Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Empowerment

People misunderstand the nature of empowerment. They think that to be empowered is to be aggressive, as opposed to quietly assertive. They think that getting angry is a sign of being empowered, when in some situations, being easy-going indicates a true warrior. People mistakenly think that empowerment is about being noisy, yelling & shouting to make your point, but in fact, this is a sign of feeling inadequate & compensating with noise. True empowerment isn't violent; it's confident. It isn't about being pushy or insistent; it's about being grounded, open & flexible. When you're empowered you see the truth, rather than engaging in magical thinking, avoidance or denial, & you make reality-based choices. You take action & you don't worry about what other people might think. True empowerment isn't about waiting for approval or understanding; it's doing what you have to do b/c it's the right thing to do. It's tolerating being judged or misunderstood b/c true self-worth has nothing to do with external approbation. True empowerment makes a person extremely productive, but not compulsive; the empowered person is calm, content & clear-eyed. True empowerment starts with self-love, self-compassion, self-awareness & consciousness.
One of the definitions I encountered for empowerment is this one from Ruthless Compassion.  I quote her often because she makes me think about things from a new angle, a different perspective.  I don't always agree with her but I always think about what she writes.  I am glad I Liked her on Facebook.  Empowerment is a subject first introduced to me early on in my counseling.  KavinCoach talked often about empowering me....getting me to recognize that I am a force to be reckoned with....I have power now but I kept giving it away.  To say I was a little bewildered by this talk of power would be a massive understatement.  This feeling of power took a long, long time to start to envision.  Even longer to start to feel.  Only one of my personalities had any sense of personal power and the rest of my personalities were afraid of her.  Integration my feelings of empowerment seemed to vanish, I felt so vulnerable and inadequate.  Like a baby bird just hatched, I felt small and fragile.  The beautiful thing about integrating was I began to grow and mature in ways that I should have done as a teenager.  Yes, I am a 50+ teenager.  Frightened me for awhile but now I am starting to recognize it is during the teenage years that person learns how powerful they are and what weaknesses exist.  With empowerment, comes a sense and feeling of vulnerability.  It is a far more complex feeling than I ever expected.  I am feeling empowered more and more frequently and like any teenager I am a little clumsy with it from time to time.  I love learning about empowerment, the path to thriving. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Fight, Flight, Freeze......

I was raised with the Fight-Flight paradigm, either learn to run or learn to fight.  Later I learned about Freeze, the reactions similar to rabbits that freeze holding perfectly still hoping danger doesn't notice their existence. I am great at freezing and flight is not far behind in my skill set.  Standing to fight, I learned I am a bit of disaster.  Not much stand and fight in me.  Counseling put me through my paces.  It tore up past ideas and instilled new ones.  I struggled to learn lessons I should have learned as a child.  Fight, flight, and freeze are all natural responses to stress.  What I wasn't taught was the other human choice, negotiation.  Negotiation requires human skills like knowing what you want, being willing to search for a win-win arrangement, and most importantly a feeling of empowerment.  Years of not believing I had any power led me to say things like "I have to...." "I must....." "I don't have a choice about....." Like training an elephant to stand quietly with a rope around its leg.  Stake it with a heavy chain as a baby elephant, the adult elephant believes that the thin rope is unbreakable.  Childhood conditioning of being powerless left me with an adult feeling that I was powerless. A powerless person may feel anger but doesn't believe they can do anything about it.  Empowerment changes the dynamics.  It also changes my vocabulary to "No thank you." "I believe something different would be best for me." "I choose to do this or that"  I own my life and my choices.  I am only now scratching the surface of what empowerment can mean for me.  MyCounselor observed at our last session that I am getting an 'attitude.'  I am working on learning how to use it.  The thought of taking my fears and facing up to them seems so much more possible when I am feeling empowered.

Fight

Flight


Freeze

Training elephants

Monday, July 29, 2013

F E A R

F E A R = Face. Everything. And. Rise.

Sent and resent, I saw this and snagged it to put it here.  I wanted to think about it.  I wanted to pick apart how I feel about this definition of fear.  I do believe that it fits in with the quote, "Feel the fear and do it any way."  But it feels like there is an added dimension of just not functioning in spite of my fear but using my fear as a jumping point to another level.  I remember watching my kids play Mario Brothers on Nintendo.  They had a way of jumping on top of bad guys that sprung them up to get points and rise to new levels.  Using fear to bust through brick walls has serious possibilities.  Fear pushes significant buttons in our bodies.  The adrenal rush kicks in.  Thrill seekers become addicted to this rush and look for something more and more frightening at the movies, in sports, or other avenues.  Abuse survivors all ready had more fear than they cared to experience.  Fear is often used by abusers to control and quiet their victim.  However, what if the victim could tap into the fear much like a thrill seeker to propel themselves out of the situation they are currently facing.  What if instead of cowering we take the fear and turn it to anger.  There is the catch.  Anger is demonized as a "bad" emotion.  Any "good" person must suppress this "bad" emotion.  Abusers want their victims paralyzed by their fears and ashamed to release anger that would propel them out of the situation.  Take that FEAR and face it then lay it down as a stepping stone.  To me, part of facing my fear was accepting the rage I felt.  The rage linked to all the different ways my boundaries were violated.  Face Everything And Rise.  Move beyond - Past - take back my personal power.  This definition is going to be explored to see where I can take it.  Fear a stepping stone to a stronger me.  




Sunday, July 28, 2013

Day of Rest

'Benefits of day of rest' is a search topic in Google.  Research is confirming what religion has known since the beginning of time. 
Genesis 2:2
And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. (KJV)


Sports perspective
http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/sampleworkouts/a/RestandRecovery.htm
http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/rest-easy

Health perspective
http://www.lhj.com/health/stress/relaxation-techniques/the-benefits-of-relaxation/

Weight perspective
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_rest_days_help_your_overall_workouts_and_fat_burning
 I discovered for myself that is after a day of rest that I am most likely to register weight loss on the scales. 

I am very enthusiastic for resting.  I get tired easily.  However, one of the things that I needed to learn was resting came after the work.  Resting on top of resting I actually ended up more tired and less rested after sleeping.  I spent almost 3 years in bed with no end in sight.  I started with baby steps.  Adding a bit more everyday.  Sunday was my hardest day when I attended church and wanted to prepare a fancy meal for dinner.  Fortunately, DH persuaded me to fix waffles for dinner.  Fast, simple and gave me a break.  The need for a balance between resting and working is now accepted on every front.  Scientists are accepting that God knew the value of resting after work. 








Saturday, July 27, 2013

Butterfly Effect

 Have you heard of the Butterfly effect?


"Does the flap of a butterfly’s wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas?"


Perhaps these quotes will be more familiar:

The straw that broke the camel's back.

 How about the cartoon where the cat runs into the wall and cracks appear then the mouse blows on the cat and he shatters?

Turning on a dime.

A pivotal point in the story. 

Small apparently inconsequential acts that have far reaching and massive impact.  Stop and think for just a moment.  Think about a time when you made a decision that altered the course of your life.  Then think of the events just proceeding that decision.  Do you have it in mind?

Living is made up of a mesh of small events, minute-to-minute journal recording is super annoying and very revealing.  I had a boss that required me to write every 15 minutes what I was doing.  I learned from this experience that many, many small seemingly inconsequential tasks strung together to create my day's work.  Why is this significant?  It is the key as to why a small event can invoke massive change.  All life is made up of small events, like a digital picture made up of tiny pixels each doing their part to form an over all picture.  One of the real life experiences that I had was a teacher in 7th grade telling me I was terrible at art.  Yup, several of my projects did not turn out up to her standards.  Everything we did was new to me, I was just learning.  She expected finished products and compared me to others in the class.  I allowed this woman's single comment to define myself for years.  Another example, I struggled with the belief that my mother had narcissistic behaviors.  I kept believing that if I was a better daughter all would be well.  Then I read over at upsi's blog about a tiny smile that comes to a narcissistic person as they anticipate the havoc they are about to wreck.  I thought, "No, not my mother.  She doesn't realize what she does is hurtful."  But that mustard seed of thought was planted.  I found myself watching my mother at the next family gathering.  The conversation was leading to a moment in time that my mother usually says something thoughtless and hurtful.  BAM there it was.  My mother smiled a tiny little smile just before she zapped one of my siblings with a nasty comment.  My mind exploded.  The butterfly had being flapping its wings in Brazil all along, I just hadn't paid attention.  That single smile became a game changer.  A piece of straw, a tiny smile, flapping of a butterfly's wings and my world shifts and changes.  It took computers to recreate the butterfly effect in an observable way but people live by it every day.  I believe in butterflies and their effect on my world.  I also believe those butterflies give me great opportunities to change the direction of my life everyday.



Friday, July 26, 2013

Change

Elena Green shared this quote:

"If nothing ever changed, there'd be no butterflies." – Author Unknown
For the caterpillar, change was the end of its world. 



















 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Potato Chips

This was sent to me in an email.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  


Potato Chips

A little boy wanted to meet God. He knew it was a long trip to where God lived, so he packed his suitcase with a bag of potato chips and a six-pack of root beer and started his journey.

When he had gone about three blocks, he met an old man. He was sitting in the park, just staring at some pigeons. The boy sat down next to him and opened his suitcase. He was about to take a drink from his root beer when he noticed that the old man looked hungry, so he offered him some chips. He gratefully accepted it and smiled at him.

His smile was so pretty that the boy wanted to see it again, so he offered him a root beer. Again, he smiled at him. The boy was delighted!
They sat there all afternoon eating and smiling, but they never said a word.

As twilight approached, the boy realized how tired he was and he got up to leave; but before he had gone more than a few steps, he turned around, ran back to the old man, and gave him a hug. He gave him his biggest smile ever..

When the boy opened the door to his own house a short time later, his mother was surprised by the look of joy on his face. She asked him, "What did you do today that made you so happy?"
He replied, "I had lunch with God." But before his mother could respond, he added, "You know what? He's got the most beautiful smile I've ever seen!"

Meanwhile, the old man, also radiant with joy, returned to his home. His son was stunned by the look of peace on his face and he asked, "dad, what did you do today that made you so happy?"

He replied "I ate potato chips in the park with God." However, before his son responded, he added, "You know, he's much younger than I expected."

Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime! Embrace all equally!

Have lunch with God.......bring chips.

Send this to people who have touched your life in a special way. Let them know how important they are. I did!!!!

God still sits on the throne. You may be going through a tough time right now but God is getting ready to bless you in a way that only He can.
Keep the faith!

My instructions were to pick four people that I wanted God to bless, and I picked you.

Please pass this to at least four people you want to be blessed. This prayer is powerful, and prayer is one of the best gifts we receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards. Let's continue to pray for one another.

Here is the prayer: 
Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and e-mail buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. God, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your grace. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings. In Your precious name, Amen

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Depression Quotes

http://depression-quotes.net/depression-quotes-and-sayings-list/    

                               
       
Here are the Top 20 Depression Quotes and Sayings from people hurting from depression.

“There’s a girl in my mirror crying tonight and there’s nothing I can tell her, to make her feel alright”

“And I just started crying, because I didn’t know what else to do. I laughed until I cried.”

“Isn’t it funny that the people that it’s often the people that said “I’ll never hurt you” are the ones who end up hurting you the most?”

“I’ve come to the point where nothing matters anymore and the things I used to care about just aren’t worth fighting for.”

“I’m often silent when I’m screaming inside.”

“Someone when I say “I’m fine”, I just wish someone looked me in the eyes and said “Tell the truth”".

“It’s hard to answer the question what’s wrong when nothing is right.”

“I only lied so I didn’t have to see tears of disappointment in your eyes.”

“Somehow, just being me is never enough.”

“I love to sleep. Life has a tendency to fall apart when I’m awake.”

“Real loss only occurs when you lose something you treasure more than yourself.”

“I want to run, but only far enough to make you miss me.”

“Never underestimate the pain of a person, because the truth is everyone is struggling, it’s just some people hide it better than others”

“You never know what you had, until it’s gone.”

“The only thing standing between me and happiness is reality.”

“It seems to me, the harder I try, the harder I fall.”

“Don’t wait for the storm to pass, learn to dance in the rain.”

“I want to be remembered as the girl who could brighten up your day, even if she couldn’t brighten her own.”

“You think I just want to die but in reality I just want to be saved.”

“And in the end, everyone turns out to be the person they swore they’d never become.”

Depression quotes and sayings make us realize that so much loneliness and pain lurk all over the World, and it’s only up to us to change it. You have to understand that while sitting around all day reading depression quotes and sayings, can make you feel better as you’ll understand that there are people out there going through the same pain as you are, but it won’t fix anything.

In order to overcome depression, you need to take some action, and no one can do it except yourself. So, instead of just sitting in your room all day surfing the web, why not talk to people? If someone you know needs a helping hand, reach  out and maybe you can go through it together.
Don’t be afraid to be helped either. Depression is not lunacy, but it can make your life a living hell, and this is not what living should be about.

Seek help, then help others with what you’ve learned. Other people need you just as much as you need them.

Happiness is an inside job.  I found this on Facebook, 
                           
                           
This is my depressed stance. When you're depressed, it makes a lot of difference how you stand. The worst thing you can do is straighten up and hold your head high because then you'll start to feel better. If you're going to get any joy out of being depressed, you've got to stand like this.
Charlie Brown

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Go Get It

"Success doesn't come to you, you go to it." 
- Marva Collins 

 Totally cracked me up to look at my blog and see that I posted instead of saved this quote. Maybe it was an unconscious note to self to stop saving myself for later events but just get out there and do.  For years, I had to conserve what little energy I had.  It became a habit.  I needed to be up to fix dinner.  If I did something else, I wouldn't be able to fix dinner.  That isn't true any more.  I now have the energy to do 45 minutes of Zumba exercise.  Sweat pouring off me, breathing hard, and pushing myself past old limits.  I am beginning to believe that success is another word for thriving.  However, I am not going to let someone else define my success just like I am not going to let someone else define me.  I think that was the saddest think I saw at my 20 year class reunion.  People trying to impress people they haven't seen in 20 years by showing off a level of success by someone else standard.  One woman showed off her boob job.  Another bragged about a high powered lawyer job that she hated.  All these people trying to show how much better they were than someone else. I believe we all worked as hard at being are own best self than the whole world would be much happier.  I believe this is the value of authentic living, choosing to be your own best self you always succeed.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Who am I?

Give up defining yourself - to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.
-Eckhart Tolle

I have struggled with this question for years.  In high school, I took a search for identity class.  I continued to search for understanding.  I wasn't satisfied with the answers daughter, student, wife, mother, computer tech, artist, and daughter of God.  I figured counseling would help answer this question, instead I just had more questions about myself, my past and who I am.  This quote really got my attention on Facebook.  I remember a session with KavinCoach where I felt like he was badgering me asking me over and over to describe myself.  He kept pointing out I was describing what I do.  I think this quote confirms what KavinCoach was trying to get me to understand.  I am myself.









Sunday, July 21, 2013

Meaning in life

I like Purpose Fairy, she brings together thoughts and ideas on improving living.  This is the links to her original article. I used her headings and added my comment to what she said.
http://www.purposefairy.com/10482/15-ways-to-bring-meaning-back-into-your-life/

1. Be Happy

To me, happiness is an inside job.  If I allow outside circumstances to control how I feel, I am giving my power away.  

2. Show Up

Hiding away in my room keeps me safe but so alone.  I do count connecting with others from the internet as getting out and about in the world.  Isolation is not showing up.  Get up, get out, be there.

3. Follow your heart

First challenge, find my heart...what is my passion?  Posted away to find out the other day.  Dissociation shields me from hurt but also removes me from my heart.  Find it and follow.

4. Find a new perspective

Counseling shook up my world like a snow globe.  Both counselors encouraged me to look at my world differently.  In photography, laying down on the ground gives me a totally different from standing.  Flying in a jet again changes my perspective.  Sometimes I need to purposefully question my assumptions to see if a change of perspective is what I need to continue to grow.

5. Have a sense of wonder

Photography allows me to totally focus on the wonderful world we live in.  Wonder doesn't apply to just what we see but what we feel too.  Ever just stopped and felt how wonderful breathing is?  Ever let a piece of chocolate slowly melt in your mouth and focus on nothing but the luscious flavor slipping past your tongue?

6. Find people you love

It is awesome if the people that you love are in your family but that is not always the case.  I think this is the amazing part about the internet, I can find people all over the world that share my interests and goals.  However, I need to go looking. 

7. Set goals

This one is tough until I understood that they needed to be my goals.  There was a time in my life that my goal was to get out of bed and move to the couch in the living room.  Plenty of people would scoff at such a meager goal.  However, when I set this goal  and started doing it every day it got me moving.  When setting goals, don't think about what someone else things you should do.  Follow your own heart and stretch just a little past what you are doing now.  

8. Help others

Somewhere in all my reading I encountered the Platinum rule, Do unto others what they want done.  The beauty of this is two fold, it requires me to get to know the other person well enough that I know what they need and it meets their needs.  How awesome is that?

9. Dance

My daughter got me dancing for exercise; it is the only exercise that I have done for more that 2 months.  I love dancing at the studio, with my grandkids, and in the rain....Absolute best is dancing in the rain.

10. Pamper yourself

One of my life challenges is recognizing that self care and pampering myself is NOT selfish.  One of the pitfalls of fighting against narcissistic behavior is to self neglect. Pampering yourself reassures yourself that you have value and worth taking care of.  

11. Face your fears

I love the line, "Feel the fear and do it any way."  Counseling helped me face some of my big monster fears.  Friends can also assist in helping us face our fears.  My sister and I go walking and have what I call sister therapy, we walk and talk about our fears, frustrations and hopes.  Prayer or meditation are also great aides to facing fears.   

12. Go to a museum

Go do something different.  I happen to love museum's too.  I am blessed to be in a city with many of them.  Did you know that you can also go the museum's online.  To get you started here is a link to the Louvre Museum http://www.louvre.fr/en

13. Exercise

I had no idea how powerful this one was until I did it for more than a year.  Yup, it needs to be a habit.  I learned to push past my limits.  I learned that I am stronger than I thought.  I learned that exercising with others is fun.  It is not easy at first but is one of those things that the more you do the better you are at doing it.  I started with walking to the end of my driveway and back.  I started with 5 seconds in a plank position.  There are several webpages that will help you work out an exercise program for free.  I am now a believer in the value of caring for myself by exercising.  

14. Limit TV

My kids grumped at me for limiting their TV/video games to 2 hours a day.  They quickly learned how many different things there are to do. I am working at doing the same.

15. Get in touch with nature

I have mentioned this one before the value of taking off your shoes and strolling through grass.  Many of my pictures center on my love for nature.  Carefully growing flowers and tomatoes in a harsh climate depends my appreciation for life's abundance.  I am typing this while I listen to the rain patter on my window.  What a lovely sound.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Life Meaning

I am fascinated when I read one blog that really strikes a nerve only to read another blog that gives an answer.

Joel over at Impossible Headquarters works at shaking things up.  His challenge...Do the impossible because it is there.
http://impossiblehq.com/meaning-of-life

He attended a seminar and listened to Donald Miller, speak.  Miller posed a thought provoking questions:

What if life isn’t meaningless? What if just your life is meaningless?

One of the hardest things to live with as a survivor is recognizing that your dreams were destroyed long ago.  PTSD rudely reminds me that survival doesn't leave much room for meaning or dreams.  Time slips away in a  blur of getting though just one more day.  Day after day.  Meaning, dreams, purpose belongs to others.  Or so I believed.  In counseling, KavinCoach introduced me to the idea of thriving.  He asked me to make a picture of my dreams.  I couldn't do it.  I had no idea what they were.  Childhood dreams disappeared long ago.  New dreams never formed.  Sorrow never replaces dreams.

Evan over at Authentic Living posted a link to a blog post on 'How to find your Passion?'  It is in our passions that we find our dreams and meaning.

Evan's post http://www.livingauthentically.org/2013/07/how-to-find-your-passion/

He sent me to this link http://www.pickyourgoals.com/goalhacks/how-to-find-your-passion/

The post gives step by step instructions for different personality types to identify their own passion and inside that passion is where dreams wait.  Wait to come alive when the owner believes it is possible to have them.  A part of the healing process, motivation for moving on, are new dreams.  New passion forged in the crucible of adversity.  I am working on those dreams.  Are you working on yours?

We Dream


Friday, July 19, 2013

PTSD tips from Facebook

 If I find something on Facebook I figure they posted it with intent to have it shared.  The original source link is at the bottom. My comments in RED


10 Tips For Understanding Someone With PTSD
PTSD makes communication difficult. Many survivors can’t find the words to express what they’re feeling. Even when they do, it’s very normal for them not to be comfortable sharing their experience. Elements of shame, fear, anger, guilt and grief often get in the way of a calm, focused discussion. This is an understatement.  I learned that sometimes it was actually physically painful for me to talk about some of the things that happened to me.  Yes, you can pass out from the stress of trying to say what needs to be said.

Friends and family (and anyone else who is not the source of the PTSD but is standing by while someone attempts to heal) need something that translates PTSD language. Armed with knowledge, insight and awareness you’ll have an easier time knowing how to react, respond and relate to your PTSD loved one during the healing process. The more you appreciate things from the PTSD perspective the more helpful and supportive you can be. Now is the time for empathy, compassion and patience. This is all true but none of it is easy.  This takes time studying and being open to possibilities...someone close to me struggled with knowing even part of what happened.  Messed up their image of who I am.  I was the same person, they viewed me differently.  

The list below will give you an overview of things to understand. For more in-depth information – plus content specifically geared for you, the caregiver – check out the free archives of our radio show, YOUR LIFE AFTER TRAUMA, which features professionals and experts weighing in on what you need to know about PTSD and your role.

#1 – Knowledge is power. Understanding the process of a triggering event, the psychic reaction to trauma, the warning signs and symptoms of PTSD, and available treatment options for PTSD allows you to help recognize, support and guide your PTSD loved one toward diagnosis, treatment and healing.

We need you to be clearheaded, pulled together and informed. Sometimes twists or turns happen that no amount of knowledge will prepare you for, hang on until you get to a place that you can get your feet under you.  Don't feel like you have to do this alone, counselors, doctors other family and friends can form a team to help the person with PTSD.

#2 – Trauma changes us. After trauma we want to believe —as do you—that life can return to the way it was; that we can continue as who we were. This is not how it works. Trauma leaves a huge and indelible impact on the soul. It is not possible to endure trauma and not experience a psychic shift.

Expect us to be changed. Accept our need to evolve. Support us on this journey. Sometimes the trauma was so long ago that what was before is long gone.  After cancer, I discovered that I changed, it wasn't all bad.  Some of the changes in priorities were healthy changes.  The past does not define you but it does not leave you untouched.  I find when I embrace the change and share with others my enthusiasm for new purposes in life, I am happier.  

#3 – PTSD hijacks our identity. One of the largest problems with PTSD is that it takes over our entire view of ourselves. We no longer see clearly. We no longer see the world as we experienced it before trauma. Now every moment is dangerous, unpredictable and threatening.

Gently remind us and offer opportunities to engage in an identity outside of trauma and PTSD.  PTSD is a reaction not who we are.  I was startled after integration to find out that multiple personalities was how I dodged PTSD.  When I integrated, I needed new coping skills for PTSD.   Fighting cancer I learned that I am not the disease.  I am a person with the disease.  I work at separating who I am from my PTSD response to life.

#4 – We are no longer grounded in our true selves. In light of trauma our real selves retreat and a coping self emerges to keep us safe.

Believe in us; our true selves still exist, even if they are momentarily buried. Authenticity is temporarily lost.  One coping tool is to lie to ourselves and convince ourselves it was not that bad.  Takes time to reconnect with our true selves.  There are any number of books and articles that discuss the difference between your true self and the mask you hide behind.  Some of the feelings I battle was I failed as myself so perhaps a mask is better much like Phantom of the Opera, the scarred features are hideous so mask are more pleasing to others.  Unfortunately, the real person is lost and the mask is always less than the original.  The authentic true self is there but sometimes deeply buried.  

#5 – We cannot always help how we behave. Since we are operating on a sort of autopilot we are not always in control. PTSD is an exaggerated state of survival mode. We experience emotions that frighten and overwhelm us. We act out accordingly in defense of those feelings we cannot control.

Be patient with us; we often cannot stop the anger, tears or other disruptive behaviors that are so difficult for you to endure. True, up to a point....concern here is when a caregiver is enabling the survivor to stay stuck.  Accountability for behavior is still vital.  I still needed to apologize when I yell at someone.  I am responsible even though controlling my behavior seems almost impossible sometimes.  No accountability - weakens my determination to take my behavior back into my control. Both my counselors assigned me homework that helps me practice self control.  I may struggle sometimes and need to keep myself way from others but I am still responsible for how I treat others.  

#6 – We cannot always be logical. Since our perspective is driven by fear we don’t always think straight, nor do we always accept the advice of those who do.

Keep reaching out, even when your words don’t seem to reach us. You never know when we will think of something you said and it will comfort, guide, soothe or inspire us. Sometimes the advice seems like a foreign language to the survivor.  My DH would tell me to not let my mother get in my head....I would get terribly frustrated because I didn't know how to use boundaries to protect myself.  I didn't know what he meant at all.  Also what seems like good advice to a caregiver or counselor may seem like grabbing barbed wire to a survivor.  Following the advice may be excruciatingly painful.  

#7 – We cannot just ‘get over it’. From the outside it’s easy to imagine a certain amount of time passes and memories fade and trauma gets relegated to the history of a life. Unfortunately, with PTSD nothing fades. Our bodies will not let us forget. Because of surging chemicals that reinforce every memory, we cannot walk away from the past anymore than you can walk away from us.

Honor our struggle to make peace with events. Do not rush us. Trying to speed our recovery will only make us cling to it more. For PTSD to be there it means there is A LOT of damage.  People didn't expect me to recover from cancer in a day, don't expect me to recover from PTSD in a day either.  The longer the trauma went on the more extensive the damage.  The longer the PTSD is ignored the harder it is to unearth and heal the hidden damage.  


#8 – We’re not in denial—we’re coping! It takes a tremendous effort to live with PTSD. Even if we don’t admit it, we know there’s something wrong. When you approach us and we deny there’s a problem that’s really code for, “I’m doing the best I can.” Taking the actions you suggest would require too much energy, dividing focus from what is holding us together. Sometimes, simply getting up and continuing our daily routine is the biggest step toward recovery we make.

Alleviate our stress by giving us a safe space in which we can find support. Years ago when I was physical incapacitated by PTSD someone asked me what a good day was...my answer, "I got up."  Then I was quiet and they waited.  I then reassured them that was it, a good day I actually got out of bed.  Some people find it difficult to believe that something can so cripple you emotionally that your body simply cannot function.  Routines are helpful because then I can set myself on autopilot and go a few steps farther.  Imagine some one in a terrible car wreck but lives with a mangled body.  PTSD is kind of like that but it is our soul that was mangled. 

#9 – We do not hate you. Contrary to the ways we might behave when you intervene, somewhere inside we do know that you are not the source of the problem. Unfortunately, in the moment we may use your face as PTSD’s image. Since we cannot directly address our PTSD issues sometimes it’s easier to address you.

Continue to approach us. We need you to!  One of the many discussions I had with KavinCoach was the problem of putting a kinder softer face on the problem.  It is easier to rage at someone safe then the terrifying enemy in our mind.  Reminding a survivor that you are not the enemy is helpful.  Please, expect me to apologize is I am a total jerk.  

#10 - Your presence matters. PTSD creates a great sense of isolation. In our post-traumatic state, it makes a difference to know that there are people who will stand by us. It matters that although we lash out, don’t respond and are not ourselves, you are still there, no matter what.

Don’t give up, we’re doing our best. Support and encouragement from multiple sources makes a difference.  This is why I mention over and over the value of having a team of people to help.  A baseball team of only a pitcher with no basemen doesn't win the game.  We are blessed with internet, doctors, counselors, friends, and family to help build a survival team.  As I grow in strength I try to help someone else that is traveling the same path.  There are many more people out there with PTSD.  I learned to hide my symptoms, others hide too.  Keep in mind that I am sometimes jealous of those that are helping me.  My counselor, family and friends can walk away from me and take a much needed break...I don't even get to sleep and get a break.  PTSD follows me into my sleep and swaps out nightmares for dreams.  Like cancer of the soul it is an ongoing daily battle that I keep fighting.  I plan to win....I am learning to thrive.  


http://healmyptsd.com/education/ptsd-caregivers-support/10-tips




 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Internet Friends

I was asked on my post http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2013/07/friends-help-clean-up.html if Internet friends are real.  I believe they are as real as any other relationship....depends on what you put into it.   My sister was involved with internet connections long before I was.  My first encounter with internet relationships was cyber stalking and bullying by a junior high student where I worked.  An 8th grade boy terrorized a 6th grade girl in another state.  When he was found and questioned,
he glibly stated it was just the computer never thinking about the fact there was a human being at the other end of the connection.  I waited years before my children dragged me into the 20th Century and cyber connections.  The first cyber connection that became real to me and I never met was Upsi.  She used her blog to explore her relationship with her narcissistic mother. From her blog, I connected with an online community of people that I started building relationships with.  Then in a two month period a whole lot of pain was caused by a person that was emotionally hurting and used Upsi as a target.  The words that flew were hard to read and just as complicated to sort through as any other community divided.  Words were said that hurt and people took sides.  You know, that all felt very real.  I figure it this way, if we can hurt each other online, we can also build each other up online.  We get to be friends just like real life by connecting and communicating over time.  I have several amazing friends that I never met in person but feel concern when they are not online for awhile.  I felt sad at the disruption caused by one person treating others online without regard to how it would effect them.  My favorite internet friendship story comes from my sister.  Her internet friend's husband kept telling her that my sister wasn't "real."  Then my sister sent him a gift for his birthday...He decided that 'imaginary friends' did not send birthday presents.  Therefor, my sister must be real.  I think friendships online are as real or fake as how honest people are with each other.  You know, that sounds a lot like "real" life to me.  People have lied to me in person as well as online.  People have built me up in person as well as online.  I feel the internet allows connections all over the world that just wouldn't be possible in person.  I don't know in 'real' time most of the people that read my blog but I know that real people are reading.  Thanks readers for being out there and taking time to share my thoughts.  May all of you have a beautiful and blessed day.  :)


Munching Crops - a different view doesn't make something less real.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Friends help clean up

Pay attention to who your real friends are. As we grow up, we realize it becomes less important to have more friends and more important to have real ones. Remember, life is kind of like a party. You invite a lot of people, some leave early, some stay all night, some laugh with you, some laugh at you, and some show up really late. But in the end, after the fun, there are a few who stay to help you clean up the mess. And most of the time, they aren't even the ones who made the mess. These people are your real friends in life. They are the ones who matter most.
Used with permission.

My Facebook friends are amazing.  Maura worked with me at one point, our lives went in different directions.  I keep up with this amazing woman on Facebook.  I put up with Facebook constant changes and try to sell me everything because it keeps me connected with people all over the world.  I moved around a lot.  PTSD ruled my life for years.  I didn't have time or energy for friends.  Years ago my teenage daughter pointed out how few friends I had.  I was ok with it because I put all my  small bit of energy into a growing family.  Now, they are grown.  I have time to make friends.  I am learning that friendship takes time, energy and careful selection.  I am blessed with a wonderful friend that happens to be my sister.  I am fortunate in finding other friends on line, one encourages me so much she is my internet sister.  I enjoy keeping in touch with friends I had at work but we all ventured in new directions.  I am thankful to friends that encourage me.  I am thankful for children that grew up and are now my friends.  The hardest thing about being an abuse survivor is knowing what a friend is like.  Unfortunately, I experienced friends that were fair weather friends.  When my life got tough, they took off.  I experienced acquaintances that saw a way to use me and did....but when I was all used up, disappeared.  I love this quote because now I know how to tell if a person is a friend or not.  Sometimes a friend is more like me with only a small amount of time or energy to share...that's ok too.  Sometimes a friend is a smiley face on Facebook or a text....I need those friends late at night when insomnia is beating me up.  One of the New Agey mumbo jumbo is only associate with positive people.  Suffering from depression and PTSD I am not always positive.  Sometimes I am hard to be around.  However, I believe that some of the deepest friendships are forged in the depths of adversity.  My sister post pictures of Navy Seals and the bonds formed in the depths of hell called war.  I believe that the New Agey folks are missing out on the truly extraordinary friendships that bind people together across countries, languages, and diverse backgrounds when we pull together and help each other out of messes.  I am thankful to people that touch my life and help to strengthen me sometimes when they don't even realize they are doing it.  I am thankful to my readers that comment, click on love it or like it to let me know I was heard.  Life is good and friends enrich my life.  

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How do I feel after?

On my post Flashbacks http://weareone-ruth.blogspot.com/2013/07/flashbacks.html T asked me how I feel afterwards.  This is my short answer, "After a severe one, I feel disoriented and exhausted. I usually end up sleeping for several hours then need several days to recover."  The long answer is far more complicated.  A flashback at home, I retreat to my room and hang on through the memory mind storm.  Unfortunately, my worse flashbacks occurred away from home.  The situations gave me no clue that there would be a problem.  One of them I mentioned in the earlier post when I was being fitted for hearing aides.  Nothing in my counseling prepared me for the massive switch to my past.  I was unaware of where I was or what was actually happening until I found myself on the floor whimpering that I would be good.  I was mortified and terribly embarrassed.  I immediately apologized then contacted KavinCoach as quickly as possible to sort out what was happening.  I still don't have a complete memory to why I behaved the way I did.  I believe this is one of the reasons why people with PTSD are afraid to go out in public.  Dealing with the aftermath of a complete flashback melt down is hard enough when there is just me.  Throw in a stranger or two and it is a recipe for disaster.  I was afraid that I might have a flashback at work.  A major break in behavior is difficult to explain.  Fortunately, education is spreading.  More people are becoming more aware of the challenges some people face with PTSD. I am still wearing hearing aides.  I tried several styles until I found one that caused me the least amount of anxiety.  Now when I am fitted for hearing aides, I prep myself for the experience.  Wearing my hearing aides everyday helped me to desensitize this extreme reaction.  The healthier I become the fewer flashbacks occur.  I don't say that I am cured of flashbacks but now I am more confident in recognizing early signs of distress and not as likely to trigger a flashback.  In the words of J.K. Rawling, "Mischief Managed."

Monday, July 15, 2013

Books and more books

I love books...not just a little bit.  I saw a facebook post where people were posting their book shelves.  I realized I had more book cases than other people had book shelves.  I liked the page "No, I do NOT have too many books."  I moved my books and moved my books until my husband said he wouldn't move them any more.  So I packed them up into smaller boxes and moved them myself.  KavinCoach would assign me a book to read for homework and usually I would buy it.  I wanted to write in the book, kind of a conversation with the author.  I learned about so many things from books.  Webpages are nice for finding bits of information but if I am really delving into a subject I want a book.  I've read books on sewing, computers, raising kids, nursing, history, just about any subject that I thought of.  When I found out I was a multiple I read 10 books starting in the 1960's up through 2000's.  Kind of a history of the morphing from it is just hysteria to one that denied it existed (through that one across the room -- by the way do not treat your books that way...it was a special cirumstance) and finally several books by other multiples.  I read everything I could find on integration which was 4 books.  Today I sat with tears running down my face as I read Make a Promise -- Pass it On.  It is copy righted so I can't repost it completely but I can share the link:

http://gracebeyondgrace.com/2013/07/15/make-a-promise-pass-it-on-2/

A friendship built around books seems like a beautiful friendship.  I learned many things from a book.  There are only 2 things I found couldn't come from a book how to cook and how to live.  I had lots of suggestions for both but the actual doing is the only thing that gets me where I need to be.  I agree with Lynnette Bukowski to send a lasting legacy share a book.  If you want to learn something new read a book.  If you really want to understand something write a book.