Would you like to be a guest speaker?

I’m involved with a non-profit organization called EmpowerSurvivors that supports survivors of childhood sexual abuse and trauma.

EmpowerSurvivors is a peer-run nonprofit organization operated by survivors of childhood sexual abuse for victims of childhood sexual abuse.

We support survivors through individual peer support meetings, classes, workshops and since the pandemic began, we now offer Zoom meetings on Monday evenings at 6:00 pm central time called, Conversations With Evey & Elizabeth.

These interactive conversations focus on topics of interest to survivors of trauma and sexual abuse, no matter where they are on their healing journey.

Our hope is to periodically have a special guest that will volunteer their time to discuss topics such as childhood sexual abuse, healing trauma, types of therapy, what to expect in therapy, suggestions on how to find good therapists, survivor stories of hope & healing, adverse childhood experiences & resilience, victim laws, mindfulness, grounding, PTSD, mental health diagnosis, healing strategies, etc.

We would love to have professionals and survivors of childhood sexual abuse to lead conversations that help survivors better understand themselves, the healing journey, and subjects pertaining to early childhood sexual abuse and healing.

If you are someone with a heart for survivors, helping others heal, or have a skill set that you would like to share please consider being our guest via Zoom.

Together we can help people find hope & healing.

If you are interested in leading a conversation or have any questions, email Elizabeth Sullivan of EmpowerSurvivors at EmpowerSurvivors@gmail.com

Find out more about EmpowerSurvivors at http://www.empowersurvivors.net/

And of course if you are interested in joining the conversations on Monday evenings via Zoom, you are welcome to log on. All we ask is that you keep your camera on since these support meetings are designed to be interactive.

Conversations with Evey and Elizabeth

The Dirt Underneath My Nails

The bright flowing energy of life
that courses through
those oft talked about chakras
aligning my body, mind, and soul
sometimes feel clogged.

They say it’s normal
to have places that are stuck.
Let’s start there!
Let’s open it up so you can breathe, unfold, flow, feel whole.

But it’s clogged…with dirt.

Those life-force channels
sometimes get mired in the sludge of messages and beliefs
from a long ago past.
Enmeshed in the lies that were told to my soul.

The truth of their lies evidenced in the
dirt underneath my nails.

Wait; This is a triggering time of year
I’m being pulled into a vortex of memory and shame.
Name it
Feel it
Change the narrative
Get help!

My life-force begins to circulate again
with bright colors and free-flowing qi
I feel the power of being in the now ~
the wind, sun, heat and throat clearing water.

Looking down, scanning, grounding
I see the dirt of the earth underneath my nails
and go and wash my hands.
©Alexis Rose, image source, Pixabay

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

 

Don’t Open That Door!

How many scary movies, thrillers, and mysteries have we seen where we find ourselves saying out loud, “don’t open that door!” And then joke because of course, they were always going to open that door, answer the phone, or look under the bed.  Often after we scolded the protagonist, we would add,  “I would never do that!” And then real life happened, and I Opened The Door. 

This past Monday morning at 7:15 with the sun shining brightly, someone was actively trying to break into our house.

I heard a noise and was walking to look out the window, thinking that something was going on across the street. As I was walking towards the window, my dog bolted past me to the locked deck door, where I saw the screen was open and a man was peering in the bedroom window where my husband was sleeping.

It was as if something went primal in me. Without any thought, I unlocked and opened the deck door, went out, and started screaming at this robber. I was yelling, “Who the f**k are you, and What the f**k do you think you’re doing?” I was wild and aggressive, approaching him with so much anger and fear that I didn’t even realize what I was doing. This was not smart for So many reasons.  

First, I opened a locked door and entered a small space where this perpetrator was leering into my house after trying to get into the door. As I’m yelling, I put myself within six inches of him, with the door wide open behind me.  I’m not even 5 feet tall and the only thing I had on at the time was a sleep shirt. No shoes on the snowy, icy deck just me in a t-shirt yelling and becoming more verbally aggressive. I must have scared him because he turned around and started going back down the stairs. He said something to me, and I mom-scolded him, wagging my finger yelling “I’m calling 911.”

I went into the house and called 911. Almost immediately two squad cars pulled up in front of my house. The person was standing there taking off his jacket and dropping all his stolen goods as the police pulled up. Apparently, this person had gone on a robbery spree at some senior-living apartments and the police were down the street when I called 911. I watched him get arrested and taken away.

One of the police officers checked our house and cars and made sure we were ok. I told him how I confronted him, how I just didn’t even think about calling 911 at the moment when I saw him on the deck. I told him that I was so shocked because I acted exactly the opposite of what we are all taught to do and I understood how much danger I put myself and my family in. 

The officer listened and then sternly said to me, “Don’t ever do that again. This guy is so high he doesn’t even know what planet he’s on and that could have turned out very badly.”

I understand that he could have had a weapon, or he could have easily moved me aside and walk through the door that was now wide open which would have put us in a potentially very dangerous situation. I’m so grateful and relieved things turned out okay.

So whoa! The after-effects of that event has been a roller coaster of processing. First, the physical and emotional dump of adrenaline was exhausting and confusing. I made sure on Monday to take lots of walks around my neighborhood so I understood that it’s a safe place to live and that this is the first incident we’ve had in 22 years.

I reached out to people to get some good support. I needed to tell people what happened; to talk about it. I knew my PTSD triggers were activated but didn’t quite know which symptoms or memories were going to come oozing out.

And ooze out they did. Every fear of being hurt again was front and center on Tuesday and Wednesday. That feeling of not being safe anywhere in the world was right there; front and center. My hyper-vigilance, fear, nightmares, anxiety were all front and center for two days after the event. 

Today is three days after the incident. I’ve settled down, we installed 4 more security lights, I’ve received wonderful help processing this with my therapist who had some good ideas and grounding tools for symptom management, and I have wonderful support from friends and family. 

Unlike those first twenty years where there was no support and no resolution, this incident had both. Although still feeling violated, I do hope that person gets the help he needs and perhaps chooses a life of no drugs and no crime.

For me, I learned that I had the capacity to fight-not just flee or freeze. I could never fight any of my perpetrators in my past. It wasn’t an option-ever! It appears now I can and will. There were many lessons on Monday morning, and the ability to fight for my safety was one of the takeaways. But by far,  the biggest lesson I learned is, Don’t Open That Door!!!

photo image: Pexels

You may feel Fragile, but you’re still Capable

I had the pleasure of connecting with one of my wise teachers the other day. Our conversation turned to the topic of how wonderfully strong and resilient survivors of trauma are by nature. For some survivors, just getting up in the morning is an incredible feat of resilience and courage.

We also talked about how fragile survivors feel sometimes. Without missing a beat my companion said, “Just because a person is fragile does not mean they are incapable.”

Think about that statement for a moment; It’s pretty powerful!

For me, it’s powerful because there have been times that I could not figure out how I was going to take the next breath, let alone be okay in the future. But because I have been supported with the truth that even during those times when I’m the most wobbly, I was still capable, I believe I have been able to ride those tsunami waves of pain and fear.

There have been times when I thought, am I irreparably damaged?
No, no, I’m not but there are limitations. Those limitations don’t define me
but sometimes it’s hard and confusing to understand what they really mean. When those thoughts begin to rule my state of being, I have been met with acceptance, compassion, and understanding. In my most fragile state of mind, I was seen, heard, respected, and supported.

I know the skeleton hands of my past will come and go. Stress and health ebbs and flows, sometimes leaving me feeling fragile. I try to live the potential, embrace the possible, and embody compassionate healing. I’m able to do that not only because of continuous healing but also because of the extra support I still need and learning from other survivors I meet along the way.

Learning that it is okay to show up just the way you are. Knowing that the amazing resilience it takes to survive horrific trauma, and to learn that a person is worthy of living the life they envision for themselves is the gift that healing presents.

It’s hard. The path of healing is tough, twisty, gnarly, and sometimes feels insurmountable. But those times when a person feels the most tenuous, remember that, just because you feel fragile, it does not mean you are incapable!

image source: Unsplash

Gently you, with Nature

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

Be gentle with yourself

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
or how many earthly possessions you own
It is simply nature

Be gentle with yourself in the silent reverence of nature

image by Pexels

ILLUMINATING THE UN-ILLUMINATED (A Guest Post)

One of the wonderful gifts of WordPress is the community of bloggers that support, encourage and accept each other exactly for who they are. I have found this to be especially true in the mental health community. Five years ago I had the pleasure of meeting my survivor-sister. She’s a brilliant writer who has agreed to illuminate what for many of us survivors is hard to talk and write about. Ritual Abuse. Although we live on separate continents and we are decades apart in age, our bond, our stories and trauma are very similar. I’m humbled to get to introduce her bravery to you. It is with great pleasure and an honor to share with you, Illuminating the Un-illuminated!

The very best way to counter darkness is illumination, and how do you illuminate something? You drag it out of the shadows, and you shine the brightest of spotlights right on it. Light is the opposite to darkness so any time darkness is the dominant force, the best antidote is always light.

For any survivor of childhood trauma, while there is rarely any definite and distinct end point to your healing, the beginning of that healing process almost always begins on that first brave day you speak your truth out loud for the first time.

Darkness is abuse. Truth is light.

Darkness is secrecy. Truth telling is the illuminator; shining a spotlight on that darkness.

So what is illumination? Illumination begins the day you defy all the threats you heard whispered a hair’s breadth from your ear, and shoulders back, head held high, with an exhaled breath of determined, task-oriented, tunnel vision, you decide you might just finally be ready to talk about your trauma. Fighting through lumps in your throat as jagged and vast as boulders, you scan your brain for words (all of which seem entirely inadequate) and sputter segments out of some of the mess inside your head, in breathless and exhausting bursts. It hurts, it all really hurts. It aches, the wounds start to weep and bleed and your body feels heavy, oh so heavy. For moments the pain threatens to completely engulf you and you panic and cry, but nonetheless, despite the difficulty of those words, so impossible to say, you persist, and little by little you paint pictures in words for whoever it is privileged enough to be hearing you voice your story; something that was once entirely hidden.

When voicing your trauma testimony to others you inevitably re-experience what you went through but from a safer distance this time. You are one step removed. You are the observer now, not the participant. Never have you been more relieved of anything in your entire life. During the re-tell, you hear the sounds, you smell the smells, see the sights, and once again you trace the textures through nervous shaky fingertips. In titrated bursts, all over again, you feel the feels. It hurts. It really hurts, but you persist because you feel braver than brave and prouder than proud of yourself, because your pain is not just your pain anymore. You do not sit behind bars with your pain in a private prison. Your pain is now a shared pain. Your distress has been seen, felt, and heard. Your story exists somewhere outside of your own body. That story has a life now.

When a survivor describes their testimony to any human witness, describing some of what you went though, that witness (if they have any empathic capacity at all) will begin to see and feel and hear and touch and sense a teeny tiny proportion of some of the traumas you went through. They will never truly ‘get it’. Of course they won’t. They will *never* know how it felt to be you, but at least there is some building block there, some foundation to build understanding and raise awareness; something to help you internally construct an image of something you may well never ever have heard of before. This is why sharing your trauma, if you can possibly find the strength and guts to do it, is probably one of the best and most liberating things you can do to both raise awareness, and liberate yourself, kickstarting your healing process.

Sharing has a ripple effect. One single survivor’s testimony can be so powerful. You could be that one person who inspires another to share their trauma testimony, who in turn tell others, and before you know it, more and more and more of humanity are now waking up and beginning to see an image of that thing that was once entirely un-illuminated, secretly festering in the depths of the very darkest of shadows.

So what is the shadow I’m talking about here?….the shadow is organised ritual abuse.

There is no sub-category of abuse lesser known about or more taboo than ritual abuse (also known as organised abuse, satanic abuse, or satanic ritual abuse). We have all heard of abuse going on with family members and those known to the family, as well as the concept of stranger danger, but organised ritual abuse is another thing un-entirely. The public domain contains so little accurate and reliable information about ritual abuse, and that is one of the key factors that actually keeps ritual abuse un-illuminated in the shadows. This collective un-illumination about the goings on of ritual abuse only serves to protect the perpetrators of the abuse, allowing them to continue on with their abusing.

THIS is why I am writing about Ritual Abuse, and not only that, I’m writing this so near Halloween….a day so significant for survivors of this type of abuse across the globe.

Ritual abuse is an abuse of extremes. Ritual abuse is organised, planned, hierarchical, structured, deliberate, extreme, sadistic, brutal, intentional, callous, torturous, manipulative, control-driven, exploitative (and those are the nicer descriptions). Other more emotive but equally accurate words I could use to describe ritual abuse is animalistic, monstrous, twisted, sick and evil. Evil is a strong word, and arguably, no form of child abuse is exempt from the category marked evil, but there is something so shockingly and unbelievably extreme about the nature of the rituals involved in this type of organised abuse, that evil is the most appropriate over-arching word I can think of to describe it.

Secrecy is another concept closely tied with ritual abuse. There is no form of abuse that is lesser known about than ritual abuse. The secrecy and deliberate hiddenness of it all ensures public awareness is not much more significant than zero. The secrecy means awareness is prevented from building, and the secrecy is cultivated by the perpetrators by the way they conduct and plan the systems of abuse, as well as the way they suppress media and police activity. Coupled with that, victims are threatened in a way that is far more believable for them to fear might be true, than your usual class of perpetrators threats. This isn’t to say ritual abuse perpetrators are ‘better’ at threatening and scaring victims, but to say that because their threats are paired with visible actions that make the threats more credible and believable in the eyes of the child victim, the threats are more effective at preventing survivors from disclosing to anyone, particularly as anti-therapy mind control systems are deliberately installed in the mind’s of child victims, causing those parts of the psyche to greatly fear authority, and struggle to trust professional therapists.

I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to share in this written piece, and since I don’t want to risk sharing any content that would be triggering to other ritual abuse survivors…I will end with two last statements. One is a letter to ritual abuse survivors (as well as all survivors of extreme trauma) The second is a statement to the public…..what I would want you to know and take home from reading this ritual abuse blog……Both statements are written from my heart, from someone who has personally experienced this form of organised childhood abuse.

To the public…

What I want to illuminate here is this. Ritual abuse, organized abuse, satanic abuse (whatever your preferred term) is REAL. It happens. It isn’t made up. It isn’t the figment of a child or adult’s imagination. Reporting ritual abuse is not a means of seeking notoriety or attention (believe me, there’s nothing nice about it). It happens everywhere, worldwide, in every county, country, region, or state. It spans the whole economic spectrum of society, with many RA groups being comprised of wealthy and powerful members who on the surface appear to be pillars of the community. It is inter-generational, starting in the family. Children are often introduced to ritual abuse groups by one or both parents. It is highly possible that the parent who involved you in the group was ritually abused themselves when they were a child, and that is how they first became linked with the group. Not only is ritual abuse systematic and varied, involving physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, and spiritual abuse, but mind control and programming is a key part that differentiates organized ritual abuse from other forms of abuse. Mind control techniques, drugging, trafficking, tricks, threats, and lies are combined along with sensory deprivation and other hypnotic techniques to induce a dissociative state in the child victims, meaning they lack conscious memory of the abuse they endured, often well into adulthood. It is possible to deliberately induce amnesia in a child forced to participate in rituals, and create dissociative alter identities to hold memories of the abuse, using proven, high-level, complex psychological techniques. Just because you struggle to believe something like this could happen, and you not know about it, it doesn’t mean survivor accounts of ritual abuse are not believable or true. The false memory syndrome movement was started by a small team of powerful male perpetrators, themselves accused of ritual abuse by their own daughters. The concept of ‘False memory syndrome’ is the perfect tool to cover ritual abuse up and aim to discredit survivors who bravely speak out and report their abuse memories to professionals and members of the police. Child victims usually only become free from the abuse when they get to an age where their brains can not be mind-controlled anymore, and they cease to be of use to the group leaders in serving the needs of the perpetrators. Either that or a child victim defies the perpetrators and refuses to participate, or someone new, such as a partner, enters the world of the victim, leading the perpetrators to disengage that victim from being a part of the group anymore, for fear of getting caught. If someone tells you they were ritually abused, you don’t get to decide that they didn’t. If someone discloses ritual abuse (or what sounds like ritual abuse) to you, believe them. Disclosing RA is difficult enough, without being met with skepticism, rejection, and dismissal. Learn about what RA is. Learn about ways RA survivors can be triggered, and with kindness and gentleness, attempt to minimize any behavior with that person that you know to be triggering. We have been hurt enough in our lives….rejection, skepticism, and a refusal to believe us only adds to that hurt, reinforcing what was drummed into us by perpetrators…that if we ever told, no-one would believe us.

To the survivors…..

What you went through was NOT your fault, not one bit of it. I am so saddened that you experienced what you experienced. My hurt is your hurt. I know how you feel as I’ve felt it. No matter the lies you were told, or the ways the group members tried to trick you into believing horrible things about yourself as though they were fact, NONE of that stuff was true, not one bit of it. They just told you lies as a means of control and manipulation, and you cannot continue to feel ashamed or like you have failed in some way for falling for those lies. You did not deserve to be hurt. You did not ever bring in on yourself. You are NOT weak. You are NOT evil, just because you knew people who were. I am sorry you were unlucky enough to have been born into a family that linked you in with a group. I am sorry you had parents and significant adults in your life who failed to love, nurture and protect you, as you so badly wanted and needed and deserved. I am sorry they frightened you. I am sorry they hurt you. I am sorry you feared for your life. I am sorry you weren’t rescued. I am sorry you had to endure it, night after night, as you grew up, believing that was what happened to all children. I am sad you lost the joy and innocence of your childhood, and that you had to expend all that energy on the basics of survival, rather than thriving or developing and feeling safe to explore who you were as a person, in safety. Please don’t feel bad for anything you did or didn’t do. Please don’t continue to bully yourself, using the abusers as an example of how you deserve to be treated. You deserve so much more than what you had. And most of all you deserved kindness, compassion, protection, care, empathy, and safety. I am sad for all they did to your body. Please know your body can and will heal, maybe not entirely, but enough to live a meaningful life where you experience large swathes of contentment, in-between the tricky trauma trigger stuff. When something or someone triggers your trauma memories, or activates pain belonging to those wounded trauma-holding parts of you, understand and accept you have been triggered, and be as kind as you possibly can to yourself. After all the hurt you have held, no one deserves kindness and patience more than you. If kindness, patience and empathy is not forthcoming from others, you can give some of that love you are craving to yourself. You can be kind, instead of beating yourself up. You can trust it will pass, while acknowledging it hurts like hell in that very moment. One day you will look back at the person you are here today, in the head space you are in while reading this blog, and you will recognise progress. You will see the ways you have grown. You will notice the pain is still very much there, but you can handle it better. You will speak your truth out loud, even if your voice wobbles and shakes. Maybe you can start by speaking your truth into a mirror, telling your secrets to your reflection. Over time you may want to build up to writing about it, or telling another human being about it. However that person reacts, they cannot take your truth away. They cannot diminish your bravery, even if they try to. If you tell someone and they don’t believe you, that is on them. That is their prejudice. That is their filtering. They have only shown you where their blinkers lie. If people reject your truth, or the truth your parts hold, they are not your people. Seek out others who will believe you, who will be kind, who will accept you, and will love you, including your trauma story, as well as everything about you that is not about your trauma story. People won’t always know what to say, but you always have your own strength. No perpetrator can ever fully break you, even if it very much feels that that is what they’ve done. You are not broken, and I promise you, if you commit to it, and not make excuses to avoid doing it, you WILL heal.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for opening your mind. Thank you for inviting me to have this space on your blog Alexis, to speak directly to your friends and followers.

Thank you for helping to facilitate me in taking my power back. In writing and publishing this, I hope for the dark truth of ritual abuse to be a little more illuminated.

Hey Symptoms~Thanks, but I got this!

The past few days during moments of exasperation, I’ve said out loud to myself, “what is wrong with you, just stop it!” In reality, there is nothing wrong with me. I’ve been feeling off, and instead of sitting with the feelings, and letting them surf on through, I’ve been running the other way in a grand state of denial.

There is a saying: “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person.” That saying is a simple way for me to understand that try as I might, there are reasons my PTSD symptoms sometimes still have a firm chokehold on me. The list can be long depending on the time of year and triggers.

This time of year represents trigger, after trigger for me. While I can appreciate all the beauty of nature, the long season can be challenging with prolonged symptoms and what can seem like constant symptom management. They don’t just amplify on certain calendar dates, they simmer,  just under my skin in both the Fall and Spring seasons.

I’ve noticed that as I continue to heal I’ve been able to tolerate some of the triggers that in years past, would send me hiding in the house. I’m able to name what the trigger is without flashbacks or much anxiety. But, sometimes my body memories and reptilian mind fight for a seat at the table.

I’m pretty good at accepting, and having compassion for my lizard brain and body responses by telling them, “Thank you for doing what you are meant to do, but we are safe now, and I’ve got this.” Most of the time that works, but sometimes as the skeleton hands of the past slowly edge up my spine and try to pull me down, some deep feelings get stirred up.

If I don’t acknowledge the feelings and sit with them even for a short amount of time, they come out sideways. I get emotional, irritable, and I start demanding an impossible perfection from myself. If I’m not careful those feelings can inadvertently push play on the negative self-talk and doubt.

This morning, when I caught myself again saying, “What’s wrong with you, just stop it” it made me pause. Instead of running to the next distraction, I sat down to reflect, on what was really going on. With reflection, I stopped denying that the change of season is having an effect on me. It’s not me refusing to let go of the past, it’s an internal response to the trauma I survived.

Now that I’ve accepted what is going on, and forgiven myself for how I’ve been feeling, I can say, Hey symptoms, Thanks but I got this!

PTSD

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph    

The Power of Your Story

So much has changed since my memoir was published five years ago. Before I wrote the book, my entire life was focused on keeping quiet, not telling, protecting those I loved, or who loved me. It took me a long time to understand that by keeping quiet, I was actually protecting the people who hurt me in my life. Writing Untangled was a way to announce in a really big way, that I will not keep quiet any longer.

In the past two years, I began to fully understand the power of telling your story. Everyone has a story, and all stories are powerful. But many who have been through trauma cleave off their past, minimize their past, or live in fear of their perpetrators. Not acknowledging your story (even if its to yourself) can stunt a person’s state of being; keeping a person from living the life as a survivor/thriver.

The other day someone said to me, “I like your writing because it comes from an emotional place, it’s about the feelings.” That is exactly how I would describe my style of writing and speaking. I know that feelings are universal and relatable. Our stories may differ but feelings are relatable no matter what city, state, or country we live in. Those feelings of love, pain, joy, sadness, loneliness, fear, abandonment, hope, and sorrow to name a few are what connect us, empowers us, and gives us the ability to empathize with others.

Recently, I took a program to earn my peer support specialist certification. Part of passing the class was having to tell our story. We had 10 minutes to share our story. It was over Zoom and everyone had to have their cameras on. It was frightening to look out and see 16 people staring back at such a close range as I told my story. I usually take a wide brush stroke and focus on my healing journey without much context. This was a situation when I had to give more background. My other classmates also had to share, so I felt out of respect for their authenticity and vulnerability I had to share too.

My story was quite a bit different from my classmates, but I kept reminding myself to keep going, we all shared the same human feelings and emotions. When I was finished and took that final exhale, I felt empowered. I know that my story has power. It has power because each time I tell it I own my right to live, survive, and thrive. I lived, despite the efforts to silence me.

I’ve learned not to be ashamed of my past or my story. It is the truth of what happened to me. I didn’t choose it; the people in my life made those choices to traumatize me. My passion, my mission in life is to destigmatize PTSD and other mental health issues. I’m real and honest about what it’s like to live with the symptoms and the effects that prolonged and pervasive trauma still has on my everyday life.

There are times and places to tell your story. Not everyone has earned the right to hear it and you get to pick and choose what and how much you share. That’s the beauty of your story ~it’s yours!

In the last five years, I have become more vulnerable when speaking and writing. I’m able to celebrate my bravery and resilience. I know that my writing and speaking engagements will be a lot richer if  I’m not inadvertently shaming myself into silence. I’m grateful for all the healing I’ve done. It’s enabled me to share with others that a person can not only survive, but thrive in spite of a horrific past, and  PTSD.  As I become more involved with survivors and lend an ear and a supportive shoulder I want to instill in them that there is Power in Sharing Your Story.

Thank you for reading my books: If I Could Tell You How It Feels, and Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph      

Hello! Where Were You?

Hello! Where have you been?

That’s a question that I have asked myself many times the past seven months. Just like most people, my life changed dramatically during the quarantine, the unrest in the spring, and the continuing effects of the pandemic. One of the biggest questions (and there were many) I had asked myself during this time was, why did I stop writing? For over five years, writing has been my link to sanity, and connection; a critical part of my healing journey.

I write under a pen name, which at the beginning was to protect me, my family, and my perpetrators. That was the safest way I could share my story. My kids always said my pen name and my real name were the worst kept secrets, especially when my books began to sell and I was doing more and more local speaking. I love my pen name-Alexis is very much who I am. I don’t hide behind the name, I love that name~it wasn’t a random choice; there is great meaning behind it for me. I believe when quarantine hit our family and all the implications of what could happen to my husband if he caught COVID that fear led me to a full stop. I didn’t want anything to do with Alexis or writing.

That period of time was quite difficult. All the tools and distractions I used to manage my PTSD was suddenly gone. The stress of not knowing how to learn new tools as well as the hypervigilance of paying attention to the unfolding science took its toll. My extreme extraverted self needed to find a way to hunker down, settle in, and get some help. Apparently, my writing needed a quarantine too.  

I live in the Twin Cities, MN. In the spring, after the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests and unrest, I knew that I had to learn what it meant to be anti-racist. I have 14 nieces and nephews who are multi-racial. I thought I had it figured out, but I didn’t.

Between COVID and the unrest this Spring, I have had many uncomfortable conversations with people who are close to me. I have always been a person who gave others the space to be just who they were, without much judgment. That no longer serves me in this changing world. So what do I do with that information? I’m not sure! It’s a many-layered challenge and not something that comes with an easy answer. 

Then, despite my diligence-I got COVID-19! I was very sick for one month and then it took another couple of weeks to actually begin to feel like the illness was behind me and I could trust I was getting better. 

So a lot has happened existentially and physically to me in the last seven months. But where was I? Well, I believe I was right here. At least in spirit. 

I am very involved in a non-profit organization called EmpowerSurvivors.  http://www.empowersurvivors.net/ EmpowerSurvivors is a peer-led support organization for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Since the pandemic and ensuing quarantine guidelines, we began to offer on-line support. Which has been fabulous. Because now, through Zoom survivors from all over the U.S. and the world can participate in peer-led support groups and classes. It’s been wonderful!

I’ve also been writing. Well, that comment is a bit of a stretch. I have a story in my head that has its first lines and the very last line with no middle. To me, that is fascinating as I know the story will unfurl and find a way to my blog for all of you to read.

I have also been learning new ways to cope. Not being able to hug, touch hands, and hang out with my friends and kids has been lonely and excruciating. It’s been quite a challenge, but this week, I could tell that things are starting to come together on the self-care end and I’m in more of an acceptance mode.  Just in time for winter to hit MN.

I knew this morning that I was ready to come back to the wonderful WordPress community. I knew that when my fingers were itching to get back to the keyboard, and words were bursting out of me that I am ready to write again.

Where was I? Well, all over the place inside~figuring out where I stand and what is important and how I will move forward as a person in this world. I will continue to use my voice and write about mental health, particularly living with PTSD, and as always there will be a  little bit of poetry sprinkled in along the way.

Thanks for all your fabulous support for the past five years. Without the wonderful community here, I would not have had the courage to come back and say, Hello!