its intensity (I don’t know how the marines stayed sane, and many snapped after multiple campaigns). But I can empathize, since in that first year after getting my scary lung disease under control, I felt so alone. Here I was, a survivor, but there were no walks or ribbons (many people march for friends in support of breast cancer), no one knew what disease I had or that I was continuing to fight it (and Ankylosing Spondylitis), and everyone was able to continue their lives while I was still trying to get my life back. It was shocking. Lonely. Devestating. (And I experienced only a fraction of a percent of what EB and other combat veterans experienced!). It wasn’t that people didn’t care, but they had their own lives to lead and how could they possibly know what I was feeling? Which is why I burst into tears in the doctor’s office that day when he told me how boyant/chipper I seemed despite being through so much, and thank god I did since he sent me to therapy that got my life back on track. My life will neer be the same, and in some ways it is better while in other ways it is much worse, but at least it is back on track again (and, overall, I am *much* more content and less anxious now than I was pre-illness).
Anyway, on a minor level I can understand what EB felt when he returned home. And I continue to look foward to reading about his journey in China Marine. And I feel soooo much for that man, and the other people who have returned from battle (including our Afghanistan/Iraq veterans).
Part of my job as a Sales Person is reaching out to “new” Decision Makers. It is a part of the job that most experienced sales people hate, but honestly it is an important part of keeping revenue potential high when you/I don’t work for a big and established firm. Before my illness, I never used my last name (“Hi, this is Robert with ABC Company”) when I called, and never emailed someone I hadn’t met before – primarily because I didn’t want someone recognizing my name in a personal setting (a fear of at a dinner party someone saying, “Hey, I know you, aren’t you that sales person who called and emailed me last week?”). But my potentially fatal illness a few years ago changed that – now I am okay emailing strangers, and using my full name when I call someone. Why? Because everything in life is so temporary, and at the end of the day, no one’s opinion really matters any more (note: I still do the ethical thing, but not because I fear being judged — I do it because it is how I am wired to be). That summer when I was coming off treatment, when I didn’t know yet if I would survive, the world seemed like a shadow and I didn’t feel like I belong in the world; for the most part that has passed, but in some ways I still maintain that couldn’t-care-less-what-you-think mentality. HOnestly, it’s quite pleasant and yet another gift my illness bestowed upon me.
This morning I awakened feeling overwhelmed about my day. On top of my illness-induced chronic fatigue, I was worn out from a busy two weeks and had a full day of responsibilities. But I my work day is nearly done and I not only survived but it was a reasonably successful day:
- Made and drank my coffee. Fought the urge to feel overwhelmed by blogging about it and reminding myself – step-by-step.
- Pulled myself from my chair,
- SKipped my morning ritual of making coffee for my wife, apologizing to her (she understood 🙂 ).
- Packed my laptop bag.
- Fed the dog – the part I hate most about the morning. Now I was feeling slightly productive.
- Took my walk. Skipped the gym, instead just walked two miles.
- At end of my walk, walked to grocery store, bought lunch items plus my breakfast fruit.
- After grocery store, walked to bank, got cash for cleaner.
- Plugged in grill.
- Made my fruit breakfast. Ate as I made my lunch.
- Made my lunch.
- Sorted laundry from cleaner before I stepped into the shower.
- Showered, brushed teeth in shower. Skipped my morning sit-ups/crunches.
- Dressed – skipped the shirt I wanted to wear, since it had be ironed, and put on a wrinkle-free dress shirt.
- Picked up dog poop in back yard (yuck).
- Took bus to work.
- Arrived at work, prepped for first meeting.
- Went to first meeting.
- Went back to office. Prepped for second meeting.
- Second meeting.
- Made a list of follow up items from the week that needed to be covered.
- Tackled them one at a time.
- NEar the ened of the work day. Prepping presentation for Monday.
- Tonight, I’ll have a coffee to make it through our five hour social engagement, will have 2 cocktails instead of my usual one to loosen up. Will make less of an attempt to carry the conversation, will simply stand and smile and engage anyone who approaches me.
- Tomorrow – a full day of rest!!
In short, I survived! What did this was my therapy. Before my illness, adrenaline and relentless energy carried me through days like this, but followoing my illness when the energy was gone I’d look at these days and think, “Why did I get sick? Life is so overwhelming now.” It was my therapist who taught me to look at one thing at a time, take it a step at a time, don’t look at the big picture.
Life is good sometimes 🙂
Thursday night after a 12-hour day at the office. The bus was one block ahead, boarding the last of the passengers. I knew that if I broke into a dead sprint I would catch it. Instead, I let it go. The last passenger stepped on, the hazards clicked off, and bus rolled away. Who’d think that was a good thing? I did.
First, I was proud of myself for not running after the bus (doctor’s orders).
Second, I used my the lessons/tools I was given in post-illness therapy – that is, I didn’t let missing the bus get me into the “if I hadn’t gotten lung disease I would’ve caught that bus” funk I would’ve felt in those first six months after beating the disease. Instead, I just admired the twilight for 15 minutes until the next bus arrived…
I love that therapy has taught me to appreciate what I have (miraculously stable health, a beautifull twilight evening) rather than what I lost (ability to sprint after a bus). That is the best part of my post illness therapy — a year later I am still able to use the tools I learned.
I am nearing the 10 year anniversary of the day I was offered a high-end sales job with a top notch consulting company – a monumental day in my life, since this was a big step up for me and led to terrific financial strides for my family. Seems like yesterday…
There are many cherished days in my life, but the three monumental ones are the day I got that great job, the day I got my first teaching contract and the day I met my future wife — great things came from these things, none of which had been guaranteed.
A fourth situation that had a profound influence on my life was my contracting lung disease 5 years ago, but that wasn’t necessarily an event as a progression. The therapist I saw during my mental recovery from this experience said that nearly every person goes through a major tramautic event in their life, ranging from serious illness to a devestating divorce. In a way, that ensures we all have two major tramautic events in our life – our death day would also (I imagine) be a tramuatic event. Fortunately, for me, what had initially been a devestating event (disease) has turned into a positive (a new outlook on life – the work of an amazing therapist).