Monday, August 30, 2010

This is where the true healing begins...

In this healing journey we do lots of things as we begin to see the light shining in the far distance.

Getting past the symptoms of distress are just the beginning of creating a new life. This is where the true healing begins - the learning to do life differently.


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I sat mesmerized as I listened to Maya Angelou

Maya Anglou

This past year I was fortunate enough to see Maya Angelou in person as she shared the wisdom of her words, encouraging this local community to be the best it could be.

I drank in her stature as she walked across the stage, her head held high, her deep voice resonating through the auditorium. Her smile, spellbinding. I willed that I would always be able to hold this memory and recall this feeling as I listened to her story-telling style as she wove a tapestry from her youth through the span of her life and brought us back to that evening where she shared many of her own adversities, including having been raped at a young age. I sat spellbound for the time she spoke, mesmerized by her poise, grace, inner beauty, peace, confidence and strength.

As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse - this poem of hers was difficult for me to read or listen to for a variety of reasons...including her brash boldness as she owned...and flaunted... her sexuality.

As I read this poem, I can hear her throaty voice in my mind speaking these words, her head held high as she spoke calmly, her confidence visible in her presence, her tone and her carriage.

And lately these words have been resonating in my mind - so today I share with you a poem that I was fortunate to hear her recite that autumn evening as I sat quietly, attentively, hungrily leaning in to catch every morsel of her wisdom, one among hundreds in awe and respect...

Still I Rise...

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Read her poem "phenomenal woman" here on this Squidoo page.

Visit Maya Angelou's website here.

Q: Is there someone who has inspired you in your journey to wellness?


Monday, August 23, 2010

Stinky Shoes, Lightbulb Moments and Mission Impossible

House on the Prairie
August 2010

My blogging - whether it's here on "A Journey", at Facebook or on Twitter - is where I share my journey, the actions I've taken, the "aha" moments of insight that stemmed from learning how to create this change in my life.

Like any writer, inspiration comes from my world, my experiences, my relationships and I very often have these moments of "aha!" and will do a quick post on twitter rather than a lengthly post here or on Facebook.

This week I thought I'd share a few of the "top tweets" from my tweet-stream....these are tweets that others found interesting in recent days and shared with their followeres... so I thought I'd share them here with you today:)

8.19.10 For a long time I hung onto the negative thinking because it was all I knew, it was like an old pair of tennis shoes. Comfy but it stank.

This tweet came from the idea of how we are "creatures of habit" and naturally gravitate back to what's comfortable, what's our "normal".

In the context of trauma survivors - sometimes we aren't even aware that change is a possibility, that we don't have to live in an abusive environment because we've been conditioned to "Tolerate the Intolerable" or that we can learn to find happiness, peace and joy because all we've ever known is the negative and we have no clue that we hold the power to change our lives simply by learning to change our thoughts.

Creating positive change can be something as simple as developing a new "21 day habit" or creating the life change that will set us free from the pain of the past by feeling the feelings and grieving the losses of the past in order to set ourselves free of the torment.

It was way easier to fall back into rumination, being that perpetual victim and the expectation that someone or something will create the needed change than it was to face the pain and fears of the past in order to grow beyond that place of "stuck".

It was easier to stay in the old thinking that felt familiar....but it was the "stinky thinking" that had to go for change to occur.

8.19.10 Complaining about what others were doing became an indicator that I was expecting someone else to change in order for my life to be better.

Boy - this was a huge "lightbulb" moment for me when I realized that the deeply ingrained sense of worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness was connected to the deeply held idea that I truly was powerless; that my health and happiness was dependent on what others did and said and had nothing to do with me.

In fact - I didn't even grasp the idea that I held any power over my own life until I started catching that chronic feeling of irritability and thoughts of what others needed to do. Once I started "seeing" that this was part of my pattern of helplessness - I was able to connect the dots and understand that I could change that sense of helplessness by paying attention to these kinds of thoughts and choosing to take my own action.

8.17.10It is not the traumas we suffer in childhood which make us emotionally ill but the inability to express the trauma..." Alice Miller

Ain't that the truth!

Part of what makes PTSd/C-PTSd so crippling is not that we survived a trauma - it's the avoidance of any situation, circumstance, person, place or thing that could "trigger" a thought that would then trigger that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness that is the trauma experience relived.

I've learned that the "avoidance" tools that survivors use, come in many different shapes, colors and flavours. From the gamut of addictive behaviors to living in a chronic state of dissociation that kicked in when things got stressful, avoidance was the purpose of my self destructive choices....

and it was this awareness that empowered me to begin to gradually choose to create the change that would change my life.

It took some time - but eventually I was able to learn how to connect consciously to my thinking, my emotions and the expression of my thoughts and emotions in my physical self.

It seemed like healing from trauma was "Mission Impossible" but by learning how to go through the natural emotional healing process I was able to tap into infinite possibilities and begin to create the life I wanted - and deserved.

Q: what is one of your own "aha" moments that made an impact on your own healing journey?


Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Honorable Mentions"

"Tiger Lilly Bright"
Summer 2010

I always like to share the good stuff that comes along....this week "A Journey" was mentioned at Sarah Olson's blog "Third of a Lifetime" in her weekly column "Best Tweets for Trauma Survivors"....

My recent post on life lessons...

@zebraspolkadots A Journey…: Life Lessons and Zebra’s
[SEO: Always much food for thought here. What life lessons are you becoming aware of?]

And a tweet that I'd posted reminding us that knowledge really is the truth that sets us free....

@zebraspolkadots “The more we know about something — the less scary it is. Feeling anxious? Unsure? doubting yourself? Seek knowledge. Find wisdom.”

I hope you'll take a minute to visit Sarah's Blog....and check out her book "Becoming One" about her journey through the diagnosis of D.I.D.

Thank you Sarah for all you do to support and encourage trauma survivors in finding and creating their own "best life"!

You can find Sarah on twitter: @SarahEOlson2009 and at her blog here.

You can find me on twitter: @zebraspolkadots

And at Facebook: here

I hope you'll visit the archives and dig around - theres lots of gems buried there:)

And if you haven't already - register for free email updates on the sidebar.

Thank you for reading and supporting "A Journey"....

I am honored that you would choose to walk beside me on my path today:)


I see the light in you!


Friday, August 20, 2010

"A Journey" Awarded "Top PTSD Blog" 2010!

Medical Assistant Schools
Presented by: Medical Assistant Schools

This week I received this note...

"Dear Susan,

Congratulations! Anne here, and your blog, A Journey, was determined to be
one of the top resources in the medical field. And so, it has received our
2010 Top 25 PTSD Blogs award presented by Medical Assistant Schools!"

I feel so excited!

"2010 Top 25 PTSD Blogs..."

Wow! Thank you!

This note continues...

"Winners were chosen through a scoring system led by internet nominations,
which came from your reader base!"

I feel so honored.

I am thrilled, honored and humbled that the readers of this blog would nominate "A Journey" for this award.

Thank you!

You can read the entire list of Blogs that were given this award here...(I am squeeling in delight to have been included in this amazing group of Bloggers!) Please be sure to visit each of these blogs and check out their contribution to the healing community!

Excuse me....but...



USA Today: Hundreds of soldiers with PTSD given diagnosis of "personality disorder"

I am speechless at the way our warriors are treated.

Excerpt from USA Today: Hundreds of Soldiers with PTSD incorrectly dismissed

Unlike PTSD, which the Army regards as a treatable mental disability caused by the acute stresses of war, the military designation of a personality disorder can have devastating consequences for soldiers.

Defined as a "deeply ingrained maladaptive pattern of behavior," a personality disorder is considered a "pre-existing condition" that relieves the military of its duty to pay for the person's health care or combat-related disability pay.

According to figures provided by the Army, the service discharged about a 1,000 soldiers a year from 2005 to 2007 for having a personality disorder.

But after an article in The Nation magazine exposed the practice, the Defense Department changed its policy and began requiring a top-level review of each case to ensure post-traumatic stress or a brain injury wasn't the underlying cause.

After that, the annual number of personality disorder cases dropped by 75%. Only 260 soldiers were discharged on those grounds in 2009.

At the same time, the number of post-traumatic stress disorder cases has soared. By 2008, more than 14,000 soldiers had been diagnosed with PTSD — twice as many as two years before.

The article continues with one soldiers story...

Luther was seven months into his deployment as a reconnaissance scout in Iraq's violent Sunni Triangle in 2007 when he says a mortar shell slammed him to the ground. He later complained of stabbing eye pain and crippling migraines, but was told by a military doctor that he was faking his symptoms to avoid combat duty.

Luther says that he was confined for a month in a 6-by-8 foot room without treatment. At one point, Luther acknowledges, he snapped — biting a guard and spitting in the face of a military chaplain.

He "snapped".

After a month of confinement following being dismissed as "faking" his physical pain.

Go figure.

Read the entire article here: Hundreds of soldiers with PTSD incorrectly dismissed


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Empowering Solutions: Special Edition!

Join us this Thursday August 19th at 8EST/7CST/5Pacific Time on Blog Talk Radio for this months "Special Edition" of Empowering Solutions!

This week on "Empowering Solutions: Special Edition" guest Angela Utschig who owns an Addiction Intervention Service in Wisconsin shares her knowledge and experience in identifying the life-cycle of trauma from childhood to adult and some empowering solutions to support your own journey to wellness!

Register for your
free email reminder here at Heal My PTSD!

Empowering Solutions is all about recognizing our own personal power to affect the change we want in our lives. Each month our goal is to offer information, ideas and resources that will empower you to take charge of your healing journey and create your own best life each day!