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From Fear to Trust

Updated: Jun 17, 2023



Does fear inspire you to act or paralyze you?





June greetings dear friends, I hope you are enjoying this beautiful spring season. I know so many of you are thriving on your path to well-being, and I applaud you. For those of you struggling or know someone who is dealing with a health crisis for themselves or a loved one, this post is timely. If you aren't in this situation, I'm glad, but sadly, someday you may need this information. Please read on.


Sometimes we need something brought to our attention through several sources before it calls us to action. We are busy, overwhelmed and often fearful so we do nothing. Whatever the reason we have put off acting, it will not be ignored forever. When we are in crisis or fearful our cortisol levels spike. Our bodies stop us from accessing logical thinking, creativity, strategic planning and trusting. We are launched into survival mode. This is how we are wired. Our natural default is to focus on the negative. What can we do about it? How do we get from fear to trust?


Over the years I have studied how people heal from trauma and tried many methods for my own healing. Facing fears and establishing trust are major components. It can take a village of support. What if you do not trust people? Who will be on your team? Is our judgement impaired due to our stress response? We may need to call on safe friends, and professionals to support our decisions. I was able to get to this place in my life. I am so honored to be that safe person for others. Today’s topic is not going to offer a cookie cutter approach to leaving fear behind and establishing trust. That is a very personal journey, and what works for one doesn’t work for everyone. What I will say is that you need a team approach. Please don’t isolate. Allow in those professionals you feel most safe with, slowly you will build trust. Also, allow friends, family, or neighbors that you can rely on to be a part of your healing. Sometimes it is as simple as them just being aware of what you are going through for it to help. When we allow support, healing comes faster, please trust me on this. Being stuck in fear, denial and on your own makes’ things so much worse.


As you know I always write my blog based on the repetitive themes that present themselves during client coaching, healing sessions and talks with friends. It's my call to action. I have been invited to present during legal and financial workshops later this month. I chose to speak about what to do after you receive a life changing diagnosis. It is a recurring theme in my work, but right now it is everywhere in my life.


No one can ever be fully prepared for shocking news or a health crisis. Most of you know my personal experience and career have been in geriatrics but people of all ages need to consider the future. I had an attorney execute my first will and advanced directives when I was thirty-five. I was about to have major surgery, I owned a home, and my husband had passed recently at only forty-six. I braced myself and pushed ahead even though I was fearful and had little trust. I didn’t freeze, I did not isolate myself. I was blessed to be surrounded by nurses, doctors, and social workers in the office where I worked at the time. When I told them what was happening, they were everything I needed to get through it. We all need to consider our wishes in the event of a health crisis and know where to turn and who to trust. It is never too early.


I knew I needed to write this month’s blog on this topic when I heard a friend cry on the phone and say, "I wish I called you sooner. I don't know why I didn't think to call you after the diagnosis.” Helping can come in many ways, education, sharing resources, and just listening. I’m a storyteller. It’s an ice breaker that helps people receive tough information. I shared a little about my mother’s story with her during that call. Maybe sharing it here will help you or someone you know.


Many years ago, when my stepfather died, my mother immediately launched into action out of fear. She asked for my help because she trusted me, her head was spinning and she could barely write a check. She revised her estate plans and pre-planned her funeral covering all future expenses so her children wouldn't have to react in crisis mode like we did when my stepfather passed. Having these new plans brought her peace of mind.


Fast forward several years, my mother was now declining physically and cognitively. She expressed fear, and this time it paralyzed her. She rejected support, she fought for independence and fiercely denied much of what was obviously a struggle in her daily life. She was self-aware, but who could judge how long that would last. That window of time was critical. While she was alert and oriented enough to revisit her long-term care plans, I dived in. She was preparing for surgery the same way I had years before. We filled out a medical order for life sustaining treatment, in Massachusetts it’s called a MOLST. Some states call it a physician order for life sustaining treatment (POLST). Her doctor explained everything in great detail. I was happy to learn she was still of the mindset that she was years earlier and that her wishes had not changed. This time it brought me peace of mind.


The day eventually arrived when my mother lacked any safety awareness, disregarded the fact that she needed any medical support, and I had to step in as her agent. So many people don't have a foundation of trust in knowing what their loved one would want in the event of a health decline. This is what compels me to educate, empower and guide people. I've seen both sides; the shock and lack of preparedness we had with my stepfather’s fast-moving cancer, and the anticipated slow steady decline of my mother. These are only two of my caregiver journeys. For those of you who know me well, you know I was also my caregiver to my grandmother and my aunt when I was much younger and had no healthcare experience. These experiences were the catalyst to a career change, and the education of a lifetime nearly twenty-five years ago. I always say, I wish I knew then what I know now. What I know now is that I went through those trials to share my knowledge and experience years later. In my work I spare others the learning curve I was faced with when I landed in the role of advocate and caregiver.


For anyone reading this, please don't isolate. There are people out there who have walked in your shoes. If you are not a support group type of person, that’s ok. Don't let fear stop you from exploring resources, both traditional and non-traditional. We all need a navigation system. The world of healthcare is a maze.


When you or a loved one receives a diagnosis, you are bombarded with information. Fear sets in, cortisol levels rise, and as I said before this leads us to survival mode. You may manage daily tasks on auto pilot, but your brain will not allow complex problem solving, and critical thinking when you need it most. If you have no plans in place, or an expert on speed dial, you may waste precious time paralyzed by fear-or make hasty decisions that are not a well-informed choice or decision. Take a breath, pause, and please don't just google it or ask people on social media what they would do.


I'm posting this with a picture of me and my dog Sasha. I rescued her several years ago. She suffered from trauma and the top symptom was debilitating fear aggression. It took years to heal her with a team approach, consistent routine, and alternative therapies. She is comfortable in her own skin now and her fear turned to trust. Thank you all for your interest in my work and for your trust. Your questions and feedback are always welcome. Take good care.

Till we meet again.


Bright blessings,


-K




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