Updated: Feb 2
One of the hardest things to do for humans is to be vulnerable, to let their true emotions and feelings show. So many see vulnerability as a sign of weakness. I have found it to be my greatest source of strength. I have struggled with just learning to love myself. I find I can love others quite easily, however loving myself has proven difficult. When I decided to be open, raw, vulnerable and unapologetically me, I started learning how to love myself at a completely new level.
I have been a nurse for 24 years and a nurse practitioner for 20 years. I had always allowed myself to be somewhat vulnerable with my patients over the years, sharing common experiences, the good, bad, wonderful, and tragic life events we had in common. I have laughed, cried, danced, prayed, supported and held my patients when they needed it. I have bonded with so many women working as a Certified Nurse Midwife and an educator. Many of my former students are my friends on Facebook and some have been my patients as well. Being vulnerable with my patients has also come naturally to me in the form of having empathy with shared life experiences. I began however I realized it was myself I needed to learn to be vulnerable with, the more I have learned to let go of negative emotions, stereotypes and see all the beauty and positivity the more I have learned to love and accept myself just the way I am.
The following story you are about to read is by far the most vulnerable I have allowed myself to be outside my immediate family and a few others, most people do not know my entire journey.
On July 8th, 2015, my first-born child and only daughter, Kaela Jae, was tragically killed alongside her best friend, Jacob, when a drunk driver hit them head on. I felt like my life had ended when hers did, I fell into a deep depression and tried to pretend I was “ok” enough to go back to work just two weeks later. I did not want to let my patients or my colleagues down by taking more time off. I suffered from PTSD, having flashbacks of the way I found out and picturing in my mind what happened. When I finally received the complete investigation, reading it made me picture the accident all over again with even greater detail.
I was taking anti-depressants, benzodiazepines, trazodone and ambien for sleep. I started drinking heavily when I was not working just to numb the pain. I was in therapy, but it was just a place I found I could talk about my daughter and my pain, it was nice, and I loved my therapist, but it really didn’t “solve” anything. I was just going through the motions in life, but really, I was not interacting anymore with my family the way I used to. All I wanted was to hug my daughter one more time, that is the only thing I wanted, and it was the only thing I could not have. It hurt my family to see me this way, they did not feel as important. It was hard for them to understand my grief had nothing to do with how I felt about them. Things became increasingly worse to the point that I tried to take my own life. I took a bunch of those pills mentioned above and wrote suicide notes to my husband and all five of my sons. I was found and rushed to the hospital where I proceeded to spend five days on a psych ward. (when I woke up, I was mad it had not worked)
I had done a little bit of energy work prior to this experience, reading oracle cards and working with crystals. After this experience a friend directed me to a Reiki Master who did wonders for me. I continued to build on the energy work I had already started, becoming level 2 Reiki certified myself. I also started using cannabis regularly to help with my symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD. I have since then been able to get off all my medications with regular medical marijuana use and only drink on occasion. I also suffer from severe chronic back pain and cannabis is the only thing that helps me function and obtain relief. I sleep better because I am not awoken by the pain. Through energy work and cannabis, I have learned to love myself again.
My depression, anxiety and PTSD have been so well controlled that it really has not felt like I even have them anymore and just use the cannabis for pain now. However, I do suffer from situational depression and anxiety, this happens around important dates, such as my daughters birthday and her Angelversary. I get very anxious in the weeks and days leading up to these dates to the point where I cannot work close to or on the actual date.
This experience happened to me again this past year when I asked a friend and colleague of mine to cover a shift for me the day after my daughter’s 5th Angelversary. We had always done something special on each of her previous Angelversaries. Trips to the beach and cruises and a graveside service when our family was in town for my Son’s wedding. But last year (2020) we could not plan anything special like that and it really tore at me. I had also really thought I could still work this year on the day “after” since we weren’t going anywhere.
The friend that I reached out to told me I should come and see her. I knew she had her own practice, but I did not realize she was also doing ketamine infusions. Anti-depressants do not work for short term situational depression and cannabis did help, but still, it was not enough. I did the series of 6 ketamine infusions and have gone back for two boosters. During my journey on ketamine, I continued to feel happier and happier with each new infusion, I was always amazed that I could feel any better than I already did. I was able to really let go of the darkness that was holding me back, I could see and feel it leave my body. I was able to learn to love myself more deeply and gain a better understanding and love for others.
It was through my journey on ketamine that I found my purpose and that was to open my own ketamine clinic so I could help more people. From there my vision continued to grow into what you see today, Infuse Zen. This entire concept was brought on by my ketamine experience.
This past year is the first time I have not had situational depression and anxiety around Halloween (my daughter’s favorite holiday), Nov. 1st (her birthday), Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years. I have truly never felt happier in my entire life. I love who I am and who I have become.
My journey of healing took on several different modalities that all have worked synergistically together in the most beautiful way. I am at the most amazing time in my life. My husband and I have grown far closer than we ever were before, we have learned to be vulnerable with each other and that has only strengthened our bond. We are excited for this next chapter in our lives, reaching out to more people and helping others feel their best! Thank you for joining us on our ride!