Author Archives: kberman

PTSD Patients Need Special and Stronger Emotional Support

“We need to accept that in the end it is not our parents or God who have abandoned us; we have abandoned ourselves.                            Philip Oliver-Diaz and Patricia 0′German

1. From Sgt. Max Harris: Life With Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder– Story of Warning:

“What I am about to describe may sound very familiar to a lot of veterans and their families…How the story ends is the outcome I most fervently wish for all of them. That being said, many veterans believe that getting help is a sign of weakness — especially male veterans. It is a common belief that ‘sucking it up’ is the ‘manly’ thing to do. This story is directed at those veterans…”

“When I was serving in Iraq, I witnessed a friendly-fire incident. It really destroyed me, emotionally and spiritually. It may sound horrible but it would have been much easier to accept if the soldier would have been killed by the enemy. I ended up paranoid and broken, a danger to myself and others…so they sent me home.”

“When I returned home from service overseas, I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). My life was a mess, a complete disaster area. I was hyper-vigilant, agitated, depressed, paranoid, easily angered, and rarely sleeping. If I didn’t feel in complete control of my environment, I would lose my temper and lash out at the people that loved me the most. The irony is that I was so concerned about controlling everything around me; I didn’t notice that, physically, I was a mess. I wasn’t bathing regularly, my laundry was out of control, and I wasn’t shaving. I bottomed out and realized that I needed help about two months after I got home. I was freaking out about something; I can’t even remember what it was. My father tried to calm me down. I got so angry at my dad for trying to offer a logical solution that I almost hit him. My father has always been a kind, understanding, and generous man. The fact that I almost assaulted him made my whole world collapse around me. The façade that I put on for everyone, the one that told everyone how well I was coping, was irrevocably shattered. I finally admitted to myself that I needed help.”

“If you are a veteran who is struggling with these issues, which is better — To get help and admit you have a problem or continue to hurt everyone around you that loves you? Men, is it manlier to ‘suck it up’ and continue to have issues holding down a job or is it manlier to get help so that you can be there to support your family? I hope you take this warning to heart before you put everyone and everything you hold dear at risk.”

2.  From New York Times: ” Voice of Post-Traumatic Stress”:

“Most people associate post-traumatic stress disorder with military service during wartime. But increasingly, therapists are reporting that the typical patient with P.T.S.D. has experienced trauma in everyday life, reports Karen Barrow in today’s Science Times.”

“One of the new faces of post-traumatic stress is Robin Hutchins, a 25-year-old victim of sexual violence.”

“Friends didn’t understand why she never wanted to go out. They would play down her anxiety and say, “Oh, you’re just going to laugh at this in a couple days.” It took years of sleepless nights and paralyzing anxiety over tasks as simple as grocery shopping before she began to look for help.”

“She sought out psychologists, but some dismissed her. “They’d say, ‘What does a pretty girl like you have to worry about?’ ” she said. Others were simply too expensive. Finally, during an initial consultation, a psychologist heard her full story and said the simple phrase that changed everything: “You have P.T.S.D.”

3. From Mary Christine in Being Sober: November 3rd Stuff:

“My bed is so important to me – why?”

“Well, it became so in early sobriety for some reason. And last summer when I was going through some intense PTSD, it became moreso.”

“When I was beginning EMDR treatment for PTSD, I was asked to name a “safe” place. The only place that came to mind was my bedroom, specifically my bed. I thought it was a lame answer. I thought I should name a tropical beach with swaying palm trees and white sands underfeet. But my truth was that my safe place was my very own bed in my very own bedroom.”

“Later, when completing this session of extremely difficult remembering of traumatic events, I got to return to my “safe place” in my imagination in my therapist’s office. I had tears of gratitude when I thought about the fact that my place was reality and that it was only a few miles away, not just in my imagination, but in my reality. Later that night, I returned to my very own bed. My very own safe place.”

“Through years of sobriety, some of them very difficult, I had created this place for myself. I had created this safety for myself. The rest of the world may be difficult but my home is not. And my bed is the place that is the most symbolic of the efforts I take to care for myself.”

“I know I must turn my thoughts to others most of the time, but I also need to do some self-care.”

“My bed is where I ask him in the morning for another day of sobriety, and thank him at night.”

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Your Childhood Pain May Have Been a Great Gift

“It requires a tremendous leap of faith to imagine that your own childhood—punctuated with pain, loss, and hurt-­may, in fact, be a gift. Certainly the unhappiness you felt was not, in itself, a blessing; but in response to that pain, you learned to cultivate a powerful intuition, a heightened sensitivity, and a passionate devotion to healing and love that burns deep within you—and there are gifts that may be recognized, honored, and cultivated. You are not broken; childhood suffering is not a mortal wound.” Wayne Muller

I believe most of our emotional pain comes from experiences and misconceptions that happened during our childhood. One of the current books I’m reading is The Inner Child Workbook: What to Do With Your Past When It Just Won’t Go Away by Cathryn Taylor.

Her book is about our inner children. The inner child has been a subject of study for several years. But Cathryn suggests that we have several inner personalities. She specifically has chapters about the infant self, the toddler self, the young inner child, the grade-school child within, the young teen within, the adolescent within, and the young inner adult.

In the introduction by Rokelle Lerner, she mentions that inner child work demands courage and tenacity. She writes “the goal of inner child work is not to blame; rather, it is to awaken the childlike wonder and spontaneity and integrate them with an adult sense of responsibility and protection.”

The tools she recommends for healing are : (1) guided imagery, (2) verbal and written dialogues, (3) mirror work, (4) drawing, (5) using pictures from magazines, (6) activities, and (7) rituals.

For beginning, she recommends that this book not be used if:

1. Do not use this book if you are not interested in being able to feel your feelings.

2. Do not use this book if you are on prescription mood-altering drugs unless your work is supervised by a professional.

3. Do not use this book if you are in early recovery from chemical dependency. She recommends that you have twelve to twenty-four months of abstinence.

4. Do not use this book in isolation.

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Staying Focused When You Don’t Know Your Direction

With the busy lives we live, it is easy to lose your focus. I spend time in the morning thinking over the day to come. I write down 3 goals for the day. I do what I have on the list if it feels right. If I feel a lot of resistance, I try to determine what is behind the resistance.

Finding my way through my own emotions helps me to stay focused. My brand of procrastination takes the form of resistance when I am unsure of the direction I am going. So I have to especially vigilant when change is my direction.

I am in the space now of being unsure. Planning helps keep me centered and focused. I use the focus–then refocus–and finally review at the end of the day.

9 practical ways to help stay focused–written by Steve Martile:

Choose one or two objectives for the year

Create a daily ritual

Do the most important first

Give yourself daily quiet time

Trim the fat and eliminate the noise

Take care of yourself

Visualize daily

Complete everything you start

Develop your will power

Do You Have A Home Office?—by Lisa Hoover:

“One key to staying focused while working at home is to create a dedicated work space that you can turn your back on at the end of the day. While you may not have the space to set aside an entire room as an office, the kitchen table probably isn’t your best bet either. Try to find a nook somewhere that you can use exclusively for work and, more importantly, turn your back on at the end of the day so your unfinished tasks aren’t staring you in the face during your down time.”

18 Ways to Stay Focused at Work—by Dave Cheong:

  1. Write out a daily task list and plan your day.
  2. Allocate time slots colleagues can interrupt you.
  3. Apply time boxing.
  4. Setup filters in your email.
  5. Do not send personal email in the morning.
  6. Set your IM status.
  7. Listen to the right types of music.
  8. Use the headphones but leave the music off.
  9. Fill up a water bottle.
  10. Find the best time to do repetitive and boring tasks.
  11. Bring your lunch and have it at your desk.
  12. Don’t make long personal calls.
  13. Clean up your desk.
  14. Get a good chair.
  15. Use shortcuts on your computer.
  16. Close programs you’re not using.
  17. Limit time on other sites not for work.
  18. Change your mindset and make work fun.

How to Stay focused on Goals—by Colette French:

“Accomplishing goals can be a very challenging task considering all the daily responsibilities that people have. Yet it is something that people realize is very important and must be achieved in order to be a productive person. New goals are set yearly at the beginning of every new year in the form of New Years Resolutions, but many people have a difficult time following through on the new goals they’ve set. There are a few things that people can do to help them accomplish their goals.”

How to Stay Focused on Your Goals—by Wings for the Heart

“One of the biggest challenges of achieving our goals is being able to stay focused long enough to see results. Most of us feel excited and motivated when we first set our goals, and that feeling can carry us along for several days, or even weeks. But then, what happens? We begin to lose momentum. We get scattered, we procrastinate, we lose the fire that once fueled our dreams. And we stop working so hard for what we want, even if we still want it.”

“There can be many reasons for our waning interest, such as not seeing visible progress as quickly as we’d like, so we begin to feel that our efforts are a waste of time. Or we lose sight of what we were working so hard for. Or we feel confused about the steps we need to take to make our dream a reality.”

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