Sunday, June 30, 2013

Untie the Knots

Posted by Fight Like a Girl on Facebook: or

The Knots of Prayer
Author Unknown 
Dear God:
Please unite the knots
that are in my mind,
my heart and my life.
Remove the have nots,
the can nots and the do nots
that I have in my mind.
Erase the will nots,
may nots, and might nots
that may find
a home in my heart.
Release me from the could nots,
would nots
and should nots that obstruct my life.
And most of all,
Dear God,
I ask that you remove from my mind,
my heart and my life all the 'am nots'
that I have allowed to hold me back,
especially the thought
that I am not good enough.

Please, I ask that You
Replace the "am nots" with:
I am strong.
I am valuable.
I am loveable.
I am good enough
Because "I am".

Daily I need reminders to move forward. Daily I need encouragement to keep being me. Daily I need motivation. Zig Zigler received the complaint that motivation doesn't last. He agreed and said, "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing that's why we recommend it daily."  God recommends praying everyday.  1 Thessalonians 5:17 "Pray without ceasing."  My faith in God with Christ as my redeemer encourages me to keep moving forward when I loose faith in myself.  I know that the challenges I face and over come are the experiences that teach me that I am strong, valuable, loveable, and good enough.

Luke 11:1-10
And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.
And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.
Give us day by day our daily bread.
And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.
5 And he said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, and say unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves;
For a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him?
And he from within shall answer and say, Trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee.
I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth.
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.
10 For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

PTSD Awareness Day

To mark PTSD Awareness Day, here is a list of
25 Things to Know about post-traumatic stress disorder. The list is compiled from experts at VA’s National Center for PTSD. The Center conducts research and provides education on trauma and PTSD.

Just because someone experiences a traumatic event does not mean they have PTSD.

No matter how long it’s been since your trauma, treatment can help.

To know whether you have PTSD, you should get an assessment from a clinician.

Social support is one of the greatest protective factors against developing PTSD after trauma.

Research suggests that social support is an even more important resilience factor for women than men.

Trouble sleeping is a core feature of PTSD, so it is important to address sleep problems in PTSD treatment.

Getting help for PTSD early can prevent problems from expanding to other parts of your life.

Evidence-based treatments for PTSD include psychotherapy (or “counseling”) and medications.

Many people with PTSD also experience chronic pain or other physical health symptoms.

PTSD often co-occurs with depression or other mental health symptoms.

Having PTSD does not mean you’re “crazy.”
PTSD does not cause someone to be violent.

If you have PTSD, you are not alone. With treatment, you can get better.

In the general population, women are twice as likely as men to experience PTSD at some point in their lifetime.

Recent research shows that men and women who served in Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF) have similar rates of PTSD.

Many people recover completely from PTSD with treatment.

If someone in your family has PTSD, family therapy can help you learn to communicate and cope together.

People who have PTSD also have a higher risk for substance use disorders.

PTSD treatment has been shown to decrease suicidal ideation.

Treatment is important for the person experiencing PTSD, but it also helps the family and improves relationships.

PTSD therapists help you understand your thoughts and feelings so you have more control over them.

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) and PTSD have some common symptoms, but they are different diagnoses.

Technology, like the PTSD Coach mobile app, can help you manage PTSD symptoms.

VA provides PTSD care at every VA medical center and at many of the larger community-based clinics.

Getting help for PTSD is problem solving, not a sign of weakness. Take the step.


"Always bear in mind that your own 
resolution to succeed is more 
important than any other one thing."
- Abraham Lincoln

Resolution synonyms: aimboldness, constancy, couragedauntlessness, decidedness, decisiondeclaration,dedicationdoggedness, earnestness, energyfirmness, fixed purpose, fortitudeguts*,heart*, immovability, intentintentionjudgmentmettlemoxie*, obstinacy,perseverancepluck, purposepurposefulness, purposiveness, relentlessness,resoluteness, resolvesettlementsincerityspiritspunkstaunchness, staying power,steadfastness, stubbornness, tenacityverdictwillpower

 I like the Guts, Heart, Moxie, Courage all are words to describe anyone that is willing to tackle counseling.  There is nothing easy about revealing your darkest and longest kept secrets to a stranger.  A counselor to maintain their professionalism is not a client's friend. Long term counseling can be even more confusing because the counselor sets out to make the person talking feel comfortable but they still are not a friend.  Counseling is also difficult because it is so hard to tell if it is a good match or not.  KavinCoach admitted to me that there are some people he can't work with because of their choices or they are a trigger for him.  MyCounselor openly admitted that some people like him and some people don't.  I can understand why because he does not try to make me feel better.  His goal is to get me to feel uncomfortable about where I am to encourage me to grow.  Both counselors are good for me but they are not good for everyone.  I did encounter one counselor many years ago that I would never be able to work with at all.  She gave me the creeps like I was a carrion and she was a vulture just waiting to pull me a part til nothing left but bones.  Because of her I didn't seek for help until several years later when I was totally desperate for help.  I guess I recognized a good counselor after having a rotten one for a very short time.  I did look her up later and found out she was considered highly rated....for someone else.....NOT ME.  When I started counseling I make a resolution to get better come hell or high water.....I went through both.  My resolve did not lessen.  Now, 10 years later, I am thankful I stuck through the rough patches.  I am happier.  I enjoy my family more.  I believe it was worth the struggle and sacrifices to get where I am today.  My life isn't perfect by wow do I feel so much better now.  

Friday, June 28, 2013

True self - false self - multiples

True Self is my authentic self.  A long journey to find me.

One of the hardest sessions I had was the day KavinCoach asked me which one was my real self.  I went postal.  I was so furious that he implied that part of my selves were false.  This inspired me to search for a visual to help him understand that all of my selves were real. 

In the park, close to where I grew up there was a small tree planted.  It was short enough that children could climb into the tree.  One day there were a bunch of kids in the tree.  Way more that what the poor little tree could cope with.  A terrible thing happened.  The trunk split toppling all the children out.  I was one of those children and felt devastated that we hurt the tree.  I thought it would die.  For years I forgot about the tree.  I moved away.  Then returned.  There was the tree still alive and thriving.  It was still an amazing climbing tree for kids.  The split trunk formed massive branches close to the ground where children could play endless hours.  The tree would become a pirates hideout, a fairy castle, a hide away, home base for tag, endless hours of children's imagination were created in that tree.  All the branches were part of the tree but each one was split off from the other parts of the tree.  I used that tree to illustrate what happened to me.  I was young and too much happened and I split yet survived.  Unlike a tree, I could grow back together.  I could take all the parts of me and fuse myself back to one self.  It was not easy.  I had to remove all the wedges of hurt, bitterness, fear, anger, disillusionment, and face the pain from my past.  It was not an over night change.  It took facing myself at my worse.  Accepting my past as existing.  After integration, I continued my research on healthy authentic living.  I once again encountered a reference to false selves but it had nothing to do with being a multiple.  This time I understood that the intent of the author was to describe their own split.  She told how her 'real' self was traumatized so badly that she died and the shell lived on as a false self.  She described becoming a multiple in terms that I never applied to myself.  Then I came across more information on a false self referring to the masks that many people put on to protect their more vulnerable inner self.  A mask hiding their authentic selves from the harsh world.  Some use the mask to deceive people to believe they are something that they are not.  The theory of "Fake it until you make it" is one of these.  Feel afraid, whistle a happy tune until you are no longer scared.  Seems like a brilliant plan to create self fulfilling prophecy....but the object of fear is hidden instead of addressed.  A false bravado used frequently takes on a life of its own until the user of the false bravado no longer knows who they are, the coward inside or the false front.  But if they created the false front doesn't that make themselves the mask?

Lost yet?

I carved a mask in my college wood class.  The mask represented me but was not me.  It took on layers of became an outward representation of my inward self.  I realized in my work I recognized that the mask we wear is any time we do not reflect how we actually feel.  I also learned that this is part of maturing.  A toddler is truly what-you-see-is-what-you-get.  If they are angry, they express it.  If they are happy, it is with their whole self.  If they think something is funny or sad, you are not left in any doubt of their opinion.  Sometimes embarrassingly so when they blurt out something said in private in a public setting.  I finally realized that all of my personalities had a true/false self combination.  Part of untangling all my thoughts and connecting them to the appropriate feelings was this complex structure that I tried to protect myself from me.  I was afraid of myself.  Part of the process that KavinCoach taught me was to love myself.  In loving myself, I no longer needed to be afraid of me.  Lowering the masks allowed me to get to know myself and embrace all of my selves...true and false....brave and cowardly....believing and cynical...happy and sad.....a whole mishmash of emotions, experiences, beliefs, and confusion.  Everything within myself belonged to me. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Keep going

The year was 1983. In Australia, the long-distance foot race from Sydney to Melbourne was about to begin, covering 875 kilometers - more than 500 miles! About 150 world-class athletes had entered, for what was planned as a six-day event. So race officials were startled when a 61-year-old man approached and handed them his entry form.
His name was Cliff Young, and his "racing attire" included overalls and galoshes over his work boots.
At first, they refused to let him enter. So he explained that he'd grown up on a 2,000-acre farm, with thousands of sheep. His family could afford neither horses nor tractors so, when the storms came, his job was to round up the sheep. Sometimes, he said, it would take two or three days of running.
Finally, they let Cliff enter, and the race began. The others quickly left him way behind, shuffling along in his galoshes. But he didn't know the plan included stopping each night to rest, so he kept going.
By the fifth day, he had caught them all, won the race, and became a national hero. He continued to compete in long-distance races until well up in his seventies. He was an inspiration to millions and a great encourager of younger runners.
In his honor and memory, in 2004, the year after his death at age 81, the organizers of the race where he first gained fame permanently changed its name to the Cliff Young Australian Six Day Race.
What was the key to Cliff Young's success? It goes by various names: determination, perseverance, persistence, tenacity. It means keeping one's eye fixed steadfastly on a goal, and not stopping, no matter the difficulties or the obstacles, until that goal is achieved.
This is just one of many stories in our book, The Best of Success...A Treasury of Inspiration. In it, author Bob Kelly and I partnered to research the 25 common traits of successful people.
Bob shares my love of quotations. He began building a library of quotations in 1982, than now numbers 425 published volumes. The Best of Success captures some of those quotes, along with inspirational stories and award-winning photographs. It is an inspirational coffee table book that you'll treasure forever.

Periodically, I get this in my email trying to get me to buy the book.  Every time I see it, I seem to get something different out of what is said.  Cliff Young had his own style.  He didn't fit in with the other racers.  He didn't follow their plan.  He is considered a success since he won the race but would they include them in their book if he lost that race?  I am starting to learn that success means different things to different people.  I am working at loosing weight right now.  As long as I am loosing weight I am winning, right?  Or is the win in being more aware of how I treat my body?  Is the win in putting my health first?  What is it that I am trying to win any way?  I think this is why I never felt a desire to buy the book.  I was raised by a narcissistic mother and an enabling father.  I tried for years to meet their standard of success.  I learned really early on that when I climb the ladder of success I need to make sure it is leaning against the right building.  Nobody would have heard of Cliff Young if he stayed on his sheep ranch and rounded up sheep.  He took his skills he learned from this harsh arena and applied it to a standard that others viewed as success.  In my estimation, he was a success before he won the race.  I think one of the difficult things for survivors of narcissistic parents is to define what success is in the first place.  Is success walking away from the drama and cruelty we experienced growing up?  Is success finding a meaning in life that doesn't involve comparing ourselves to someone else?  Is success in what we produce or how we live?  My mother could mark off on her list all the things she accomplished but she couldn't nurture her daughters, was her accomplishments a success or just a substitute for what she couldn't do?  My summer is almost half over and many of the things I planned to do are unaccomplished but I am reviewing my progress in and see the over all drop in food consumption, increase in exercise, and improvement in my health.  Now, I am starting some of the projects I planned to do and I am excited and much happier than I am about the dieting.  I do feel a sense of accomplishment that I have my blood pressure back in the very healthy range.  I am delighted to be able to wear my anklets again.  I am happy with my ability to complete the easier exercise videos.  I am planning on building my strength to be able to do the Bob Harper videos.  After 2 years of dancing with my daughter's class I can now do most of the exercises.  I remember starting out and I couldn't touch my toes.  Now I can hook my finger around my toes after stretching out.  I still experience aches and pains when doing something new but that is true for everyone.  I may not appear to be a success to someone else but I am learning the value of keep going.  My success is getting up again and again and again.  My success is recognizing unhealthy upbringing and seeking counseling to learn a different way to live my life.  My success is in my own happiness.  My success is moving my ladder of success to my own standards of good enough.  Success is set by me and I am enough and I will keep going.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A day off

Taking a day off didn't help.  I realize now why my mother always talked about diets.  Now that I am working on my weight loss it seems like everything I think about has to do with food.  So I am going to try to get some of this food obsession down in writing to get it off my brain.  (Stop reading now if you don't want to read a bunch of crap about food, dieting, and obsessions.)

Facebook:  This is how you burn 800 calories in 30 minutes with a picture of a burnt pizza. 

Everything I have been taught about eating may or may not be true.  Even may be hiding behind unsubstantiated rules.  The rule of 8 cups of water a day doesn't work for everyone.  I read an article on overhydration and learned that the swelling in my legs was caused by drinking too much water.  I learned to adjust my water intake and the swelling is gone.  The article said to drink when I am's the deal....I ignored my own feelings about my body for so long I don't recognize when I am thirsty.  Another gripe about, if I eat two fruit servings and 2 cups of milk I totally bust my sugar intake for the day.  The proportions of protein, sugar and fats....who sets these?....where are the studies that prove these proportions?  Who decides this stuff?  Is the calorie count in foods actually accurate? 

Other reading has challenged other views In Bad Company posted this one:

Myth #3: Breakfast is part of an essential diet

More challenges to my reality.  I crave where does my obsession for breakfast come from?  I didn't need to think long.  When I was about 9 years-old, I told my mom I was still hungry in the morning, I was informed that she needed to save seconds for my brother.  I am over compensating 45 years later trying to give myself enough breakfast.  I can eat a complete breakfast and in my mind I am still hungry.  So not only am I addressing real physical need of refueling my body, there is a part of me that is trying to make up for going to school hungry so my brother could have seconds.  You know I am almost jealous of hobbits for having two breakfasts.  Yes, I know hobbits are not real but neither is my hunger.  It is just a memory that can actually cause my stomach to growl.  This is where Myfitnesspal comes in handy.  I go to my diet journal and read my list of all the food I just finished eating.  Deprivation, narcissistic control, and other emotional land minds really mess with my mind as I struggle to control my eating instead of my eating controlling me. 

Yesterday, I went to lunch with a friend.  We had a great visit and I ate until my stomach felt uncomfortable.  The food was in front of me so I kept eating and eating.  Wasn't until I got home and wrote down all that I ate that I realized that I had eaten twice what I normally eat in a meal.  It wasn't because my friend was saying anything about what I was eating.  For some reason, eating out triggers a desire to do what I want even if I end up feeling miserable.  This makes no sense whatsoever but it is there.  Part of living authentically is stop lying to myself.  Now, I need to decide what I am going to do about it.  One choice is to never eat out.  I don't like that option.  Another choice is to ask for a box at the beginning of my meal and put half of my food in the box.  One thing I learned, well before I decided to loose weight, most sit down restaurants give me twice as much food as I can comfortably eat.  Fast food places trick you.  I looked on line and the so called "diet friendly" menus had just as many or more calories then the regular menu. This just sucks, I am having a tough enough time without people lying to me.  I am frustrated, discouraged, and down right crabby about this whole thing.  This is why I always give up on diets....this is the stage of me being so freaking bitchy doesn't seem like it is worth it.  (Heavy sigh.)  I reached the age when my heart is begging me to be kind to it.  I was at the dentist on Monday and my blood pressure was 110/70 which is lower than it has been in years.  The weight is coming off....I really am feeling better physically.  Now, if I can just stop being so damned cranky I will get this done.   

Monday, June 24, 2013

Off to see the Wizard

I love Kara's perspective of the Wizard of Oz.

My sister, Judy, pointed out that Battle Buddy's were posting so many awesome posts because this month is PTSD awareness month.  I am aware of it all the time.  I was so excited reading Kara's post about what she learned from the Wizard of Oz.  I watched this movie since I was a little girl.  The Wicked Witch scared the bejeebers out of me.  I was so focused on the Wicked Witch I didn't pick up on what Kara noticed immediately.  She applies it to narcissistic people but it also works with PTSD. 

It's interesting that the characters needing those things appear in that order: because a brain is needed first, to work out what is going on, a heart second, to be able to feel what we have been numbing for so long and courage last, to be to stand up for ourselves.

 She pinpointed so exactly what I needed to go through to fight PTSD.  I needed a brain to work out what was happening.  I worked at a real disadvantage for a long time because I didn't have the background education to identify the problems and what they meant.  I knew something was wrong but I needed to educate myself a lot.  Reconnecting my Heart was brutal.  Numbing works because you feel no pain....but people forget that you feel no grief, no sadness, no happiness, no satisfaction, no joy or any other emotion.  Numbing numbs is why it is described as gray.  Courage is absolutely necessary and I love that Kara pointed out it is an emotion you feel.  Being numb kept me from feeling courage.  Wow Wow WOW.  This is a just amazing.  Thanks Kara for sharing your perspective. 

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How can PTSD be helped?

 Battle-Buddy is posting some very cool stuff on face book, again my comments in red. 

How can PTSD be helped?

Helping yourself
keep life as normal as possible   
Keep things calm, normal is kind of vague and sometimes when trauma happened when very young trauma can feel normal.  I had to learn what a calm life felt like.  
get back to your usual routine  
If you don't have a usual routine, build one.  Flylady taught me a lot about building routines.  Hers was all about housework but it works for anything.  Start with 15 minutes that you do everyday then build on that until you have a set of activities that work for you. (You can find Flylady at I agree that writing down routines is helpful.  I am still working towards overcoming my aversion to lists. (That is another post.)  
talk about what happened to someone you trust

Someone you trust is important.  Also you may need to choose someone that can handle hearing what happened.  I was blessed with KavinCoach to listen to my horror stories.  There were other people that I trusted but many are not prepared to hear the nightmares.  KavinCoach wasn't too thrilled but he was prepared to hear hard stuff.
try relaxation exercises

Yes, practice relaxing.  It doesn't come easy when hyper-vigilance is a part of PTSD.  Start by finding a place you consider safe and then practice starting with a minute then work yourself up to longer periods.  This was one of the toughest things I worked at doing.  Relaxing is hard because I felt like I was letting my guard down.  
go back to work  

Staying busy makes a huge difference.  To much time to dwell on the past can actually make PTSD much worse.  KavinCoach instructed me that I could only spend one hour a day reading about and unraveling my past.  He encouraged me to live in the present as much as possible. 
eat and exercise regularly

Simple but makes a huge difference.  Eating needs to be healthy choices.  Real easy to use food for comfort instead of nourishment.  My challenge is I am no longer going hungry.  My food diary on reminds me how much food I ate during the day so my anxiety can not trick me into believing I am starving when I am not.   
go back to where the traumatic event happened

If you do this I recommend taking a trusted friend with you.  I collapsed completely when I accidentally went where the trauma happened.  I didn't remember the trauma but when I was in the actual location I had flash backs.  DH had to practically carry me out.  This is also not always possible, KavinCoach helped me with visualization until I could visualize the place in my mind without shutting down. 
take time to be with family and friends

I found PTSD is easier to handle when I am alone.  I tend to retreat from family and friends when things are getting harder for me internally.  I have to work hard at staying connected to family and friends.  I learned it is worth the effort.  I am thankful my family and friends don't give up on me.
be careful when driving – your concentration may be poor

AMEN.  Be willing to get off the road if your mind starts going into places from your past.  Driving can be deadly to you and other drivers if you are so focused on your past that you are not present for avoiding other cars.  This is a real danger that I had to learn to accept.  I often spend about a half an hour processing a counseling session before I attempt to drive home on the freeway. 
be more careful generally – accidents are more likely at this time

Self care is surprisingly difficult when PTSD has the upper hand.  Kitchen accidents, misstepping and falling are more frequent, just generally watching out for myself is needed when PTSD is working at disrupting my life.  
speak to a doctor

Include your medical doctor as part of your team to get well. 
expect to get better.

Your own expectations has more control over getting better than anything else.
beat yourself up about it - PTSD symptoms are not a sign of weakness. They are a normal reaction of a normal person to terrifying experiences.

Really easy to blame myself when it seems to be me.  I am starting to recognize the difference between my reaction and a PTSD reaction.  I am still responsible for how I behave, I try to be more patient with myself.
bottle up your feelings. If you have developed PTSD symptoms, don’t keep it to yourself because treatment is usually very successful. 

Bottled up emotions stay perfectly intact waiting to explode at the wrong moment.  Addressing how I feel and why is an important part of my day-to-day living.  If I am furiously angry, I take the time to figure out what emotion came first.  What is the real cause and not the surface cause? I can not lie to myself and say I am fine when I am not. 
avoid talking about it

Counseling where I talk about what I am feeling made a big difference.  I am learning there are other people in my life that I can trust with how I feel.  Not talking about it does not make it go away, just closes avenues for healthier resolutions.
expect the memories to go away immediately; they may be with you for quite some time 

The first incidents were over 50 years ago.  Some of those events still haunt me.  This is why I believe that PTSD is like diabetes...I get better at controlling my reaction but it never completely goes away. 
expect too much of yourself. Cut yourself a bit of slack while you adjust to what has happened.

Do I give myself as much space as I would someone else in the same experiences?  Do I treat myself with compassion that I deserve?  For me, I needed a counselor to point out how harshly I treated myself.  I am learning to give myself a break now and again. 
stay away from other people

One of the earliest symptoms I have of PTSD running my life is I stay away from others.  I work at scheduling to see other people, to keep myself present in my life.
drink lots of alcohol or coffee or smoke more

I was fortunate not to have these challenges but I tended to use food to bury my emotions.  Food can be right there with other addictive problems. 
get overtired

Insomnia gets worse and makes the symptoms worse.  I have to consciously prepare myself to sleep.  One of the things I do is stop using a computer about a half an hour before sleeping.  This allows me to slow down my thinking. 
miss meals

Skipping meals is a common way for people to control their life when life gets out of control.  Anorexia is the extreme version of this problem. 
take holidays on your own. 

I have to give myself permission to take a holiday.  They are important to help change up you days a bit.  Keeping routines during vacation is helpful in enjoying my break. 
What can interfere with getting better?

I need to be aware of the things that are challenging for me.  Just because it doesn't bother someone else doesn't mean it won't affect me.  Goes the other way around too.  Things that bother me may not bother someone else with PTSD.  Self awareness is vital in healing and find what works for me.

You may find that other people may:
not let you talk about it
avoid you
be angry with you
think of you as weak
blame you.
These are all ways in which other people protect themselves from thinking about gruesome or horrifying events. It won’t help you because it doesn’t give you the chance to talk over what has happened to you. And it is hard to talk about such things.

It was very hard on my when several people that I knew chose to no longer be around me when they found out I was a multiple personality.  They wanted nothing to do with me.  It really hurt because I was the same person I just had a name for what happened to me.  Integration did not change my desire to be around the people that rejected me when I could have used their support instead of their condemnation.  PTSD is tough and some people just can't handle being around someone that is struggling with this challenge. 

A traumatic event can put you into a trance-like state which makes the situation seem unreal or bewildering. It is harder to deal with if you can’t remember what happened, can’t put it into words, or can’t make sense of it.

This is when I discovered that art is a powerful ally in approaching those areas that I couldn't address with words.  Art therapy works. 

Just as there are both psychological and physical aspects to PTSD, so there are both psychological and physical treatments for it.
JOIN US at The Battle Buddy Foundation as we work to bring healing and hope to our nation's injured heroes!

Both body and spirit were damaged and both need to heal.  A variety or choices are available.  Battle-Buddy is spreading the word for Soldiers.  I am trying to reach others that spent a childhood in fear.  There is help available...part of the challenge is reaching out and seeking help where ever you can find it.  One of the things that blesses my life is my faith in Jesus Christ as my savior.  Other people find solace in other faiths that teach healing and peace.  I seek out what brings peace to my soul.  I actively look for healing and ways to better my life.  Sitting at home feeling sorry for myself does not bring about healing.  


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer begins in May

I live in the part of the world that Summer begins in May and torments us through October.  I read an article recently about exercising in the heat being ok to do except when it hits over 100 degrees F.  Well in July, the low in the middle of the night can hit over 100 degrees.  Celebrating Summer is almost a crime here.  This is one of my favorite poems:

The devil wanted a place on earth
Sort of a summer home
A place to spend his vacation
Whenever he wanted to roam.

So he picked out Arizona
A place both wretched and rough
Where the climate was to his liking
And the cowboys hardened and tough.

He dried up the streams in the canyons
And ordered no rain to fall
He dried up the lakes in the valleys
Then baked and scorched it all.

Then over his barren country
He transplanted shrubs from hell.
The cactus, thistle and prickly pear
The climate suited them well.

Now the home was much to his liking
But animal life, he had none.
So he created crawling creatures
That all mankind would shun.

First he made the rattlesnake
With it's forked poisonous tongue.
Taught it to strike and rattle
And how to swallow it's young.

Then he made scorpions and lizards
And the ugly old horned toad.
He placed spiders of every description
Under rocks by the side of the road.

Then he ordered the sun to shine hotter,
Hotter and hotter still.
Until even the cactus wilted
And the old horned lizard took ill.

Then he gazed on his earthly kingdom
As any creator would
He chuckled a little up his sleeve
And admitted that it was good.

Twas summer now and Satan lay
By a prickly pear to rest.
The sweat rolled off his swarthy brow
So he took off his coat and vest.

"By Golly, " he finally panted,
"I did my job too well,
I'm going back to where I came from,
Arizona is hotter than Hell. "

Friday, June 21, 2013

Just wanted to share.

I follow Joel Runyon on his Impossible blog and he shared his experience running a Tough Mudder.  One of the comments gave a link to this video that just blew me away.  This is amazing team work.

Wow...just WOW!

Starting over

How to Start Over When Your Life Feels Shattered


Hayley Hobson's article reminded me of the day I was laid off.  After working over 9 years with a company they eliminated my position.  My daughter came to comfort me than evening only to be met with me being ecstatically happy.  Yes, I was shocked and disappointed but the last several years were filled with mounting stress due to office politics that I neither understood or cared to.  I probably got the boot because I didn't care to meet the rising demands of a person that had no idea what I did.  Sometimes when a big change occurs it is an opportunity to reassess goals and direction.  I still remember visiting with a classmate at my 20 year class reunion.  She talked cheerfully about changing careers.  She worked hard to become a high powered lawyer only to realize she hated what she did.  She chose to start over and run a bed and breakfast in the country away from all she worked so hard to do.  Too many times I focus too much on what went wrong instead of looking around for a different opportunity to do things right. I am still working on how to do this.  After 3 years I am finally missing the challenge of working with computers but I am not sure I want the headaches, stress, and frustration that earmark that career.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

PTSD Tips from Battle Buddy

Battle Buddy's is educating anyone willing to read more about PTSD.  Their goal is to get help for soldiers with PTSD.  My goal is to educate anyone willing to read about PTSD, soldiers aren't the only ones.  These apply to anyone involved with a person with PTSD or has PTSD.  My comments in Red.

Battle Buddy

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.

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.

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.
Knowledge can be found on the internet, books, counseling, or groups.  Personal experiences are shared on blogs.  Please, don't feel alone.  People are attempting to connect and help each other.

  #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.
The change is permanent.  Some of the changes are beneficial; it is not all bad.  

#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.
Please see me as more than my problems.  I am a person first, with a very large challenge.

#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.
Who I am is muldeled by PTSD.  I've spent a lot of time studying the difference between my true self and my traumatized self.  I encountered this phrasing from my time as a multiple.  I understand it best by relating it to a mask that I hide behind to protect the tender hurting core of myself.  Damage added scars and layers to protect me from a harsh reality.  A false front protects me.  A false front is not the same things as another personality controlling my body.  I'll save the rest for another post.  Please believe me that I am still here no matter what.  

#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.
 During a flashback, or when a trigger  hits, I am no longer in present time.  I am trying to battle my way out of yesteryear.  I sometimes withdraw rather than expose my terror to those I love.

#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.
Having a plan in place is helpful.  If you are around me on a regular basis, plan out solutions while I am connected and able to help you with something that would work.  For me, touching me can cause me to react more irrationally.  Talking and staying close without touching makes it easier.  Each person reacts differently, form a plan in advance for what to do when PTSD is triggered.   

#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.
My progress is not a liner curve.  There are sharp down turns and twists and stops and starting again it doesn't go by any certain pattern.  I may do very well for a long time then all hell will break loose again and it will feel like I am starting over, again.  The thing about hitting bottom again, it is familiar territory and the only way I have to go is up.

#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.
I get discouraged with my own lack of progress.  Sometimes I don't want to talk about my PTSD, this doesn't mean I am denying it, just a short break to regroup.  Finding a safe place is difficult when many different triggers exist.  What is a trigger for me probably is not a trigger from someone else.  The triggers are as unique as my experience.  Coping sometimes comes in 5 minute pieces....I can do anything for 5 minutes.     

#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!
Sometimes I am just trying to put a friendlier face on my nightmare.  I work at not lashing out at those closest to me.  Counseling helped a lot in correctly addressing the problem, however, sometimes I regress.

#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.
Please believe in me, even when I don't believe in myself.  Some days are much better than others but no matter how well I am doing, there are still bad days.  PTSD is managed but rarely cured.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Blessings - how you take it

I get some of the most amazing emails.  I am tempted to cut down on all the reading then I encounter one like this one that causes me to stop and really think about my perspective.  Kate is right, when I go looking for the blessings in any situation good, bad, or indifferent, I usually find them.  Like looking for rainbows, you find them when you know what to look for.


Even those experiences we deem calamitous can carry the seeds of a great blessing. It is often only in retrospect, however, that the benefit reveals itself. And whether or not it reveals itself and how quickly it does so, is dependent upon only one thing: our own individual perspective.

We determine whether something will be a blessing or a curse by the way we choose to see it.

Life is an ongoing process, and most of us meet something at almost every turn we wish were different. But just because something is not turning out the way we want, doesn't mean it won't. And when we insist on calling it good, when we make up our minds that no matter what, we're going to see it as a blessing, then our minds start working overtime to prove us right. Magical things tend to happen and that which we labeled a blessing, more often than not, turns out to be one...

You have a mind that always tries to be right about everything so you might as well use it to your advantage. Become a hunter of blessings, actively seeking them out in every experience and person you encounter. No matter how bad a situation or person might seem, say to yourself and mean it, "There's a blessing in this, and I will find it!"

Your subconscious will accept this statement as a direct order and, if necessary, move heaven and earth to make certain the blessing is found. Follow this regimen for a while and you may very well discover that you've poked a hole in every problem and send every misery packing. Problems and miseries don't tend to stay in an atmosphere of blessings for very long.

When the apostle James wrote to the members of the early Christian church that they should "count it all joy," he had a good reason for doing so. He understood, as did Benjamin Franklin nearly 2000 years later, that life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it. And when you take life as a blessing, it tends to become one.

So the next time a difficulty arises, don't let yourself get tied up in knots. Take a keep breath and relax. You have nothing to worry about. That difficulty is nothing more than a signal that a blessing is on its way. And as you start looking for the blessing, everything else will fade away.
What you just read was an excerpt from Kate Nowak's inspiring book May You Be Blessed. (video This spring, take the time to really think about the blessings in your life. Whether it be those first flowers you see in your yard or even the rain that often comes with the season, remember, you will determine whether something is a blessing or a curse by the way you choose to see it. Try to think of everything as a blessing this spring, because you never know when you have a blessing in disguise.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Judge Not

 Matthew 7:1-5

 1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.

I believe that Matthew 7:1 is one of the most frequently taken out of context scriptures in the New Testament.  The original context referred to hypocrites and those that judged others while doing things that were much worse behind closed doors.  'Don't judge me' was an oft cried injunction by people that knew exactly how I felt about something but chose to do something else.  I happen to believe we have a responsibility to make judgements about many things every day.  We make a judgement when we choose one TV show over another.  We make a judgement when we choose spaghetti or lasagna for dinner.  I know I was judged as a snob and ignoring others before getting hearing aides.  Not hearing people talk to me set me up to be judged as lacking in many social skills.   Making a wrongful judgement is easy when we don't have all the information, caution is required.  I learned from being raised by a narcissistic parents that many accusations heaped upon me were not about me at all.  Projection of short comings onto others I believe is the intent of Matthew 7:1-2.  The second example of the mote (splinter of wood) and the beam (beams in Biblical times were closer to logs) clarifies that intent.  I discovered that I could not chastise my children for how messy their rooms were when my room was the messiest. "Judge not" is now misused to manipulate others in accepting behavior they consider objectionable.   Ever heard, "If you are really Christian, you wouldn't judge me?"  I will agree that I do not decided whether or not someone is condemned to hell, although I may tell them to go there.  I can not decide who will be in heaven either...this is not a judgement I can make.  However, I do have a responsibility to decide who I allow into my home.  I have a responsibility to set appropriate boundaries.  I need to decide if I am alone with some people.  I need to judge if someone is trustworthy before sharing something confidential about myself.  Setting boundaries is a form of judgement and vital to healthy living.  I learned that people that are trying to bully me or push past my boundaries may tell me I am judgmental to manipulate me into accepting their standards instead of my own boundaries.  Raising teenagers gave me plenty of opportunity to review my own prejudices.  I need to listen, observe, and make up my own mind about different issues.  I may take someone else's advice or recommendation but the choices I make are my responsibility so I need to make a judgement of how to act or  react in a situation.  I make judgements every day.  The healthier I am, the better I am at setting and maintaining healthy boundaries to protect myself and open myself to those that I consider safe.  I can also change my mind if I am given new information or the situation turns out different than I expected.  Humans start making judgements from the time they are born by choosing who they respond to.  I was amazed when our new born children would wiggle their little heads around to try and locate their dad when they heard him speak.  So little, yet aware that voice is important.  We make judgments every day.  I enjoy keeping company with those people that respect my judgment even when they don't agree with me.  

Monday, June 17, 2013


 Asked by Jessie

What does being supportive mean to you?
Does supporting someone mean you have to agree with them?  How can I explain that I don't have to agree with their decisions in order to be supportive of them?
Do you have to support someone (or a choice) they make indefinitely, if you have supported their choice at some point? 
If someone is making dangerous or harmful choices (continually), how can your remove yourself from it without it seeming judgmental?  Is it possible to "support" someone that is choosing things like this?

I thought a lot about these questions posted on Jessie's blog.  I decided this is like many problems a whole bunch of different things are lumped together.  I am going to pull them apart as I understand them.  The interesting thing about being supportive is it really does mean different things to different people.  I also noticed that it can be different when I give support or when I am expecting support from someone else.  I learned most of this the hard way.  Having 6 very different, intelligent, and interesting children gave me opportunities to learn how to be supportive whether I disagreed with their choices or not.  I am blessed that they are all grown and married with children of their own.  They live in different parts of the world and I love all of them.

What does being supportive mean to you?  To me, supporting someone else means that I am accepting them for what they choose to do.  It does not mean that I wish to participate or that I am happy about it.  Our youngest son came to us in his freshman year and announced he was playing football.  I had seen horrible injuries in football and did not allow his two older brothers to participate.  There was something different about his request, actually closer to a demand.  He played, I prayed.  He once commented that he was surprised at how little he played sometimes.  I smiled weakly and replied that sometimes my prayers are answered.  I went to his games but was much happier when he was playing soccer and volleyball.  Other children made choices that I agreed with and disagreed with, I kept in mind that always it is their choice and it is important for them to work out what is best for them.

 Does supporting someone mean you have to agree with them? No, it does not mean I have to agree with them.  I also have a responsibility to clarify if I disagree.  Many people will assume that if I support them then I agree with their decision.  I feel that after I told them once I don't need to bring it up again and again because that starts to sound like nagging them into a different decision.  I noticed at work I had more opportunity to practice this type of support.  Many decisions were made that I disagreed with, but when the final decision was made I followed through with what needed being done.  It was part of my job.  If I continued to tell them how wrong they were, it didn't change the decision.   

How can I explain that I don't have to agree with their decisions in order to be supportive of them?  This greatly depends on the relationship.  In an atmosphere of mutual acceptance and respect, I simply give my opinion.  However, in a relationship where the other person does not respect me, it doesn't matter what I say because they want me to agree with them not just support them.  I once told KavinCoach how I wanted to explain things to my parents.  He pointed to the wall.  His quick reminder that beating my head against the wall would do just as much good and would stop hurting when I quit.  If no matter what I say I get a negative response, usually a clear indication that the other person does not respect me.

 Do you have to support someone (or a choice) they make indefinitely, if you have supported their choice at some point? The beautiful thing about being human is we can change our minds.  The circumstances may change, I might get new information, I might feel that the direction is not turning out as expected.  If I hadn't changed my mind, I would stay stuck in the same rut indefinitely.  If the other person is so rigid in their thinking that changing my mind would have a negative impact, again I must consider whether or not the relationship is built on mutual respect. 

If someone is making dangerous or harmful choices (continually), how can your remove yourself from it without it seeming judgmental?  This is actually a two part question.  One part is about supporting someone else's decision and the other is about making judgements.  This one question could turn into a post of its own, which I will probably do later this week.  The fact that I deem the other persons choice dangerous or harmful means a judgement is already made.  Often that judgement is based on experience.  A child running into a busy street is fairly easy to judge as dangerous.  I believe that we have a responsibility to make these types of short term judgements.  Removing myself from someone else's poor choices is a judgement but it is my decision to keep myself safe.  Then it is their judgement of me saying that I can not make a choice for myself.  Often when people are blasting me telling me I am being judgmental they are in fact judging me expecting me to turn my back on my own feelings and perspective.  (Definitely its own post.)  Part of setting boundaries is protecting myself from harm.  The other person that is accustomed to breaching my boundaries will quiet likely accuse me of being judgmental when I defend my boundaries.  They won't like it.  Too bad.  Again, I recognize that the person that is accusing me of being judgmental mostly likely does not respect me.    

Is it possible to "support" someone that is choosing things like this?  I will answer this question with one of my own, why should I support someone that I believe is making a dangerous or harmful choice especially if it involves my safety?  I would not get in a car with someone that has been drinking who is also the driver.  If I was the one not drinking, I would drive or take a taxi.  Am I supporting their drinking and driving, absolutely not.  Can I still accept the other person?  Yes.  I think that sometimes people confuse support with acceptance of everything they do.  I can accept and care for the person that is making dangerous choices with out supporting their decision.  I believe there is a difference between accepting a person and accepting what they do.  I am learning there is also a big difference in relationships with mutual respect and those that use 'support', 'not judging', and 'you have to accept me because I am family' as a way to manipulate me. 

Dictionary meaning:

sup·port  (s-pôrt, -prt)
tr.v. sup·port·ed, sup·port·ing, sup·ports
1. To bear the weight of, especially from below.
2. To hold in position so as to keep from falling, sinking, or slipping.
3. To be capable of bearing; withstand: "His flaw'd heart . . . too weak the conflict to support" (Shakespeare).
4. To keep from weakening or failing; strengthen: The letter supported him in his grief.
5. To provide for or maintain, by supplying with money or necessities.
6. To furnish corroborating evidence for: New facts supported her story.
a. To aid the cause, policy, or interests of: supported her in her election campaign.
b. To argue in favor of; advocate: supported lower taxes.
8. To endure; tolerate: "At supper there was such a conflux of company that I could scarcely support the tumult" (Samuel Johnson).
9. To act in a secondary or subordinate role to (a leading performer).

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Favorite Flowers

“God writes the gospel not in the Bible alone, but on trees and flowers and clouds and stars.”  ~Author unknown, commonly attributed to Martin Luther


My sister, Judy suggested this lovely web page:

I think this is one of the many reasons I love taking pictures of flowers.  I have literally thousands of pictures of flowers.  Each one I am trying to do justice to God's creation.