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.

Miracle: Spirits at Play

            What do you consider a miracle?  What makes you feel awestruck?  Have you ever felt like a loved one was nearby after they had passed on?

            Since my son died over three years ago, I often sense him communicating with me, experiencing a level of serendipity I can only attribute to a thinning of the veil that separates this physical realm from the spiritual one.  Over the years, I have found so many coins, my pennies from heaven, that I’ve realize it belies chance.  Since summer, I found a one-dollar bill literally hanging in a tree and a twenty-dollar bill scrunched up on a sidewalk near my office.  There have been a plethora of other finds that you could read about on other pages.

            A couple months ago, I bought the new iPhone X, a huge mistake since the prices dropped dramatically soon after.  Those of you have purchased this phone know that it comes with a charger cable and ear phones, but not with the needed adaptor which would enable you to plug those ear phones into the phone!  That same adaptor cable enables me to attach my square reader.  I hadn’t even realized I needed such a thing as I began to use my iPhone.  I went out for a walk one day and found a funny white gadget on the ground.  I didn’t realize it was the exact adaptor I was going to need, but I picked it up because it looked like Apple to me!  You might say it was a coincidence, but quite frankly, I don’t believe in coincidences anymore.  I know it was a gift from my son. 

            Then, a week or so ago, it disappeared!  Damn it, Shawheen, give it back already!  He likes to make things disappear to mess with me.  He thinks it’s funny.  He laughs at me a lot, let me tell you!  Thankfully, he doesn’t laugh at me when I’m crying.  He’s actually quite compassionate.  But, when I get angry at him for dematerializing things, he laughs.  So, I hope if I share this story, he’ll give me back the adaptor, and I won’t have to buy one.  You might think I just lost it, but I remember clearly.  I lent it to my son, but I got it back from him and put it “away”.  There have only been two places where I put it, one is a side pocket in my purse.  The other is a small pocket in my briefcase.

            I started this talking about money and I’m coming back to the money thing.  A few days ago, I was at work and I needed that adaptor.  I double checked in that little pocket in my briefcase and it wasn’t there.  Later that day, I looked again as I was leaving work and there was a crisp, five-dollar bill in that little pocket.  I never put money there, only pencils, pens and adaptor cables.  Thanks for the fiver, but could I still have the adaptor back?

            The other thing that has disappeared is my charger cable for my computer.  It is always plugged in at a desk in my back, living room and then one day it wasn’t.  I’m still waiting for Shawheen to give it back…

Depression, Bipolar Disorder or Anxiety: Mood Management Through Meditation

This blog is not meant to be a substitute for professional therapy

            Have you ever had the blues, felt blah and uninterested in things you usually enjoyed, or felt uncomfortably anxious?  Lots of people feel these things, yet our culture teaches us that we should hide behind the “I’m fine” scenario, and we are left to figure it out ourselves. 

In 2015, 16.1 million Americans had had a depressive episode that year, or about 6% of the adult population.  Another 1% of adults experience persistent low-grade depression, 18.1% of adults experience anxiety disorders, and 2.6% experience bipolar disorder.  Add it up!  That’s almost one out of 3 of us who struggle with mood or anxiety, so what do we do about it?

            Many people don’t know what to do. Some of us are fearful of therapy or the stigma of therapy and do our best with help from our friends.  Only a third of the population ask for professional help.  If you struggle with any of these issues, please seek professional help.  If you choose to try some of the ideas set forth in this blog, good for you!  Remember it’s your choice and is more like a self-help book, than actual treatment.  I encourage you to take responsibility for the results of your work!

            In this blog, I’ve talked about a number of research-based methods to help manage mood and anxiety.  Meditation is remarkably effective at helping.  Research has found that meditation has a direct impact on the brain, improving mood, calming anxiety and spreading out the space between bipolar episodes. 

If you’ve never meditated before or have tried and think it’s difficult, I encourage you to reconsider.  Think of meditation as a journey, rather than a destination.  If you can accept that, then you won’t hold a bunch of unrealistic expectations about meditation.  “I’m going to get in an alpha state” or “I’m going to be so calm” may be long term goals but they are probably unrealistic short-term goals.  It is, however, realistic to think “I’m doing something to take care of myself and help my brain function better.”

 I you want to start meditating, the first thing to think of is a quiet space in your day.  Many people start with night time, because they’re going to lay down quietly anyway!  Personally, I don’t think it matters when you meditate, only that you do meditate.  I encourage people to set a goal to meditate once a week for 2-3 minutes.  More often is always optional, but I encourage people to set an easily achievable goal.   This gives you something to feel good about!

There are many free meditations available on youtube, but I recommend googling UCLA MARC as they offer meditation podcasts ranging from 3 minutes to 26 minutes while teaching standardized meditation practices. These are a good place to start! 

Good Luck!  Please like this blog, share it with your friends, follow us, and leave comments.  What would you like me to write more about?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Sizism: Being Negatively Judged Based On Size

A special person started a conversation with me about our culture’s “Fat Phobia”.  This wasn’t new information but it was such a clearly stated perspective that it increased my own awareness that our culture has another “ism” to address when we’re thinkingof prejudice: sizism.  Sizism is found inthe dictionary, yet few people acknowledge this as a prejudicial issue and mycomputer doesn’t even have it in the dictionary!

            There are opportunities for learning in unusual and unexpected places.  There are people who are slender andunhealthy, others who are large or heavy and still healthy.  It’s important to learn not to judge peoplefor their coping strategies as long as they’re not hurting us in the process.

            Another consideration, from a spiritual perspective, is to consider the variety of purposes that we each have in physical form. We all have things to learn here on earth.  For many of us that lesson could be to love ourselvesin any size and to help others learn to love the spirit of the person withoutmaking the package (the body) relevant. These are valuable lessons for many of us, maybe for all of us, myself included.

            Many people struggle with the size and shape of their bodies, whether they are over theiroptimal weight or under their optimal weight. From a spiritual perspective this is an exercise in learning tolove.  We can work on this through lovingkindness meditations or in other ways, remembering that the spirit attached tothe body is a perfect spark of godly energy, no matter what size the packagethat contains it.

            Please like this blog, share it with your friends, follow us, and leave comments.  What would you like me to write more about?  I look forward to hearing from you!

Grief and Spirituality: the intersection

There is an interesting interface between grief and spirituality, perhaps a way for the spirit world to help us through the heart-shattering experience of loss.  How many of you have experienced the death of a loved one?  Of those of you who have, how many have experienced unusual experiences after your loved one died?  What experience did you have and what were your thoughts about how to explain the unusual occurrence?  I would love to have you, readers, share your experiences on this site.  Just click on “comments”, at the top of the page and share your own experiences with us about the spirit world!!

People often say they have an amazing experience after a loved one dies.  Fellow grievers, in a grief group I was in, told me they felt their spouse sit on the bed after the spouse had died.  Janis Heaphy Durham, in her book,

The Hand on the Mirror: A True Story of Life Beyond Death

shares discovering a hand print on her bathroom mirror a year after her husband’s death, along with numerous other miraculous experiences.  They say that around death the “veil”, between the physical realm and the spiritual realm, gets thinner, making it easier for you and I to experience miracles.

            Since my own son died three years ago, I have had a plethora of unusual experiences, that I have no other explanation for other than the spirits created these for me.  I no longer believe in coincidences.  Whenever I try to excuse these unusual experiences as coincidence, they occur less frequently, or stop altogether!  When I believe they are spirit related, they resume or increase…  The frequency with which I find coins, dollar bills, heart shaped rocks, and other appealing things defy the laws of chance, from my perspective.

            Grief isn’t always equally difficult, and perhaps the waves of grief become less intense with time, but they continue, sometimes indefinitely.  Three years ago, my son died to suicide, then my dad died in January and my mother in July.  My parents were due, old enough to have had a good life but it’s still a lot of loss in a short period of time.  The ‘miracles’ continue, if less frequently.

            This last week I had an intense grieving episode and I waited after that for a sign from my son (died 8/15).  I found a penny and that was nice but I desired more.  Grief has a way of blooming a yearning feeling.  I asked my mother to send me a sign (died 7/18) as she hadn’t sent a sign yet.  Then I remembered an incredible dream I had with my dad in it.  There is an older blog about this incredible dream.  I reached out to my dad (died 1/18).  “Dad, send me a hug like the one in the dream!”.  I had been feeling pain in my chest, like anxiety, only I knew it was grief.  Right after this request, I felt a peaceful feeling wash over me from my head to my feet and the pain was gone.  “Thanks dad!”  I thought and saw an image of my father with a broad smile.  The image that came was of him perhaps 30 plus years ago.             

            I was on a walk at the time, near my office on East 14th.  As I arrived at High street, I saw a turkey and then three more.  It struck me that I have never seen turkeys north of 18th before and perhaps this was a sign from my mother, a subtle one, but clearly serendipitous.  Had I ever seen a turkey downtown before this?  No.  So, I accepted that it was unusual and therefore a sign from the spirit world.

            We can think about this from two perspectives.  One option, if one doesn’t believe in a spiritual world, is to consider what your higher self wants you to pay attention to when you have a serendipitous experience, ie, maybe there’s a reason.  From a non-spiritual, perspective the idea is that your higher self is trying to get your attention.  Perhaps your higher self wants you to pay attention to what you were just thinking about or wants to validate that you’re on the right track in life.  The other option, if you are spiritual, is that your guides, or spirits of your loved ones/ancestors, are the instigator of these ideas.

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.

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