Monday, March 28, 2011

It is Never Too Late...

Here's something I wonder about...

We know and have acknowledged that emotional and mental distress is a normal response to abnormal life circumstances. 

Research shows the correlation of distressful environments and trauma to mental health diagnosis. 

Yet - those who suffer are labeled as "ill", "sick", "diseased" and "disordered"....while those who are the cause and source of the trauma, oppression, abuse and neglect are often not and if they are - they often use this as an excuse to continue to perpetrate this dysfunction in their families instead of as a reason for their own pain and to find a path to wholeness and healing.

Then as we enter the healing journey we are perhaps classified or identify ourselves as victims. 

and this is true - I was a victim

but I am no more.

We have learned to survive...

but often not how to live beyond that.

Diagnosis is used as an end all; a reason for

"this is why I'm messed up"

instead of the beginning of a map to take us beyond "messed up".

We are taught coping skills and avoidance tactics to manage symptoms of these diagnosis that are said to be ingrained, inbred and unchangeable.

How do I know this?

Because I've BTDT. :))

Thats been there, done that :) 

I resided in the mental health system that for nearly 2 decades told me that I was my problem; that my brain was broken.

I was also told that I was the problem why "therapy" and the drugs never worked.

I was "resistant"

"difficult, diseased, disordered and finally - dysthymic"...meaning I would never be "better". 

That forever I would have this heavy cloud and fog overshadowing every moment 

of every day. 

And because I did not know any different 

I accepted this as my "truth".

It was my "normal" to allow others to define me and direct my life and how I viewed my reality.

Today though?

I no longer accept or identify with the idea that I am sick

or ill

or diseased, defective or disordered.

And I am most definitely not

"dysthymic". :))


I've chosen a different path

one that leaves me feeling empowered and enabled.

A path that has brought me to my "best life"....

The one I choose for myself and create

every day. 

So today...

I no longer wish for a miracle

because I am one. :))

My passion is to share a message of hope, healing and self discovery that it is completely possible to learn to live far beyond that place of broken and 

that it is never too late to learn to create 

and live 

our best life. 

Every day. 

Check the archives...

To Thine Own Self Be True (links to this 3 part series is in this post as well:))

I Am Not a Can of Soup (talking about labels:))

I've Got a Feeling! (this post talks about the language we use that defines our reality:))

Def:empower-empou-r-verb (this post discusses what it means to "empower" ourselves:))

And my wish for you.....I Hope you Dance... :))

The purpose of this blog....

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Going Through...

In the journey of life there are going to be times of stress; triggers of memories and feelings that take us to that place we'd rather not go. 

The thing is - when we resist those memories, the thoughts and feelings that crop up is when we find ourselves feeling irritable, angry, touchy. Or we might feel down, depressed and dissociated from ourselves. 

The key is to recognize this in ourselves, bow to the experience and embrace the feelings that we might go through them to finally live beyond them. 

I Believed

Tears Wash the Soul Free

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Thursday, March 17, 2011

Def: empower |emˈpou(-ə)r| verb

Every now and then a catch phrase comes along that it seems like everyone starts tossing around.
Sort of like the Charlie Sheen thing going on lately....
In the self help and personal development sites one of those catch phrases that I've seen being tossed around and often tossed out as having no real meaning is Self Empowered.
Yet, when I found my way out of that dark place and began to make my way to the light that I live in today - the only word that could describe how I felt was
So today I thought I might just suggest that if this catch phrase self empowered is one that has lost some meaning to you that it might be helpful to take a look at the literal meaning of it that perhaps we can reclaim some of the real meaning behind this journey and the hope that is our fuel that pushes us to continue when things are the darkest before the dawn. 
empower |emˈpou(-ə)r|verb [ trans. ]give (someone) the authority or power to do something nobody was empowered to sign checks on her behalf.• enable (someone) to do (something) cryptography will empower individuals to control their information.• [ trans. make (someone) stronger and more confident, esp. in controlling their life and claiming their rights movements to empower the poor.DERIVATIVESempowerment noun
In the verb tense of the word empower we can see that the word empower on its own is to give someone authority; to enable someone to do something, to make someone stronger...
which is great if someone could give us healing, peace of mind and a sense of well being.
So when we look for the missing link from someone else to give us what we are looking for to make that shift we are dependent on other people, places and things to fall in line to provide us with our healing...
then we add the word that makes this that catch phrase that gets tossed around and if we don't look at it in its full context can lose its meaning...
Self empowered.
So if we look at creating and living a self empowered life - what we are really doing is saying that we no longer must depend on someone else to give us the authority to find our answers and create our solutions and instead can say...
I have the power, the authority to enable myself to feel stronger and more confident and...
I am taking the power that is already mine to create and live the life of my choosing.

Being self empowered to me then means many things like...

knowing my resources and using them... instead of waiting for someone else to figure out what I need and give it to me.

Being self empowered to me means learning about the tools and life skills that can help me overcome the past and create the future that I want for myself....instead of waiting for someone to tell me what to do to help myself. 

Being self empowered means learning how to recognize where I'm weak and the steps to take to become stronger in my life, my sense of self and my journey.

Being self empowered to me means taking back my life, asking for what I need, being responsible for the outcome of my journey instead of blaming or making excuses for why I can't ever have the life I want for myself...

Harsh...I know; but honestly, this is what it came down to for me. 

Being self empowered means taking the action and asking the questions to move myself from where I am to where I want to be. 

Questions like, whats missing? What don't I know how to do? Where can I get this knowledge? What actions do I need to take to obtain this knowledge? How can I apply this knowledge to my journey? 

Finding my own answers is where I found my own power.

Share Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update on Activist Alison Hymes Release

Rather than repeat what is already so well written at the popular blog "Beyond Meds" by friend Gianna Kali I will share this link to her post about the Update on the status of Alison Hymes

You can ready the post I shared this past Sunday here....Urgent Call for Support of Alison Hymes

Thank you to everyone for reading, signing the petition and sharing with your own networks.

Activism works.

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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Urgent: Call for support for Alison Hymes

I don't often veer far from the core purpose of this blog but situations as what I describe in this post justifies an exception....

Please consider going to this web site to read the complete petition for Allison, sign it then share it amongst your own network and communities. 

Friends of Alison Hymes Demand Investigation

Alison Hymes trusted her psychiatrist and followed their directions for years. She also suffered kidney failure because of this treatment protocol. In 2008 Alison had a kidney transplant due to this iatrogenic induced kidney failure. Alison was prescribed steroid in connection to this transplant. And - in spite of living free of psychiatric issues for many years and being a valuable and contributing member of her community, in 2009 she was forced back into the mental health system.

As anyone who has taken steroids knows, they can cause some nasty side effects and as often happens with those who have been labeled with psychiatric diagnosis, these drug induced side effects are often overlooked and attributed to this label.

Following is an excerpt from this online petition:

Alison Hymes of Charlottesville, Virginia, suffered from iatrogenic kidney disease due to psychiatric malpractice and misdiagnosis more than a decade ago. Alison underwent a kidney transplant in October 2008 to save her life from the iatrogenic kidney failure. As a former therapist and a user of psychiatry, Alison dedicated her time and her life to mental health advocacy and the rights of users and survivors of psychiatry and the mental health system. She served as President of the Mental Health Planning Council in her area for several years, remaining an active advocate even while dealing with such very critical personal health issues. 

Alison was thrown back into the psych system at UVA hospital by commitment in 2009 when she had a reaction to the steroids prescribed for the kidney transplant. This reaction was also due to a pattern of neglect by her outpatient psychiatrist who did not adequately follow up with the transplant team when Alison began to report negative psychological effects from the steroid drugs. She eventually went into a steroid-induced crisis. 

Instead of addressing her mental status as a steroid reaction, it was inappropriately diagnosed and treated as a "bipolar episode", and she was committed to UVA hospital and prescribed psychiatric drugs that nearly caused the loss of her transplanted kidney and underwent a procedure that almost destroyed her bladder. She was totally re-traumatized, and has been threatened with commitments and coerced into taking psychiatric drugs that are severely impacting her functioning and health in numerous ways.

There is nothing that any person can do that can justify forced psychiatric interventions - especially when there are other alternatives available.

Regardless of your personal stance on psychiatry or psychotropic drugs, Allison deserves to have her human rights protected and her civil right to choose and direct her own health care honored. 

Until you have been subject to this kind of treatment you cannot understand how traumatizing this can be. Please consider signing then sharing this petition by following this link.

Read more on Steroid Induced Psychosis or just google it yourself.

For more information on Iatrogenic PTSD and links to the full article by Dr. Charles Whitfield see this article: Psychiatric Drugs as Agents of Trauma

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Monday, March 7, 2011

The Relationships that Shaped my Life....and the Life Lessons I've Learned from them

One Path of Many
Photo by Susan July 23, 2010
Today’s post stems from much thought being given to the idea that in the original abuse, I felt obligated to include those who in the past abused me or treated me as "less than" in my new life. This journey is a process and one that includes the relationships that that shaped my life and the lessons I've learned from them.

"Those who could not stand by me at my worst 
can not know me at my best." 

These words came to me as I contemplated the idea that I do not have to, am not required to invite those into my life that in the past abused me.  I was an adult - and yet still felt very much like a child when it came to being around my siblings and in the past, my parents and many of the social and intimate relationships that I'd had. 

And I suddenly realized the hidden resentment that was showing up in my resistance to attend those family get togethers was another one of theses "have to's" or "shoulds" and I felt like I was doing something wrong by not going...or just not wanting to go.

Family get togethers for me was where the pattern was to laugh and get along while we were all at the table but as soon as someone left...they became the next course; their lives, thoughts, appearance, children, choices being served up one by one and passed around the table filled with siblings, children and grandchildren learning the fine art of carving up their relatives and friends. Dissecting their very being while justifying the hateful comments and patronizing treatment seemed to serve a purpose to bring value to themselves and justify their own lives and their behavior. 

And this is not to put down or criticize any one person or make light of this kind of abuse; its just the way it is in my family. Is and always has been and when I share this I am including myself in this kind of drama; we were raised in this and this was and is my families “normal” and it took me a long time to understand that this was not normal; that not all families engage in this kind of demeaning and disturbing assassination of one anothers character.

For many years I tried to figure out how to be "good enough" or do life "right enough" that I would finally win their approval, even joining in on this family tradition of demeaning others in order to find value in myself. 

I tried over and over to "figure out" what was "wrong" with me in order to change it so I would finally be accepted, loved, comforted when I was in pain, my accomplishments the point of despair. 

I fell into trying to reshape myself into being "good enough" as I sought approval and no matter what I did, no matter how "perfect" I was in keeping house, presenting well groomed children to the world, the right job, the new car, the new house, the right haircut, the right mall, credit card, bank account, attending church two and three times a week…

Each time I thought I'd finally arrived; that I was finally "good enough" or had done something "right enough" - there was always something else about me that was still not "enough". 

No matter what the current issue was, the underlying expectation was that I was not to have my own thoughts, feelings, opinions and my choices were all being measured against some yardstick that was never the same day to day and based on someone else’s need for me to be different in order for them to be ok.

To save myself I had to step away.

I had to create a space and a life where I could begin to experience something different in order to see and understand that this dynamic in my family was my normal but it was not at all "normal". 

I began to learn about dysfunctional relationships so I could recognize them and my role in them and thus how to step out of this role instead of expecting others to be different or change that I might be ok.

I began to understand when I was using the language of what I call "perpetual victimhood" where I felt helpless and hopeless over my life so I could recognize when and how to reclaim and take back my life by changing what I believed about myself and others.

And I began to let go of the anger and resentment that served to keep me bound and I began to see those who had not been able to stand by me in my own struggles and had even directly abused me -  through the lens of compassion...

which in turn has allowed me to see myself and others with more compassion. 

In doing this I also learned that the smoldering anger that could be fanned into a flame was really that place where I learned to grieve that which was and release the hope of what could be in order to live in what was…

and the truth that would set me free. 

And I practice setting boundaries and being assertive, I've learned to listen to my body and trust my feelings to be my guide.

I’ve learned to recognize the thoughts and words that can take me down that road of despair and how to pull my focus into the moment that I might live free of the pain of the past…

I've recognized that my serenity does not depend on how others treat me but in how I allow others behavior to affect me...

my thoughts, my feelings, my moods, my choices.

And now instead of trying, wishing and hoping to be "good enough" or do things “right enough” to be accepted and honored by those who are still on their own journey, I am able to accept them where they are and have clear boundaries of what I allow into my personal space and thoughts...

instead of trying to shape how they treat me by shaping myself to be "good enough" or "right enough".

I now shape myself to be who I want to be and share my life, my dreams, my pain, my hope, my thoughts, feelings, joys and doubts with those whom I know accept me, without question

as I am. 

Possibly related reading...

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Here's the link.....Darlene Ouimet on Empowering Solutions!

This month we had a great conversation with Darlene Ouimet of!

Darlene was sharing how she found the core issues behind her lifelong depression and chronic dissociation and call in guest, Robin Kahl of the military advocacy group Vet Wow shared some of the issues she faces each day in her quest to conquer the past and create a new future....

Listen in....

Listen to internet radio with Heal My PTSD on Blog Talk Radio

Heres the link to the show at Blog Talk Radio if you'd like to download it to itunes or share it with friends and family....Empowering Solutions on Blog Talk Radio


It is possible to conquer the past and create the future....

Share Seek Knowledge, find Wisdom, live your Truth!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Express Yourself! In "Survivors Speak" at Heal My PTSD!

by Susan August 6 2010
Today I am honored to have one of my articles shared at Heal My PTSD; Express Yourself; this post is a great overview of the process and path I followed in my healing journey. From the "awakening" and making that decision that "giving up was no longer an option" to the emotional healing that came with facing the pain of my past that I could live in the truth that set me free.

I hope you'll drop by and take a look at it!

Click here to go to Express Yourself at

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

When the Storms Blow

Photo Credit

When the storms blow and the winds rise, I can always find peace by looking inside. 


Just for a moment

and simply


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