Friday, July 30, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This special edition of Empowering Solutions will be a conversation with Angela, a student participating in a trauma certificate program in the Midwest. Angela is going to share with us her interest in the field of trauma recovery and what she’s been learning about how trauma looks in children - and its effects long term when left untreated. This program is for anyone who is interested in understanding the connection between past and present.
Blogger has been trying out some fancy new widgets and tools....today I stumbled across this new template called "Picture Window"
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Over at Beyond Meds, Gianna Kali has made it part of her mission to give voice to those who have found their way from "illness" to create their own life of "wellness".
In hindsight, the doctor who forced this washout of the psychotropic drugs I had been on for the fifteen years previous, had forgotten to tell me the physical, emotional and mental hell that I would go through for a long time in this withdrawal process as my body returned to a natural drug free state. A very long time.
Over the next two and a half years I would often wonder if withdrawing from psych drugs was similar to withdrawing from heroin or meth – but then decided this had to be much worse. If it was street drugs that had altered my body and brain for the past fifteen years I would have been able to go to a residential facility for up to a year perhaps. Instead, I was discharged after seven-day inpatient stay and told I was now diagnosed with yet another personality disorder and no longer needed the drugs. Seven days.
Seven days in which I had slept a total of about four hours as my body began the long process of learning to live without the drugs that I had been dependent on for sleep – but never had really worked as insomnia had become my norm almost immediately after entering the mental health system and starting the daily regimen of pills.
But – surprisingly at the time I wasn’t angry with him. In fact I was grateful.
Warning: To abruptly stop taking psychotropic drugs is extremely dangerous and can at times be life threatening. To proceed with this process demands one be fully informed of both the process and the consequences. For more information about the withdrawal process go here.
Monday, July 19, 2010
- 9. Separating myself from “diagnosis”. I’ve written quite a bit on this but wanted to mention it because this was vital for me to begin to see myself as a “person” who had some “issues” and that I could “learn” how to affect change in my life. “Diagnosis” is static, unmoving. “Issues” can be dealt with. Here's a link to my posts that contain "diagnosis" or you can search for yourself at the top left corner to see what else you can find.
- 10. Recognize this is a process, not a destination. This is a process of "self discovery", not another avenue that affords a promised "fix" or "recovery" that requires constant monitoring and focus on avoiding triggers and managing compulsions. Be committed and trust the process and you will be amazed at the payoff. Think “learning opportunity” vs. failure.
- 11. Commit to being a lifelong learner. I had to let go of the idea of being "fixed" as in "broken" and begin to see myself as a living, breathing organism that is constantly growing, repairing, changing to adapt to my environment - and with the gift of intelligence that could take me anywhere I could imagine... if I would just "imagine". There is no more viewing myself as broken, defective or "ill". I no longer think “oh, after I read this book I’ll be “fixed” and “done”. Nope. I had to commit to being just as committed about learning to live in “wellness” as I was about learning to live as whatever the “diagnosis du jour” was.
- 12. Giving up is no longer an option. My mantra became “Giving up is no longer an option; there is ALWAYS a solution". "Acting out" and "acting in" had to at some point become inaccessible as a solution and once I understood the purpose those behaviors served I was better equipped to begin to entertain the idea that I could - here's that "magic" word again - LEARN new ways of dealing with life's issues other than falling apart or sinking into depression (or dissociation) that consumed me. Over time, one by one, I learned to recognize my “avoidant” behaviors and identify new ways of managing my thoughts, emotions, behaviors - and identifying the faulty beliefs I held in order to cultivate a new belief system...A belief system based on the idea that I truly held the power to create this new life for myself and this is where the hope began to take shape when I took the action to live the life I chose for myself based on "wellness".
Thanks for joining me here this past week as I offered my very first "list" post of some of the "how to's" behind my own personal journey from "there"....to "here" where I learned to create the life I wanted - in spite of the past I'd had.
If you found value in this post or series - please forward the links to others who may be interested to follow along as we travel this path together discovering the wonderful world of living that self empowered life and creating our best life each day...
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Part of "finding my voice" in my personal journey of "self discovery" had been making it "ok" to have my own opinion or strong feelings about things and not being afraid to give voice to them.
Friday, July 16, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
- 5. Know and use your resources. This was where I started branching out and developing relationships and resources outside of those I'd become dependent on, where I could learn to "walk" before I tried to "run" independently of the "therapeutic" relationships I had come to rely on in my journey through (and out of:)) the current model of the mental health system.
- 6. Compartmentalize your life. One skill that I was lacking in the beginning was the ability to compartmentalize my life and relationships. Everyone knew everything about me – because I wanted everyone’s opinion about what I should do next; I lacked "confidence" and had a desperate need for external direction and validation. This one goes along with #4 – I first learned how to and then started dealing with my own issues and not looking to others to “make me feel better” and instead learned to develop intimate relationships where I would practice being vulnerable and trusting others who would validate my experiences rather than trying to “fix” me or my life and recognizing the difference layers of relationships from “acquaintance” to “intimate”.
- 7. Boundaries. Huge issue. Huge. This one will take some time to delve into – but a good place to start is paying attention to “whats mine” and “whats yours”. A quick look at what boundaries are and are not. Personal boundaries have nothing to do with influencing what others do...and everything about what I will allow into my world or share of myself with the world. One of my biggest frustrations in trying to learn how to establish and enforce personal boundaries was when they were discussed in the context of "what you will allow others to do". I found it more helpful to define boundaries as "what I will choose to reveal about myself" and "what I will allow in to my world, my personal space". This empowered me to let go of thinking I had to try to control what others did and said - and allowed me to learn to say "this is ok or not ok" and choose if I would continue this relationship or if the behaviors of another had become "intolerable". If this is a problem for you you might want to look at my post "I didn't know that I didn't know (I had been abused). Awareness is the place to start with this one and takes us to…
- 8. Awareness. Learning to pay attention to my own thoughts, emotions and physical body - and dig down to the beliefs that fueled the entire symphony of "me". Another biggie that is way more deserving of a massive amount of space. Also – something to begin to be “aware” of:) You can listen to the Blog Talk Radio program from Heal My PTSd about "awareness" as an empowering solution here.
Thanks for reading along this week...this series will finish up this coming Monday as we look at the final 4 points in my list of suggestions to support and empower you in your own personal journey...
And if you haven't already...I'd like to invite you to register for email or RSS feed to be notified when there is new content published.
Monday, July 12, 2010
- 1. Believe. “If you think you can – or can’t – you’re right” ~Henry Ford. Change begins with believing that change is possible. When I was stuck on defending the old…there was no room for me to even consider any “new” in my world.
- 2. Learn. When I was dependent on others to tell me what to do and provide me with my solutions I was “fed for a day”. Eventually, I figured out that I had to stop asking to be “fed”….and go teach myself to “fish” so I could “feed myself for a lifetime" through gaining my own knowledge about my life issues and discovering my own solutions.
- 3. Know what you want. I wanted to “get a life”. I wanted to learn how to be ok in the world and not expect others to adjust or accommodate me in order to be “ok”. I wanted to live a life free of the labels, shame and discrimination that comes with accepting being defined by someone else. I simply wanted to a person and learn how to live beyond coping and surviving. I wanted to live the best life possible – to create the life I believed I deserved.
- 4. Be responsible. There was a day not all that long ago when I felt completely alone and terrified. That was the day I said “I am responsible for the outcome of my life”. That was the day I stood at the top of that mountain, leaned into the wind….closed my eyes…and let go. You can see my version of the Patrick Overton poem here.
Thanks for reading today! I hope you'll join me here Wednesday for Part 2 of my (very first!!) list post of "12 things to support you in your journey"!
(If you haven't already - you are invited to register at the top of this page to receive notification of when new content is published)
Sunday, July 11, 2010
For a long time I engaged in a variety of coping skills that either put myself in danger or had me lashing out at and hating everyone and everything around me. I was “acting out” and “acting in”. Eventually I just shut down when I could no longer live in that pain and those behaviors no longer brought relief; I lived in a chronic state of dissociation and isolation for many years thereafter.
Then one day I had a very clear realization. I had a moment of insight – one of those “aha” moments where I suddenly became aware that by "avoiding" the past this way - either that of my recent past or that of the far gone past - that I was slowly losing my now AND my future because I was so obsessed with avoiding the pain of facing that which I felt so helpless to affect or change.
Part of that realization was understanding that the rumination of the life I’d had, the resentments, the anger at what I had survived and what I had lost in my lifetime because of other peoples actions or lack of action was holding me in this state of chronic pain.
Another part of this moment of enlightenment was that in order to get beyond this pain, to reclaim my life and begin to create the future I so wanted for myself that it was time to let go and begin to feel the pain instead of avoiding it.
It was time to begin to “go through” the anger not by attacking or lashing out at those around me or those who had hurt me – but by allowing myself to own that I first had the right to feel this rage that consumed me…as well as the responsibility to learn to express it safely and respectfully.
And this act led me to the grief that would wash me free of the pain of the past and free me from the prison I had lived in for so many years.
I was finally able to integrate the pain of surviving what I call “childhood horrors” and embrace who I am today.
And thus my journey to wellness shifted from being “mad at the world” to creating my best life where I became a part of the world around me, learning to live my life to it’s fullest instead of living in the isolation and shame that had held me prisoner for so long.
If you’ve found this note helpful – I’d like to suggest that you take a look at a couple of other notes in my archives…Fighting Forgiveness and Onions Make Me Cry.
“I see the light in you”