C-PTSD

A Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence in one (or more) of the following ways:
1 Directly experiencing the traumatic event(s).
2 Witnessing, in person, the event(s) as it occurred to others.
3 Learning that the traumatic event(s) occurred to a close family member or close friend. In cases of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the event(s) must have been violent or accidental.
4 Experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to aversive details of the traumatic event(s) (e.g., first responders collecting human remains; police officers repeatedly exposed to details of child abuse).
B Presence of one (or more) of the following intrusion symptoms associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred:
1. Recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic event(s).
2. Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content and/or affect of the dream are related to the traumatic event(s).
3. Dissociative reactions (e.g., flashbacks) in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic event(s) were recurring.
4. Intense or prolonged psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
5. Marked physiological reactions to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event(s).
C Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by one or both of the following:
1 Avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
2 Avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders (people, places, conversations, activities, objects, situations) that arouse distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic event(s).
D Negative alterations in cognitions and mood associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
1 Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event(s) (typically due to dissociative amnesia and not to other factors such as head injury, alcohol, or drugs).
2 Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world (e.g., “I am bad,” “No one can be trusted,” “The world is completely dangerous,” “My whole nervous system is permanently ruined”).
3 Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of the traumatic event(s) that lead the individual to blame himself/herself or others.
4 Persistent negative emotional state (e.g., fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame).
5 Markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities.
6 Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others.
7 Persistent inability to experience positive emotions (e.g., inability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings).
E Marked alterations in arousal and reactivity associated with the traumatic event(s), beginning or worsening after the traumatic event(s) occurred, as evidenced by two (or more) of the following:
1 Irritable behavior and angry outbursts (with little or no provocation) typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression toward people or objects.
2 Reckless or self-destructive behavior.
3 Hypervigilance.
4 Exaggerated startle response.
5 Problems with concentration.
6 Sleep disturbance (e.g., difficulty falling or staying asleep or restless sleep).
F Duration of the disturbance (Criteria B, C, D, and E) is more than 1 month.
G The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
H The disturbance is not attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., medication, alcohol) or another medical condition.

little goat

i was scared of you from the word ‘go’
you didn’t see me, but you used me as your special little goat
i hid in a makeshift house that followed me from room to room
i was spider-man
swinging from veranda to clothesline

you took away my innocents
you used me for your pleasure
without my consent
you said: “you must not tell anyone”.

from age to teens
you chose me to hate
i hide among the weeds
skipping school, to stare up at the blue sky
the mice were my only friends

when i escaped, i was in a state of pure ecstasy
free from violence, free from hatred
i danced all night
i slept by day, under the palm tree
i was free…

then my demons returned to roost among the pigeons
you tracked me down
to use me again for your own pain
i never went back to live
my neck was frozen
i could not move

i lived a dream of body narcissism
day by day
i stole what i thought was mine

you came along
like a God
you took me in your arms
at last i was loved
and so was my body

when you left i died
then i woke with fierce determination
to learn about the world
to find peace
to find the now
to find God
to find new friends
to find film and history

through crazy eyes
you stalked me to end of the earth
i was shattered
tried hard to stay afloat
dying inside

her i am
standing in front of you
my image machine
finding joy once more
the lens is my new friend
i found art once more
the tree had grown tall…
leading my life back to the soil

sedge808

C.P.T. for PTSD

C.P.T. stands for cognitive processing therapy, and is used for people with PTSD.
CPT is a specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy that helps patients learn how to modify and challenge unhelpful beliefs related to trauma.

I’ve started a 12 week PTSD support group, in conjunction with seeing a PTSD psychologist. Has been very helpful, and I’m already getting the benefits from the group as well as the therapy. This is the first time I’ve had specific help with my PTSD issues, so I am very grateful.

ptsd

For a very long time I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I always had fear in the workplace. Difficulty with anger in intimate relationships. Nightmares and night terrors. Very poor sense of self worth etc. It wasn’t until I stopped drinking in 2003, that I got a correct diagnosis for my condition.
The diagnosis was a blessing (not a curse), because I now new what the problem was and could respond and get help that I needed. I stopped work in 2009 due to strong PTSD symptoms that had been plaguing me all of my life.
I always hoped things would get better as I got older, but the opposite has happened. My symptoms have gotten worse over time.

sedge808.

https://www.apa.org/ptsd-guideline/treatments/cognitive-processing-therapy.aspx

nightmares…

the unconscious mind producing horrific dreams…

I’m a C-PTSD sufferer, and have been having bad nightmares since as young as i can remember. around age 2. Has been very hellish.

nightmares

the more stressed i am in my daily life, the more the nightmares seem to come. the worst ones are about old work places, and ones about my family.

i actually thought that, as i got older, they would decrease. but the opposite has occurred…they are just as strong as ever.

it makes me all to aware of my experiences in childhood, have effected my unconscious mind.

how about you? do you suffer with nightmares?

Gavin.

Drawing Mental Illness | [Video]

I came across the video below about artist Shawn Coss who decided to draw one mental health illness each day for the month of October. I contacted Shawn and asked him for permission to post some of his work on my blog and he was kind enough to agree.

Also, check out this excellent article about Shawn on The Mighty here –  https://themighty.com/2016/10/shawn-coss-creates-creepy-drawings-of-mental-illnesses-for-inktober/

You can order prints of Shawn’s artwork at the link here – https://any-means-necessary-clothing.myshopify.com/collections/inktober-illness-2016/products/inktober-illnesses-11×17-print

Be sure to support him by liking his Facebook page and checking out his YouTube videos.

14606541_1364984446852963_6024261240029563617_n_1024x102414520576_748985507825_2502646918177674970_n_1024x102414523034_747667239645_4558401845596305092_n_1024x1024

Catharsis and the Angels

michael

Catharsis hung there.

Limp. Swaying from the rafter that supported his mud and straw-thatched roof.

He could hear the cord stretch and groan from his weight as his eyes became heavy.

Back and forth.

Back.

And.

Forth.

His eyes began to close as the cord tightened and choked off his life wind. Choking his hope. His will to live. His resilience.

He hadn’t the will to raise his arms and save himself. He could have he supposed. But he refused. He felt a calming peace blanketing him as his life energy fell through the soles of his feet, leaving his body forever.

Finally.

Finally he would be free of this torment.

Finally he would have peace.

Peace from this Wahrlog of the Darkness.

The Darkness. A darkness so consuming, so debilitating, that each day was a struggle. A struggle to rise each morning. A struggle to tend to his fields. A struggle to continue life. A life coated with apathy.

He had hid it well from his fellow villagers. Masked it behind his toiling in the fields. Masked it behind his inward solitude. Disguised it with the will to be alone. To remain undiscovered and unbranded with the Stigma.

He knew others who had been discovered. Who had been branded on their forehead with the seal of their affliction – their illness. He remembered seeing the searing iron hissing as it sunk into their flesh. Leaving a soft cloud of smoke as it pushed deeper into them.

And their screams.

Their screams.

They were forever labeled in society by those they knew. Those they loved. Those they had children with. Their families. Their neighbors.

Branded.

Shunned.

Stigmatized.

Some, like himself, afflicted with the darkness – the deep, dark, debilitating depression he knew since he was a child.

Others, afflicted with the fear – remnants of some past traumatic stressing life event that had ripped their soul in half, and forced them to relive their past horrors. Manifest in the forms of flashbacks and tortured by the night harpies of terror. He could hear their screams at night.

Alone.

In the darkness.

Others, afflicted with the rage – elevated, hyper levels of anxiousness brought on by some outside trigger. Issuing in a brain pandemonium of paranoia and irritability. Lashing out at those whom they held closest as they wandered through their personal fog of war.

Through his closing vision, Catharsis could faintly make out the Specter emerging from the darkness. Moving closer. Stretching his pale white claws from his cloak, his talons scratching the walls of Catharsis’ mud home. Digging into the hardened clay and leaving deep cuts as chunks of adobe were ripped away. In and out of his slumber, Catharsis thought how they resembled his fields that he had just returned from. Their perfect rows whose cast shadows aligned harmoniously in the setting sun.

This was his last thought of peacefulness as Catharsis’ eyes closed.

And Specter’s grip closed around his throat.

*     *     *

At the instant the beast secured his grip to claim his prize, a magnificent burst of white light flooded the room.

Specter shrieked like a hung pig being bled dry and lurched back from the blazon firestorm that enshrouded the hanging body.

Two forms took their place next to the body of Catharsis. On either side, like stark angelic sentries sent to protect him from the Wahrlog. They raised their hands and in a fluid motion brought them down, lances appearing and striking the mud floor.

Specter hissed and the sentries lowered their weapons, tips pointed at its open throat.

A sentry stepped forward a crouched in the dirt, bracing itself with its weapon. Slowly and deliberately it scratched a line across the floor, fire following in a steady trail.

It retracted and regained its position.

“Though shall not pass” the two sentries whispered.

Specter lurched through the flame and in one swift movement was impaled on their spears. Instantaneously, Specter disintegrated into the light, taking with him his shadows and his darkness.

*     *     *

As one sentry held fast the body of Catharsis, the other swiftly swung its lance at the noose, cutting him free.

Lowering him to the ground the sentries whispered, “you are safe child.”

Thought Someone, Right Now, Needed to Hear This.

to_the_world_001

“To the world you may be one person.

“But to one person you may be the world.”

I remember when I’ve been in the throws of my Specter, and consumed with such hopelessness and misery I believed no one else endured. That depression demon who is currently being held at bay in his cage of Lexapro and Abilify, but can attack at random times with a sucker punch to the kidney, leaving me without the breath for life. It’s at those times that one person can change your life. They are there. You just have to find them, reach out to them, and hold onto them. They will be there. You mean the world to them.

If you’re wearing the other pair of shoes and know of someone who needs to be reached out to. Use this post as an excuse to do so. You may save someone’s life.

Love and the Maiden

Before Catharsis passed through his Breaking Point against the Wahrlog of Darkness, there were many days his mind would wander.

One thing he thought about was love.

He wondered…wondered if he was ever capable of it.

He thought he was. Or rather, many paths in his life supported that he was capable of what he thought was an elusive emotion:

Ages ago he had been married. Wasn’t this love?

He had helped bare a daughter into the world. Surely this was an act of love.

He often stopped along the rocky roadside to help strangers whose carts had succumbed to wear. Or those who had been bogged down in the tumultuous weather and storms. This had to be love.

Or when he could, he offered what he had to his neighbors or friends in need. Without doubt, this was love.

Wasn’t it?

It seemed he could go on and on with these proofs and until the settling sun descended over the city wall, and the moon ascended with its blanket of darkness, enshrouding Ǚr and the surrounding countryside. Tucking it in.

He could summon endless proof of love.

But he could find no proof in feeling it. The Darkness muted it.

Often times those three words felt empty. He wanted to feel them. But for some reason he couldn’t feel them.

He could only act them out.

Perhaps that was enough in itself.

Perhaps love was not a feeling.

Perhaps it was a choice.

*          *          *

Many years after the loss of his marriage to the Darkness, he had experienced intimate Relationship with a woman who suffered with Affliction as he did. It was the first time in a long time he held this communal bond with another.

Someone who understood his life with clarity.

It was upon this last thought on which his mind wandered…

Her struggle was not with the same beast as his – this Wahrlog of Darkness.

No, hers was with other beasts; these Wahrlogs of Affliction who exacted their punishments as Rage and Fear.

Yet she, she seemed so oddly capable of love and tenderness. Regardless of the terrors and harpies she battled every night. So inclined to it with all her humanness and personal torments. Greater than Catharsis himself had ever dealt with. So much greater than he was capable of.

It came so naturally to her.

She tended to him and more importantly, understood him. She validated his misgivings and second thoughts.

When they both were strong, they were both strong. But when they were weak, they were oh so weak. So weak that no force could bring them back after they had been ripped asunder. She always seemed to bring them back though.

It seemed over the years that he had lost love. Lost it to the damned Darkness.

Lost it to apathy.

Lost it to lethargy.

Lost it to reclusiveness.

Lost it to the punishment of the relentless Specter – that Wahrlog of Darkness that scratched the walls of his soul with its sinister talons. Torturing him from the dark recesses of his mind.

Relentlessly.

When he pushed back to fight for what he wanted, It dug its claws deeper through the flesh of his back. Injecting the venom of lethargy and apathy until it dripped into his soul. Sedating him from the surrounding world. Wrapping its free arm around his neck in a stranglehold. Choking off his breath. Choking off his will to pursue what he had wanted.

And then Catharsis would succumb to the Darkness yet again.

Until he made himself alone.

It made Catharsis do things he didn’t want to do. It made him hurt those that were closest to him. It made him callous. It incited him with irate intolerance. Sometimes causing him to lash out in a sleep-deprived state. Venomous forked tongue. That’s what the Darkness did to his soul.

And so it was that at just the time he believed he was beginning to live a normal life. A life consistent with his fellow citizens in the village. It was about that time that it all fell apart.

It was an unfortunate fact of his life.

But.

Sometimes love does not win.

There’s This at Work…

pie_001
My daughter helped me design this board at work.

I was prejudiced.

I prejudged.

I didn’t think that an office of  400+ onsite/offsite employees would support this.

I didn’t think a firm of 10,000+ employees worldwide would support this.

No, endorse this. Embrace this with such open arms.

This month of #mentalhealthawareness.

A good friend of mine (who I’m talking into guest blogging in the near future) organized the activities that make up this month’s Mental Health Awareness Campaign at our firm’s local office.

When she first started out, her goal was to raise $400 by having folks donate money towards the senior leader they wanted to “get pied” for charity. The leader with the most votes/money towards their name will get pied, while the leader with the least “votes” will get to do the “pie-ing”.

She surpassed that goal and employees have donated a little more than $600.00. She had to set a higher goal of $1000.00.

I work at a really wonderful firm.

I am fortunate.

I am blessed.

And I am thankful.

wh atma y me an s2 m3

Being mentally ill with depression means that people may not always get me. I’ve come to accept that.

I’ve also come to accept that it’s okay.

A lot of the times I don’t even get myself.

A.

Lot.

I guess “understand” would be a more accurate word.

It’s like trying to explain to somebody what May means to me, except it comes out sounding like this post’s title looks.

They may never understand what it feels like. And I’m happy that they never will. I would wish this on no one.

There’s so many things I’ve never understood about myself for years, and have only begun to within the past 5-10 years of my life.

A list of un-understandables in my life has been:

I don’t understand why I feel sluggish all the time. 

I don’t understand why laughing feels so forced.

I don’t understand why I want to be alone all the time.

I don’t understand why I don’t want to do things.

I don’t understand why I am always so tired.

I don’t understand why I see grey when it’s brightly sunny outside.

I don’t understand why at 42, I can still sleep until 1:30 on a Saturday afternoon.

I don’t understand why I set my alarm for 5:00 am and hit it until 6:00. 

I don’t understand why I think of suicide

I don’t understand why I pray to God to take me home in my sleep.

Over the years I have come to understand why though.

Depression.

A severe, deep-seated depression.

My Specter.

Picture 5

[SOURCE: https://indisposedandundiagnosed.wordpress.com/2015/06/10/this-is-what-chronic-illness-looks-like/comment-page-1/#comment-1817]

NOTE: This image is the original idea of Cass and her site at the above link. Check it out and give it a Like!


So for me, the new significance of May is about raising awareness of mental health. And in my case, severe depression and suicide. It’s about taking a chance, stepping out on a scary ledge, and talking about my mental condition to others.

Lessons Learned: Some Things I’ve Learned from My Depression

I would hope that you would take these things and hold them in your heart. Don’t forget them. Remind yourself of them. And learn from your mental condition.

A list of understandables in my life is:

  1. I have a condition, not an illness. I am not sub-human. I am not sick. I am an extraordinarily strong person because I survive through things other people can’t imagine having to deal with. I live my life a little differently than others because I live with affliction.
  2. I am perfectly imperfect, and that’s perfectly okay. I’ve learned to forgive myself and accept myself. I have a hard time believing the phrase, “I don’t let my mental condition define who I am.” I know what people mean, but I think in the end, depression has set some life parameters that I have to (or choose to) live by. If I don’t abide by those…rules, I start to hear Specter’s rusty cage hinges creak and I feel him scratching on the walls of my soul.
  3. What I feel is valid. I am not crazy. I may be a little broken. You may be a little bruised. But don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re crazy. Don’t you dare let them make you feel that way. You. Are. Not. Crazy. Real talk.
  4. Only I will take care of myself. I must take my meds. Daily. I must eat healthy. I must exercise. Meh. I’m working on the last two. Have
  5. Strive to be empathetic and kind. You know why. You have struggles other people don’t know about. So do others. I remember a time my Lexapro had run out and I couldn’t afford a refill. I had been off it for about four days and I could feel the dizziness set in from withdrawals. Then the bottom fell out. Specter’s claws were dug so deep into my shoulders I could feel them carving at the bones. Someone put their hand on my shoulder and sat with me. I was in tears. I was choking my words out in a dark chair in a dim corner. He made a call to get me my medicine. That’s why.
  6. Be a servant when you can. Help others when they’re down. People have helped me when I’ve not deserved it. Free of charge. Pay it forward.
  7. Exude grace. Strive to give others the benefit of the doubt.
  8. Have grace on yourself. Learn to accept grace yourself. Be gentle on yourself. We beat ourselves up so much each day. Allow yourself forgiveness. See #2.
  9. People do understand – surround yourself with those people. There may not be too many. But you know what? That’s just about the right number anyways. Find your devout warrior supporters and cling to them. Share yourself with them. Open yourself up to them. It is empowering. It is healing.
  10. My God loves me. Me and God. Ahh, yes. For such a lifetime I’ve bashed myself for not measuring up. Engorging bucket fulls of self criticism, guilt, and shame for never feeling like I measured up. Never earning my dad’s approval, or my Father’s. All. Those. Years. And I got it wrong. His scars are enough to cover my soul. His Grace is the way to my healing. His forgiveness is the magnetic north to my moral compass. SOso many times I fail. Flat on my face. He’s always there to pick me up and hug me with a gentle, warm smile.

Now…Let’s take back our lives and make this our new fight song! This one’s for you Niki.

“Cry Thunder”

Time after time as we march side by side
Through the valleys of evil and the torturing souls,
Night after night, for the glory we fight,
In the kingdom of madness and the tales from the old

Death by our hands, for the higher command,
As the darkness surrounds us hear the cries as they fall
Fire burning steel and the tyrants will kneel
Hearts burning stronger with the power of the sword

Set sail for the glory,
Pray for the master of war (pray for the master of war)
Sunlight will fall by the wastelands,
Endless rise for the heroes before

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

Reckoning day, for the demons we slay,
With the force of a dragon we will conquer them all!
Chaos still reigns devastation and flames
For the ultimate glory when the legacy calls

March on
Through the hellfire
Blazing for the darkness beyond (blazing for the darkness beyond)
Nightmare return of the thousands
Giving rise to the heroes once more

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

[Solos]

Unholy darkness,
In the eyes of broken dreams,
Outside of the wasted and torn,
A land of tears still remains
Soldiers of destiny calling,
And the fallen will rise up again,
Conquer the forces of evil and fight to the end

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Titans of justice, fearless we stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command,
Saviour of nations, freedom of man

Cry thunder!
Sword in his hand,
Warriors defending,
One final stand
Cry thunder!
Strong in command,
Blessed by the union, freedom of man

Blessed by the union of man
Cry thunder!
Yeah yeah

I Want to See What You See | Poetry

Poetry_do you see what i see_001.jpg

Camera lens of happiness, to take away the grey

Cuz sunshine’s there, I see it, it’s just a million miles away.

Camera lens of hopefulness, to take away despair

The never ending fog of war, the loss of will to care.

Camera lens of energy, to take away the apathy

The never ending lethargy, the sits inside of me.

Camera lens of healing, to take away the pain

Cuz sunshine’s there, I know it, even through the rain

About This Map

20160421_104910.jpgMany of you know I survive through clinical depression. And though I am 42 (as of this writing) I’ve struggled with this Specter since middle school. Many of you know all too well, the impact it has had on my life and those around me.

I feel pushed by the Lord everyday, to be as open as I can about it – feeling alone is the worst feeling in the world.

I don’t want anyone to feel like that. No one should.

I feel pushed to face the darkness, and encourage those who deal with the same demons. To talk about my experiences with those who have lost loved ones to this affliction, and may be themselves, pressing on through the awful quagmire of hopelessness.

So about this map…Having blogged for almost two years, I am thinking of creating a series of short stories about several heroes and their struggles with mental illness.

I wanted to share the beginning of their world with you.

I wrote a short story on stonewalling in relationships, which inspired me to begin to branch out with my writing.

The memories of what next?

Recently I spoke with my old therapist she has many years experience in defending aswell as writing up reports on abuse cases that will be going to court. I generally wanted to know the course of action that will happen ,how invasive are the questions ,time frames etc. seen I now live over seas ! M was incredibly truthful with me in explaining that more that 85 percent of her clients regret or are more traumatized than ever after either beginning or finishing the court trial, by this stage I was crying on the phone “we spoke about my reasons ,they pretty simple im at a honest stage im sick of hearing how my uncle for one continues to molest children even at the age of 77 there around and even though he has dementia and numerous other health issues he still remembers how to do this “YUK” and yet family still hold onto the belief his not aware anymore ,shame leave him the live in a very poverty stricken squatter camp in south Africa so im guessing these young teens are more venerable! Then for me there was not only him I was abused by a cousin and four of his friends and roughly same time there was another group of three that joined separately  making a total of 8 offenders so my battle was going to be more intense. M also spoke of the strain on my family as all will be interviewed and we talking of a time frame over 30 odd years how would we manage? … could we survive this?

At this point i battle daily to stay grounded as night falls and my mind wonders were too , M as far away as we are is available for more chats surrounding my questions …she made me promise that either way forward id not do it alone I need a small group of supporters of professionals and family who no my queues .There’s something about that I hate grrr I so want to go it alone its mine and ill deal with it ,there’s to the other piece of contacting sexual abuse rape crises and getting support to a police interview next week around more questions on the process , im battling to even ring and ask!

As for now im drowning myself in work 14 hour days it helps my anxiety and for now im home and don’t return till weekend and Monday then home 3 days were ill go this interview …”BREATH IM TRYING”

 

 

 

Nurturing Emotional Wounds

Emotions should be treated with kindness and a gentle spirit. When an emotions feels like it is too overwhelming you can console that feeling and care for it.  Think of your emotions and feelings as children who need to be taken care of and nurtured. If you abandon your feelings they will only grow more. […]

http://gentlementalannie.com/2015/12/12/9635/

I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 1 [Poem]

How do you relate to the people in your life with PTSD?

This post is part of a series of poems dedicated to my girlfriend. She has PTSD and severe anxiety and you will understand her story with each post. Each time I learn something about the mental conditions she lives with, I add a “part” to the series.

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History becomes Her story-

She’s a beautiful soul, trapped deep in her keep,

In a place she won’t let most inside.

So I’ve entered slowly and cautiously here,

Not breaking the trust she confides.

Her levels and layers, her pain and her hurt

Run as deep as the red in her blood.

And I sit and I listen, to all that she says,

Which comes from her core that is good.

She tells me of rape, of the breaking of bones,

And a tear glistens down over my cheek.

For I’ve known the warrior, the battle hardened victor,

Not imagining her soft soul so meak.

Sometimes she gets up, in the middle of the night

She says that it’s just too hard.

She’ll leave then apologize because she’s flashed back

I’m not angry, I’m honored ’cause she let down a wall.

We tell each other, “You get me.” “You understand who I am”,

And we hold each other tight.

And I’ll hold her and treasure her, ’til peace arrives,

And helps her sleep through the night.

She’s grown on me, and taught me her life,

My mouth hangs open in awe.

For I’m getting her condition, her PTSD

I’m beginning to understand it all.

Do you have suggestions for supporting people with PTSD? Will you share them with us?

Selfless | [POETRY]

Reblog this to someone who may need to hear it today.

Let’s reach out to our friends who are hurting.

image of hands holding hands

Selfless

He took a little piece of him,

and placed it in my hand

I was hurting, sad, and broken,

and I couldn’t understand

Why he gave so selflessly,

and cared to share a part

Of him so free and graciously,

a portion of his heart

The Wall | [POETRY]

Image of a wall with poetry by the author.

The Wall

A little brick of hate was laid, down into the dirt.

Along with words of callousness, and spite, and wrath, and hurt.

A wall was built that housed mistrust, by someone I loved dear.

It grew in strength, brick by brick, each year it grew in fear.

All I could do was sit and cry, and beg that it’d come down.

But each day mortar, stone, and hate, solidified it with the ground.

I saw the light begin to fade, as it closed against the sky.

I hung my head in deep despair, in hopelessness I cried.

Then one day a dove appeared, against the blackened grey.

It chipped the joints, and broke the bricks, and toppled them away.

It pecked, and chipped, and split the wall, stone by simple stone.

For love and peace had reached a soul, that never the soul had known.

And now a garden there exists, in place of deep despair.

No brokenness, no sadness, no signs of disrepair.

For what was once a wall they made, was used to shut me out.

Love had now transformed through healing, and brought the rampart down.

A Letter From Home: Dear Sara

A Letter From Home: Dear Sara
A Letter From Home: Dear Sara

Dear Sara,

I’m at the park watching an old guy feed bread crumbs to a flock of pigeons.

He’s like God throwing manna to the Children of Israel.

It’s magical.

Sometimes I think all of life is magical but growd-ups don’t wanna talk about magic.

They say magic is for kids but if you ask them how come they’re alive, they don’t know what to say.

Ok, so I got a question:

Let’s say one-day u meet someone an’ this person sez they got lots a love for you but somethin’ don’t feel right.

But you wanna be loved and the person seems straight up. An’ you love ‘em back.

But there’s shadows you can’t explain, and the shadows look familiar.

But you don’t want to lose the love so u try to pretend like the shadows ain’t there when, bam!

Them shadows gets bigger an’ meaner until everything is black like it was for Robby when the shadows sliced his soul.

So you try to talk about it cuz maybe it’s all in your head so you say, “I’m scared cuz

I think somethin’ ain’t right.”

An’ the person says you don’t know nothin’ an’ you’re too suspicious an’ maybe it’s cuz you don’t know what real love looks like and maybe them shadows is love.

An’ the person says; “Bad people see bad things in good people.”

So you go, OK. Maybe it’s me. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe I imagine lies and meanness cuz I’m bad.

An I think, “Everything about me is me is wrong….”

An’ then I think, “But this all feels so familiar…”

So one day I come home an’ I see somethin’ terrible…I see this person doin’ bad stuff with a little kid, an’ I say, “Wow! That’s wrong!”

So right away this person says I’m a hater that ain’t got no gratitude an’ I didn’t see what I seen an’ I need to remember that most folks don’t even like me an cuz I’m judgmental an I’m not allowed to be judgmental cuz makin’ judgments it’s wrong.

An’ I think, “This feels so familiar an’ so confusing.

An’ I think, “If everything is good then nothin’s bad and that can’t be right.”

 So now I’m thinkin’ it really is me, cuz maybe I’m full of shadows, cuz maybe I’m a hater an I got no room to judge things cuz I’m the one that’s wrong.

But ain’t it wrong to do sex stuff with a little kid?

 So here’s my question?

Do you got this stuff figured out?

Is it always wrong to judge and ain’t there some things that’s wrong to do?

Love,

Bobby

Finding My New Normal After Losing My Old Normal

4 Times and Counting

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I was first diagnosed with breast cancer at 29. February,2015 will be 27 years from the time of my first diagnosis. I have spent almost half my life battling breast cancer.

“Finding your new normal” is one of those popular buzz phrases spoken by oncologists, counsellors, and other cancer survivors. I’ve always felt that this word was like a password to a secret clubhouse that everyone in Cancerland belongs to except for me. Although I know this password, I am obviously missing something that would allow me to gain entry. Maybe a special knock or a secret handshake is also required. While I can spout the phrase “new normal” without difficulty, I’ve never quite understood how those words applied to my life.

If we uttered the phrase “changes to your life” due to cancer, I could easily relate to that. I could draw up a long list of the…

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STICKS and STONES by Topaz Winters

One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered. ― Michael J. Fox

Rose and Stone
“I sometimes pretend I’m a Phoenix” – Topaz Winters, from Sticks and Stones

 

It’s my pleasure to bring you another poem submitted by Topaz Winters. Her poem takes us inside the maelstrom of a wounded spirit stuck between feeling the reality of unrelenting anguish from abuse, trauma, abandonment, and the dream of love and life as first imagined. The journey to healing is never swift or without setbacks captured in the line, “I sometimes pretend I’m a phoenix.” Topaz’s advocacy for survivors and awareness is greatly appreciated.  Topaz offered her poem as a tribute to the readers and authors that know abuse and trauma all too well. Thank you for your continued support, Topaz.  And now, dear reader, I submit to you, Sticks and Stones by Topaz Winters. Continue reading “STICKS and STONES by Topaz Winters”

Breast Cancer: It Is Going To Be A Bumpy Ride

My newest blog post is on the psychological effects of a breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Much of the content would apply to any other significant trauma as it covers anxiety, depression, and PTSD.

4 Times and Counting

A breast cancer diagnosis is a life altering event, physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Surprisingly, little attention has been devoted to conducting scientific studies that measure anxiety, depression, and PTSD rates in first time breast cancer patients. Even less scientific attention has been paid to these psychological effects in patients who have experienced a recurrence or a metastasis of their cancer. The statistics available are all over the map but it can safely be said that almost all breast cancer patients will suffer from depression and high anxiety levels sometime on their journey from diagnosis to post-treatment.  

These feelings may be short-term for many, disappearing within a few months after treatment ends. A significant percentage of first time breast cancer survivors (US studies say 25% while European and Australian studies say at least 50%) will go on to develop long term post-traumatic stress disorder. There is very little statistical evidence pinpointing…

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The End of War

This is a repost of a chapter from one of my short stories.  It wasn’t very popular as far as likes, comments or views. It seems counter intuitive to beat that old dead horse again here.  I replay it because much is said about post traumatic stress disorder in service members but it’s not well understood by the public.  It can manifest years after the event as the memories suddenly drift in like a cold breeze through a forgotten open door.  Internal dialog of scenes long forgotten play out when and wherever they will – triggered by a thought, sound, a vision, a taste or smell. Continue reading “The End of War”

Wall of Masks

“Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face.
But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.” ― Guy de Maupassant
Faces
Based on original image from Associated Press 2011
Wall of Masks
The words fell naked from her face,
So proud to run a single race,
Alone each mile at her own pace.
A smile and eyes glistened red in light,
Each mask she wore slipped on skin tight,
And all their hues and colors were right.
They played all summer in heat and sun,
And all the friends were there for fun,
But for her the task was to pick which one,
To fall as prey to her sick game.
All rued the day they learned her name.
They came for joy, she gave them blame,
They drank those words to slack their thirst,
They drank until their minds near burst,
The lacy toxins only made it worse.
In their heart the seeds of hate,
Grew like weeds in the lake,
And when they knew, it was too late,
To erase the words their hearts now felt.
Words fell on backs like leather belts,
until bowed and on their knees they knelt.
She stood victorious all alone,
The sun set, there was no one.
She cries out loud but no one comes.
She taunts her masks with naked face,
And screams the words that set her pace,
To run for life in a single race,
Alone with all her masks of hate.

Ways to help

6 ways to help someone dealing with PTSD  (from my prospective anyway)

  • Listen, sit silent and listen.
  • Encourage, them to seek counseling.
  • Don’t assume what works for you will work for them.
  • Don’t give advise, unless it is asked for.
  • Help them Celebrate, their victories, no matter how small.
  • Most importantly, be Patient and LISTEN, sit silent and just listen.

What things have helped you or helped you to help others?

Check out the sites below for information.

Brainline.org

HelpGuide.org

CasaPalmera.com