Sunday, November 6, 2016

I didn't fully realize what was happening till it was over

When was the last time you did something brave?

Brave can be an adjective that means possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.

I was trying to think of when I did something "brave" and I thought of an incident that happened a few year ago. My daughter was in elementary school at the time and it was just the two of us in the house. I was in our home office working on the computer and she was in the living room watching television. Since my daughter was an infant she made noise. Even when she is not talking, you hear her giggling or doing something with her hands or a game; she always makes noise. When you don't hear noise, you know something is wrong.

This particular day she had grabbed a piece of hard candy. A caramel or something. I could hear her in the living room and then I noticed I didn't hear her. I heard the TV, but not her. I stood up and walked into the living room and there she was standing in the middle of the room, her head sticking out more, her mouth opened and she motioned her hand to her throat. She was choking.

At the time I was a Girl Scout leader and one of the requirements was to be CPR/First Aid certified. I had taken a course given by the American Heart Association and learned about the Heimlich maneuver. While in the class I wondered if I would remember how to do this move in an emergency. I would have my answer today.

I immediately moved toward her, told her that I that I knew she was choking and that I was going to get behind her and help her. She didn't resist and let me start. I wrapped my arms around her, clasped my hands together like I was taught and pulled in and up towards her chest. Nothing happened. I relaxed a brief moment, took a deep breath and told her I was going to do it again. This time I pulled in harder. That time the candy dislodged and out it came of her mouth and fell onto the floor. I let go and immediately examined her face (she never changed color fortunately) and asked her some basic questions: "How do you feel? Does anything hurt? Are you breathing okay?" She was fine. I threw out the candy, pretty sure I gave her some water to sip on and went back into the office.

I sat down in the chair and the adrenaline rush that I was on subsided and my legs and arms went to jelly. I put my head in my hands and exhaled. Oh my God, I just did the Heimlich on my baby, I thought to myself. My strength was gone for a few moments and I was shaky and on the verge of tears. I allowed myself to feel these feelings and then regrouped. I did the Heimlich. In case of an emergency, I could and would remember what to do. A year or two later, I went back for another training in First Aid and CPR. This time I learned out to use the automatic defibrillator machine. Those things are cool.

During the training I offered my story of what I was able to do because of the training I had. I reassured the other participants that they would know what to do in case of an emergency. The skills become innate, automatic and allow you to do the unthinkable. They allow you to be brave.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

I'm having a bad day...what should I do?

One week ago I had my second surgery on my right wrist. I have been dealing with a constant pain and swelling in the wrist for 7 months. Today, 8 days later, I am able to type this post. The only discomfort I have is from my stitches and the wound itself. It feels so good to write again.

The first prompt of the BlogHer challenge for November is When you're having a bad day with your mental health, what do you do to help yourself?

Over a dozen years ago I was diagnosed with depression. Therapy helped a lot in the beginning then a few years later it became apparent I needed medication. I still taking my medicine faithfully every time and attend therapy a couple of times a month. There are quite a few things I do when I feel myself getting into a funk. First, I make sure I got enough sleep the night before. If I need to take a nap and literally reboot myself, I do that and sometimes that is all I need to get back on track again.

On days when a nap isn't enough, I allow myself to feel whatever is I am feeling. Then, I write. Sometimes it is just making a list of things I would like to do or things that need to get done for a specific event, like Thanksgiving. I leave the house. Even if it is just to the grocery store to pick up a few things, I make sure I get out of the house. A year ago I started karate with my daughter and I really enjoy those sessions. Karate requires a lot of concentration so it is a great way to get out of my own head and focus on something else for an hour.

Another way I cope is eating. It's not the best way and I have to limit myself, but I do enjoy a frosted doughnut with sprinkles from the local grocery store. That with a glass of milk...mmmmm good. I used to go shopping when I felt bad, but I found myself buying things that felt good in the moment and sometimes by the time I got home, realized I didn't need or really want that item at all.

One last thing I do which may seem odd to some, but brings me great joy, writing in my planner. I love planners and calendars! I carry a planner with me at all times and when I am feeling low I look at the upcoming week and start listing things that need to be done. And then I break out the stickers and decorate the pages. It is so pretty and it is very relaxing to me. My planner is my life line so any stickers I use can be pretty, but they must be functional as well.

I would love to hear what you do when you are not feeling all that spunky.