Friday, October 27, 2017

Buck Up or Man Up!

Written by Don Shetterly
This topic gets under my skin so quickly.  When I hear someone tell me or another person to "BUCK UP or MAN UP" I want to do some things that are not nice thoughts.  How anyone can be this inconsiderate and  not compassionate is beyond my wildest comprehension of humanity.

To say these things to anyone is very harmful and shows you know very little about what someone is going through.  It is degrading and toxic.  It is spitting in their face from what they are going through in their life.

Why people do this, I'll never understand!  It is far from human and just about as mean as one could get.  It is almost like someone is trying to push you over the cliff thinking they are doing something good for you.  With friends like this, who needs enemies!

We don't know how to respect one another...

Yes, I understand that in this day and age, we have no clue what it means to be human.  We don't know how to respect one another.  We don't know how to have compassion and love for one another.

All we seem to know how to do is spout off nonsense and tear each other apart.  We have no concept of what empathy means or compassion.  We just have to force our beliefs and opinions of what we think is helpful on to every person around us.  This is not being human.  It is far from that concept!

Often times we tell others what we should be telling ourselves.  Yet, we're so unconscious that we can't even see what we are doing. What comes out of our mouth is not meant to be toxic poison on another person.  It is meant for us to say to ourselves or reconcile to what is truly helpful.

Two Ears and ONE mouth...

We were given one mouth and two ears.  We should really use them in an appropriate amount but for some reason, we as humans in this world think that we have to talk twice as much as we listen.  This could not be further from the truth.

When someone is going through a difficult moment, it is not up to you to have the answers.  Sometimes just listening to them can be the biggest help.  By listening to them, I mean using your ears more than your mouth.  Sorry, if this sounds harsh, but it is time we had some wake-up calls in this world.

Heaping more stress on someone...

Saying BUCK UP or MAN UP does nothing for anyone.  You just end up heaping a little more stress on a person when you do this.  You should that you're not that compassionate and you really don't care about what they are going through.  You are more interested in telling them what YOU think they should do.

Telling someone to BUCK UP or MAN UP is like hitting them with a car, then backing up and driving over them again.   If you don't think it is as harmful as this, try going through a very difficult ordeal in your life and see what it feels like when someone does this to you.

We've got to learn how to be more compassionate with people.  We are past the point of no return and every day we share and retweet what we do, we're proving that beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Every time we tell others what we think as if it was the truth, we're degrading all of humanity into something that means nothing.

It isn't all the other people out there with the problem.  It is each one of us and how we react, what we share and say to people we know and the world that is the problem.  Let's talk from our heart with love, not scream words our ego dictates to us.  If we change how we communicate and how we see others, we will improve the world many times over.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A Gaping Wound Of Society

Written By Don Shetterly
As I write this, I am seeing the news of the massacre that happened in Las Vegas.  Last night about the time it started, I was awakened by an uneasy feeling.  Just like in the Pulse Nightclub attack, I felt what was going on.  It is not an easy thing to deal with when you physically feel these horror filled moments.

I'm struggling to focus as I write this because I am stunned.  Like so many others, I can find no way to comprehend how anyone could do such a thing to innocent people.  I cannot comprehend what it was like to be there in that moment of what Jason Aldean said, "beyond horrific!"

This continues to be a gaping wound of society.  It feels like one tragedy after another.  It feels like there is no guaranteed tomorrow.  We wonder if we're next.  It frightens and numbs us.

We're living in a country right now where everyone thinks screaming at one another is a good thing.  There is no listening and there is hardly any compassion to be found.  Instead we blame one another.  We point fingers at one another.  We call each other names.

There is no respect for one another.  It seems like we only see each other as an enemy, not as a fellow human that is walking this earth the same way we are.

What will it take to stop this...

I wonder what it will take to stop this.  I wonder when it will end.  It is mind boggling to me just how much hate there is in the world, both directed internally and externally.

The way this event will touch the lives of so many will unfold in the days and months ahead.  I still remember the Pulse Nightclub attack and how it left all of us in this area dazed and confused.  It still hits me in the gut knowing what happened.

The only thing I can add in this blog post with is what someone on twitter wrote.  I think it is a perfect thought for this moment, because I know of no other thing that makes sense to me right now.

May each of us work to find a way to reverse the course we are on in this world.  It is not up to anyone else but each of us individually.

If we share those tweets that spread the hatred, we're fanning the flames.  If we connect and propagate on those that only know hate and divisiveness, then we're as much a part of the problem.

I hope we choose differently as individuals.  The violence and hatred has got to stop.  It is not helping humanity.  We all have to look long and hard at how we contribute to this.

Let not our actions in a day or what we engage in be part of the gaping wound of society.  Let us be the healing balm applied so the wound disappears and scar tissue forms.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, October 23, 2017

Helping Prevent Suicide

(Written by Insights Into Healing, Barbara)

In a previous blog post a couple of years ago, I talked about how I dealt with the loss of my son.  He committed suicide on November 8, 2012.  This article was not just about the details, but more importantly, how I made it through this time.  It was difficult and made it difficult for me to even understand what it meant to live in life.

Check out my thoughts and the video webinar that we've done.  Our intent and purpose is helping prevent suicide.  Whether you've been through this before you know someone that has, this webinar is extremely helpful.

To see the webinar, go to Helping Prevent Suicide

You can make it through this! 

 - Barbara (Insights Into Healing)

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(Editorial assistance by Jeff Lemlich)


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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Barbara
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Friday, October 20, 2017

Abused By Being Ignored

(Written By Don Shetterly)
This is a big trigger for me, and right now it is in full force.  It isn't just one trigger, but multiple ones from multiple sources right now.  Being ignored is not something that is easy for me to deal with in life.

At one time, the abusers sought to ignore me if I didn't do what they wanted.  It wasn't just me as they did it to everyone in the house.  Ignoring you meant you were less than and not worthy of love or attention or even one iota of concern.  This was in addition to having to fight for attention from others in the family that did so much stupid stuff, they readily got attention.

I don't deal with this well.  In fact, as I'm writing this I think I should just go completely quiet and never speak to anyone again.  I'll stop tweeting, texting, and blogging.  That's the way I feel at this moment.

For me, my friends and people I know mean the world to me.  You don't get past that wall very easily, and when you do, you're very special to me.  I realize that everyone has their busy lives with jobs, work, family, and other things.  I get that.  I really do.

Some days, I feel like if I went and ranted and raved about the latest political firestorm of the day, others would listen and want to engage.  I just have no desire to swim in that mud pit.  I'm not about to start because I see the political firestorms as being nothing more than people screaming while no one is listening.

I feel hurt when I think I'm being ignored, regardless of the reason or issue or who is doing it.  Most likely others don't mean to ignore me, but it feels that way.  When I feel that, it triggers all kinds of bad thoughts in my mind of not being loved or wanted just like many years ago.

For now, I'm probably going to take time away from answering any emails or trying to initiate any emails.  I'm going to ease up on social media a little more because to be quite honest, I'm not sure if it is really worth it.  Maybe this is the way for me to see this.  I don't know.

I try to be there for many, but some days, I feel like I walk alone.  I'm feeling hurt right now and unwanted and unloved.  Maybe tomorrow when I wake up, it will be a new day.  One can hope, can't they?

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dental Anxiety and Teeth Brushing

Written By Don Shetterly
I've got a feeling I'm not the only one out there struggling with this issue.  In fact, I know others that have admitted this to me.  If you've followed me for some time, you've probably seen that I struggle with dental anxiety.

Now, I'm not just talking about being a little afraid of going to the dentist.  I'm referring to full on anxiety attacks in just making an appointment.  For me to pick up the phone, that's when the anxiety at full speed.  Getting into the dentist office is nothing short of running 20 marathons in a single minute.

One of the things I truly struggle with is anytime anyone puts anything in my mouth like the dentist.  I freak out.  I freeze.  My body literally goes into such a fear response that it becomes very rigid.  I'm so frustrated with this and I put off much needed work until it got so bad I had not choice but to go in and struggle with my fears.

A dentist I've found close to me is very good about working with me.  I do use some medication to help me get in the door and I have a trusted friend with me at all times.  In fact, my friend is the one that makes the appointments and handles anything over the phone on this, because I just can't bring myself to do this part.

One of the things I've noticed in myself about dental anxiety is how difficult it is to brush my teeth.  I grew up doing this every day, but when the memories of abuse triggered me so much, it was an all out battle to get myself to brush my teeth.

Now, I have noticed that just to insert the toothbrush into my mouth is triggering beyond any words I could write here.  Of course, this compounds the problem.  I'm pushing myself to brush my teeth now, but it feels like I'm being abused and molested every time I do.

I just want people to be aware of this, especially dentists.  Some of us struggle so hard and while we try to trust the professionals, it is not easy.  As I said, it feels like I'm being abused and molested every time I go for a dentist appointment.  My dentist is great and works with me, but no matter what, I feel that trigger.  My body feels it.  My body reacts to it.

Even writing about this is difficult and I can feel the anxiety and heat rise within me.  It is not a simple trigger to me.  I'd so love to get beyond it and be able to go to the dentist office like normal people do.  I hate this part about life because it is exhausting and overwhelming.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, October 16, 2017

Going From Mom To A Medium

This month, Amanda's latest column is now on a new site. is where you will find it.

In this October column, Amanda talks about how she switches gears in her life going from mom to a medium.  There are certain steps she takes to help herself shift and switch the medium channel.

Read her column, Switching the Medium Channel at the new website place,

Column Link (click below)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Recovering From Storm Stress

(Written By Don Shetterly)

This has been a challenging past few weeks.  Seeing the devastation in Houston and the Caribbean islands was difficult.  Seeing the floods and earthquakes throughout various countries in the world makes my heart cry for people.

We just experienced Hurricane Irma, and while things could be much worse, the stress of the storm was more than enough.  In the week leading up to its landfall, the stress and anxiety were so thick in the air.  In every store you went to, and on every road, you could see it in full force.  Then the storm hit, and just sitting through the howling of the wind, the shaking of the house, and wondering what will things look like in the morning was more than enough.

We lost power for 5 days, which was not easy in the Florida heat and humidity.  Sleep was almost nonexistent and being choked by the fumes of generators running in the area, I struggled to keep my wits about me.  It was exhausting and tiring.  It felt almost like you were in a daze and delirious.

When we got power back on, it felt so good.  I've never been so happy to flip a light switch on and have a darkened room lit up.  It never felt so good to have working air conditioning.  I was ecstatic not to hear generators running loudly 24 hours a day, and being sickened by the exhaust fumes.  I was happy that the constant emergency alerts they were sending out for anything and everything finally stopped

Body was too tired and stressed...

The first night we got power back on, I thought we would finally get a good night's sleep.  Unfortunately, we did not.  It was almost as if our bodies were too tired and stressed to let go and surrender into sleep.

The next couple of days, we felt exhausted and struggled to focus.  Naps were frequent and not enough.  I had other friends that were experiencing the same things.  The stress of the storm was at maximum levels.  Recovering from the storm stress was not as easy as I thought it would be.

I cannot imagine what people in Houston or the Caribbean Islands or Puerto Rico and other places are facing.  We had our house intact, but their whole world was torn apart in a matter of hours.  While the cameras have faded away from the impact, they are struggling to figure out how to piece their lives back together.  I'm sure many in this state will be doing the same.

Suicide Increases After A Storm...

A friend of mine shared an article published in the New York Times on June 21, 2006, talking about depression and suicide after a storm (hurricane).  After major disasters like what we've seen on the TV, the struggle is so difficult for people fighting to recover.  We've got friends in Houston, and we can tell how much they are struggling.

If you are struggling, keep in mind that this too shall pass.  There is a way forward, and if you keep searching for it, you will find it.  No, I'm not going to tell you it is easy because it is not.  However, don't give up.  Don't get lost in today's moment, because there is hope for a tomorrow that improves little by little.

Don't try to go it alone...

If you are struggling with depression, anxiety, despair or thoughts of suicide, don't try to go it alone.  Yes, these things make you want to hide in a cave and build walls up to everyone around you who care.  While that may feel like the only thing you can do at this moment, don't give in to it.  Seek out help and support.  Seek out qualified therapy and counseling.  In this time of recovery from storm stress, allow yourself to lean on others until you get strength back in your legs.

Recovering from storm stress is not easy.  It is challenging but just know that you're not alone.  Others are experiencing some of the same issues as you, but they may not be saying it.  Sometimes we want to give the appearance to the world that we are strong when we are crumbling inside.  I made that mistake for many years, and it almost cost me my life through Conversion Disorder.

Reach out and ask for help.  You may not get it from everyone you reach out to, but don't let that stop you.  If someone is reaching out to you with a helping hand, grab hold of their hand and let them help you steady yourself as you walk the difficult road ahead.

If someone reaches out to you, realize you don't have to solve all their problems, but be there for them with an extra helping of love and support.  Help them find the resources they need and be conscious, not unconscious in your help and support.

Recovering from storm stress may not be easy, but if we all reach out to one another, it will help lift every one of us up.  It will strengthen us as a human race and make us stronger together.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Open Your Mouth and Remove All Doubt

(Written By Don Shetterly)
Some days I wonder about people.  I really do.  I try to see people as a body that has a pure center of light and love within them.  Some people challenge me hard on that, and while I try to let it go, it gets to me.

I offered support to some people the other day, and of course got one of the "unconscious" statements, wanting to wave a magic wand.  We've all seen that.  We've seen the ridiculous comments that do nothing to help support others.

A long time ago, I learned that sometimes you can be silent and make people wonder, or you can open your mouth and remove all doubt.  In social media, we often open our mouths when maybe we shouldn't, and by doing so, we remove all doubt.

We should help one another...

We are humans!  We should be helping one another to survive on this challenging planet we call home.  We should be working to evolve our own consciousness so that we can be there for others.  Everyone needs everyone because life can be difficult in the best of the time and downright be exhausting at other times.

Yes, I know that there are a lot of wounded people walking this planet.  These wounded people are the vocal ones telling everyone else what they should do while forgetting that they need to heal themselves.  Yes, I understand that is asking a lot, but when the "you should do this" comes out, you're really not helping anyone.

People need someone to listen and be there for them.  They need people who have walked through the fires of their own lives so they can help them go through it on their own.  We need people who genuinely know what support is, where you can see it as evidence through their actions and words.

Just to open your mouth unconsciously does no good.  In fact, you often inflict further wounds upon people.  You make it harder for them.  They are already struggling to hang on, but with some of the things that get said, it is like you're pushing them over the cliff.

When we open our mouths, let us make sure we are helping someone from the heart.  Let us not be the person that removes all doubt and leaves people struggling harder than before we came along in their path.  Let's be people that help each other and leave others in a better place than before we opened our mouths.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

We Point Fingers

Written By Don Shetterly

Lately, all across the planet, it seems to be human means we stand opposed to one another.  We point the fingers and exclaim that everyone else is the problem.  We hold our heads up high while bashing everyone who doesn't believe our way.

The issue doesn't matter.  From the more serious ones to the little ones, we point the finger and say "you're either with us or you're against us."  There is no middle ground.  There is no listening.  There is no acceptance of anything outside our personal belief systems.

It doesn't seem to matter how enlightened people claim to be or how religious and God-loving they are.  Everyone points the fingers while thinking they have the truth.  They believe they have all the answers.  They believe no one knows what matters the way they do.  When I say they, I mean the "collective we" in our society.

We See Things Our Way...

We judge but demand others not judge us.  We torment and ridicule, but we hate it when the same is done to us.  We fail to listen to others and their points of view while demanding that they adhere to ours.  We speak as if are the only ones with the right to talk while telling all others to shut up and sit down because they have nothing of value to say.

I'm not saying all things that are said, need to be heard.  In fact, I believe many need to practice some self-control and learn which things are good for public discourse and which things are not.  In this day and age of the internet, we all feel that every thought that passes through us must be shared with the world instantaneously.  Thanks, social media, for doing us such a big disservice!

Instead of focusing on what is in our own heart and learning to let go of our own anger and pain and stress of life, we inflict it upon everyone we meet.  We show them our hatred through our words and our actions.  We show them our pain through our inability to just let go and move on.

We Are Part Of The Problem...

We give a voice to the crazy thoughts of the day when we point our fingers at them in judgment.  We give a voice to the crazy talk when we have to share, pass on, retweet, and like everything they say.  We are as much a part of the problem as the ones sharing the trash.  Yet, we hold ourselves up high as we are somehow enlightening the world.

If you add crazy to crazy, you're only going to get a more crazy response.  If you add hatred to hate, you're only going to see more hate.  If you antagonize anger with anger, you're going to see anger on display at every corner.

We need to really stop and think about how our actions are contributing to the overall demise of the world.  We may believe that we are doing something positive, but when we elevate the crazy trash of the day, then we are part of the problem.  We need to stop being part of the problem.

Let's stop judging ourselves and therefore others.  Let's stop pointing the finger at others and therefore ourselves.  Let's stop hating and showering anger upon the world, expecting love in return.

Instead, let us show love to the world by first starting to show love within ourselves.  Let love begin within us.  Let us rid our hearts of hatred, judgment, and anger so that we can fill it with love.  Let us let go of all those we point the finger at, and see the spark of light that is within each human being.

Remember, when you point a finger at someone else, you have three fingers pointing back at you.

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Don't Let Them Do It

(Written By Don Shetterly)
In one job I had, the people were treating me horribly and really acting as if I was less than human.  I had the owners of the company calling me an idiot in meetings.  I was getting screamed at for things well beyond my control.  They would have lunches for the office and keep me from eating any of the food.  It was challenging working in the place.

At the time I was seeing a counselor, and she told me a story about when she started doing student teaching as part of her college education requirements.  She walked into the classroom, and the kids were wild and would not listen to her.  No matter what, they treated her with no respect.  So, she finally went to her mentor, and he told her, the best thing she can do is “Don't Let Them Do This!”  She looked at him in disbelief as if it was that easy.

He went on to explain to her that if she mentally walked into the classroom with the mindset that “I’m not going to let them do this to me” that it would help.  She tried it, and it changed everything.  The kids started settling down and respecting her.

So, I went back to the job that I had and tried it.  Now, I’m not going to say everything was magically better or perfect, but the mindset helped.  I just told myself before walking in the office, “Don't Let Them Do It” and I don’t know what happened, but it is almost like they got the message.  They never heard me say those words, but my demeanor must have changed.   I still had some rough moments, but things were not as bad as they once were.

I know it isn’t easy because I’ve been picked on and put down in jobs and social situations.  I’m too nice of a guy at times, and sometimes I don’t speak up for myself.  Speaking up for myself does not come easy, but at some point, it is really what I have to do.  I know – it is not easy.

Doing this may take you out of your comfort zone, but sometimes that's where we learn lessons and evolve. It is a process of learning and adjusting to life because there are bullies out there everywhere.  When you’re a nice person, bullies don’t respect you.  I’m not saying to become a bully or be mean, but as I’ve found, I had to learn to stand my ground more.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, October 9, 2017

Is Your Soap Nuts

(Written By Natural Healing Gal, Marie)

When I first saw this in a health food store, I am sure I had the same reaction as many of you will have while reading this. Huh??  What are soap nuts?  I saw no explanation of what they were, so I did not look at them for long, continued my shopping, and forgot about them for a while.

I am not crazy about “perfumy” smells. I find them too strong and irritating. I do love essential oils, and I love the smell of a natural clean. We have been conditioned to believe that “clean” means to smell like a bottle of cologne, or your clothes and house need to smell like bleach. I used to think the same way until I became so sensitive to detergents that my skin would break out in a rash.

Over time, I went for the more “sensitive skin” type of “name brand” detergents. As I learned to read more labels, I saw even those contained irritants and toxins that I did not want on my skin.  I certainly prefer to avoid adding more toxins to our groundwater. The earth can only filter out so much. I went back to looking around for new things to try.

I do my best to use the most natural products I can find. I love Dr. Bronner’s lavender soap, and I use it for hand soap, body washes, and I was using it to bathe my dogs. I was also using a good, natural shampoo and conditioner by Jason that I was pretty happy with, and a lot of Seventh Generation products, though that is beginning to change.

I eventually came across soap nuts again. I was thinking, hmmm…what the heck are these? I was curious, so I looked it up online, and decided to give them a try.  Part of me was wondering if my soap is nuts!

Soap nuts look a little like walnuts, with a hollow center. According to Naturoli, “very simply, soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut)."

These berries are the fruit from a unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It can replace many chemical detergents that are becoming well known by consumers for being a skin irritant and health hazard.”

Soap nuts are 100% biodegradable, low suds, hypoallergenic, with natural antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Basically, you put 5-6 of these shells in a small fabric bag, toss it in your top loading washer, and your clothes come out clean. There is a mild scent that takes a little getting used to that does not smell like any detergent or perfume, they are pretty inexpensive and last for 4-6 loads of the average washload.

It is easier to use Soap Nuts Liquid, which is very concentrated.  There is a product I have used called Extreme 18x. It is surprising how little of it you need because one squirt does the trick.  I added some baking soda to the fabric softener dispenser, and I am pleased with the results. My front loading washing machine stays clean and has none of the nasty smells that I hear so much about. If you expect it to work like the commercial detergents and the ads that tell you how white your whites will be, you will be disappointed. If you want naturally clean clothes and want to feel good about the environment, you will be quite pleased, as I am.

What impressed me more was I could make my own dog shampoo to bathe my dogs!  I take 8-12 of the soap nuts and simmer them in water in a medium pot of water on the stove for 20 minutes or so. I then add enough cold water to make a gallon, pour it into a gallon jug leaving the shells behind, and use it as shampoo. When making this soap nut “tea,” it only lasts a day or two, so I make just enough the night before and use it all up. Low suds, mild, rinses easily (which can be tricky with dogs that have a thick coat like mine do), and I can add any essential oil I want. My dogs come out clean and fresh smelling, their coat feels soft, and very rarely do I get that “doggy odor.” I can bathe them once a week with no skin irritations.

I then tried their “Extreme” shampoo for myself. I really like it! I love how my hair feels, how I only need a little, and there is no residue and no perfumy smell.

As I read more, there are many other uses for soap nuts. There are some scams out there, so be aware. I am pleased with Naturoli soap nuts, and they are honest about their products. I will be trying soap nuts out more in the near future!

Until the next month, I hope your soap is healthy!

 - Marie (Natural Healing Gal)

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Please note that this blog post and these remedies are for information purposes only.  Please consult with your own medical providers should you have medical questions and see the Medical Disclaimer here.

Also make sure that you read and follow any label directions for products listed in these blog posts.  This is the opinion and practice of Marie, but make sure you are being safe in how you use the products.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly and Marie

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Hurricane Stress On The Mind Body

Written By Don Shetterly
Wow, you're probably tired of hearing about this subject, but I think some essential thoughts need to be said.  Going through a major hurricane is very stressful on the mind and body.

The week leading up to the storm you could feel the anxiety and fear in everyone, even in the strangers you didn't know. The stores were a frantic pace.  The hoarding and greed were evident in people buying supplies.  It was clear no one had prepared for a storm of any magnitude.

Fortunately, we had prepared already as we do every summer.  We tend to stay stocked up on nonperishable foods and supplies.  However, just trying to buy regular stuff for the week like a loaf of bread was not possible.  We went out early and attempted to finish stocking up on supplies, but it didn't make the process for storm preparation any more manageable.

I saw the story where two guys got into a fight over plywood for their windows.  Stores had to position employees at pallets of water so everyone could get water.  There were stories of people hoarding so much and then returning it after the storm while others went home empty-handed.

Yes, stress plays a role in all of this.  I get it.  I know what it is like to face a storm the size of Irma and wonder if you would have a house standing after it was over.  Instead of preparation that everyone in Florida should do, most resorted to greed and hoarding.

The stress in the mind was clearly evident in all of this, but there is also the stress in the body.  From the headaches and muscle tension to the pure exhaustion, it was so evident.  That's what the general population does not understand.

We sat through five days without power, and it was so difficult to find out what was happening or when power would be back on.  For two days, we didn't have home phone service.  For most of the five days, our cellular service worked poorly at best.  Trying to keep a phone charged was difficult, and internet access was even more challenging.

In those five days, we had to endure loud generators and the carbon monoxide that hung in the still air of a Florida night.  It made us sick.  It made us want to scream.  With every night we could barely sleep from the noise, fumes, and heat, it compounded a difficult situation.

My body grew weary and tired.  I longed for sleep, but it was difficult to get.  I believe after a few days, I just started checking out in life.  I think I was somewhat delirious.

Finally, some businesses were starting to open, and so we made our way through the hottest hours of the day to the cold air conditioning in their places.  It helped, but we still had to come back to a night of heat and nothing more than a cold shower.  It was tough and stressful on the body.

After we got power back, the first night we tried to sleep, but the stress was so high we spent most of the night awake.  It took time to start adjusting back to what we considered was standard in life.

The first day after power returned, we were mentally and emotionally and physically exhausted.  We were so tired, we took many naps, and I found out we weren't alone.  Other friends were going through the same thing.

The next day, we weren't as tired, but the stress was still weighing hard on the mind and the body.  We worked at restocking our refrigerator and finding food to eat.  We started to begin the clean up of the house from all the storm supplies we had placed here and there.

This is the third day we've been back from power, and I noticed my body slept more peacefully last night.  I feel more energized today than I have for some time now.  I did struggle with muscle tension and a headache last night, but that is now easing.  I need a massage badly!

We all store stress in our mind and body.  In very stressful moments of hurricanes, it increases many times over what is normal.  It impacts us in the body in ways we don't often see because we're not as connected to our mind and body as we think we are.

I'm allowing myself to adjust and get back to normal, recognizing that with time and rest, things will come back to balance.  It isn't a smooth transition back into our daily routine.  The one thing I know is that having no power indeed gives you time to focus on what really matters in life.

I sure didn't miss the media hysteria about politics and other ranting and ravings of the day.  I didn't miss the mindless interaction on social media.  I didn't miss the one sided and fake care for others that is sometimes exhibited far too much.

As difficult as the hurricane stress was on the mind and body, it really felt good to get away from all the social media noise of the day.  Now, I'm looking at how I can continue that and limit the time I give myself for the noise of our day.

In the meantime, I'm trying to honor my mind and body and taking care of myself through self-care.  Some things matter in life, and then there are the basics which genuinely matter the most.

As I post this, my heart continues to go out to Puerto Rico, The Caribbean Islands, Texas and now Las Vegas.  My heart is saddened by all these events and the lack of genuine care and concern that doesn't end when the cameras leave.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fake Care For Others

Written By Don Shetterly
One of the things I've seen lately just blows my mind to pieces about humanity.  I call it "fake care for others."   Maybe I'm too harsh.  Perhaps I'm expecting too much.  Unfortunately, I think you are either human or you're not.

I've had so many people email, text, or message me before the hurricane.  Many of them I had not heard from in months or years.  It got so hectic right before the storm hit that I could barely keep up.  I thought, wow - it is nice that they care and they wrote me.

Unfortunately, I had some that got so frantic about the storm that even as I was trying to stay strong and brave, I started to worry.  I was trying to prepare for its arrival, but the frantic messages were making things much more challenging.

Then as quickly as the media spun the storm into devastation for all (and no, I'm not downplaying its impact), the comments and care and concern faded almost in an instant.  It seemed almost like a fake care for myself and others.  If it isn't sensationalized drama playing out, then it doesn't exist.

This is not how humans should behave.  Either you genuinely care for others, or you don't.  You don't act like you do when you're worried, but allow the fakeness to show through when things are real.  You find ways to help encourage and support, not let your frantic worries pull others down.

I had to stop reading the messages and emails and texts because it was more than I could handle.  Not knowing what the storm would do or how bad it would get was enough to handle.  Not knowing if the house would be standing after it was more stress than I could take.  Hearing the winds howl and the tornadoes hover around was frightening.

Of course, just as quickly as the supportive comments came before the storm, there was no follow up afterwards.  There was no time given to what we were facing.  If there was, I had to convince people that without power, I couldn't respond much.  I had to convince people that with weak cell service, it was draining our batteries and making communication difficult.

I tried to respond to everyone, but many just wrote me off.  I guess the media spin on the storm must have been dying out.

It makes me sad to see how we treat one another as humans.  I don't want to see photo ops and grandstanding after a storm.  It does nothing for me because, in the days following, you're trying to pick up the pieces and survive.

Sitting in 90 plus degree afternoons with humidity at more than 80% and hardly any air moving outside is excruciatingly difficult.  Trying to sleep in it is almost a futile exercise.  Not knowing when you're going to get power back is frustrating.  Each day you're without electricity feels like a year that you've sat there without the everyday basics we are so accustomed to in life.

We need to have a genuine care for others.  We need to learn how to respect and support one another, not interject our own fears on others fighting through an experience that makes their feet and legs tremble.

Fake care for others helps no one.  It is like forcing them to take the knife and inflict more pain upon themselves.  Maybe if you've not been through any storm like a hurricane, you have no idea what it is like.

However, don't be "fake" about it.  Try to be supporting and caring and understanding.  Fake care gets you nowhere.  Genuine care and support help keep the world moving along.

Please don't think I'm saying that all my friends and contacts did this.  Most of the ones that did were people I rarely hear from these days, or organizations that only seemed to care because of where I lived.  To the people that were supportive, I say thank you.  It was a rough experience.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hurricane Irma Stress

Written By Don Shetterly
Wow, this has been a very difficult couple of weeks where I live in central Florida.  We just went through Hurricane Irma and in fact, this is the first time I've been back on my blog.  Often I write far in advance of the published date, just to be able to keep up and manage my time.

By the time you read this, several weeks will have passed since Irma came through.  As I look out my window to the street, I still see a lot of hurricane debris waiting to be picked up.  I feel fortunate though as other places did not do so well during all the hurricanes that have hit.

The week leading up to  Hurricane Irma was stressful.  No one truly knew where this storm was going and so the uncertainty led to so much stress.  When we saw the images of the 185 mph winds hitting the islands, it kicked up the fear and intensity for us.  I'm always amazed at how the forecasts mislead you into thinking a hurricane is going one way and inevitably it always changes course.  You would think as humans we might learn this, but we get swayed by the hope we'll be spared, and so we don't truly listen to facts.  There are far too many armchair forecasters sitting in homes, thinking they know what this storm will do.

Bryan Norcross is a good one to listen to on the TV or through his Twitter and Facebook accounts.  He went through Hurricane Andrew in South Florida while at Channel 4 in Miami.  The reason I like Bryan Norcross is that he gives you facts.  He doesn't sugarcoat them, and he has a good handle on what to expect.  Too many of the news media outlets sensationalize the storm, which does no good for anyone.  You can find Bryan on Twitter at @TWCBryan

Frantic People Buying Supplies...

The stores were filled with frantic people buying supplies that in my view, many should have already stocked up on at the start of hurricane season.  Complacency is a big problem, so things like water, bread, and other basics quickly were hard to find.  I didn't see a loaf of bread all week on the shelves of the grocery stores.

People went from stocking up to hoarding which made it more difficult for everyone to get supplies they needed.  It was frustrating, and the stores were so busy that just navigating the aisles was a nightmare.

Then we hoped for the best when the storm got closer.  The winds began to howl and hit the house.  The walls trembled from the pressure and force.  It didn't let up.  It went on for hours.  While we had power, we would follow along with the weather stations.

Tornadoes, Sounds, and Power...

Tornado alerts would come out on the phones and at one point, I know there was one close to us.  I could hear it.  It was eerie.  It was frightening because you could not see a thing and it was almost hard to distinguish from the hurricane force winds that would appear.

The power flashed a few times.  In the distance, you could see the flashes of lights of blue and green from what I suspect were the transformers blowing.  We were feeling good but scared and frightened and wondering just how bad it would get.  The uncertainty shakes your mind and body to the core.

Then the power went out.  The house grew dark, and the winds continued to howl.  We wondered just how bad things would be.  Would our house be intact after it was all over?  Would the new, year-old roof hold up?  Would the windows and the front door make it?   Water was already seeping in the front door, and I had towels down to help mop it up.

Growing more tired and struggling to stay awake and alert, the stress increased.  My mind tried to stay in survival mode, but with each hour, it wore hard on us.  After the worst of it had passed, I finally gave in and fell asleep.

The house felt cool at the moment, but I knew that this would not last.  It was now a matter of how badly the power lines were battered and how long before we would get power back.  The power company workers work so hard trying to restore power, but the main power company officials could do a far better job of informing people.

The next day wasn't too bad, weatherwise.  Normally after a hurricane, I've found that the weather is pretty nice.  Then when the regular humidity and heat arrives the following day, that's when living becomes much more challenging.

Noisy and Poisonous Generators...

The noisy generators of the neighbors were fired up, and many didn't give any thought or respect to where they were placed.  We were so tired of hearing the loud noise.  The worst part though was when the night air was still, the exhaust of them running made us feel sick and lethargic.  Also, the government officials continued to wake us up multiple times a night warning people about carbon monoxide poisoning from running generators in their garages or homes.

The heat grew tiresome.  There was no cool place.  Every day the temperatures outside got up in the 90's, and the humidity stayed in the 80's, which just added a weariness to the frustration and overwhelming stress that didn't stop.

Fortunately, the damage we sustained was minimal.  The cost is not high enough to meet our hurricane deductible so the repairs will come out of pocket.  However, between those costs and losing everything in the refrigerator among all the other supplies you buy before a storm, this takes a financial hit on the wallet.

We were only without power for five days and while I say "only," 24 hours without AC in this hot heat and humidity feels like a year.  It is a cumulative effect that gets worse as the days get hotter.  There is no place to cool down.  The air is hard to breathe.  You get tired of having to carry a flashlight everywhere you go, but at least we had our house intact.

As I write this, I've got friends that are still without power, and we're trying to offer all the help that we can.

Hysteria of Evacuations...

Everyone wants to know why we didn't evacuate and my first question is "where do you go?"  Where is the safe place from the storm, because no one knows where it will go when it heads inland.  On top of that, how many people can just afford to sit in a hotel room for days and weeks should your house not have made it.  It isn't easy doing that unless you're quite wealthy.

In addition to that, you've got things that you need to protect from those who want to rob, steal and loot.  If your house is damaged, making some temporary fixes can prevent further damage, but if you're not there, you can't do anything with it.  Sometimes if you're hit hard enough, you might not be let back in to start recovery for days.

If you have pets, it isn't easy to just take them anywhere.  It makes evacuating much more challenging.

Just to find gas available to evacuate is difficult.  I have a friend who would have been stranded trying to escape the storm, had it not been for the help of some nice people.  Gas was scarce, which was further complicated by the people buying it for their generators.

Trying to get anywhere on the only two main roads going out of this state was a nightmare.  People were inching along in traffic only going a few miles per hour.  There is no way this state could evacuate soon enough and get everyone out.  Again, where would they go?

Too many employers keep people working until the last minute.  The school districts didn't want to shut down which prevent many from leaving.

There are so many factors to evacuating an area, and the media is often misleading on this.  They crank the fear factor up in their broadcasts but don't tell the underlying story.  I cannot name how many people contacted me wondering when I was going to leave.  It isn't as easy as it sounds.  If you had to pick up today and evacuate for an undetermined time to an unspecified place, how would you do that?

What Well Meaning People Said...

There were well-meaning people that made statements that just shocked the daylights out of me.  I had people freaking out because they thought I was going to die in the storm.  I have to say that this was the most difficult thing to hear from others.  It wasn't just one person, it was many.  When you're trying to prepare and do everything you can to stay safe, hysterical comments like that do not help!  Turn the stupid TV off and ignore the fear-mongering, please!  The media (and I mean ALL of the media) reports the hysteria, not just the facts.

Unless you're in the middle of this storm, it is hard to know how people should react.  It is easier to sit on the other side of the TV and proclaim you know all based upon the biased news reports out there, but in all honesty, you don't.

Yes, if you lived in a home that wasn't built well or in an area that floods, you definitely needed to go where it was safer.

This storm was over 400 miles wide I believe, and so there was no "escaping" it.  It covered the entire state.  Everyone focuses on the hurricane eye, but in all reality, the winds stretch for hundreds of miles.  It isn't like a small thunderstorm that most in this country experience.

Some wondered why you couldn't just get a plane ticket and fly somewhere safe.  Again, where do you go?  How do you pay for this when the airline tickets were into the thousands of dollars to fly anywhere?  How many of you have that kind of money lying around?

And no, we don't need politicians or religious people claiming that God is mad and angry and he's taking it out on our homes or our state.  I'm sorry, if that is what God means to you, then you know a different God than I do.  I find that talk appalling and less than human.

The other thing is when you lose power, you've got to conserve phone battery since more than likely, it is all you've got.  Home phones may or may not work.  In this case, the cell towers were not working at full capacity after the storm, and so the battery power on our cell phones would drain quickly.  No, you can't just run and charge them at Starbucks or get wifi because they were without power too! 

Disconnected From The World...

So be patient and keep cellular communication down to a minimum.  Don't send lots of pictures.  We're trying to conserve the battery.  Yes, I can charge it in my car, but when gas is scarce at the gas stations, I'm going to conserve the gas I have.  I have no idea how long I'll be in this situation.  Don't assume the worse if you have not heard from us, because we may not be able to communicate.

There were far too many in our local government and media that just assumed everyone could go to their app on their smartphone or a website address.  I'm not sure if their brains shut down or what, but most of the time we could not get out.  We found one talk radio station that was trying to help get information out, but it was mostly for Orlando, not the surrounding areas.

Not knowing what was happening or when things would get better was difficult.  Trying to drive anywhere was not easy, as traffic lights were out and it was dangerous.  Drivers were going through intersections as if they were the only ones on the road.  Plus, there was nothing open, so again, where would you go?

It was a stressful couple of weeks.  I'm frustrated with so many aspects of it.  Some made it more difficult for us and others seemed to care only on face value.  We've still got repair work.  We're still waiting on a roofer to inspect our roof.  We're exhausted and worn out, trying to get our lives back to normal.

Just because the storm passed and the media begins to report on another sensational headline of the day does not mean everything is back to normal.  As I write this, there are people I know still without power.  And I know just how difficult that is.

One final thought:  instead of sitting inside your home with power in a disaster like this, go out and check on your neighbors.  We had one neighbor that did that.  All others seemed to just stay to themselves.  I'm afraid of what would happen if this would have been 185 mph winds that hit us.  I think of the images and stories coming out of the island nations and am not sure humanity here would be much different.  That's a sad and sobering thought.

Hurricanes like Irma are stressful on our mind and body.  We need to acknowledge and realize this because if we try to hide our heads in the sand, it will only impact us later.  If we deal with it, the long-term effects will not be as damaging.

Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Sometimes Life Doesn't Make Sense

Written By Don Shetterly

At times, I wonder why things happen. I've wondered that for my entire life.  I see events unfolding, and none of them make sense to me.  I am often left with unanswered questions and feelings of bewilderment and confusion.

Some people say you should believe in this thing or that thing.  Some will tell you to practice some new age thought system or meditate or try this experience or that.  Far too many times, while this may be a result of someone feeling inadequate to help you, one size does not fit all.  I'm not saying these things do not help or work, but sometimes it feels as if it is not enough.  Sometimes life doesn't make sense.

I didn't give up...

I've gone through those moments where I didn't think I could stand up, let alone walk another step.  Sometimes physically I could not walk.  Sometimes in trying to walk, I fell or struggled to find my balance.  No matter what, I didn't give up.

There are times I have had to learn to accept the moment for what it is, not having a clue as to why I'm experiencing it.  There are times when I've just had to completely let go and allow whatever was going to take place to happen.  No matter what, there are times when we have no control over what happens, and that is just the way it is.  We wait for the moment to pass so we can regain control.

When I was a kid, I begged and screamed out for someone to help me, but no one heard my cries.  I wanted those that abused and tortured me and my animals to hurt for what they did.  I wanted them struck down.  My voice went unheard.  My thoughts were lost in the echoes of silence.

The only thing I have ever known is to keep going when life doesn't make sense.  It isn't easy.  It takes every ounce of strength you have and then some.  Moments in life that don't make sense can push you beyond what you think is capable.

I have learned that if I can focus on how far I have come and what I've already traveled through, then I can make it through much more than I may see at this moment.  If I found the strength, courage, and determination previously, then I can summon it now.

We are often much stronger than we give ourselves credit for in times of difficult circumstances.  Even if we see ourselves as weak and we don't feel like we can make it, rest assured that you hold much more inside you than you realize at this moment.

Grab hold of that strength and hang on to it until things pass and your life calms down to the point of greater ease and peace.

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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Blog Post And Images (c) 2017 by Don Shetterly
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Monday, October 2, 2017

Patient Back From Vegetative State - Neuroscience News

After 15 years in a vegetative state, a procedure of brain stimulation brought the patient back.  I am shocked not only at this procedure, but also the ramifications of what that means for the person.  Just think about what 15 years ago was like and imagine the patient waking up in today's world.

While the patient is not fully recovered, the results build hope that what they have learned in this situation will bring hope for others.  It may also help us find breakthroughs that will take us into improved levels of care and recovery.

You can read the full article on the website page in the Scientific American.

The Hit And Miss of Pharmceuticals

Unless I am passionate about something, I am generally the “quiet one”, especially in group situations. Writing has always been my release, my way to get the trapped emotions and silenced words out;  my way to turn my traumas and tragedies into something tangible that others can relate to and know they are not alone in their thoughts.  Yet I have been staring at this blank sheet for days now, feeling more and more frustrated as each failed attempt to write passes by.

All writers get writer's block now and then, and there are numerous ways to cope with that.  However, this is not writer's block.  For me, this is a case of “meds brain” or “brain fog”, a term you may be unfamiliar with if you have had the luxury of not having to take medicine to help control your illness, but if you have, many of you may understand the frustration of it all.

The first time I tried an anti-depressant was about 15 years ago, and aside from the numerous side effects, the pills themselves turned me into a walking zombie. So after quite a few months, I decided that they were not for me. I weaned myself off and decided that would be the last time I tried any medications that would change the hormones in my brain.

After all, who wants to take a pill which comes with a two-page, small print insert containing the possible risks and side effects, running the gamut from dry mouth and headache to brain zaps and body twitches? The best irony is that it may increase suicidal thoughts, which was the reason I went on medication in the first place. We don’t give people with cancer a pill that may increase their cancer, but after six to eight weeks it may help it to get better.

About two and a half years ago I found myself in crisis and at the emergency room at my local hospital. After being briefly assessed by a social worker and a psychiatrist, I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder and major depression and anxiety.  It was deemed that I was not enough of a risk to harm myself, so I was given a prescription and sent on my merry way with a follow-up appointment three weeks later.

So now I have a predicament because I have sworn off anti-depressants and this doctor wants to give me both an anti-depression and a mood stabilizer, neither idea I am particularly fond of.  The option is staying in this deep depression or trying a different approach to get out of it. So I fill the prescription and start taking the pills and within five days the side effects start to sneak up quietly.…the headaches, nausea, the lack of energy and the worst of all, for me anyway, is the feeling of brain fog.

For me, brain fog feels like having half of your brain hijacked. It takes twice the amount of mental energy to be able to focus, concentrate, or make the simplest of decisions. I mean really, how I stand in the cereal aisle for ten minutes, glancing over the 50 types and brands, feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that I can’t make a simple choice, so I leave with muffins instead simply because there were only six types to choose from.

It feels like my brain is surrounded by a constant dark cloud, making it more difficult to see things clearly. It almost feels like minor dissociation, where I am aware and conscious of my words and actions, but part of me feels like I am somewhat detached from them and the emotions surrounding them. As a writer, I feel I cannot connect with my readers if I am coming from a non-emotional mind, and the words fail to flow as freely as they once used to.  That is beyond frustrating.

I have had to change medications 12 times. Some were from the severe side-effects I was experiencing, and others were simply making me progressively worse, sinking me further into the hole I was so desperate to climb out of.  I have tried anti-depressants of all types, mood stabilizers, anxiety medications and numerous combinations of all three, but have yet to find the mix that is right for me.

At present, I am on one of each of the above and was just given another anti-depressant to add to the cocktail, leaving me struggling once again with side effects that may or may not last from a pill that may or may not work in six to eight weeks.  I am willing to try just about anything to further my healing, so if that means being a human guinea pig, so be it.

Due to the lack of research and funding in the area of mental health, pharmaceuticals are given to us on a hit or miss basis. There has been no PET scan or any other type of test done to determine exactly which hormone needs increasing or decreasing, and so, often we are given the latest and greatest on the market or the one recommended by the last pharmaceutical representative that dropped off samples at the doctor’s office. The pen goes straight to the prescription pad, upon which time you are told to fill the prescription, take the pills as directed and come back in six to eight weeks if they aren’t helping, and “we will try something else”.

What is truly misunderstood by the prescribers of these drugs is the true side effects people feel, not the ones written on the back of the box. One wonders if they had to take them themselves, would they be so quick to hand them out with so frivolously with so little knowledge?

I am by no means an expert on medications. I am, however, well read and well informed about the medications I am taking, and I would recommend that everyone be their own advocate for medicine when it comes to their mental health. Despite the position of power and authority a doctor holds, don’t allow yourself to be intimidated, for it is you that is actually in the driver's seat.
Be an advocate.

- Jody (Jody's Blog)

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