Erica L Hernandez

writing and blog about grief and loss, death and beyond, child loss, mood management, bipolar education, and domestic violence, and finding spiritual moments in a crisis.

La Perdida Mas Feo

La Perdida de un hijo es una tristeza que nunca desaparece y que rompe tu Corazon en pedazos que nunca se puede reparar.

 Te sientes triste por la Perdida de alguien que tu amas? Alguien que se murio? Sabes como lidiar con tu tristeza? Sabes que hacer para sentirte mejor? Que haces en esta situacion?

            Esto me paso a mi hace tres anos atras.  Mi hijo de treinta anos fallecio.  Yo no podria creer lo que paso.  El dolor en mi pecho era fuerte.  Tres anos han pasado y en el fin de Agosto viene su cumpleanos y el dia de su muerte. Mis sentimientos empeoran.  Siento que mi cuerpo es pesada.  Me siento mas perdida y triste.

            Yo lo hago frente a mis sentimientos caminando, escribiendo, abrazando mi familia, meditando, y llorando.  El processo del manejo de la tristeza es mucho trabajo y puede llevar muchos anos.

            Despues de su muerte,  yo comienzo a oir mi hijo hablar.  Yo pienso que ‘Estoy imaginando su voz pero no es posible.’  Fueron muchas veces que el interrumpio mis pensamientos para contestarme.  Yo trato de interrumpier mis pensamientos pero no puedo.  Es imposible.  Ese era la razon que era mi hijo.  Yo comienzo a creer que el estaba hablando con migo.

            Otros cosas impresionantes que sucedieron fue que una vez el hace que el salero y el bote de pimienta desaparecieran.  Yo los busque por tres semanas.  No estaba en la mesa, ni en el cabinete de especias, tan poco en los dos estantes donde mi hija pone cosas de la mesa.  Unos dias despues estaban en el mismo estante otra vez.  No estaban por tres semanas y derrepente estaban alli otra vez.  El tazon de azucar desaparecio Tambien por dos semanas.  Y mi esposo tubo que usar un jaro normal porque no lo encontrabamos. 

Una manana yo fui a caminar con con mi hija y nuestra perra.  En nuestro jardin en frente tenemos una mesa.  Ese dia la mesa era vacia como siempre y fuimos para caminar para una hora ariba de la loma.  De regreso, en el centro de la mesa estaba el tazon de azucar!!

            Estas experiencias Y actividades como caminar, meditar, bailar, escribir mis sentimientos, y hablar con otros personas me ayudan a lidiar la tristeza. 

Suicide Risk

            Have you ever known someone who has committed suicide?  Have you ever wondered why someone could be so depressed they would want to die, to commit suicide?  Have you ever suffered the loss of someone you loved, someone who died before their time?  How has it affected you?

Depression can suck the life out of any who suffers from it, while severe versions of depression can kill, or cause the sufferer to commit suicide.  Sadly, those who leave the earth that way don’t realize how much they are loved, cherished, and missed.  It’s so sad to realize that if someone or something could have kept them alive for a few days, maybe they wouldn’t even want to die a few days later, but once they’re gone, it’s too late…

It is likely that every one of you has at least one person in your life who loves and cherishes you.  It may not always seem like it, but even when it doesn’t, it’s still likely to be true.  Since my son suicided three years ago, I have met many people whose child or sibling suicided, and in every case, the surviving family member is crushed, having loved their lost relation deeply.

There are a lot of people in the world who are suffering from grief, depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder, not to mention so many other ways to suffer.  It is possible that every single person on earth is suffering from something.  Each person, each sufferer, each living being, has a unique spark of goodness inside them, a spark of angelic perfection, which they brought with them to the physical plane at the time of their birth.  This spark is always with us and will never leave.  There is always a part of each of us which is perfect, just the way it is.

Some of us get hurt badly in childhood and feel unlovable, unable to trust, unable to connect with another human being.  Some get so hurt in childhood that they act out upon others, hurting other people the way they were hurt, or hurting others even worse.  Even the worst criminal alive started out on earth as an angelic baby, full of that goodness, that spark of perfection.

If you know someone who worries you, talking about suicide, hopelessness, or is giving lots of their things away, call for help!  Cahoots, Eugene, Oregon, is available to do a mental health assessment at someone’s home if they live in Eugene or Springfield, Oregon.  If we are worried about someone, we can call the police and ask for a ‘wellness check’.  Cahoots will go with police back up to the person’s home and do a mental health evaluation to assess for suicidality and a danger to self or others.  If they deem the person a danger, they will take them to the hospital for a second evaluation.  If you’re not in Eugene, Oregon, you can call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or your local police station for help.  It is possible that most places have some service that is similar to what we have in Eugene, Oregon. 

Blessings…  Thank you for visiting this blog!  Thank you for liking us, sharing us with your friends, commenting and sharing your thoughts and opinions or questions, and for following this blog!

Grief and Sadness: keys to ascension

            How do you feel about grieving, crying, letting out sadness and hurt feelings?  I wonder if you believe it’s a sign of weakness?  I wonder if you feel uncomfortable crying?  Do you subscribe to the belief system that grief will resolve itself and you won’t need to cry anymore?  Or do you believe that you only need to recognize that your dead loved one is still available in the spirit world and once you fully accept that you’ll be able to stop grieving? 

            It amazes me how many spiritually evolved people seem to believe that when we cry it lowers our vibrational level moving us in an unhealthy direction.  It astounds me how many mediums including Esther Hicks of Ask and It Is Given, claim that Arch Angels have told them that we only grieve when we focus on what we don’t have, ie our physical loved one.  They suggest that we only need to recognize and fully be aware that our loved one, though physically gone, is still with us spiritually.  There is some truth to that.  When we grieve, our focus may be on the physical loss, but the implication is that it isn’t beneficial to grieve, to cry, to feel the physical loss.

            I’m told differently and I want to share this message with you.  Many of you who have read my blog before or who know me personally, know that my eldest son died of heroin overdose three years ago.  Since then, my channeling skills have increased and I often talk to my son from the spirit world.  I’ve asked him about this message from other mediums and I get a different message.

            Perhaps it’s clear, but I’ll spell it out in case it’s not.  My son struggled with addiction for about four years before he died.  He’d had a hard life of neglect from his father and he struggled with difficult emotions.  He struggled to process them, to deal with them, and to express them.  I believe this is true for anyone who struggles with addiction.

            It is an interesting match, him choosing me to be his mother as I’ve always been able to deal with my feelings, to process my emotions, and to express them.  I had to learn to fit in to society’s unreasonable restriction.  I was always considered “over-sensitive”, when in actuality sensitivity is a spiritual gift.

            When my son passed on, we began talking.  He explained to me that he is now one of my spiritual guides.  He also is benefitting from my grief process.  He explained that as he helps me deal with my grief for my loss of his physical presence, I, in turn, help him learn how to process feelings in the physical world, which he will one day return to and try it again himself.

            He made it very clear that grieving and crying are beneficial emotions that do not lower our vibrational energies, but in actuality help both ourselves and our spirit guides ascend!!  Depression is another story entirely.  When we get depressed, we get stuck in an emotion that we are not processing effectively, and it is due to the lack of effective processing that it lowers our vibrational level. 

            The key to effective grief processing is not to stay there.  We can use children as our model.  They can get very upset, cry intensely, and in a few minutes to an hour, be completely done with the sadness and ready to play.  They naturally understand that sadness needs to be visited temporarily, then set aside for play.  If we can learn from their example, we will process our grief for a period, then leave it for activities that feel good.  We might leave the grief for a hot bath, candle light, meditation, an art project, snuggling, a conversation with a dear friend, some dancing, or any number of joyful activities.  It’s visiting grief, processing it, and leaving it for joyful activities, that make it an effective process and aids in ascension.

            Thank you for visiting this blog!  We love it when you leave comments, like us, share us with your friends, and follow us!  Thanks again!

Spirit dematerializes pack

            Has anyone you love died?  Have you ever had something disappear and then reappear right where you looked for it before?  Have you ever had a strange experience you just couldn’t chalk up to coincidence?  Hover over and click on “comments” to share your experiences with the rest of us or to comment on what is written here.

            My son died three years ago.  It shattered my heart so severely, I don’t think I’ll ever be the same again.  In some ways I’m better now.  I have a clear faith in the spirit world that was shaky before.  I also carry an ache around with me that never goes away for long.  I was at Rainbow Optics today picking up my new lenses and there was a young man in front of me in line.  He looked a little bit like my son, not exactly but similar.  It brought tears to my eyes in public.  People in public don’t take kindly to that.

            Since my son died, I’ve had a lot of strange experiences.  There have been too many for me to find them coincidental.  The most recent was about a week ago.  My fanny pack went missing.  It’s bright red, so it’s hard to lose.  We’d just come back from the beach so I worried I might have left it there after looking in all the usual places.  I usually hang it on a chair or on some hooks by my back door.  It wasn’t in any of those places, so I called the beautiful B n B we stayed in, Ambrosia Gardens.  The owner called me back later to assure me that she hadn’t found it.  I was disappointed since that would have been an easy solution, at least in comparison to reality.

            Reality was my son dematerialized it.  In other words, he made it disappear.  Usually he returns the things he takes, but not always, so I get a little upset when he takes things.  I have an old Iphone-5 that was lost in my daughter’s room and has never reappeared.  It’s been over a year so I don’t have a lot of hope, but it should turn up, theoretically. 

            So, as time passed, I wondered if the fanny pack would turn up.  I went to those hooks by the back door one night to gather my grocery bags to go shopping, and there was the fanny pack!  I’d looked there before and it hadn’t been there, but it had rematerialized there.  Thanks, Shawheen.  Now, can I have the darned phone back, too, please!  And that other thing too!

            Thanks for visiting this site!  Thanks for sharing it with your friends, commenting, asking questions, asking me to write about something in particular, following this site, and liking it!

Treating Depression & Bipolar Disorder Naturally-Balance Your Activities:


Have you ever been depressed? Sad? Bored? Lost interest in previously important activities?  Have you ever been manic? Done too much?  Been excessively busy?  Felt pressured to be busy, then be busier, and then busier still?  How have you handled these moods?  Have you found a way to effectively manage your activity levels?  Have you ever told yourself when you feel blue: ‘I just need to call a friend’?  Or ‘I just need to…’ do some fun activity?

Research shows us that there are very effective ways to manage activity levels. It is clear that when we are depressed we need more activity to feel better, need to socialize more than when we feel good. It takes more activity to get out of a depressed mood than it does to stay out of a depressed mood.  But how much?

Research also shows us that being very busy can bring on or exacerbate a manic mood in people who have Bipolar Disorder.  So, is the key to just do less?  Does it matter the time of day?  How much activity is the right amount?

In decades of depression research done by professionals like Peter Lewinsohn, Paul Rhode, and others, it becomes clear that there is a magic number of activities that helps people get out of depression.  By modifying this information, you can also figure out how much activity will help prevent mania.

If you were to spend a week tracking your mood on a consistent scale, then for another week track your mood and pleasant activities, you could discover your baseline for mood and pleasant activities.  Then, if you have depression, you could begin to increase the number of pleasant activities, thereby increasing your mood.

If you’re manic, you could begin to decrease those activities and potentially you could calm your mood.  Bipolar disorder is more complicated than depression, so more adjustments need to be made.  Mania tends to escalate during the day, so it helps to increase the number of calm activities, like sitting still and watching nature or meditating, and decreasing the number of active activities particularly social activities with more than one other person.  It also helps to do less in the evening and to get active activities out of the way in the morning or early afternoon.

Give it a try!  In time you can figure out how many activities are ideal for you. I will load a mood chart developed by researchers at Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, Oregon. To use this chart effectively, the first step is to anchor the 1 and 7 of the mood-scale.  For example, for your lowest mood, your one, what is the worst you have ever felt?  At the bottom of the chart, write your example next to the one.  This is what one equals.  When you chart a one, you feel that bad.  It doesn’t have to be the same event, just the same feeling.  Then do the same for the seven.  What is the best you’ve ever felt?  Write that example next to the seven at the bottom of the chart. If you chart a seven you feel that good. Then notice that four is right in the middle, so if you chart a four, you don’t feel down or sad and you don’t feel up or happy, just neutral.

For the first week, just chart your mood each day at the end of the day with a number equaling your average mood for the day.  During this week, also begin to brainstorm pleasant activities, things you either enjoy doing or feel satisfied because they are done.  These include social activities you do with friends or on the phone.  They include hobbies, chores, and other activities you do alone.  They also might include relaxing activities like meditation, relaxation, or just sitting and watching the river go by, watching squirrels playing and so on.  Brainstorm at least twenty activities which are accessible to you.  Feel free to add activities you think of later.

Next begin charting your mood at the end of the day and counting/charting the number of pleasant activities you did.  Some find it helpful to also track which activities they did.  I recommend people who want to do that to write the number of the activity up the arm of the pleasant activity box.

The third week you will add up all your mood numbers, divide by the number of days, and find the average mood.  You will do the same thing for the pleasant activities.  Now you know how many activities it takes on average to have this mood.  Do you like this mood?  Or would you rather increase it?  Or decrease it?

To increase it, try to add one pleasant activity per day.  It’s important not to add more than one activity at a time.  You want to make realistic changes.  You can always add more later after you see how adding one activity impacts your mood. To decrease your mood if you are manicy, subtract one or at least reduce the ones in the evening.  It can also be helpful to think about which activities you do that have a high impact on your mood.  These are the activities which you enjoy so much, you lose track of time. For everyone this can be a different thing.  For one it could be hanging out with your best friend, for another it could be dancing, singing, knitting, or making love.  Think about the things that make you laugh!  Increase these activities for an improved mood.

Good luck!

Thanks for visiting this site!  Thanks for sharing it with your friends, commenting on it, liking it, and following it. Feel free to ask questions to clarify anything written here or ask me to write on a subject you are interested in. I love hearing from you on this site!

Homeless People: Human, Decent, Compassionate


How do you feel when you pass a homeless person on the street?  Have you ever felt scared around a homeless person?  Do you wonder how someone ends up homeless or why they stay that way?

I don’t have all the answers but I do have a story. I am a regular runner, at least on the weekends.  During my forays along the Fern Ridge path, I have met a number of homeless people, passed out food, hats and gloves, blankets and sleeping bags.

One particular gentleman comes to mind and I’d like to share what I know about his story.  He’s a tall man, with longish brown, curly hair, a beard and mustache. When I run on the bike path, I go with my dog, and I find the homeless people to be very friendly.  They are often animal lovers and this man, I’ll call him John (fictitious name) was no exception.  Many weekends went by with me saying hello to John and him to me, sometimes John would ask to pet my dog, and at one point, we exchanged names.

It became clear to me, over time, that he didn’t appear to be under the influence and he came across as a gentle man or a gentleman, both accurate.  He simply didn’t have any permanent shelter.  I find this to be quite common as I talk to the homeless population. They’re nice people, down on their luck, sometimes addicts, and have always been friendly to me and my dog, Mia.

Eventually I stopped to talk to him.  I asked him what happened that he ended up homeless. He explained that he used to work in a florist shop.  At some point after some years of working there, he got sick and lost his job.  It was much later that I learned he has schizophrenia (more on that later).  He told me that his boss had offered him the job back, but there were stipulations that he couldn’t commit to.  I believe his illness interfered with his ability to meet those commitments. Because of that he stayed homeless. He couldn’t get or keep a job.  He couldn’t remain consistent enough to save up a first, last, and deposit to get an apartment with his social security.

I asked him about staying in temporary shelters.  He told me he liked living on the street. He didn’t like being in shelters around all the chaos there.  It stressed him out.  He also told me he was following in Jesus’ footsteps.  “Jesus didn’t live in a house”.  He explained that he believed he might be a prophet and he needed to spread the word of God.  He actually knew a surprising amount about the bible, Jesus, and God.  I have to admit, however, that this was my first clue that he had a mental illness.

After that day we talked when we saw each other when I was running.  He told me “You’re the first person who has treated me like a man!”  I said, “No, I am treating you like a human being.”

Another time I gave him old boots of my husbands, food, an old bicycle, and a sleeping bag.

Another time a friend and I gave him a fleece blanket.

He told me that every time he gets picked up by the police for loitering or camping in an “illegal” location, he loses all his belongings. He loses his sleeping bag, bike, tarp, everything that keeps him warm.  This is true of all homeless people.  It is astounding and saddening.

One day, he disappeared and I didn’t see him for a long time.  I got a call at my office from a probation officer, who told me they had filed a protection order for me!!  I was surprised.  He said this man had been in the psychiatric hospital, had schizophrenia (or was it schizoaffective disorder?) and he had claimed that Jesus told him he was to marry me. This is interesting because it is so classic of a delusion to have a thread of a connection to reality.  He had met me.  I had been nice.  He knew my name.  End of story. The rest was delusion.  It wasn’t threatening and I was surprised that they could file this paperwork without me being a part of it.

Later I saw this man on the bike path again.  He yelled at me several times “I love you!” I didn’t feel comfortable with that. But, honestly, he never threatened me in any way.

Lots of people are sick.  Few people are threatening.  Homeless people are people too, good, decent, compassionate people.

Thank you for visiting this blog, for following it, for sharing it with your friends, for any comments you leave or questions you ask, for liking it.  Thank you!

Spirit tricks: File Box Fiasco


Have you ever gone through a particularly difficult time, a death, a loss, an injury, and wished for your spirit guides to be there to help you?  Have you ever longed for a miracle?  Have you ever felt intense sadness?  Have you ever struggled to just get through the next few minutes or hour?  How did you get through?  What helped you cope?  What miracle have you experienced?  Would you share with us here?

This last week has been difficult for me as the anniversary of my son’s death passed, his birthday passed with no son to celebrate it with, and while my sadness intensified there was no one who knew him that I could share stories with.  I went for a walk to try to process through the grief, picked up soft turkey feathers and wished for a miracle, but nothing happened.  The feathers are nice, but I was hoping for something more, something astonishing.

I came back from that walk, carrying my grief with me like a heavy suitcase, weighing me down, tiring me, making me feel heavy.  I had made it clear to my thirteen-year-old that it was his night to cook.  He had the ground lamb out, waiting for the recipe, so I got my recipe box out of the cupboard, reaching for the L’s.  “They’re backwards!”  I thought maybe not, maybe I just need to turn the box around. I tried that.  Then all the recipes started from Z and went to A. That would never do.  It would drive me crazy.  They hadn’t been like this before, but A to Z they were all backwards.

“This isn’t funny, Shawheen!”  I said irritably.  “If this is your miracle, it’s not funny!”  I felt irritable with my grief. I started turning each letter and their recipes around the right way so I could see them A to Z.

I get this hazy image of Shawheen in my mind, his bright brown eyes, laughing smile, his one raised eyebrow.  “You just don’t have a good sense of humor!”  He says to me and HE’S laughing.

At the time I was irritated.  Now I get the humor.  I got my miracle that day.  I just didn’t like it very much!


Homelessness: It’s not their fault!


Have you ever been concerned about homelessness?  Have you ever wanted to help those in need, but didn’t know how?  Have you ever been in need and couldn’t find help? Have you ever wanted to donate food or clothes so those who needed them could get them for free?  What are your thoughts, ideas, concerns, or feelings about people in need?  Please read on and share your thoughts on this site.

Ever since I’ve been an adult, I’ve been aware of homelessness.  I don’t remember what I thought about it when I was a young adult, but I do remember not being a patriotic “American”.  I moved to Finland when I was 26 years old, pregnant with my second child, and looking forward to living in a country which would enable me to stay home to care for my son.  It was a beautiful experience to be pregnant, taking care of my five-year-old son, my body, and my upcoming baby without worry of having to return to work.  It was noticeable there in Jarvenpaa, Finland and then in Kerava, Finland, that homelessness was nonexistent.  When I was there over twenty years ago, they provided unemployment money to me even though I had never worked there.  Then I got other benefits to survive on after the birth of my son.  Everyone who needed them, got benefits to have housing, food, medical care and other basic necessities.  No one seemed to do without.  The only time I ever saw a homeless person was someone drunk.  Even those people were taken to jail, given shelter, and released in the morning.  They, too, could have gotten benefits, been housed, and fed.

I worked for the VA clinic in graduate school some twenty years ago, and there I worked with the homeless population directly.  I learned then something that was no surprise, they’re people just like you and me, down on their luck, often with mental health diagnoses which make it difficult for them to maintain work and housing.

After graduate school, I began working as a social worker or therapist and sometimes my clients were homeless.  They were and are great people, nice, friendly, human, real, and struggling.  I still really enjoy working with the homeless population and am grateful I am able to be contracted with the Oregon Health Plan because this contract enables me to work with the people who need it the most.

I’ve enjoyed the opportunities to work with people without permanent homes, to cook food for them, donate clothes, or provide other resources that I have and don’t need, which they need and don’t have.  This kind of work feels right, good, it bring peace.

I recently learned about an amazing organization, trying to do this as a group, rather than alone, like I’ve been trying to do it.  They’re called Share Fair, a neighborhood anarchist collective. In their words: The purpose of the share fair is to connect people with resources, services, and each other in a convenient and fun way.  I’ve contacted Share Fair and plan to gather items together to donate, food, toiletries, clothes etc.  I even hope to provide cooked food sometimes so those folks without kitchens can access food in another location.  I encourage you to consider contacting me or Share Fair to donate resources that you have in excess to help people who don’t have enough!  If you don’t live in Eugene, Oregon, I encourage you to seek out your local Saint Vincent de Paul, Soup Kitchen, or other organization which helps the homeless.  Good luck with your good Samaritan activities!

Thank you for visiting, for following this site, commenting on this blog, sharing it with your friends, and returning to visit again!


Research: Dark Therapy for Bipolar Disorder: An Effective Treatment in an Outpatient Setting?


Dark Therapy: An Effective Treatment in an Outpatient Setting?

Erica L Freeman, LCSW

Correspondence concerning this paper should be addressed to Erica L Freeman, LCSW

Full text article available for $29.00

1400 High St Ste C-1, Eugene, OR 97401. Contact:


Objectives:  This paper explores dark therapy for Bipolar Disorder outpatient.  Amber lenses (AL) block blue light to a retinol photoreceptor in the eye, simulating darkness for the brain (dark therapy).  The fibers of this photoreceptor connect to the biological clock region of the hypothalamus.


Methods:  The writer documents outpatient dark therapy research for Bipolar Disorder.  Patient used AL for eighteen months from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m, when not sleeping.  She continued her prescribed medication.  Patient tracked her symptoms for thirty months1.  The tracker reviews her changes in symptoms and medication.


Results:  First patient tracked symptoms without AL, then with AL.  Patient terminated medication with a score of six at treatment conclusion, ie relative stability


Conclusions:  This research shows that AL is a treatment option for Bipolar I Disorder outpatient for some patients.  This area of treatment is groundbreaking and more research is needed.

Pennies {Really Come} From Heaven

Grief is complicated, challenging to recognize in all it’s unusual manifestations, difficult to express in a culture unwilling to see it, and unpleasant to work through alone.

My son died about three years ago and both my parents passed this year, my mother just a month ago.  I find myself tired in the evenings and I’m not usually a tired person. I tend towards energy normally, so this is noticeably different for me.  I realized today that my mother was always around in the evening, helping with dinner and cleaning up the kitchen.  She’s not here now so cooking and clean up involve more alone time, or more pushing preadolescents into doing something they don’t want to do, which is rarely a pleasure.

Over the last month I have found coins or money 13 days out of 30.  If I add feathers to the list of finds, that number grows.  This, I believe, is too much to be coincidence.  These “pennies from heaven” have been so commonplace in my life since my son died three years ago that it’s no surprise anymore and I believe it has gone beyond serendipitous.

At one point after my son died, while suffering with my grief, I began convincing myself that everyone finds coins, even strings of three in a row, that this experience was nothing unusual, and I should quit attributing it to spirit.  After that I went through two to three months without finding any coins.  At some point, I recognized this dearth of coin-finds as the stark change that it was, recognized they were, indeed spirit gifts, and lo-and-behold, those coins began reappearing.

It has become a clear sign that the spirit world is with me, my guides are with me, my son is with me and now my parents are too. I have found so many coins in the last three years that I have a basket and a dish for them and most of my coat pockets have them too.  When I go for walks, I feel them in my pockets, and I know even on the days I don’t find coins, that I will find them on another day.  When I have evenings of harsh grief, I often have a walk the next day that uncovers coins.

I began tracking it on paper for the research aspect and discovered how frequent it really is.  Coins are everywhere, are a joy to find, and a clear message now that the spirit world is available, accessible, and attainable!

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