The Healing Notes Project was started by Rev. Lynsie for Bridges to Patient Empowerment. This is her story:
My grandfather was a minister of a very large church. His church would pray for me and send presents and get-well cards. I appreciated the gesture, but did not have the strength or time in the schedule the hospital created for me to play with toys. The cards were well intentioned, but also frustrating because I could not get-well. It just seemed like one more reminder of what I couldn’t accomplish and was failing daily to do. At that time, I needed support and inspiration to make it through the day. I needed to know I wasn’t as alone as I felt, and that there was some part of my life that I could control. I Promised myself that if I ever found out what this elusive help consisted of that I would do something to share it.
Through time, practice, art and the messages that the art brought, I discovered many tools to help during a crisis. I formed Bridges To Patient Empowerment, a non-profit, to help share those tools. One of the biggest challenges one faces when sick—especially when someone becomes sick at a young age is that the illness can become your identity. A big reason for this is managing a chronic illness takes up a majority of one’s time and leaves you feeling helpless to accomplish much else in life besides surviving the day. It doesn’t help that the medical system, and even the people around you, starts to identify you more for your illness than anything else. This identity of illness leads to increasing feelings of vulnerability.
As I studied crisis counseling, became a hospital chaplain, and finally became an ordained minister, I knew that this paradigm had to shift because one’s risk of PTSD and trauma increase in situations where there is lots of stress and little control. I found it ironic that the places we go to heal often require that we relinquish control over our life. Because of this, I wanted to bring patients tools to employ during a crisis and I remembered my art and how it helped me.
Through Bridges to Patient Empowerment, I worked with a group of people that wanted to support and empower people s well. Together we brought the Healing Notes Project to life. Because most patient support programs consist of healthy people doing something to help the sick, it was important to me a devise this program in a way where patients helped patients to start changing the view that people in physical or mental crisis are just a victim of their circumstances. The best was to heal from a crisis is to have an active part is one’s healing process. I also recognized that there is an untapped strength and wisdom in survivors that people in an active crisis need. What emerged was a a unique project that we took into hospitals and different group settings to work with people in crisis to empower them to reclaim their knowledge, strength, and the value of their experience and then to share it with others.
Please help support Bridges to Patient Empowerment and say something meaningful in times of crisis by requesting a Healing Note for somebody you know that is in crisis. You can also expresses gratitude for those that have helped during your time of crisis with a gratitude healing note as well.