Wednesday, July 12, 2017

A Blessing in Disguise: Color Me Calm

Our daughter Ruth Anne gave me permission and her blessing to write this blog.I hope her story will inspire you or someone you know and love.

While our daughter Ruth Anne's recovery from severe depression and PTSD has been rife with struggles and pain no one should ever have to endure, we are blessed by her strength and courage and the tools she receives as part of her recovery. It has been 3 years since her struggle with the pain of depression and PTSD began. It has taken many hospitalizations, crisis stabilization unit stays, medication trial after medication trial to arrive where we are today.

One of the greatest challenges for anyone facing any life threatening diagnosis - and depression and PTSD are in fact life threatening diagnoses, is to hold onto hope!

After extended hospital stays and the blessing of a psychiatrist and inpatient team at St. Elizabeth's Medical Center, Ruth Anne found some relief from the excruciating pain of her symptoms. We explored a group home, Wellmet, but realized there is no place like home and the power of a family's love to heal.

While inpatient at St. Elizabeth's, Ruth Anne had an angel of an Occupational Therapist who played Rummy 500 with her for hours on end giving up her break time and lunch time to spend time with Ruth Anne engaging her mind in the game. Ruth Anne was also introduced to the healing power of adult coloring books.

We went to Brookline Booksmith and stocked up on a variety of adult coloring books and colored pencils. They incorporate inspirational quotes and chapters on reducing stress and bringing calm into one's life. When I was first diagnosed with Post-Polio Syndrome, a progressive neuromuscular disease 10 years ago, I discovered the healing power of creating poetry in my life. I've gone from experiencing the power of my pen, the divining rod for healing to the power of the colored pencil.

My work in progress:

While we thought we were bringing Ruth Anne home to heal, we have received the blessing of healing ourselves!

She is now attending a Massachusetts Department of Mental Health Partial Hospitalization Program where she participates in structured groups using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. The therapists use meditation and teach skills to facilitate mental health and well being. They work with Ruth Anne one on one for medication management and counseling. The focus is on hope and recovery! She has a most amazing Case Manager through the Department of Mental Health; a real old school social worker who rolls up her shirt sleeves and gets the job done going above and beyond what is required of her.

Ruth Anne teaches us what she is learning in her Partial Hospitalization Program and brings healing into our lives and our home.

We have structured evening time before going to bed that includes this meditation by Dr. Joe Dispenza:

I've discovered the joys of playing rummy, and coloring and feeling blessed to be a part of her recovery as she was of mine ten years ago. She went with me to every doctor's appointment, advocated for me with my Team and supported me with the changes we needed to make in the family in order for me to get well! We will be incorporating board games and jigsaw puzzles into our evening time.

One of our greatest joys is training with Ruth Anne on the road to the Bermuda Half Marathon Running has been my therapy for the past 8 years and the gift of running has given Team McManus a wonderful goal to share. We each use the metaphor of running to help us with the marathon of our lives.

While my heart still aches for the pain that Ruth Anne endured these past 3 years, I am in awe of her fortitude, strength, courage, determination and willingness to do the work and to go the distance!

We have found the blessing in disguise and now that she is on the road to recovery, you can color me calm!

Go the distance with strength and courage!

Be sure to visit my website by following this link.

My books are available on Amazon.

Feel the Heal: An Anthology of Poems to Heal Your Life

Coming Home: A Memoir of Healing Hope and Possibility that chronicles the first 7 years of my healing journey:

And my latest and greatest book - Going the Distance: The Power of Endurance (With a Foreword by Jacqueline Hansen):

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