Interview with Alexis Rose: author of Untangled, a story of resilience, courage, and triumph

I had the absolute pleasure of being interviewed by Vilina. She has a beautiful blog with a wonderful message. Here is the link to the interview. Be sure and give Valina a like and a follow: https://vilinachristoph.com/2017/03/29/interview-with-alexis-rose-author-of-untangled-a-story-of-resilience-courage-and-triumph/

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Sitting in a place of peace; Oh no a flashback; Sitting in a place of peace.

I’m sitting in this place of peace. Listening to the water splashing over the rocks, over this mini rapids. The water sparkles like diamonds as the sun plays upon it. The eagles and other various birds are flying overhead and occasionally landing on the bare branched trees in pairs of two or three. Sometimes they rest on the rock and also seem to be gazing out over the restless water. Next to me in the tree, I watch a spider lord over her intricate web that is filled with little bugs trapped in her silk. Off in the distance, tall purple flowers are swaying just a bit in the breeze. My triggers are reset. I am at peace, not judging, not thinking, not talking, and just resting.

Then out of the blue, it happens. First, it comes as a sort of uneasiness in my stomach, and then the diamond reflections on the water became cartoonish, the bugs in the background are the noises of the forest in a different time and continent. A wave of emotion takes my breath away and my lungs seem to stop with fear as the world starts to morph. I can feel myself being pulled away.  In my distant mind, just before I’m hurled into the past, I can hear myself think just sit with it until it passes. I feel myself stand up, watching, reliving “it” happening. Whatever the “it” for this particular flashback brings. 

It passes. The water becomes fluid again, the breeze touches my ice cold skin in the burning sun, the muscles in my stomach, head, arms and lungs ache from being contracted and I am standing. I wonder what did I do wrong in this place where just moments ago, I felt wonderful, restful and safe. How did it turn into a place where I was no longer grounded, hurling through the past. Why wasn’t I still there with everyone else who is gazing at the rapids? How is it that I can turn a normal, beautiful moment into the ugliness of a flashback. I ask myself, what’s wrong with me?

 I want to turn and walk away. But, I don’t, instead, I look at this nature filled place I’m visiting, sit down and understand that I had a flashback, I was triggered by something (the wind, sounds, the light hitting the water in a certain way, etc.) For me, this is how my PTSD manifests itself. That’s what my struggle looks like right now. It’s frustrating, but I’m not going to let it take the beauty out of the world around me. I’m not going to hide from the many, places of peace and remember the feeling of contentment, calmness, a perfect moment. 

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

She Listens With More Than Her Ears

She listens with more than her ears.

The light from her soul and the joy in her heart

illuminate the world around her.

Silently saying a prayer

she feels the comfortable beat of her heart

as she flows to the music within.

©Alexis Rose, image source: Pixaby

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

 

Do You Have a Corner Coach?

“You’re a hard stick.” I hear those words each time I have blood drawn. Yesterday, after four sticks, for five tubes of blood, and a very upset phlebotomist, I found myself cheering her on, telling her she can do it, she’ll have a great day once she’s found a vein, all you need is confidence. I was determined to have her shake it off and find a vein because she was the only one working yesterday; she couldn’t pass me on to a co-worker and I was not going to come back another day, to hear the same words, “You’re a hard stick.” That’s the kind of stress I prefer to only have once a year if possible, not two days in a row. She finally found a blood-giving vein and off I went, hoping to never lay eyes on her again!

I love the term corner coach. I used it with my kids growing up. When they were nervous about a test, activity, any kind of fear before the unknown, I would encourage them on, telling them, I’ve got you, I’m your corner coach. It’s a term I’ve used with my kids, but haven’t asked for it in my own life until recently.

I whole-heartedly believe that learning to live with a chronic illness takes support. Support can come in many forms. It can be family, friends, pets, therapists, a supportive blogging community, whatever feels safe and supportive. Making changes, transformations, living with an illness, healing from trauma is a lonely journey, but as I’ve said many, many times it doesn’t have to be an alone journey.

I work very hard to accept that I’m living with an illness, I’m living with PTSD. It doesn’t define me, but it is part of what I cope with on a daily basis.  With this acceptance comes doubt, nervousness, sometimes feeling defeat and extreme exhaustion. There are times when I just want to sit down in the middle of the ring, have the referee give me an 8-count and quit the fight. That’s when I need a corner coach.

There are times, when I look at my therapist and say, “I just need you to be my corner coach right now.” He gets it, says all the correct, “I’m proud of you, you can do it, you’re doing great, you’re kicking-ass kind of things. I’m then able to stand up and can get back into the ring of life again.

There are times when I say to my friends, I need you to cheer me on right now. It’s easy to trust my therapist and ask him to do that. It’s been a steep learning curve to ask my friends and family. I always had that role. The happy, you can do it, I’m right there beside you role. But I’m learning that I have to ask my friends and family for that kind of support. To infuse confidence, to see me, hear me, rest with me, hold my hand, go out and play a bit.  It’s what I need right now.

I’m exhausted from eight years of complex-PTSD, but I’m stronger and determined to feel times of contentment and peace more and more in my life. One of the reasons I’m stronger is because I know I need to have corner coaches.  Do you have people or animals in your life who will get you back in the ring, or sit down beside you and rest with you, letting you know that you’re okay? Do you have a corner coach?

image source: pexels

 

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

 

I’m Not Flying Solo

It may look as if I’m flying solo

but I’m remembering to lean

into the wind, find comfort

in the safety of the clouds

and soar into the shadow light of the sky. 

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© Of Earth and Sky, collaboration: Alexis Rose, photographer: Shelley Bauer

 

Thank You for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

Radical Acceptance

Before writing this post, I came across many definitions for radical acceptance. The one that resonated with me is from a Psychology Today article from Dec. 2013.

Radical Acceptance means completely and totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind. You stop fighting reality. When you stop fighting your suffer less.

Four weeks ago, after processing the last of some horrific events that happened to me, I looked at my therapist and exclaimed,” you know this is really just a piece of the pie.” He nodded his head in agreement as I went on to say, “even this little piece of the pie, could knock someone down for the rest of their lives, and in my situation, this is just one little piece of the whole pie.” I was really calm about the whole realization. I began to lock-in the pieces of the big picture.

This new realization was the total scope and real acceptance, that I was nothing more than a tool, a non-human object, that had the very fabric of my being torn apart, unglued over and over again for the first twenty years of my life.  It wasn’t a dramatic, tear-filled, aha moment. It was a gentle, radical acceptance of the truth of what happened to me. I’ve come in and out of this realization for about a year now, but to really accept it was another feeling altogether.

Then the second phase of acceptance. My PTSD is not going away anytime soon. I have written before about my fight with this diagnosis, and my unrealistic expectation that I would have emerged from eight years of therapy to be “cured.” This is a different acceptance. This is the acceptance, that because of what happened to me, it is a miracle I’m alive and knowing now, that it would have been impossible, not to be affected by my trauma. I developed my own personal definition of radical acceptance:

Acceptance – I know what happened and I have to try and live with the weight of all I saw, all that I was forced to do, all that directly happened to me, the effects of the trauma and resulting PTSD.

It’s been a month since I’ve had these revelations. It has been a slow-burning four weeks. Knowing it in my head doesn’t translate to feeling it my body. Knowing it logically doesn’t instantly translate into my feeling mind or my shattered soul. This has been a slow-burn. It wasn’t an event; sobbing, floor stomping, why, why, why! It’s been a process of making myself, just-sit, just-be, let the tears flow, let my body feel the exhaustion which comes with radical acceptance and listening to my intuitive-self for what I need. Last week, I went to Arizona and visited the Peace Park/Stupa. It filled my cup, helped me calm my soul and I found some peace. A week ago I wasn’t sure I would ever find peace inside. Acceptance is one thing, finding a peaceful feeling in the midst of the carnage is quite another.

I don’t have any grand insights because this is all still quite new and I believe that the work that’s before me now is practicing radical acceptance. I no longer fear that I will go into any kind of denial. I seemed to have forgotten how to forget that the skeleton hands of my past will keep trying to pull me down. I’ve accepted that is the result of the trauma. It will have an effect on parts of my day, but not my entire day.

The trauma and the resulting PTSD has changed my life. It prevents me from working more than two hours a day, hopping in the car to run errands, enjoying restaurants, travel, and I have to consciously work with the triggers that cause flashbacks, and other assorted symptoms. I have been working on those symptoms consistently during the past eight years, but now I have to practice acceptance that I have to continue to work with my symptoms. It probably is the same concept, it just feels different. Before it was something I had to do because I was going through therapy. Now, I do it because I’m figuring out a way to have the best life I can have working withing the confines of my symptoms.

My perpetrators worked hard to unglue the very fabric of my mind, psyche, soul. They succeeded for a very long time. Now with this acceptance, I am mending the fabric of myself. I have done the work, I understand, I have radically accepted my past and the impact it has on my present.

To continue the practice of mending my mind, body, and soul, I’ll  have to keep freshening up the glue of self-compassion, worthiness, perspective and acceptance. I can’t say how anything will look for me in a year. I assume things will look and feel very different than it does today. That’s part of the impermanence of life.

My radical acceptance is a quieter, more present, peaceful way of being. Perhaps it’s true, totally accepting something from the depths of your soul, with your heart and your mind, you suffer less.

image source: Pixabay

 

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Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856

Natures Silent Reverence

From the dustiest of deserts

to the lush trees hanging heavy with Spanish moss

there is a feeling of reverence.

The roar of the waves as they hit the cliffs and break

or the gentle lapping of the lake against the shore

the sun reflecting diamonds and colors against the water

bring tears of reverence.

From red rock formations with the vortex of healing energy

to the tallest peak of the snow topped range.

Solid, ancient, awe-struck, reverence.

Listen to the silence, the wind, the water. Stop talking, stop judging, just listen.

Accept the beauty that surrounds you, envelops you, become one, breathe deep, connect.

The beauty is not asking anything from you, it doesn’t care how much you weigh, what your income is, how many earthly possessions you own. It is simply nature, silent, reverent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

©words/images, Alexis Rose

Thank you for reading my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

http://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph/dp/1514213222

https://www.amazon.com/Untangled-story-resilience-courage-triumph-ebook/dp/B013XA4856