Written by: Bri Neely, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
I have spent a decade of my life working in nursing homes, specifically with Alzheimer's patients. The work was hard, and the hours were long, but I cared for these residents like they were my own family. This disease is heartbreaking, watching individuals turn into someone unknown. I've been thrown against doors, spit at, clawed at, cursed, harassed, attacked with objects, and cornered into very unpleasant situations.
I've had to negotiate with residents on why they should be wearing clothes out in the hallways, kindly convince residents to eat so they wouldn't have to get thrown on another medication and/or supplement that they despised taking, I've had to escort residents to the bathroom and explain to them exactly what they are there for, I've had to help resident's get dressed due to them not understanding what to do, tucking them into bed and wishing them a good-nights rest, just like you do for your children. I am not upset with the residents that gave me a hard time, I loved them dearly, and my heart hurt for the suffering they endured daily; they were my people, and I felt privileged to be part of this journey with them.
I learned from the best, her name was Sally, and she taught me everything I needed to know, and if it weren't for her guidance, I would have lost my marbles years ago! She was patient, compassionate, and understanding of the individuals living with this disease. She comforted families, she helped them understand, and she grew to be part of their family. She had the heart, and I'd like to say she passed it down to me. Once I became a nurse, I strived to be as determined as her to ensure that the residents felt love and make their world as happy as it could be. I also made sure to offer help to others who needed it because I knew this was a team job, and we all needed each other in some way or another. I did this for a while; I was as helpful as possible for my staff and residents, I advocated for them and listened to their concerns and suggestions. But after a while, I began to feel like I was floating on a ship alone. Supervisors, when present, weren't taking things seriously, doctors weren't open to your suggestions, and my voice always felt unheard. I began to feel like I was constantly nagging when in reality, I was advocating for my staff and residents, something nurses are meant to do. This job took a toll on me, and I couldn't just pretend like everything was normal in this setting; this setting was failing everyone included.
Residents were neglected, whether from short staffing, complaints being ignored either medically or in the facility, or family who stopped coming to visit. On the floor, the staff was the heart of the facility. They saw day-in and day-out events, yet they seemed to be the last to be heard. They worked long hours to help cover shifts because they cared for their people, and they wanted to make sure they were getting taken care of properly, but the good ones become burnt out due to being overworked and underappreciated. With individuals who present beginning stages of Alzheimer's, I have never once witnessed a doctor suggest a strict diet consisting of whole plant-based foods, exercise, or ask them about their lifestyle habits; things that have been proven to significantly benefit the mind of not only everyone but for Alzheimer's patients as well. Instead, they are given the diagnosis, told it's too late, and start on a medication that will help slow down this disease's progression. It's not necessarily the doctor's fault; the companies that pay these doctors, the schools that trained them on the pharmaceutical approach rather than the health approach. It is not the patient's or families' fault either; we've been groomed for these circumstances. Our whole life has become a rhythmic pattern with high standards of never unceasing these patterns; they are the industry's life support; they are the fuel for pharma.
Did you know that pharma wasn't a thing until the early 1900s? Holistic approaches were utilized, and using herbs and natural remedies were glorified for healing; because we've always known that nature will always provide. The American Medical Association wasn't fond of this. They wanted their approaches to be utilized, but they weren't finding much interest in the citizens. So, like any money-hungry business, they began to play dirty. The AMA offered incentives, and they wanted to take homeopathy out of schools and grant funding for those who complied and continued to threaten those who did not. By 1923, the United States had only 2 homeopathic schools out of the 22 thriving before the AMA stepped in. Natural started to no longer be normal; drug therapies were pushed as the material taught in medical schools. All accredited schools were based on synthetics and drug research, and if you didn't go to an accredited school, you would very unlikely find a job.
As the years move forward, isn't it mind-blowing that we have somehow managed to become more overweight, diseased, and diagnosed? Have you stopped to think about how advanced we have become, yet health issues rise year after year? Are you alarmed by the number of children with some underlying issue, whether mentally, physically, or emotionally? Does it scare the hell out of you that Alzheimer's is increasing while the diagnosis' shows up in younger patients with every passing year? Within my ten years of working in this field, I have personally witnessed this myself; each year, I noticed the residents' ages were becoming younger and younger.
My passion for this profession slowly diminished because I began to feel like I was serving the problem. Already intrigued by natural healing, I had felt like a hypocrite serving medications and foods that I knew for a fact were failing these people. Between my child having health issues, running a daycare, and observing the systematic norms for childhood; from my years as an aide to becoming a nurse, to personally contributing and witnessing our failing healthcare system, I was fed up, and in my heart, I knew I needed to make a change.
Healing is the greatest gift you can give yourself, a gift that never gets old but instead grows in value as time passes. Healing gave me a deep understanding of who I was, who I am, and why I am here. Healing is the key to a fulfilling life. Healing is the answer to the problems of our world. When we are unhealed, we become full of uncertainty and confusion about ourselves. We grow into what we have known rather than who we are meant to be; too many of us have been created to comply. Instead of holding our own beliefs in our hands, we have handed them over to others to decide. I see this through the way we're brought into this world, what we are taught through public schools, the pressure of college during such uncertain times in someone's life, our healthcare system, our food industry, and our life overall.
I have been part of this compliance for almost three decades; it's hard not to fall into the patterns of what others label normalcy. But I reached a point of too much toxicity, and I began to see life through a different lens, a lens that gave me 20/20 vision during the greatest awakening year that happened to be 2020; coincidence? I started reviewing my life and opening my mind to the past beliefs and thoughts I had pondered. These were my beliefs, my opinions that I mostly kept to myself due to the fear of judgment and not being right because, like many, I had been conditioned to believe that others knew what was best, not me.
For example, in nursing school, I had so many questions laid to rest due to the teacher being unable to answer the questions or being told the questions were irrelevant because they would not be on the test. The test was 90% medication-related. Memorize your medications, and you will pass nursing school with flying colors. I'm not here to state that medications are not important because I know they are, and I know they can be true lifesavers. Still, they shouldn't be the answer to every ailment. From what I see, medications are a majority of the problem for not thriving. I wanted to become a nurse and be like Florence Nightingale, the nursing pioneer. Florence was a nurse who took action and solved issues that were not being addressed properly, someone that stood up and stood out amongst the rest. She nurtured, healed, and went the extra mile to ensure her patients received the best care. Although today's circumstances are extremely different than what she had endured, I feel like she is looking down and shaking her head at what has become of the health industry. I strive to be like her and change how we are doing our work, seeking healing rather than a temporary solution, offering love and a listening ear rather than medication.
Alzheimer's has opened my eyes to the world that has been created. A world that is full of artificially toxic garbage. We choose quantity over quality, hate before love, pill versus problem-solving, easy over hard, fine instead of fulfilling, and addictions rather than uncovering truths. Generations have been set up to become this way, we are failing mother earth, and we are failing one another. 2020 was hard for all of us in some way or another, but with major lessons to teach us all. I learned huge lessons, including the importance of having healthy relationships, environments, and lifestyles. I questioned why unfortunate events seemed to always happen to me? It was easier to play victim versus facing the reality of why these toxic connections always followed me. I was a people pleaser; I took in others' traumas and insecurities to suppress my own because, at the time, it was easier to take care of other's traumas rather than dealing with mine. Traumas are rooted in us; they can be from our ancestors or our own experiences, either way, they create our systems, and when left unattended, they rule our circumstances.
By uncovering these truths, I began my own healing journey and discovered that too many of us are suppressed by our traumas. I began to really think about my years spent caring for Alzheimer's patients, seeing sadness, resentment, anger, and the loss of dignity. A majority of these individuals I cared for spent their whole life caring for others or lived lives others told them to live. Let me add that you saw far more women living in these facilities than men, many coming into these facilities already on many medications, anti-depressants being a popular one I noticed a lot. Between our answer to healthcare always being surgery or medication, to our food choices being tainted with harsh chemicals, to our school system setting us up with busy work to distract us from the beauty of life to being trained to believe that feelings should be suppressed rather than expressed, to believe women should be seen rather than heard, to believe that life is about catering to everyone else's needs rather than your own, it's no wonder why the Alzheimer’s rate is becoming worse with every passing year. We have been running programs and consuming toxins that don't feed the human spirit; the human spirit is being stomped on and treated like a science experiment.
Part of me feels like I have abandoned my residents, but I know that some great humans care for these people with love, just like I did. I give true love to these workers because I know it takes a special heart and a strong mind to care for these residents, and you don't get enough appreciation as you deserve; I am here to tell you that you are wonderful, and God has placed you in these positions for a reason. My residents have motivated me to be part of the bigger picture. With being challenged to change what has been, I realized that I needed to be part of what could be. I needed to stand for my resident's grandchildren and the generations to come after, the change will be a major challenge, but I know in my heart that this is what my residents would have wanted. Disease and diagnosis have become the rulers of our healthcare system; it's become so normalized to have some ailment or determined diagnosis, but it's not normal. What's normal is resolving your traumas and discovering your worth. Fighting for what you believe in and feeling secure about your decisions. Understanding your body and realizing that only you know what you truly need to keep it well. Loving yourself so you can be at your best for everyone you serve, having boundaries on who and how you serve. Knowing that our bodies and nature are intuitively connected, and since we have been harming nature for quite some time, it only makes sense that we are harming ourselves in the process. It's about understanding that balance is key; overconsumption of anything can have its side effects.
A letter to my residents,
I have carried your heartache for quite some time, holding sadness in my heart for the struggles you have had to encounter. Many of you lived a hard life filled with disappointment, hurt, and regret. I know this because I've heard it through your moments of clarity, your times of confusion, and I've seen it through your faces that are longing for rest. I have valued our time together, and I have been blessed to be part of your journey. You have taught me so much, and now it's time for me to honor that. I am sorry for the pain and suffering you have had to go through. I know that God has plans for all of us, whether we understand it or not. He has placed me on this journey of understanding the importance of memories over money. He has made it continuously clear that our lives need to be relearned, retaught, and reframed. He has given me the knowledge of understanding what works and what does not. He has given me an open mind and a heart full of love, leaving no room for judgment but rather compassion for where you are at. I am here to help guide others on self-discovery, which will organically lead to overall wellness. Helping others understand the correlation between all things that we consume and how to heal themselves without selling their body to pharma. I will be someone who listens and helps educate, knowing that the power to be well is within you. I know this is what you all were seeking, someone to understand, to know that your issues were due to unspoken feelings, someone to help guide you into healing instead of prescribing you medication. You were wonderful, and I dedicate my work to you all.
I am proud to be part of this new revolution, to plant new seeds for us and the generations to follow. We all have a purpose in this rising revolution; find your purpose and live it.
Bri Neely, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Bri is a mom, nurse, and mentor who is ready to change the world! As a mom, she has understood that we hold the key to our future; how we raise our children depends on the outcome we receive in our society. As a previous nurse specializing in Alzheimer's care, she has seen the outcome of our conditioned patterns and will no longer contribute to the problem. Instead, she is ready to be part of the solution! Her experiences, both personal and professional, have led her to her purpose, becoming a mentor for those ready to reclaim their lives and restore their roots. Bri has traveled on her own healing journey, which has lead her into becoming her true authentic self; she has found purpose through her traumas and is ready to share her gifts with the world! She believes that to heal our future, we must start with ourselves. Bri is passionate about emotional health, physical health, conscious parenting, trauma healing, and mindset work and is fully convinced that these are the vital components for a thriving future.