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    BWS Stories - "You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope

    "You Keep On Playing Those Mind Games"...From Depression to Hope - Overcoming Adversity: We?re All Heroes

    Amy Sherman, LMHC, is a licensed mental health counselor in the state of Florida, with a MA in Counseling/Psychology from Vermont College. With over 14 years experience in the field, she's worked with adolescent substance abusers, abused men, women and children, patients with severe mental illness, and the elderly. An educator, seminar/workshop leader and a group facilitator, Amy offers programs and trainings to numerous professional, spiritual and civic organizations.

    Amy is also a trained clinical hypnotherapist, specializing in anxiety and health issues. Following a holistic approach to therapy and integrating all aspects of the body, mind and spirit into her sessions, Amy recognizes that the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of a person are important for their well-being and overall health. Amy's recent focus has been on baby boomers and she is committed to helping them realize their challenges with confidence and assurance, transforming their thinking into satisfaction and success.

    Amy is the author of the e-book, Distress-Free Aging: A Boomer's Guide to Creating a Fulfilled and Purposeful Life. The ten strategies outlined offer boomers valuable techniques and tools that change limiting behavior patterns from the past and sets them on a positive momentum towards living their dreams. She offers individual, family and group sessions in her West Palm Beach office and is available for coaching and consultations by phone.

    Contact: (561) 281-2975 or amy@bummedoutboomer.com or visit http://www.bummedoutboomer.com/ for further information.


    Overcoming Adversity: We?re All Heroes

    Who better to talk about adversity than Christopher Reeve? He said, "When the first Superman movie came out I was frequently asked "What is a hero?" My answer was that a hero is someone who commits a courageous action without considering the consequences...Now my definition is completely different. I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."

    Wouldn't it be nice if we can all approach life like that and be able to bring back balance and harmony to our lives? Because we, baby boomers, are being stretched to the limit, as we care for our aging parents, growing children, ourselves and all the challenges in between, it's even more important to know how to handle adversity when it comes knocking at our door.

    For me, it wasn't until I experienced the greatest challenge of my life that I realized how unprepared I was to cope. That time became a dramatic awakening that ultimately led to personal growth and an ongoing spiritual journey of exploration and fulfillment.

    It started in the early part of 1978. My life until then was centered on my new marriage, my work and my circle of friends. My husband and I socialized with a whole entourage of young married couples, some with small children and most without. When I became pregnant in March, it was a true blessing and my life shifted into a new and extraordinary focus. Of course, we planned on having a healthy pregnancy with a natural delivery and we chose a birthing center in New York City to deliver the baby.

    Unfortunately, from the moment I became pregnant I had morning, afternoon and evening sickness. 

    I couldn't wait for the first three months of pregnancy to end, because I believed that my morning sickness would finally subside. But after five months, I was still sick with vomiting and cramping, as well. My baby was growing normally, thank goodness, yet I was feeling worse and worse. The symptoms usually hit me when I least expected it. I would be supermarket shopping and suddenly, I'd double over in pain from severe cramps and intestinal spasms. These bouts were generally followed by intense vomiting and incessant diarrhea.

    Finally, on one of my routine doctor's visits, my OB/GYN advised me to see a gastroenterologist for tests. The results came as a shock during this, my introduction to the miracle of motherhood. I had Crohn's Disease, an inflammation of the intestines, which was considered incurable, highly debilitating, painful and chronic. Although it was not life-threatening, here I was five months pregnant with an incurable disease! My fear of the unknown was my greatest enemy and threat. I didn't know what to expect or how my lifestyle would be changed.

    I cried continuously for three days. Through a twist of fate, I already knew something about Crohn's Disease because my brother-in-law suffered from it. He had endured several operations and had taken numerous drugs to alleviate both his discomfort and prevent subsequent flare-ups. Knowing this scared me even more, since I was concerned that these drugs might harm my unborn child.

    I became so depressed that I couldn't function. I wallowed in my misfortune and submerged myself in sadness for hours on end. I felt I'd been doomed to a lifetime of misery and hopelessness. Fear seemed to rule my life. 

    Fortunately for me, I was surrounded by people who supported and encouraged me. My sister recommended I read, "Three Magic Words" by U.S. Anderson, which explained the Law of Attraction, the concept that we attract into our lives what we put the most attention on. The book explained that we are the creators of our own reality and that by harnessing this knowledge, we can make powerful changes that even create what we most desire. This was a new and profound notion for me to contemplate. Could I, at this crisis point in my life, take charge and turn my life around?

    In desperation, I started meditating to find some answers, as the book suggested. In quiet introspective moments I realized that somehow, in some way, there was a lesson for me to learn from this frightening, challenging experience. I continued meditating daily, disciplining myself to visualize total health, my whole body healed. I began to feel more in control, less like a helpless victim. I started believing I was an important factor in my own healing process. I felt I made a major shift in my perception of the situation and I was able to feel hope and even experience inner peace. With this renewed motivation, I decided to explore alternative treatments and see where it took me. If this didn't work, I would most certainly do the medical route. Fortunately, for me, I didn't have to go there.

    Meditation and visualizations became a big part of my healing process, along with a healthy eating style, and positive attitude. This gave me comfort, reinforcement and a sense of inner calm. I kept my faith through setbacks and discouraging times, because I always knew I was on a perfect path towards my success. It just felt right!

    It's been 28 years and I haven't had any recurring symptoms. I consider this illness a wonderful blessing, because it changed my life and spiritual focus. It sent me on a voyage into the sublime realms of my body, mind and soul. From this crisis, I learned perseverance, faith, love, discipline and commitment. I learned that setbacks do not mean failure, nor do they mean defeat. I learned to believe in myself and to trust my intuitive sense, since my health depended on it. I learned to nurture myself with love and to feel joy and pride in my accomplishments. I especially learned to keep my mind steadfast on the positive and to focus on the end result with determination and conviction.

    The principles I followed 28 years ago, I still use today. I am now confidently experiencing a new career and I am more enthused and excited than ever about my life. I firmly believe that anything is possible with the right direction and the right support. Someone once told me that the difference between "try" and "triumph" is a little "umph" and I think that in order to triumph over adversity, that little push from within is the difference between being a victim or being a victor.

     
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