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Category Archives: PTSD

If Mental Illnesses Were Monsters, This Is What They’d Look Like | [REBLOG]


Check out these cartoons of mental illnesses created by U.K.-based artist Toby Allen. He decided to draw different mental illnesses as monsters, as a way of helping himself and ultimately others. Check out the article I found on Huffington Post as well as his Real Monsters series.

monsters_001 monsters_002 monsters_003 monsters_004 monsters_005 monsters_006 monsters_007 monsters_008 monsters_009

 

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Hopelessness | [POETRY]


poetry_hopelessness_001

Hopelessness

He felt such hopelessness in life, all he could do was jump.

She felt such disassociation, all she could do was cut.

Reality was harsher, than this living hell,

they lived inside their heads. No one could ever tell.

The night harpies of terror, claw her hair each night

When she pulls the covers up around her, shaking from the fright.

The flashbacks and the memories, of her broken bones

Break her hope and will to live, she wants to just be gone.

Away from all the pain, the hurt, the emptiness.

He tries to run, he tries to end the dread,

of living in a quagmire, he tries to choke it from his head.

Wishing it was just a shell that he could peel away and shed.

See, you’re not alone in this, no you’ll never be.

There’s just too much that’s going on for you to ever see,

that others survive, through the same unending pain.

Come in, we’ll hold you dear, we’ll help you feel again.

 

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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

 

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I’m Getting Her PTSD, Pt. 5 [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. Please read the previous verses. Each can be found at these links – Part 1, Part 2Part 3, and Part 4 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

Image of girl running

“In panic she runs, through her forested mind”

Running on Empty-

Heading towards “E”, one mile at a time,

The rubber is melting the road.

With her foot to the floor, and the gauge in the red,

She races to unburden her load.

The wraiths of panic, pursue her in flight,

Their talons are shredding her gown.

The harpies of terror, claw at her hair,

Knocking her down to the ground.

In panic she runs, through her forested mind,

Past triggers, closing too quick.

She can’t get away, not this time,

She’s stuck in the labyrinth; the crypt.

The branches slash, the thorns rape her skin,

And the rocks they bloody her feet.

She’s almost on empty, the tank’s almost bare,

She’s crumbling in fright and defeat.

And I catch up to her, pulling her close,

So she stops, and she looks up at me.

“I can’t do this. I won’t, and I quit.”

“Let me go. I just want to leave.”

And I let her crumble, and the tunnel opens up,

She’s so exhausted, and broke.

But she’s made it again, through the anxiety,

Such a spirit of resiliency and hope.

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.

Thank you for reading the fifth installment of this series. Please pass it on to those who are surviving through PTSD, flashbacks, and anxiety.

 

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Coping with Flashbacks [ARTICLE]


The Night Harpies of Terror

The Night Harpies of Terror

My girlfriend has PTSD.

I’ve learned that flashbacks haunt her on a regular basis. It took me some time to get used to this and so I wrote a poem about it because it is something I’ve learned about her and her PTSD.

I found an article that helped me learn some more things about this phenomena and thought that it would be good to put it out there for our community – http://ptsd.about.com/od/selfhelp/a/flashcoping.htm

Here’s a quote I appreciated and that opened my eyes just a little bit wider in understanding-

In coping with flashbacks and dissociation, prevention is key.

Flashbacks and dissociation are often triggered or cued by some kind of reminder of a traumatic event (for example, encountering certain people, going to specific places), or some other stressful experience. Therefore, it is important to identify the specific things that trigger flashbacks or dissociation.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post, my friend. Do you live with flashbacks? Is there another coping mechanism you use that the article didn’t mention? Would you feel comfortable sharing it in the Comments section?

 
 

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Mindfulness and Depression: Learning to Feel Good Again [ARTICLE]


Picture of Willoughby Spit on the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk, VA USA

Willoughby Spit on the Chesapeake Bay, Norfolk, VA USA

Here’s a pretty good article on mindfulness – http://www.choosehelp.com/topics/depression/mindfulness-and-depressionI thought you might like it.

How many people use this? I have a really hard time sitting in one place for 20 minutes. I’ve done this once, in a Saturday session NAMI class. My “safe place” was the beach that’s across the street from me. Here’s a picture of it for you to enjoy!

If mindfulness is new to you, here’s a quick quote from the article that gives you the gist of it-

The main idea in mindful meditations is to look at your thoughts as fleeting curiosities. This is added to a perspective that we need to live in the present. Not to ruminate about the past or worry about the future. Now that already sounds good to people who suffer from depression. It is sort of like when I was a kid, and there was a big kid who would threaten me. My mother would tell me to ignore him. She said if you don’t react he’ll leave you alone. I said, “But he’s going to beat me up!” She told me that he is looking for a reaction and I need to let him find it somewhere else. I said, “but he’s picked on me in the past!” She said, “That’s in the past. Let it go!”

That’s the attitude you need for mindful meditation. You learn to ignore the threatening thoughts. Especially with negative, beating-you-up type thoughts, but also for any thought. In mindful meditation you learn how to observe your thoughts without letting them conquer you or control you or your emotions. You learn to detach yourself from your thinking in such a way that you can consciously decide whether or not the thought is worthwhile engaging or not.

Have you, or do you use mindfulness? Care to share with us in the Comments section? I’d love to hear what you have to say, my friend.

 

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Hopefulness [POETRY]


Really felt someone needed to hear this today. Thank you for passing it on. X

Poem entitled, Hopefulness.

A little thought of hopefulness

Went out for you today.

I see you’ve grown discouraged.

I’ve seen you’ve been away.

I miss you and I wonder.

If you really are okay.

And that I want to see you.

Perhaps we’ll talk today?

Maybe in a little while.

I can hear your voice.

To tell you that I love you friend.

Amidst the strife and noise.

I miss you and I wonder.

If you really are okay.

And that I want to see you.

Perhaps we’ll talk today.

 

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EMDR – Session 1 | What Was My First Session Like?


Today was my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing Therapy) session. An introductory session, a teaser if you will. A little preview of the program.

I was pretty tired but decided to play along. I had done my homework and written down the most painful memory I had. Actually, I was feeling spunky with the Adderall so I wrote down 5.

It’s a nice number.

THQUIRELL!

Notes from my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Processing Therapy) Session.

Notes from my first EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization & Processing Therapy) Session.

What is EMDR?

EMDR therapy is recognized as an effective form of trauma treatment. The founder, Francine Shapiro, was walking in the park thinking through some of her own distressing memories. As she watched the ducks going back and forth she realized that the side-to-side lateral eye movements seemed to decrease the negative emotion associated with the negative memories. She assumed that eye movements had a desensitizing effect, and when she experimented with this she found that others also had the same response to eye movements.

SOURCE: http://www.emdr.com/general-information/what-is-emdr.html

My therapist told me that Francine wondered if there were any other times in which lateral eye movement seemed to benefit people and she had an epiphany – REM sleep!

The rest is history.

I Told Him My Homework

Since I have my homework pictured above, I won’t reiterate it. How did I guess we were going to start with items 4 and 5? I should’ve known. If you care to read about these items, I wrote about them in a little more depth in a post entitled, Forgiving My Dad’s Anger. It may turn out to be a series, I’m not sure yet.

I Made An Island

When we started, my therapist gave me a pair of headphones and two small ovular items that fit in the palm of each hand and had cords that plugged into a base unit along with the earphones. I asked what the heck this was all about and he explained that I would hear beeps in the headphones that alternated between each side, and at the same time the units in my hand would vibrate in sync with the beeps I was hearing. This was supposed to replace me following his moving hand with my eyes, sort of like the cops do when you get pulled over for a sobriety check.

So now that the instrument explanation was over, he had me shut my eyes and explained that I would be making an island. This was to be my safe place where no one could harm me and the entire island was surrounded by a forcefield. He had me tell him what I saw as well as what I smelled, heard, and felt.

I told him I saw white sand (unlike the nasty brown stuff indigenous to this area that sticks to your skin) and that it was fine like powder. I heard waves, seagulls, the wind blowing through huge palm trees, and somewhere waaaaaaaaaaaaay back in the recesses of my mind, a screecher monkey howling deep in the forest, haha.

For the next 5-7 minutes, with the headphones on and the buzzers buzzing, I had to imagine myself sitting in a recliner just enjoying my island.

Being mindul.

This is a technique we did in one of our NAMI meetings and is good for PTSD and those who suffer with anxiety. My girlfriend uses this in her DBT training as well.

How the Session Ended

So all that took about 45 minutes. We ended the session with him telling me that this would be a good practice for me to try. It slows the breathing and heart rate down and would do wonders to help me relax. He told me that when things got heavy (we would be “dredging” up a lot of old trees that had fallen and were buried deep) or too much, I would use this as my safe place until I came back down.

How Do I Feel About EMDR So Far?

I won’t lie, I’m a skeptic.

Even though it’s scientifically documented to be successful many times over, I am of the thinking that it’s a farce at this point.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m going to be open minded. But it’s going to take A LOT to get me on the other side of the fence.

Thank you so much for taking your time to read this post. I do appreciate it.

So what are your thoughts as readers? Have any of you undergone this type of therapy? Have you found it successful? Have you not? I’m looking forward to holding a dialogue with you in the Comments section. 

 

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Blank [POETRY]


poetry_blank_001

“Blank”

Now you’ve gone and done it,

You’ve broken all his bones.

Your words were quite the perfect weapons

They crushed him like thrown stones

Now you’ve gone and done it,

You’ve slashed her mind to shreds.

Any hope of self esteem,

You’ve dashed down on the river bed.

I bet you’re pretty proud,

You heartless parasite.

To be the one to ruin minds,

To make them want to end their lives.

This will be your legacy,

How you’re remembered here.

Your stone will have no words,

Your life will disappear.

 

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I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 4 [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. Please read the previous verses. Each can be found at these links – Part1, Part 2 and Part 3 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

Photo of abandoned girl with her legs crossed and her head in her lap.

Remembering all those children of fathers whom they have never had the chance of knowing. I am praying for the emptiness in your soul to be filled with peace.

Fatherless Day-

She sat next to me, as the fathers all stood,

And her soul crashed onto the rocks.

Because she’s never known hers, in all of her years,

Through all of life’s punches she blocks.

My soul is torn, as I stand up,

Next to my beautiful daughter of ten.

Through the pain and the hurt, the tears and the loss,

I’d throw down, I’d do it again.

I feel her pain, and it humbles my soul,

The feeling is so hard to take.

To be humble and proud, as I stand in the crowd,

When she’s sitting there in so much pain.

She doesn’t speak a word, but she rubs my side,

She is so strong and helps me along.

She tells me to keep fighting, to be there for her,

The daughter who I sometimes feel I’ve lost.

Her heart aches and yearns, for a father she’d know,

A man whom she could call dad.

And I want to take it, make it all go away

The abandonment and the sad.

So I’ll honor her, and her tenderly tough soul,

And the selflessness she always gives.

And hold her hand, through this painful day,

And the heartache through which she has to live.

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.

Thank you for reading the fourth installment of this poem. Please pass it onto those who are missing their fathers today.

 

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Has Anyone Undergone Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Therapy?


Image of eye

Next week I am starting EMDR with my therapist. My homework is to “think of the most painful time of my life”.

Has anyone participated in this form of therapy? I’m interested to hear thoughts. 

If your interested in learning more about EMDR you can visit the homepage by clicking this link. 

 

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What Is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? [INFOGRAPHIC]



Any thoughts on this infographic? The statistics are slightly outdated since it was published in 2011. See source beneath the infographic and at the bottom.

PTSD-Awareness-Infographic

SOURCE: http://msw.usc.edu/mswusc-blog/national-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd-awareness-day/


 

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Ten Positive Thoughts About What You’re Feeling [List]


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  1. You are a normal human who experiences emotions like others. They may be a little bit more extreme. So what.
  2. Don’t let someone downplay what you are feeling. Ever.
  3. What you are going through is VERY, VERY real. You must tend to it and monitor it.
  4. You can break the chain…of depression. Of suicide. Of cutting. Of drinking. It may be a very real fight. I know my friend, I live with it every day. But you are capable of ending it in your generation.
  5. You can feel better with counseling and medicine.
  6. And exercise.
  7. And the Lord.
  8. Journaling or blogging will also help you in your coping and recovery.
  9. You are a brave and courageous person for living through your Specter. How many people begin and continue their day when they find it as hard as you do? You’re a survivor. Yes, indeed, a hero you beautiful soul.
  10. Surround yourself with those who care for your well being. Cultivate positive relationships. Make necessary endings with toxic relationships. Start pruning today!

May you find peace in the valley which you are currently traveling.

-Chris

 

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I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 3. [Poem]


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

wpid-20150308_181529.jpg

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. Please read Part 1 and Part 2 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

The Night Harpies of Terror-

The demons attack, when she’s sleeping at night,

I feel her twitching beside.

Their shredded wings spread, their chipped talons slash,

She always in terror to hide.

She awakens from choking, from a former attack,

That cut off the breath of her life.

And whispered to me to hold her tight,

So I roll over; I do what is right.

She cries silently, under muted sobs,

And doesn’t want me to hear.

Afraid that I’ll yell, or repeat it all,

I don’t blame her, from feeling her fear.

She lives in terror; an over shoulder attack,

That comes whenever it wants.

And I’ve learned to adjust, to help her with this,

She’s taught me to be the man that I must.

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?

 
9 Comments

Posted by on 03/13/2015 in Poetry, PTSD

 

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I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 2. [Poem]

I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 2. [Poem]

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

wpid-20150308_181400.jpg

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. Please read Part 1 and Part 3 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

Daggerous Words-

She came at me, in a tone that was harsh,

And I shut down and put up a wall.

I reinforced it with ego, and self centered-ness

I put up my guard, I let the gate fall.

I was angry, insulted, and wounded inside,

Her sticks and her stones had wounded my pride

I lashed back in defensiveness, with a little man’s heart,

I lost my bearing, I fell apart.

I fell short of the man, I needed to be

It wasn’t her, it was the PTSD

The years of bones that were broken and bruised,

The hate, and the lies, and the wrong.

Of kicks and punches, and choking and hate,

Is always present, ne’er gone.

Now she fights for her mind, and own sanity,

And I need to remember her will.

And support her with love, and uncommon valor,

And never say words that are ill.

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?

 
13 Comments

Posted by on 03/08/2015 in Poetry, PTSD

 

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Image

I’m Getting Her PTSD. Pt. 1 [Poem]

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. Please read Part 2 and Part 3 of her story and the lessons she’s taught me.

wpid-20150308_180855.jpg

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?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 03/02/2015 in Anxiety, Poetry, PTSD

 

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