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Yay, my friend, Dr. Adele McDowell, has done it again. Huffington Post Canada posted another of her articles. This time, very different from her earlier ones on suicide. In fact, this is the other side of depression and suicide. It is inspirational as she takes the fictional character of James Bond – 007 who can face any one and anything and comes out alive and whole.

Don’t we wish we could do that. It is no wonder that we idolize heroes (and heroines) who can face any danger, look a gun in the face, fight any fight! It is really because we wish that we could do that but don’t think we can. Then, Adele tells her own personal story of danger and courage. Sometimes, one never knows of what one is capable until faced with a dire circumstances. And, of course, there are many kinds of danger from which one can test courage.

For those who have undergone any kind of trauma – abuse, accidents, life threatening illness, etc. – it takes a lot of courage to overcome the incident or incidents. When one has been abused and put down at every turn, the message is that “you are nothing, you will never amount to anything, you. will never be able to protect yourself, you are a coward…..”. And, if the trauma is severe enough, then there is post traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) with which one has to go through. PTSD, for those who may not know, is not just a mental memory. When PTSD comes on – and sometimes the survivor doesn’t even know what triggers it or even what is happening – it is like the trauma is happening all over again. So the survivor is no longer his/her chronological age and doesn’t realize that he/she is actually safe, the memories that come flooding back impact the mind, the body reactions, the fears or shocks of that particular time.

I know because being a survivor or child sexual and physical abuse, as well as undergoing many life threatening illnesses, I am understanding more and more my work, as well as the healing work I’ve done with clients, in overcoming PTSD. I still get bouts of it, but having worked on these issues, I am now able to name the triggers as well as the times PTSD comes over me. I can’t say that I can get out of it immediately – although sometimes I can – but I can at least know what’s happening to me. What that does is that I know it’s not happening again, that I am safe, and that I can sum up the courage to speak up, to protect myself, or to help others. I remember that I am no longer 4 when I was abused, or 10 or 12 when I almost died from an illness. And even now, in dealing with cancer these last 4 1/2 years, I know I now can take the small steps to take care of myself.

Will I ever be a “James Bond”. Perhaps not, but in my eyes I let myself acknowledge each time I take any step to take care of myself, knowing each step only leads to more courage every time. This is what came to me as I was reading Adele’s article. For me, it came at a time when I’m not only dealing with cancer, but shingles these past few weeks. Shingles, unfortunately,  is only one physical ailment in a long line of many that shows me how depleted my immune system is and how much I need to be easy on myself as I navigate these waters.

Perhaps Adele’s article will mean something entirely different to you, but I urge you to read it and see. And, Adele, I’m so proud of you for sharing your very personal story and the courage you had in protecting yourself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/adele-mcdowell/the-tao-of-007_b_8007488.html.

 

A trauma survivor’s  first reaction is self-preservation – to defend, to hide, to spend whatever remaining energy to control. Self-preservation is primary, even if it means  she/he closes off thoughts, emotions, and eventually isolates family and  friends.

A survivor, unfortunately albeit understandably, becomes someone who lives in fear.

A survivor never wants to be vulnerable again, never wants to be powerless again.

And, who can blame him/her!

Yet, Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, claims that it is only when we allow ourselves to become vulnerable that we can heal. Read the rest of this entry »

I just finished reading this in-depth article by Ron Kovic, a Vietnam veteran activist. If you recall, Tom Cruise acted his story in the film, “Born on the Fourth of July”, one of Tom’s best acting jobs, I might add.  Ron’s article is graphic and heart wrenching in his description of what it’s like to be wounded and abandoned by the country that caused this loss, the story that no one hears about, and sorely needs to.

I think it’s time we all knew about the day to day suffering of those who were sent to war and how they’ve all been ignored when they return with whatever they’ve sacrificed. Unconscionable!

http://readersupportednews.org/off-site-opinion-section/143-143/16548-the-forgotten-wounded-of-iraq

Please read and share with others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Connection is Real. Healing is Real. Miracle is Real
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FEATURE OF THE MONTHWu Dong Long Men Qigong Saved My Life!This ancient Chinese self-healing module built up my depleted immune system following my bout with cancer.After 16 years, I am still cancer free!Aside from cancer, qigong also helped me to heal from the traumatic experiences of physical, emotional and sexual abuse.  I discovered this healing power when I first worked with other abuse survivors in my psychotherapy practice. Using qigong to help them calm down, I quickly realized it was also lessening and, in many instances, eliminating their symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).Their flashbacks and nightmares reenacting their trauma decreased or disappeared completely. It did the same for my symptoms. Read the rest of this entry »

There hasn’t been enough information shared on this topic. It is because we don’t understand that the trauma, if unhealed, gets inadvertently passed down to the next generation. And, as a mother, I am appalled when I realized what I had done, even unknowingly. Yes, children receive the indirect impact of our trauma and, in their own way, are recipients of “secondary trauma”. It impacts their being as well as their lives because they must learn defensive survival skills to live with this parent or these parents. They they carry these skills throughout life. The terrible part about this is that our suffering gets passed down to those we love the most! And, we don’t even know it. In my work as a healer and psychotherapist, I didn’t even realize it for a long time, even as I was undergoing my healing. And, through no fault of my own, it was that the field of psychology hadn’t as yet discovered the severe effects of trauma even on those directly traumatized! Let me be clear then that this is NOT what survivors do on purpose, or even that they know that they do.  I, as a trauma survivor, didn’t realize it myself until my adult children and I started living and working together 14 years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

This is the skyscraper view I see of Singapore the first night from my cousin’s living room window!

 

What does “turning point” actually signify? A change in one’s life? A place where one is between two paths, but is in neither? And, what does this have to do with trauma? I explore this concept because unbeknownst to me at the time, and altogether unexpectedly, Singapore becomes my “turning point”. Read the rest of this entry »

I wrote about the link between trauma and disease in my June 21, 2010 blog, using Dr. Richard Scaer’s The Trauma Spectrum as a reference. So, please refer to the blog if you want more background information.

Many of you know by now that I have experienced a whole bunch of trauma in my life, and while I have been in psychotherapy for many years as well as on a spiritual path, it is only recently with books such as the above that I’ve started to make sense of the flashbacks, nightmares, and illnesses I’ve had over the years.

As many of you know, walking a spiritual path does not give us a free ride from dealing with any of these issues.

A spiritual retreat to Bali does no less. In fact, because I have the time to do my soul work, the clearing out of unresolved issues – including physical, emotional, mental and spiritual – is occurring at lightening speed.

No sooner do I resolve ptsd with the housing situation (as I wrote about in my last two blogs), then something else happens. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t ever think that we can get away from unresolved issues. I am learning that loud and clear in the mystical land of  Bali.  It feels like Spirit saying, “O.K., now you’ve had your fun and I’ve given you some unexpected gifts. Now, it’s time to see how much faith you’ve really developed, how much you’ve learned”!

Just when I thought that I had my life in Bali all figured out, Spirit throws a monkey wrench into the mix!

I  am living as a guest in Wayan’s home, busily planning with him to bring retreats and tours into the village, setting up qigong healings and teaching qigong exercises to the villagers.  Wayan’s and my agreement is that I  buy his mom a refrigerator, and I  stay as long as I want.  Because we are developing a business here, my initial 2-3 months is turning into more like 6, but I’m a guest here, so I figure, “No financial worries, I can stay here and we can continue to make our plans.

Naturally, Spirit had other ideas. Read the rest of this entry »

Our society tends to see the obvious. It’s easier to see something that’s in our faces. Even then, humans have a propensity to see only what they want to see. In terms of trauma, we are finally realizing that the survivor needs help. I’m glad to say that help is more forthcoming, that the medical and mental health professions are taking trauma more seriously.

Our society, however, doesn’t see the subtleties, the less obvious. What I’m addressing here is  the secondary effects of trauma on family and friends.

Unfortunately, most of us don’t realize that these are victims of trauma as well!

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