Non-Fiction Saturdays

beneath

a haibun, 3 parts

Photo by Sébastien Conejo via Mixkit.co

The wonders of the world lay deep beneath her hair. The very essence of what there is to gain from a stressful day full of anguish and the sounds of beasts rapping at closed doors is nothing. I tell her to press forward and find her strength in the pulse of a tiger’s breath, but she is not interested in climbing up the optimistic ladder tonight. I smell safety around the corner. She runs for cover. I stand with my hands held high — raised above my head. I surrender to the depth of this defeat. She claims my trust.

beneath her red locks
is a star-spangled blue moon
a wondrous new world

Broken babies and haunted Mamas wield their way into our midst. We shield ourselves from their pressure. The room is ice. There is no fire for warmth. I rub my hands together and watch the steam sift in through the cracks. She takes two steps forward, purses her lips against the air, and lets out a sigh of relief. The floor is empty. Patients are packing up — discharged by their residents or attendings. We dance alone. A tango. A foxtrot. A waltz. I simmer in the darkness with her.

lonely in this place
of impatience and patients
dancing the foxtrot

Big Pharma called the shots on the drug saving his life — it’s no longer covered. He’s in room 213 of the ICU. Death is standing by his door. She pulls a mask on to her face, laces her hands with gloves, and walks in to oversee the cleanliness of his space. He is barely breathing. The sun skips on the open blinds — his hair never touches the pillow. There, in the silence of the room, she prays to a God who walks the halls but forgets to open the doors.

on-call patient care
fills up her nightly duties
death is still coming


Author’s Note: I wrote this piece as a reflection on the most recent book I read which was In Shock: My Journey from Death to Recovery and the Redemptive Power of Hope by Rana Adwish, MD. If you’ve not given it a read and you’re interested in knowing what a physician has to say about being the patient who dies, is brought back to life, and lives to see just how medicine needs transforming — this is a book I’d recommend for you. Peace.

*Originally published in The Junction via Medium.

Alaska Bound

Hydrant|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

This evening, I will be traveling to Alaska for a full workweek. It has been incredibly long since I took an actual week off of work for vacation. I am going to Alaska, more specifically, Anchorage. My reason for this is to celebrate my friend’s upcoming birthday and to experience beautiful sights and landmarks. I have never been to Alaska, having a close friend who lives there will inspire many more trips in the future. I will soon be able to mark this off my bucket list.

But first, I am looking forward to this time away and my internet usage will be limited as I intend to totally immerse myself in my surroundings. I need this. My mind, heart, and soul needs this. I know for a fact that this will be a great experience, not just for me, but for my writing, my mental fortitude.

Jernee will be with my Mom. I picked her up yesterday and she and Jernee will have a week together to enjoy each other’s company and get reacquainted. My friend has a complete itinerary and everything I envision to do in Alaska, within my means, will be done.

To say that I am excited is an understatement, however, I am nervous too. I hate flying. It makes me severely anxious. I intend to take one Aleve capsule (to curb any headaches or backaches) before boarding and will read and sleep for most of the flight or, try to.

It is my prayer that each of you will enjoy your week ahead and that life will be more than kind to you.

Peace and blessings.

The Journey Back To Mental Wellness

Will Rogers’ paraphrased quote, located in my therapist’s office. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part IV: Releasing Tension

“So, do you think you’ll take the job with your old supervisor?”

“I am still weighing my options with that. I’d have opportunities afforded me there that I do not at my current job, plus — no weekend work and more holiday time off. Did I mention that the practice is closer to where we live?”

“So many pros. Cons?”

“Well, if I took the position, I’d be leaving a team of great people and I love where I currently work. I’d put them in the position of trying to replace yet another person. I just wish things had not taken place the way that they have, but I have no control over that and I am trying to find a way to deal with each blow as they come.

“You said it best. You have no control over these things. I have a feeling you will choose what you believe to be the best option for both you and your current place of employment. Remember, self-care is important and if transferring will possibly aid you in maintaining self-care, do not deny yourself that.”

Jarred seashells. My therapist has collected these over the years during her visits to various beaches. Just seeing them made me want to start collecting shells too. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

won’t deny myself what I know is best, but I will not live in the world of a “possibility” or “probability,” either. The job offer comes as an “if.” The facility is new and building a name for itself while marketing its existence and gaining a few new patients each day. I could be a big part of this as I do love telling people about where I work. Our organization has proven to be one of the top organizations in North Carolina. I also believe that I could advance a bit more with this new facility and it would be such an honor to watch it grow and shift and take on new phases in operations as they come. I also know that there is a big chance that other people may be hired even if my old supervisor is currently the Clinic Administrator. She has power, but the higher-ups of our organization have more.

I am waiting, but not waiting at the same time. “Whatever will be, will be.” I tell my therapist this and she commends me on my ability to go along with what is taken place without emotionally breaking down.

“You are moving closer to your center, Tre.”

I hope she’s right. I tell her how I feel myself holding in so much tension and it is all piling up in my neck and shoulders and she stands up and shows me a method her chiropractor introduced to her since she tends to hold tension in the same area. She signals me to rise from the couch and follow her in motion. I do so. We center our heads, hold our arms out horizontally, spread our fingers, and then push our arms down, centering our elbows, and touching our hips with our hands. I could feel the relief in my neck area as the method ends. I tell her that this method will be a useful thing to do right before bed. She agrees.

There were brief moments where I teared up — just thinking of possibly leaving yet not knowing what lies ahead, frightens me. I want to be able to make a difference wherever I work and I get the opportunity to do this daily at my current job, however, roles have shifted and some people are clueless to their roles and that can be a harmful thing. I fear another toxic work environment, but I also believe that I can prevent it from becoming one.

That is too much pressure for one person, Tre.”

She’s right. She is definitely right.


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

Part I

Part II

Part III

The Journey Back To Wellness


ShadowCreek
Devil’s Creek and my shadow, Bakersville, NC|Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

Part II: Getting Personal|Lune, 10 Parts

so close to one month
we’ve shared me
now, she’s sharing her.

simple, welcoming
divine words
calm this fragile soul.

we discuss a plan
towards peace
what will help shape me?

Devil’s creek becomes
a safe place —
a sweet memory.

I pull from it love
that I need
when days are so hard.

“give yourself new things,
inspire
yourself in new ways.”

went to the mountains,
breathed fresh air,
found a sense of home

and left the pieces
of my world
that’d been crushing me.

she says, “you’re solid,
a still rock,
but it’s time to move.”

I hear her, I do.
but instinct
has its claws in me.


*My therapist is teaching me how to better listen to my surroundings, especially in places of peace. I have taken a ton of pictures of late and with each passing day, in those photos, and around me, I am pulling out what I need and leaving what I do not. I still have a long road ahead of me, though.

Thank you for reading.


Part I

The Journey Back To Mental Wellness: My First Therapy Session

Originally published in A Cornered Gurl via Medium.

The Journey Back to Mental Wellness

My First Therapist Session

koreansoup
Korean Soup for the Soul. My good friend Heej/Classical Sass makes this per my request every time I visit. It is a happy place for me. Photo Credit: Tremaine L. Loadholt

found myself working through a fit of disconnectedness on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, simply trying to get through the day to get to my first therapist appointment at 12:30 pm. Jernee spiked a fever the day before and we had been to the Vet’s office for what was supposed to be just her annual exam but turned into a big-to-do because the fever would not break, however, given one day to rest and be at home to romp about at will, she began to feel much better. Wednesday also found me in a meeting at my job for most of my scheduled half-day of work, so I felt all out of sorts with just a little bit more weight on my shoulders from Tuesday’s doggy shenanigans.

But, when I walked through the door of the psychiatric practice/mood treatment facility, a calming sense of peace came over me. I registered at the check-in desk by presenting my insurance card, recent lab work, and my Living Will and Testament. I paid my copay and before I could sit down, the lady who would be my therapist greeted me at the door to lead me on my journey and even said my name correctly. If I had a gold star in my pocket, she would have received it. We circled the hall and walked towards her office where she guided me to a medium-sized room, big enough for a comfortable couch, two even more comfortable chairs, and her desk space/work area.

She added to my increased level of comfort by asking me which type of lighting I preferred. I said to myself, “I am going to like her.” And, I did. I do. We began by breaking the ice, introducing ourselves, and then she said, “So, tell me what is going on,” and I let it rip. I started from when I noticed my mood changes and my decline in happiness and overall feeling of unworthiness and informed her that it all came to an intense spike a couple of weeks ago. As I was talking, I maintained eye contact, and so did she. She only broke my verbal stride to clarify what I was saying and to be sure she heard everything correctly. She took actual notes, reading back to me what was stated to her.

The entire session felt like a conversational hug — like something I had deep down inside, tucked in a corner that was afraid to come out, and at that moment, decided to present itself to be coddled. I felt a sense of genuine welcome and there was soft lighting in every nook of the office with a fragrance that smelled close to vanilla or lavender or a mixture of both in the air. I did not feel any pressure. Oddly enough, this space, the one we created, seemed very much like a space of peace.

Just like the soup that you see as the photo above, the space we created was my happy place. I felt warm, understood, and heard. I had a voice with her. She acknowledged my concern and addressed it, and advised me to continue to use the tools that I am using to increase my happiness and shift my mood when a dark cloud hovers, however, she was vocal about contacting her directly if I felt as though a volcanic eruption could occur. She is letting me set my schedule to meet with her and at this time, I feel as though, twice per month, will be good.

The next session, we will get deeper into other helpful tools that will assist me in getting back to a level of balance and to also learn about a few other things that can combat the molehill that I have possibly turned into a mountain simply because that is how it feels. There is a good chance that I may have some homework too, she actually said this, “Tre, I may give you some homework as time goes on.” Overall, my first impression of her? Genuine — is doing the job she is meant to do, and a great listener.

I think I am on my way… In time, at least, I hope so

 


Originally published via A Cornered Gurl on Medium.

My Journey so far:

The Caretaker & Biting the Bullet