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.

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Spirit pranks, things missing and reappearing

Yesterday, I brought my computer home in my briefcase just like any other day.  This morning it was gone.  I looked everywhere for it and decided perhaps I had left it at work, although I didn’t really think so.  I remember going to the bathroom before I left for work to brush my hair and noticing that my husband hadn’t made his side of the bed.  I was aware of the empty space where he sleeps.  It was an unusual morning because generally I take the kids to school and my husband leaves later than me.  This morning he took the kids to school so I had a quiet house.

When I arrived at work, there was no computer.  I got a little stressed about it and then decided that one of my kids had probably snuck off to their room with it and didn’t dare tell me.

When I got home, I checked each kid’s room, nothing.  I looked in my bedroom, even under the bed, nothing.  I even looked in the bathroom!  I doubt I have ever used it there, but I looked anyway.  I looked under the furniture in the living room.  I recruited my kids to look.  I began to get frantic since all my work stuff is on the computer, my book, half way into the second draft is there, not to mention other important documents.  It also contains my work files which include some that are HIPPAA protected.  Losing the computer could be a problem for my licensure.  I was getting loud with worry.  I went back to my bedroom and something told me to open my husband’s side of the bed.  Perhaps subconsciously I remembered that it hadn’t been made this morning, yet it was neatly made now…  Lo and behold, there was my computer IN OUR BED!

I had begun to wonder if Shawheen, my deceased son, took the computer and now it was obvious.  “Thanks, Shawheen!”  I took the computer to the desk where I charge it.  I still didn’t have the charger cable and it wasn’t there.  I wasn’t concerned since I could replace it if I had to.

A little after dinner, my daughter came to find me in the bedroom. “I think your charger cable is on the computer desk.”  She said, casually.

“But I was just there putting the computer away and it wasn’t there.  Are you sure it’s not the other one?”

“Well, I don’t think so…”

I went to check.  I figured she got it mixed up with the other computer, but when I got there, my computer was at an angle like there was something under it.  My other computer was plugged in to its charger.  When I lifted up my computer, there was its charger, underneath it.  There was no way I could have missed it before.

Thanks, Shawheen!’ I thought to myself.  ‘I got the message!  You want me to get off my computer and do something else!’  So, that evening I crocheted peacefully!  I realized later he also didn’t want his pranks to cause my any anguish.

Spirit gifts, miraculous appearances

I took some time off during the winter break, to spend with my children, relax, and get away to nature.  I have some vitamins I take regularly because they help me sleep, and I realized I was running low on them and should order more, but I was busy preparing the big meal for Christmas, and didn’t do it.  I remember taking the last one and thinking, ‘I’ve got to order more of these.’ And still didn’t do it.

Then, I was packing to go stay in a cabin for a few days where we could play in the snow, go cross country skiing, and build snowmen.  I told myself I would stop at Bi-mart on the way out of town and buy some there.
I got half way to the snow and realized I hadn’t stopped to buy them.   I then told myself I would ask my son, who was coming to join us in the snow, to pick some up on the way.

I slept poorly that night in the snow.  I had forgotten a second vitamin and managed to remember to ask him to bring the second one, but still forgot to ask him to buy the first one.  I felt like kicking myself when he arrived and I realized I hadn’t asked him to stop and buy that vitamin.  I wouldn’t be able to order any while I was gone because the internet was too weak out there.  We could text, but no internet, and no phone calls.

We had a great time out in the snow, even with less sleep than usual.  It was rustic, quiet, and alive with nature sounds.  Out back was the creek, nearly a river, gurgling as it raced by.  In front and to the sides were trees and snow, the nearest neighbors probably a hundred yards away at least.

We are always glad to get home again, to our beds, to our animals, and to our comforts, though.  I was putting everything away, thinking that right afterwards I would order vitamins, when, lo and behold, I found a bottle of the vitamins.  They hadn’t been there when I left and they were not the brand I regularly ordered.  They were not even the size I usually ordered.  This was a better quality, more expensive brand, with fewer gel-caps to the bottle.  My husband had gone to L.A. and hadn’t returned yet and no one had been staying in the house while we were gone.  The only person I could think of who could have provided me with the vitamin I had been thinking about, was the one person I love who does not exist in the physical world, my deceased son.  He has given me so many gifts.

When I thought of him, and thanked him for the vitamins, I saw an image of him in my mind’s eye, with this seventeenth century outfit on.  He touches his cap, bows his head slightly, and puts his heal forward.  It’s a sort of an ‘at your service’ pose…

Spirit pranks, missing items, things reappearing

Yesterday, I brought my computer home in my briefcase just like any other day.

This morning it was gone.  I looked everywhere for it and decided perhaps I had left it at work, although I didn’t really think so.  I remember going to the bathroom before I left for work to brush my hair and noticing that my husband hadn’t made his side of the bed.  I was aware of the empty space where he sleeps.  It was an unusual morning because generally I take the kids to school and my husband leaves later than me.  This morning he took the kids to school so I a quiet house.

When I arrived at work, there was no computer.  I got a little stressed about it and then decided that one of my kids had probably snuck off to their room with it and didn’t dare tell me.

When I got home, I checked each kid’s room, nothing.  I looked in my bedroom, even under the bed, nothing.  I even looked in the bathroom!  I doubt I have ever used it there, but I looked anyway.  I looked under the furniture in the living room.  I recruited my kids to look.  I began to get frantic since all my work stuff is on the computer, my book, half way into the second draft is there, not to mention other important documents.  It also contains my work files which include some that are HIPPAA protected.  Losing the computer could be a problem for my licensure.  I was getting loud with worry.  I went back to my bedroom and something made me open my husband’s side of the bed.  Perhaps subconsciously I realized that it hadn’t been made this morning.  Lo and behold, there was my computer IN OUR BED!

I had begun to wonder if Shawheen, my deceased son, took the computer and now it was obvious.  “Thanks, Shawheen!”  I took the computer to the desk where I charge it.  I still didn’t have the charger cable and it wasn’t there.  I wasn’t concerned since I could replace it if I had to.

A little after dinner, my daughter came to find me in the bedroom.

“I think your charger cable is on the computer desk.”  She said,casually.

“But I was just there putting the computer away and it wasn’t there.  Are you sure it’s not the other one?”

“Well, I don’t think so…”

I went to check.  I figured she got it mixed up with the other computer, but when I got there, my computer was at an angle like there was something under it.  My other computer was plugged in to its charger.  When I lifted up my computer, there was its charger, underneath it.  There was no way I could have missed it before.

Thanks, Shawheen!’ I thought to myself.  ‘I got the message!  You want me to get off my computer and do something else!’  So, that evening I crocheted peacefully!  I realized later he also didn’t want his pranks to cause my any anguish.

Talking to ghosts

How many of you, out there, fear ghosts?  How many have negative thoughts or feelings when the word: ghost, pops up?  I wonder what the difference is between a ghost, and an angel?  Isn’t a ghost just a spirit, which is tied to the physical plane for some reason?  Aren’t they tied here, to the grief of a loved one, or by their lack of knowledge of a better place?  Isn’t an angel just a spirit which is aware of their ‘spirit-ness’?  Isn’t an angel just a spirit which has passed on, to the spiritual plane?

With the Winter holiday behind us, and having enjoyed mine immensely, I wonder how many of you out there, enjoyed yours?  Did any of you experience any miracles or anything that amazed you?  I would like to share part of my holiday with you, the part which so beautifully amazed me.

I went with my children to a cabin in the snow, one with no electricity and no plumbing, to rough it.  When we arrived, it was very cold, well below zero, and quite possibly as cold indoors.  I got a fire going in the wood stove and, while we skied and I ran in, then out to keep that fire going, it gradually warmed up.

I’ve never had to keep a fire going during the night,

and discovered around two a.m. that I didn’t have the knowledge to do that.  It was out and I had to start it again.  “Mommy…” While I was building the fire, I heard a crisp, childlike voice.  I looked for my daughter, thinking it was her, and realized she was sound asleep, in the wrong direction, and that she is older than the voice sounded.

Once I was back in my sleeping bag, snuggled in and getting warm, I heard three, very clear, musical notes, as if being played on a piano.  It might have been one measure.  Of course, there was no piano in the cabin, nor was anyone else awake.

I figured it had to be a ghost.  ‘That’s beautiful, thank you!  I am glad to have your company!’ I thought out to whatever it was.

I sensed a great joy in return.  ‘No one ever pays attention to me when I play!’ I thought I sensed in response.

I tried to relax but I was wide awake with this new experience.  After a while I heard more music, two measures maybe.  It was very peaceful, relaxing music.  ‘That’s lovely!’  I thought out again.

‘Maybe I’ll play some more!’ I sensed in response.  I sensed a feminine energy, young and joyful.  She didn’t play right away.  I meditated and got out of my bag to add more wood to the fire.

I stayed awake for a while.  I got the fire roaring, yet I continued to feel wide awake.

Around five a.m., I had almost given up going back to sleep, yet I decided to meditate one more time.  The music started again.  It repeated over and over again, lulling me back to sleep.

I woke briefly at seven a.m., hearing it again briefly, then sleeping again.

During the night, I texted a friend of mine who I know works nights and wouldn’t be disturbed.  He is a medium and I asked him if he could reach out to this spirit.  He shared that she had had some kind of accident, probably in the 30’s or 40’s.

During the day, I tried to reach out to her.  She told me her name is Jeannie, she’s five, almost six.  ‘I am NOT dead!!’ she insisted.  She told me she came with her parents to look at the land here so they could build a house, but after she fell in the river, they decided not to buy.  I tried to talk to her about a less physical area where she could go and find her parents and others, who, like her, were less physical than I.  She seemed more comfortable with that explanation, than with the idea that she was dead!  She did not, however, agree to go.

That night my adult son and his girlfriend came to stay with us.  They slept up in the loft.  I woke up at seven a.m. to a more complicated version of the music, with trills.  I noticed my twelve-year-old was awake.

“Did you hear that?”  I asked him.

“It was just an alarm.” He told me.  I didn’t believe it.  His iPad was next to me so I picked it up and checked it.  It had no alarms set, none.

Later he showed me an alarm which played the same music, but in a different order.  Maybe the ghost used the iPad to play the music.  When my adult son and his girlfriend woke up, I asked them if they had heard it.  My son hadn’t, but his girlfriend had.

Roughing it, skiing, and having my family there to play with in the snow made it special there.  Jeannie added an element of mystery!  She is a wonderful example of a joyous ghost.

When I got home, the ghost in my own house was angry when I went to bed.  It was about 10:30 and something banged above me.  There is no upstairs above me, so I thought it must be her.  She’s been here for years now.  I walked in my bedroom, thinking that it must be her and I looked at my clock: 2:22, then at my husband’s clock: 2:22.  I did a double take because they are usually 3-5 minutes off and because all those twos were very noticeable.  I got the message from my guides that my thought: ghost, was correct.

It wasn’t until the next day that I realized it was 10:30 ish when those clocks both said 2:22!!

I thought to her, ‘what’s got you all upset?’

‘Nobody ever pays any attention to me!’

‘Well, I’m paying attention.  Is there anything you need to talk about?’

‘I’m just lonely.’ She shared.

‘Well, you’ve got my company whenever you need it.’  After that her banging stopped and I was able to go to sleep.  She just needed to be heard, like many of us physical beings.  Then she calmed right down.  So, even angry ghosts can be calmed, with a caring heart!!

 

Crying, a sign of safety?

Vulnerable feelings:  When can we lift the taboo?

What does our culture say about the acceptability of tears in public?  What about anger as in aggressive voice tone, loudness, or yelling?  It is my impression that anger is more acceptable than sadness.

Have you ever seen someone crying, then immediately commit a violent act?  I haven’t either.  But, what about someone with aggressive voice tone or yelling, who then commits a violent act?  That happens, huh?

So, this is my concern about our culture.  We tolerate anger, then we’re shocked when multiple people are killed or injured in school shootings.  If only they could cry, maybe they wouldn’t shoot!

Friday, on my way to work, I stopped at a stop sign, and noticed a person laying on the side walk on the frosty ground.  ‘Weird!’ I thought to myself.  I opened the window, “Are you hurt?”  I asked.

“No, just adjusting and cold.”  She said, sitting up.

I started to drive off, and she put her head in her hands and began to cry.  I immediately reversed, pulled over, and got out of the car.  I went to her, touched her back and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“My boyfriend and I had a really bad fight.  He stopped the car.  I got out and he drove away.  I have asked ten or eleven people to use their phones and no one would let me!”  Wow!  What is our world coming to?

“Would you like to use mine?”  I asked, “Or would you like a ride somewhere?”  I was lucky it was a Friday on Christmas vacation for my kids, because I didn’t have to rush to get to work on time.  Fridays are more flexible for me.

Her tears stopped and she smiled, finally.  “I’d love a ride.  Are you sure?  I’m so cold.”  I realized that she only had a thin fleece jacket on. It had been twenty -eight degrees Fahrenheit when I had looked at the thermometer before I left the house.

“I’m sure.”  She got up as I led her to meet my dog in the back seat.   I then got her settled in front and showed her how to turn on the in-seat heaters.

We did our morning ritual, me and my kids, of listing things we are grateful for.  “That’s beautiful!”  She said.

I realized as I dropped her off that I had known she would be safe to pick up, even though my kids were in the car, because she had been crying…

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Natural, Nutritional Mood Management

Natural, nutritional mood management for people with depression, bipolar disorders, and anxiety disorders.

Having worked as a Psychotherapist for about two decades, I have been surprised by how many people I talk to suffer with depression or Bipolar Disorder as well as eating regular meals.  When you talk to people, read memoirs, and read the research, it is clear that when people miss meals, they suffer more symptoms of the mood they struggle with than when they eat a meal.

People with Bipolar Disorder and perhaps depression too, find that if they don’t eat, they escalate.  In other words, they experience more symptoms or their symptoms worsen.  Often people don’t realize how much worse they feel when they miss a meal.  Even a protein shake is better than no meal at all.  Even a handful of nuts, or a yogurt would be something easy to feed the body.

So, if you or someone you love has mood instability, eat!  Or feed them, for something as simple as food can make a big difference.

Is all food equal?  No, of course not.  But almost anything is better than nothing.

Now, when you’re ready to improve your nutrition there are some simple things that can make a big difference.  Start by reducing or eliminating refined sugars, alcohol, and caffeine.  Next change from white grains to whole grains.  Then increase vegetables and proteins.  Lastly, one might consider a reduction in grains.  One might also switch from white or red potatoes to blue potatoes or purple potatoes.  They have significantly less carbs and a lot more antioxidants.

So, EAT!  And ENJOY your food!  Food is good and healthy too!

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Understanding space time continuum from a spiritual perspective

Winter brings all kinds of unexpected surprises, some wonderful, some challenging, many are likely both! This winter brings upcoming death and a message from the spirit world together, to help me understand the space time continuum from the spiritual perspective.

My father is an old man, 90 years old this last summer, and he has Alzheimer’s disease.  He’s been trucking along, moderately okay, considering everything, until this last week.  My mother called me one night, “Your father’s been on the floor since 6:30pm at least.  That was when I found him.  Can you guys come over and help get him up?”  It was almost 9:00 p.m., so, of course, we did.  He was in much more pain than usual and couldn’t get up or to the bathroom without one of us on either side of him.  The next morning, I went over before work to check on him, got him up and walking, and basically made sure that he was okay.  I got my mother to make a doctor’s appointment just to be on the safe side.

A couple days later, I stopped by again, and learned from their caregiver that my father had not recognized my mother that morning.  He knew he was married and knew her name, but he did not recognize her face.

That afternoon, his doctor had him hospitalized.  It turned out he was very dehydrated and his kidneys weren’t functioning properly as a result.  His doctor was kind enough to call.  He told me he thought my dad might be in end-stage Alzheimer’s and that he might qualify for hospice.

I knew it would be a gift to my father to die.  He doesn’t have much of a life here with Alzheimer’s.  He doesn’t believe in an afterlife, so I ponder what that must be like for him, to be dying, and believe you’re just going to end up being compost.

I reached out to Shawheen, as my son, and having passed over, as one of my spirit guides, if you believe in such things.  ‘Be there for him, Shawheen, he needs you.’

‘Of course, I’ll be there for him.’ I sensed him saying in my head.  He must have sensed my quiet concern in the background of my mind that he would not be available for me when I needed him if he was there for my dad, because then I sensed, ‘I can be there for both of you, Mom, don’t worry.  It’s like you are side by side for me.  Spatial boundaries are different for us.  From my perspective, there isn’t the same space between you, as there is for you.  I can spread out my energy and be with both of you.  It feels to me like you are side by side.  It’s like that with time also.  I can sense all time, at the same time.  I don’t see past, present, and future like you do.  I see it all.  It makes it harder for us to help you all understand the ‘when’ of something.  It can make it hard for us to make something happen for you in the time frame you are hoping for because time doesn’t exist for us like it does for you.  So, I’ll be there for both of you, at the same time.  You’ll never miss me!’

So, having my father in the hospital has been an unexpected surprise and it is certainly challenging.  There have been wonderful parts also.  My father is now hydrated and doesn’t need hospice yet.  He’ll get home health services.  I’ve also learned more about the spirit world.  That is a miracle and I wanted to share it with you!

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Shawheen Shomloo, happy memories

(Written by his 12 year old brother)

He would be 32.   He was old enough that he could have been my dad.  He used to take care of me and my sister in the summers.  He spent too much money on us, taking us out for hamburgers, waffles, and to the movies.  He used to hang us upside down and swing us around in circles until we were dizzy!

He got excited about lots of things.  He came to the house once and showed us how he could balance on his fixed speed bike and was on the life cycle racing team.  He got really excited about his new tattoos.  He was accepted to medical school and was jazzed about going.

He was obsessed with his abdominal muscles and loved accessing nature.  He hiked in cascade locks and took pictures there.  He used to read us silly books and he used goofy voices!  He was so much fun!

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Spiritual meanings in finding coins

What are the odds of finding coins on the street?  What is the spiritual message if you find pennies, nickels, dimes, or quarters?  What is the meaning behind finding coins three different days in the same week?

You’ve heard the idiom: ‘like pennies from heaven’.  Do you believe they’re pennies from heaven?  I’m not here to convince you, only to share my experience.

Before my beloved son, Shawheen, died two years ago, I found coins rarely and believed it was coincidence or luck, but nothing more.  Now I believe they are coins from heaven, or from Shawheen more accurately.  Shawheen has become one of my guides, spirit guides, if you believe in such things.  I have seven guides.  Shawheen is one of a group.

Last Monday, I left my office as I finished up for the day, and walking outside with a client, I found three pennies in a row along the walkway on the third floor of my building.  I picked up one, and encouraged her to pick up the other two.  Three has been a common number with him and I and it crossed my mind right away.  I thanked him in my mind.

Tuesday, I was taking a walk with my dog during my work day.  I found a nickel in the grass to my right.  It was a little muddy but that doesn’t bother me.  Again, I thanked my guides, Shawheen in particular and continued walking.

Thursday, I was out walking, and found a penny.  Now the nickel and the penny didn’t come in threes but they did contribute to three days in one week of finding coins!  They say that ‘pennies from heaven’ are a sign from the spirit world that they are with you and/or that you are on the right track.  I know they are with me, but that doesn’t stop them from reminding me.  Letting me know I am on the right track is nice too.

If you consider these ideas within the realm of your belief systems, then I wanted to share these experiences with you to remind you that when you find a coin, feather, or some other nice thing, it may be your guides letting you know they’re there and want to encourage you that you are on the right track.  They also may send you a bird, animal, butterfly, or any other sign that is meaningful to you.  Be open!  Allow it!  Accept it!  These are your spirit gifts.

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Managing Bipolar disorder with nutrition, possibly depression too!

Nutritional tools for managing mood!

I work with a lot of people with depression or bipolar disorder.  One of my clients was referred to me by another practitioner.    She came to me to help her determine if she really had bipolar disorder and to help her with natural approaches to stabilize the moods.

It didn’t take long to determine that she definitely had bipolar disorder.  She told me that a number of years ago she had been taking two medications and didn’t like the side effects.  She also struggled with obesity and body aches and had for a long time.  She decided to try the Adkins diet.

My understanding is that both the Adkins diet and the Paleo diet are Ketogenic diets, recommending low carbs.  This means that the person on the diet eats 0 sugars, 0 grains, and very little fruit.  They eat mostly meat and vegetables.  The Paleo diet recommends no dairy.  The Adkins starts with a ketogenic diet and then gradually increases carbs.

This woman explained that within a month of being on that diet she started losing weight.  Within 2-3 months she noticed she wasn’t crying every morning.  Previously her crying had been a part of her daily life, even on an antidepressant and a mood stabilizer.  She started to feel better and began to reduce her medication.  Within five months, she realized that she had plateaued and was not losing weight, still had body aches, and still wasn’t feeling good emotionally, although she felt better than she had prior to the diet.

She reports that someone suggested she was eating too few carbs.  She tried a slice of bread in the morning and began crying daily again.  She switched it to a potato and the tears stopped.  She desired more improvement as she still had body pains.

She switched to a 0-carb diet, meaning all meat and fat.  On this diet, all her aches and pains went away.  Her mood stabilized and she continued to go off her medication and has been able to stay off.

Before I met her, I never would have believed an all meat diet could be healthy.  I didn’t even believe in the 0 grain diets.  I believed that people just needed to cut out white grains.  I can acknowledge here that I make mistakes and lack knowledge about some subjects!

So, I began collecting research.  I trust my client’s intelligence and her ability to know her own body.  I don’t think the same diet/nutritional lifestyle is right for everyone.  I would not suggest you go out and try an all meat diet.

However, I uncovered some really interesting research, thanks to this client.  There is a doctor who writes a blog called Diagnosis: Diet.  She writes about some research she did with a couple of her clients.  This is not a random, placebo controlled, double blind study.  It is none of those things, but it is impressive and worth experimenting with.  She had many clients with Schizoaffective Disorder.  This diagnosis has a bipolar mood component.  Two of these folks had been on 17 different medications, were still disabled, lived at home, were unable to work or go to school, and could not maintain relationships.  The doctor encouraged them to try a Ketogenic diet (under 20 carbs usually), very similar to Adkins or Paleo.  Within a relatively short period of time (a couple months or so), their symptoms reduced by half or more, they were able to move out, live independently, and have relationships.  One went back to school.  The results were life changing for these clients.  When they reintroduced more carbs, their symptoms got worse, when they reduced again to 20 carbs or less, their symptoms improved.  That ABAB design allowed them to see that their new nutritional lifestyle was making all the difference.

I imagine that there are as many different nutritional needs as there are different people in the world.  If you know someone who struggles with depression, bipolar disorder, or even anxieties, it’s worth sharing this information with them.  It’s a challenging change to go through, but if they/you try it, it will be clear if it works and is worth continuing with.

Georgia Ede, MD, from Diagnosis: Diet, explains that Ketogenic diets have helped manage numerous chronic illness for many years, including epilepsy.  A seizure is similar to a manic episode, except that seizures are more black and white, while manic episodes happen on a continuum.  She theorizes that people with bipolar disorder (I wonder about depression and anxiety disorders as well) might get mood stability with more carbs.

Remember your higher self, communicates to you through your bodily responses, feelings, and it is up to you to listen and discern that you might need to change something to get a different result from your body.  Blessings!

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