Posts Tagged With: hospitalization

Day 43: Home-based realizations (Starring Growth! Safety! and the Entire Medical Profession)

So, I’m home. And while I love traveling, very much, I am definitely somewhat “on guard” when I’m away from home.  Especially when I’m traveling on my own for most of the trip.

So now that I’m back in my home base, and relaxing a bit, I’m realizing some things, which I’m going to jot down here, before I re-engage — for the first time in over a week — with my typical morning routine (including taking my son to school and going back for my first day at work).

These realizations  feel new to me. I think I’m having them, this morning, partly because of the personal growth I’ve been experiencing — already! — during This Year of Living Non-Judgmentally.

However, they probably aren’t completely new realizations. They are probably lessons that I’m re-realizing, again, as I move further up the ascending coil of my life’s path.  (Carl Jung spoke about our life’s path being in the shape of an ascending coil, which I wrote about here.)

However, these realizations feel new, probably because I’m experiencing them in a deeper, more profound way. And, even more importantly, I’m making these realizations more real,  right now at this point in my life, because I’m bringing them out from a strictly internal sphere and sharing these with the external world.

Or to re-state that last sentence more plainly — I’m not keeping these thoughts to myself anymore. I’m sharing them with other people in my life and with the whole friggin’ Blogosphere, right now!

So where was I before those digressions?  Oh, yes.

Here’s the main point I want to write today, on this Day 43 of the Year of Living Blog-mentally:

I have trouble believing that other people truly love me and will be there for me, no matter what.  

There is the punch-line — the important realization — right there,  in an italicized nut-shell.

So now I’m going to write a little bit about where I think this “trouble” comes from, for me.

(Although I suspect I’m not alone in this issue. Feel free to comment, if you like, if you can relate to this issue, dear reader.)

I think this issue is related to my childhood, when I was hospitalized very frequently for heart issues.  During those “primitive” times of healthcare — the early 1960s — my parents were not allowed to be with me in the hospital, outside of regular visiting hours.

(Here’s an indication of how far health care has come, in this area, since I was kid. When I tell stories about my experiences in the hospital, people CANNOT BELIEVE  that parents were not allowed to stay overnight with kids in the hospital in the 60s.)

Anyway,  between the ages of 9 and 13, I was in the hospital a lot, dealing with lots of operations and scary things (and people), on my own. So even though I’m sure my parents loved me, they couldn’t be with me during some times when it really mattered.  And I guess, maybe my young self believed — on some level — that if my parents really loved me, they would have fought tooth-and-nail, like tigers, to stay with me, no matter what.  

But, again, it was a different time.  And I think all of us — my parents and me — didn’t want to piss off the People in Control — the doctors at the hospital.  I know that I had this childish  fear:  if I DID  alienate the doctors and nurses, by not being a good (maybe even perfect!)  patient, these all-powerful people might let me die.

And I think that my parents, even though they had the wisdom of adulthood,  really wanted to please The Powers That Were, in the Hospital.  I’m assuming my parents did not want to alienate the doctors and nurses who were taking care of me,  by being Uncooperative, Troublesome Parents. (For example,  fighting tooth and nail to stay with me, like tigers).     I guess both my parents and I wanted to stack the deck in our favor with the doctors. Maybe everyone in my family believed, back then,  that if we were really good and didn’t alienate the hospital staff, we would have had a better chance to survive these experiences,  in the best shape possible.

I’m realizing now that these beliefs — fears, really — were probably untrue. (Now that I think of it, my parents and I were mind reading, fortune telling,  catastrophizing, and maybe  doing additional cognitive distortions.) (The 13 cognitive distortions are listed here.)

I’m realizing that those fears were untrue, because doctors are trained — in medical school —  to keep people alive, whether or not they like them. Even if we had been Bad Patients (or Bad Family Members of Patients), I think I still would be alive today.

But I wonder if my parents and I were (or are)  alone in responding to the medical community that way.  When people seem to have life-and-death power over you, maybe a lot of people deal with that by being compliant, by not rocking the boat, by being as perfect as they possibly can be.

Hmmmmm.  That last paragraph seems like a topic I’ll write about again.  (And maybe THAT was part of what I was trying to write about in my post about anti-Semitism and other “isms” two days ago.  (That difficult and — I believe — somewhat confusing post is here.)

A couple of more things I wanted to say about this.  Maybe my parents DID fight tooth and nail to stay with me, and they didn’t succeed.  (You think it’s tough fighting city hall?  Try fighting rules and regulations at a hospital.)

If you, dear, reader,  feel an urge to comment about what you read here in this post, I welcome your comment, as always. But, no  pressure to comment.

I don’t need you to be a perfect reader, or compliant with my requests. Not at all.

And, I have to say, it’s good to be home.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Day 19: sleep, Judgment and fears about

I would say (and I am going to try to use non-judgmental language here) that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.

It might be hereditary, because my son, from when he was a little boy, has talked about sleep in interesting ways.  Sometimes he sounds like he thinks sleep is his enemy.  “I don’t want to sleep.”  “Sleep is a waste of time.” “I feel better when I get less sleep.”  “Why can’t I stay up all night?  I’ll feel better if I do.”  I talk to him about how humans need sleep and how sleep is one of the most important ways to nourish and take care of ourselves, even though he may not believe it.

And I believe what I say to my son about sleep.  I really do!

However, it is undeniable that I have a challenging relationship with sleep.  I rarely get enough sleep.  I don’t fall asleep easily.  Whenever I wake up and  start thinking, uneasy thoughts usually creep in, almost immediately. (See Day 17 for a posting about that.)

So I thought I would write about sleep today, in a non-judgmental and perhaps helpful way.

How might I start doing that?  Well, I’m thinking about how I move towards a non-judgmental stance with anything — people, situations, whatever.  And how do I do that? Well, I think the elements include the following: (1) curiosity about what is going on, (2) acceptance about what is,  (3) maybe some hopes or wishes about what direction I’d like to move in,  (4) ideas about how to start moving in that direction, (5) taking a step, and (6) losing my investment in what happens when I take that step. (Geesh!  Who knew that there were so many steps involved?)

Note to self:  write future blog post about the steps towards a non-judgmental stance, including how the language “paradoxically” includes both movement and standing still.

Where was I, before the italics? (Another alternate title for this blog:  “The Year of Writing Digressing-ly.”)  I know where I was: non-judgmental stance.  And then before that, the topic:  Sleep.

Hmmmm, maybe nests of digressions like that indicate some avoidance on my part, in writing about this topic of sleep.  And, maybe I’m over-analyzing there, but, hey!  I probably am avoiding that topic.  As a matter of fact, last week, I was doing a group where I  passed out a worksheet on “Self-Care.”  The worksheet included questions like “What does self-care mean  to you?”  “What have you done for self-care?”  “What gets in the way of you doing more self-care?”  “What might help you do more self-care?”  And as I was filling out the worksheet myself, I could feel my mood getting lower. I was pissed at myself for choosing this worksheet.  I thought, “I wish I had chosen a different worksheet instead!  This worksheet sucks! I don’t want to do this!  This is probably depressing other people in the room!”  And it’s true that it was a difficult topic, but it was a helpful one for the group to discuss. But when I thought about why I had that reaction to the worksheet, I realized it was because of The Topic Du Jour.


And how “bad” I am at that — a very important part of my own self-care.

So, now, I’m realizing that I have a lot of self judgment about how I take care of myself, sleep-wise.  And I need to accept THAT, too.

I need to not judge the judgment.

“Not judging the judgment.” That’s a phrase I use a LOT in my work. And that does seem to blow people’s minds.  People have remarked “Yes, my head is now going to explode.” Sometimes, when I say “No judgment about the judgment”  and I see people’s expressions,  I feel like Captain Kirk in Star Trek  when he’s disabled yet another dangerous robot or computer by saying something paradoxical, like “You are perfect AND you’ve made an error.”

Arrrghh!  Another digression! This is ridiculous. But, again, there it is:  I guess this is a tough topic for me.

As a matter of fact, here’s a thought I’ve had several times while writing this: “Maybe I should press Save Draft, and write about this later!  I mean, it is a long weekend, dammit, and I want to relax and have some fun.”

And maybe I will press Save Draft at some point, but not yet.

I also think that, as with EVERYTHING,  I don’t have to “finish” this  today.  Maybe just starting it is helpful.

So, what else would I like to write about Sleep today?

I guess that I do have some judgment and fears about sleep.

The judgment includes thoughts like these:

I’m not taking care of myself well enough.

I “should” know better.

Even though I know and believe that enough sleep is important,  I often don’t give myself that gift, as much as I want my son to have it.

My fears?

Hmmmm, those fears feel scary.  (I think I do fear the fear, at times.)  So I’ll do my best right now to write about them, a little.

What are my fears about sleep?  Maybe that I won’t wake up?  Wow. That’s the ultimate fear, isn’t it?  Also, maybe I have some fear of losing control. And maybe because of the operations I had when I was a kid, maybe I associate sleep with the forced sleep of anesthesia, too, in some ways.


As I often find (and encourage other people to do), just writing down fears — getting them out of your head, on paper or screen, so you can see them —  can help. (As scary as it might feel to do that.)

I think that may have helped.

I’m going to stop there, dear reader, for now.  Thanks so much for your curiosity, and for witnessing me, as I stand still AND move towards non-judgment. (And I hope there were no head explosions or any destructions of computers or robots, at any point during the reading of that blog.)

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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