Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I worked the streets as a Paramedic in the inner-city for almost 8 years. I have been shot at, cut, beaten, cursed at daily... and for that I gained an appreciation of what our service men and women face overseas, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My own experience has only been a tiny fraction in comparison to the terrors and violence these brave souls face -- DAILY.

Most regular every day folks don't realize how truly traumatic this war, and past wars, have been on our military personnel. Many come home with pent up emotions, anger, stress, hidden fear, panic attacks, nightmares, chronic and acute depression, suicidal ideations... even worse... violent outbursts and blackouts. This is all from a very real response called POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. In some it is very subtle. In others it can be very obvious. Either way, it can be crippling to their daily lives, and damning to marriages and families.

PTSD had not even really been recognized, much less be diagnosed as a very real issue relating to mental health, until after Vietnam. Before then, many families whispered quietly about their older veterans who would panic or freak out when a car backfired or fireworks went off at a holiday celebration. They once called this response "shell shock", and sometimes these older veterans would have very real flashbacks that instantly put them back into a combat scenario, and they would go off on tangents about enemies close by, or run and dive for cover.

Even the everyday person can suffer PTSD from such common causes as near death experiences, surviving rape or incest, surviving a violent attack, surviving domestic or child abuse, etc.

Today's service men and women are given debriefings aimed at reducing the likely hood of this response. I am on the Georgia CISD team that does the same for cops, firemen, and EMS providers. However, many military personnel are in denial about their needs in this field. They think that because they are "Army Strong" or "Proud Marines" that they don't need counseling, or that wanting or needing counseling is a sign of weakness or inferiority. Or even when they recognize the warning signs, they won't reach out... because debriefings and counseling will significantly delay them from going home to their loved ones when their tour is done. I can understand this. The same stigma exists in public safety.

For returning military personnel I will extend my services as an secondary means of stress management. I am in no way advocating the refusal of professional psychiatric services offered by the military.

All returning military personnel (with proper ID and documentation) will receive their first reiki appointment, including a one-on-one consultation and review of medical history - FREE!!! Subsequent sessions will be HALF-OFF.

I am also extending this same benefit to public safety personnel to reduce job stress or manage diagnosed PTSD... AND to the everyday person who has been diagnosed with PTSD.


Peace Between Past and Future


There is something to be said about living in the moment that cannot be overstated especially if you are going through a rough patch in your life. You normally find at any given moment if you stop and think about what it is that is bothering you, you will find that the things you are worrying about are things that have happened in the past or things you think will happen in the future. There is nothing you can do about what has happened in the past and there is no point worrying about what has not happened yet, in fact, by worrying about something that might happen you are drawing that event to you.

By living in the moment and focusing your mind on exactly what is going on around you right now you may find a peaceful place in between the past and the future. Living in the moment is real living and by staying focused in the moment and not projecting your thoughts forward or backward into the past or future you can step away from worry and fear. Most people worry on some level but the happiest of people worry about things the least.

Happiness is a state of contentment that has nothing to do with how many material possessions you have or how much money you have in the bank. A person who is happy has the power to create more happiness simply by staying happy. A sad person or someone who is constantly worried about the situations of their life brings more sad situations their way. How often is a negative event actually happening in your life? Negative events and situation rarely occur but when they do they only last for a second or two and then the event is over. It is by continuing to worry about the event that keeps you there.

When you are living in the moment you dismiss a negative event the moment it is over and move on without worrying about it of without thinking that event will come back to haunt you in the future. If anything, living in the moment allows you to come through a negative situation and immediately learn from the experience and know you will never let yourself go through that again by simply avoiding the mistakes you made previously that saw you encounter the negative event in the first place.

For example, if you have lost your job, instead of worrying about it and wishing you had made different decisions or worked harder while you were at your old job, consider what you have learned by the experience. Maybe you did not like the boss, you did not like the hours, the job was not right for you, you said something foolish or perhaps you were lazy. Whatever it was you did, let it go and move on. You cannot change what has happened but you can make a fresh start with the experience you have taken from your old job and any past mistakes you made. The same thing goes if your relationship has gone sour, learn from it and move on. There are a million other partners out there just like there are jobs and fresh, exciting opportunities.

When you are living in the moment you have the chance to transcend your past bad experiences and decide in this moment what direction your future will take. If you can live in the moment and remain happy your life will move from one happy episode to the next and if difficulties arise on the journey you will face them, deal with them and continue unfaded while moving from moment to moment.

Alternative Sleep Remedies

My best advice is to ALWAYS consult with your physician or pharmacist on whether any herbal or natural remedies would interact with your prescription medications. There are several known common contraindications out there that we medical providers are already aware of. If there are any that relate to your meds, it will only take a few moments to reference and counsel.
Death is permanent. Be patient. (smirk)

This is simply for consideration. I do not personally endorse any of these alternative remedies, as I have yet to try them at home. But Im willing to give a few a try. I have a certain someone who doesn't sleep well, and I was researching natural, homeopathic, and alternative sleep aids. We gave Ambien CR a try - ONCE. One time. And someone was in a stupor, sleepwalking and fell ass over tea-kettle. So I felt we needed something a little, ummm, less harsh and less synthetic.

Some I have heard before, several area totally new to me. If you have experience with them, feel free to go to share your *constructive* comments.


1. A combination of 200mg Magnesium with 600mg Calcium before bed to aid with more restful sleep. The site advises that a (personally known) effect of Magnesium is increased bowel activity. It also advises that should you experience diarrhea, to (obviously) reduce the mg's of Magnesium. (duh)
**My own personal caution with these two medications is that they are important minerals are which together can directly effect the cardio-vascular system. If knocked too far out of balance, it can have serious and potentially dangerous effects.

2. 30-120mg of Wild Lettuce. I am assuming that since this is listed in mg dosage, it is available in capsules at an herb shop. The photo depicted what is called Green Leaf Lettuce in the produce isle. Ask around. How bad can lettuce be?

3. 30-120mg of Hops. Yes, the hops used to make beer. But NOT the beer. That would increase your need to go potty during the night, unless you slept through, and that is really bad, right? You find hops at herb shops.

4. Wild Lavender. A couple of suggestions here. Using an all natural spray, derived from the true essential oil - not the synthetic, drug store body spray type. Spray on your pillows or bedding before going to bed. Another suggestion was to make a sachet containing the raw lavender pods and tucking into or around your pillow. Lavender has a well known effect to induce calm and peaceful sleep. Also available at herb shops.

5. 3-5mg of Melatonin. While your body produces Melatonin naturally, the thought is that an insufficient production leads to restless sleep and even insomnia. I know this is available at herb shops. My recommendation is to consult with the herbalist for their recommendation.

6. 12-48mg Jamaican Dogwood. Another herbal sleep aid available at the local herb shop. Consult the herbalist for further information and their personal recommendation.

7. 50-200mg "Suntheanine". This is a brand of L-Theanine (an amino acid), and is supposed to be the best form to metabolize for the specific purpose of sleep.

8. 200-800mg Valerian. For some folks though, Valerian has the opposite effect, and will actually work as a mild stimulant. It is suggested that should this be the case with you, that the Valerian should be taken in the morning, and will have you ready for peaceful sleep when you go to bed. It may also take some experimentation to calculate the dose time in regards to when the desired "sleepy" effect comes on.

I have more research to do on these remedies, as my hunny is on a few medications for her back injury. The last thing I want to happen is to have some freakish interaction with her prescription medications. Your experience, expertise, and comments are very welcome!!!