Guest Post…take a look!

Thank You, Alex, of The Never Give Up Institute https://nevergiveupinstitute.org/ for inviting me to be a guest writer on your blog.

I would love it if you checked out my post, Living with PTSD,  and take the time to follow The Never Give Up Institute’s blog. Alex does amazing work in the Twin Cities, MN area with people who live with chronic illness, cancer, and who are working through their trauma. She is inspiring in her wonderful humanness, and to read her story is to witness a true medical miracle.

 

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Standing on a Precipice

Standing on a precipice
Should I take a leap of faith?

Leave doubt and fear behind
Trust the unknown
Yearning growth and change
Am I ready for the next step?

The precipice is no place to balance

Trust myself
Grab the opportunity
Close the door on self-doubt
It’s happening!

Enjoy the process
Rise up and jump
Spread my wings, Fly
Leap, grow, change, trust!

©Alexis Rose, Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

 

Thank you for reading my latest book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

Metamorphosis of a Healing Journey

The topic of transformation, metamorphosis, growth, change, (insert whatever word works for your personal journey) has been front and center for me lately. Most of us want to grow and change.  It’s hard; no one said it was going to be easy. But rarely do people talk about the absolute pain one feels when emotional wounds get ripped open in order to process, heal and grow.

It’s a lonely journey because no one else can go inside of you and heal those wounds or take away the rawness.

You have to be the one to do it.

However, it certainly doesn’t have to be an “alone” journey. We can find therapists, support groups, friends, family, books, even blogs so we are surrounded by the support we need. In fact, I think it’s imperative to find people who absolutely “get it” and can relate with empathy when we are in the process of transforming, and becoming the person we want to be.

It doesn’t have to be a shattered past that motivates a person to grow and change. Growth and change are important to do for the rest of our lives. Some people may find themselves in a spiritual crossroads, others may find themselves feeling empty after dedicating years to a career, and some people are simply unable to feel content, knowing that there is some road not yet taken that is calling for them to explore. Whatever the motivation, the transformation to a new way of being from the inside out is painful and sometimes scary.

I have said to a few people, that I believe if we could interview a caterpillar as they transform into a butterfly and ask them, how it feels, they would tell us it is excruciatingly painful. They are completely changing from the inside out. The end result is beautiful; Butterflies are beautiful!

I know what I had to do in order to heal the wounds of my past. I knew what I wanted my internal life to look like, and I made a commitment to myself that I was going to do it. I wasn’t prepared for the loneliness of the journey, but that’s okay with me. I understand it, and I want to talk about it. No one can fix it, it’s part of the deal.

When I feel that pain of loneliness, I remembered why I chose to dig up the past, process what happened, understand my PTSD, find others who are also on a healing journey, and remind myself, the metamorphosis of a personal legend begins when you accept who you were, who you are now, and who you will be.

alexis-rose-1

©Alexis Rose, photo: Shelley Bauer

Thank you for reading my latest book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

Hope is…

Hope is the involuntary breaths I take to live.

It’s always there as I encounter
the obstacles in my path.

With hope, I can conquer mountains.

I know it may be hard and sometimes
emotionally and physically painful
but I can do it.

With hope, I can change
and become who I want to be
acknowledging with compassion the
person I am in this perfect moment.

©Alexis Rose, painting Janet Rosauer

Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

A Lot Can Change in a Year

I quote my son a lot in my writing.  He has said some very wise things in moments of upset, fear, or when a “new normal” is emerging for our family. Most of the time, I think it’s designed to calm himself, but when I hear them, the words land deep and continue to inch deeper, spreading into the recesses of my mind.

My husband had a huge health scare in February. He is continuing to recover and though it feels like a long road to him, I expect he will be much healthier in a few months than he has been for many, many years. When the kids and I were experiencing some angst in the early days of my husband’s illness, my son said, “By this time next year we won’t even be thinking about this. Things will be different. A lot can change in a year!”

“A Lot Can Change In A Year”

Last April, I “graduated” from therapy after working with the same therapist for eight years.  At the time I was excited, apprehensive, scared of the future without that kind of intensive support, and not convinced I was ready.   From the beginning, the goal was to have an end to therapy. To gather enough tools in my toolbox, to have processed the dark truth of my past and then be able to employ what my therapist taught me in my everyday life. Whatever that life looked like. 

In the first few months after therapy ended, I found that I didn’t need the same kind of intensive support, but as time wore on, I accepted the reality that I, in fact, did need the support of a trauma therapist. Not to help me process the past, but to help me live in the present.

I still live with the effects of my trauma, I still have unrelenting symptoms, and  I know how to deal with them; most of the time.  I found I needed someone to teach me some different ways to accept and name my symptoms with a present, non-judgemental presence of mind.

I know why I have symptoms of PTSD, I have done the work around processing my past. But I had a hard time staying in the present while experiencing the triggers. The triggers did not go away, and I was beginning to slide down the shame spiral of judgment and criticism for not beating this illness. I knew intuitively I needed someone to help me accept where I am in the here-and-now. 

As I ponder how my needs have changed in the past year, I feel great pride in how far I’ve come in managing my PTSD. Last April, I was full of fear and apprehension, not quite sure how I was going to live with my truth.

But a lot can change in a year. I no longer think about what tools I need to get through the day, I just use what I need and live in the present of the day. Some days (and times of year) are more triggering than others, but I know that’s my life right now and I live it.

I have taken the judgment out of what happened to me, how I feel about my trauma, and what I need to do to live the best life I can lead.

Therapy did not cure me, but it did (and does) give me what I need to cope with my illness.  I have come to terms with my PTSD, although in all honesty, I sometimes still get angry and frustrated with my symptoms. I just really want to hop in the car and take a drive, I really want to hang out in a library and not get overwhelmed, and I would like my startle-response to settle down. But, those, and many other symptoms still have a pretty good choke-hold on me and I continue to learn to accept that. 

And that’s one of the biggest things that has changed in a year. How I accept those symptoms, and how I accept myself. 

The only thing we know for sure is that everything changes. Impermanence is a given. So when I cling to the things in my life, whether good or bad, I try to remind myself, of my son’s wise words…”A Lot Can Change In A Year.”

image source: Pixabay

Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

 

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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©From the Collaboration, Of Earth and Sky, Alexis Rose, photographer, Shelley Bauer

 

Thank you for reading my books:  If I Could Tell You How It Feels,  and  Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.

What’s on Your Cape?

I had a wonderful conversation with my friend the other day. She had engaged in a playful exchange with a new friend and was asked, “Do you have any powers?” It was a wonderful question! What a cool way to find out about a person. Rather than the usual laundry list that doesn’t usually divulge who we really are, like where do you work, or what do you like to do? This was a non-threatening way to decide how much to reveal (or not to reveal) about her authentic self.

After my friend responded to the question, she asked her new friend, “What’s on Your Cape?  As she and I continued our conversation, before hanging up, she asked me the same question. I told her I knew what many of my super-powers were and that I would draw her a picture and send it to her the next morning.

Before I went to sleep, I thought about my super-powers. I have a great sense of humor about them, but for a few moments, I paused and really thought about why I am so honed in on certain things. Without judgment, I knew that many things I consider my super-powers are the effects of my trauma and manifest as part of my PTSD symptoms.

I can read non-verbals really well. I look for “tells” in people. I look for that moment when they perhaps will strike, or if their eyes change, forehead creases, and for changes in expression. I look at body language. I listen with more than my ears.

“Listening with more than my ears,”  is a very good communication skill, and I would like to say that it’s because I am such a good listener and always fully present; hearing what people say, without thinking ahead of how I’m going to reply.  If I’m being completely honest, it’s a vestige of having to be aware of my perpetrator’s next move.  But, also, I give myself a break and acknowledge if I know you, and trust you, I am listening and trying to be fully present. So, okay…I’m wearing that on my cape.

When I walk into a public place, I immediately check to see where all the exits are, who is sitting where, and if I sit down, I place myself where I can see the door. Sometimes my friends notice and I laughingly say, “I’m just making sure you are safe.” That statement in itself is enough to raise eyebrows. The reason I really do that is my hyper-vigilance.

I know where I am spacially. It’s not very often, that I will say, “Oh, I didn’t see you there.” I am hyper-aware of who is standing where and what is happening around me.

This is a very truncated list, and I would include my ability to be extremely non-judgemental of most people, compassionate, and empathetic. These are proudly stitched in sparkly gold on my purple cape. But I found it extremely interesting that the four or five “powers” that felt the most comfortable and comforting were the ones that are no longer useful for me to employ. And yet I depend on them and find solace in saying, that they are my “super-powers.”

So without judgment of yourself…What is on Your Cape?

 

Thank you for reading my new book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels, available in both ebook and paperback from Amazon.