gems wisdom

LIVING with CHRONIC COMPLEX PTSD

LIVING with CHRONIC COMPLEX PTSD   Are you living with chronic complex PTSD? Do you feel ashamed because you or others think you should be better by now? Are your expectations of healing realistic for you? Do you think that after x-amount of months or years of therapy, group therapy, self-help books, etc. that your healing should be finished or at least you should feel more healed?! Are you feeling pressured from others to get better or be better or act better? What is in your control? What expectations are realistic for you? It is difficult to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or any illness or disorder. An illness or disorder that is not visible may provide different challenges. People tend to have more compassion for a person who has visible wounds, a cast, a wheelchair, etc. or who is recovering from a heart attack or stroke or cancer. When I lived in Germany, I was given the opportunity to perform an act of kindness. Someone asked me to give a ride to an elderly couple that I had never met. This small deed led to a friendship of special proportions. Denise and her husband lived in another part …

PTSD and AGING

PTSD and AGING: THE ROAD CONTINUES

PTSD and AGING: THE ROAD CONTINUES   PTSD and aging is a topic that crossed my mind recently. I have been dealing with more symptoms of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) lately due to a stressful situation. As I struggle with various symptoms of chronic complex PTSD, I wondered if my resiliency was weakened due to my aging.  I am now in my early sixties. There are tools I use to deal with stress as well as with PTSD symptoms. Why is my struggle more intense this time? Of course, there is more than one answer to that question. In my blog post, “Does PTSD Last Forever?”,  I addressed how long PTSD might last. (See: http://roadtofreedomandpeace.com/ptsd-last-forever/ ) Aging though adds complexity to the PTSD situation. PTSD steals my present. It causes me to lose the peace of the present moment. Depression, hypervigilance, panic, anxiety, etc. cloud the clarity of the goodness of life. It can be harder to sit in gratitude and hope. There are three articles I would like to share with you today. “Aging Too Fast, Too Young” points out that traumatic events can lead to aging faster than usual. (https://www.bu.edu/today/2016/ptsd-accelerated-aging/) “The idea that traumatic events can have a ...
just plain tired

JUST PLAIN TIRED!

JUST PLAIN TIRED   Are you just plain tired? That sentence sounds like a line from a commercial. There are times though when tiredness, lack of energy, inertia, and fatigue settles upon one’s body, mind, heart, and/or spirit. How do you cope when your body is physically worn? Do you allow your body to rest more? Are you compelled to stick to an exercise routine? Is your job physically challenging? Does your financial situation allow you the only option of continuing to push your body past its healthy limits? What is your personal response to mental fatigue? Are thoughts of problems and relationships issues roaming in your mind constantly? Rumination happens. It is unhealthy. People ruminate. It is common according to this article in the BBC Magazine titled, “Rumination: The danger of dwelling”. (Read: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-24444431.) When you are emotionally tired, what are the symptoms? Do you cry more than usual? Do you find yourself often holding back tears? Is stoicism and lack of emotion signs? Are you short-tempered with strangers, acquaintances, and/or loved ones? Food may be a symptom. Eating more than needed, making unhealthy choices, or not eating much at all may occur. The song “Under Pressure” played as ...
fear - what are you afraid of

FEAR – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?

FEAR – WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF?   What do you fear? When you were a child, what were your fears? As a young adult, mature individual or older person, what were your fears? What are your fears now? Are they similar? One day as I was reading a book by Richard Rohr titled, “Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer”, I sat down with a piece of paper and pen. I wrote “What did I fear –“on the top of the page. I would suggest before you read any further – if time permits – that you take a blank piece of paper and write “What did I fear?” as the heading. Then sit, breathe, and let the words flow. Do not take a long time performing this exercise. If nothing comes to mind, no problem. How many of the items you feared occurred in your life? Of course, I was afraid on a daily basis that abuse or torture would occur. Unfortunately abuse was a given in my life. I did not even put it on my list. Here are a few of the items that made it to my fear list: Being alone, on the outskirts Being ...
resiliency - life after shock

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK

RESILIENCY: LIFE AFTER SHOCK   Resiliency. Life after shock is sobering. The shock hits! Bam! What is your personal response? How do you cope? Shocks initiate from diverse occurrences. These can be caused by individual trauma, as well as local, country-wide or global disturbances. A short list of causes of shock is below. There are many, many more. Rape. Loss of a child in a custody battle. A diagnosis of cancer for you or a loved one Unexpected death of a friend or loved one. A wildfire that burns your home. An earthquake that demolishes a city. A gunman that murders individuals in a movie theater or a school. Shootings in your local neighborhood – many of which result in deaths of innocent people including children. An election result that puts a narcissistic person in power who stands for division and hatred. How do you cope when your first hear of the news? What is your behavior the next day? A week later? A month? Years? If you research the topic of resiliency on the Internet, you will find many articles on this topic. My life (as well as others) have consisted of much trauma and moments of shock. There ...