Happy 1st Birthday to If I Could Tell You How It Feels

One year ago today my second book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels was published. It has been a wonderful year of new connections, and opportunities. I have a tremendous feeling of satisfaction that my books have been a source of information, relatability, and comfort for survivors of trauma, someone living with a mental or chronic illness, a professional working within the mental health industry, or someone simply interested in learning more about the intricacies of living and thriving with PTSD.

If I could tell you how it feels was the internal mantra that I used in my early days of therapy. Even though I yearned to share with friends and family how it felt to live with a past full of abuse and neglect, I couldn’t say the words.

The painful memories and shame of my trauma were palpable. That shame kept me from exclaiming, “I’m a survivor!”

I felt the safest hiding behind the mask of what I thought was “normal.” One day, in answer to my friend’s question of how it felt to live with PTSD, I wrote a poem and risked the vulnerability of sharing it with family and close friends.

Soon writing became my way of expressing how it feels to try and cope with, relate to, and safely express my feelings. What I couldn’t verbalize, I found I could write. I can confidently say that writing was the light from the darkness of PTSD. It still is!

I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me from writing both my memoir, Untangled and If I Could Tell You How It Feels. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with many interesting people from all walks of life, and with varying interests from around the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful and humbled every day when someone buys my books, reaches out to me through email, my blog, Facebook, or writes a positive review on Amazon.

To the wonderful followers of my blog, your support and encouragement for my writing have been amazing. You have definitely been instrumental in my book sales and in helping spread the word to your own blog followers.

Happy Birthday to If I Could Tell You How It Feels!

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

Thank You for the Interview, Mental Health Book Club Podcast

A Huge Thank You to Sydney Timmons and Becky Lawrence of the Mental Health Book Club Podcast, for inviting me on their show. Sydney and Becky’s philosophy is that talking about mental health should be commonplace and their reviews of books and author interviews add to the discussion.

I had a wonderful time talking with them. They were both welcoming, and engaging hosts, and even though I was speaking with them from America to their show in England, it felt as if we were sitting in the same room chatting.

I would absolutely love it if you click on the link below and have a listen. For me, this is really fun to share on my blog, because now you get to hear my talking voice, instead of just my writing voice. I hope you enjoy the interview!

https://www.mentalhealthbookclub.com/2018/08/10/interview-6-alexis-rose-author-of-if-i-could-tell-you-how-it-feels-my-life-journey-with-ptsd/

The Gifts of Writing a Memoir, Happy 3rd Birthday Untangled!

Three years ago today, I anxiously waited for my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph to go live on Amazon. What a wonderful, unexpected and humbling three years this has been.

I took a huge risk by writing and publishing my memoir. 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.

I literally went from telling no one but my therapist about my past to throwing my arms up, and saying, okay….what the heck, let’s go for it, and tell everyone at once. My husband and children read the book before it was released to the public, but close friends, acquaintances, and long-lost friends learned the truth of my past when they read the book.  Were there big reactions? You bet there were! Of course, they reacted. The biggest reaction was sadness that they didn’t know what was happening at the time, and that helpless feeling that if they knew, they could have helped. I understand that reaction, I would probably have felt the same way upon hearing of a friend’s brutal past. But, they couldn’t have helped me, and it was imperative to my safety that I kept quiet. I used to feel guilty that I somehow hurt my friend’s feelings that I didn’t share my past, but I’ve learned to let go of that.

In the book, I talk about my life and some of the trauma I experienced.  I write about how I repressed my memories and how I managed to raise a family and live a life where I mistakenly convinced myself, that my hidden past had no effect or impact on my life. The last part of the book is what my healing journey looked like at the time. Untangled isn’t about naming names or the horrific specifics of what happened to me. I don’t feel people, especially those of us who have been through trauma need to read and be triggered by another’s specific tales of horror.

I do, however, explain in detail the feelings that went along with being hurt, traumatized, abandoned, neglected. I don’t shy away from feeling words such as fear, emptiness, loneliness, embarrassment, shame, etc.  One of the most humbling gifts I experience from Untangled is when people read the book, and they find it is relatable. The events that happened to me may not be relatable, but the effects, the feelings, the sense of no-self is something that a lot of people experience, or they know and love someone who has experienced those things.

We all have feelings, but we may not all be able to articulate them, we may doubt or judge our feelings, or experience that lonely feeling that no one else could possibly understand this kind of emotional pain. I lived with that terrible alone feeling until three years ago. Now, from the feedback from the readers of Untangled, I know that I am not alone. Admittedly, the validation is a bit of a paradox..I’m so relieved to be validated by relatability and so sad to be validated by relatability.

One of the questions I get asked the most is why did I write my memoir?  At first, I was writing as a way to incorporate another healing tool. For me, using the keyboard as a way to write, instead of using paper and pencil, provided a way to get down my feelings, thoughts, and emotions without becoming overwhelmed. I was taught that for some people, using the keyboard was a way to incorporate bi-lateral stimulation. This method provided a way to create a bit of distance from the subject matter I was writing about. The first gift was while writing, I began to discern the difference between the truth vs my truth. For some, they are the same, but for me, being able to say My truth had a profound and healing impact on me.

Writing gave me the courage I needed to address the pain I was feeling. I would write even when I thought I had nothing to write about. I began to notice that I was able to write down what I couldn’t say aloud.  It provided distance from having to use my voice. What I discovered was that writing actually gave me a voice.  When I still couldn’t speak a truth, I found, if I read what I wrote out loud to my therapist, that I WAS speaking the truth. The bonus for me as that He didn’t freak out or go away. The gift of Untangled is that people also don’t freak out and run away. The book has been a tool for conversation.

I am frequently asked if I was afraid for my safety when I released the book?  To be honest, I felt a lot of fear for my safety and took as many precautions as I could, but in the end, I just really wanted to share my story. I wanted to share what it looks like to live through unimaginable circumstances for twenty-plus years, with continued threats to stay silent, and still, be determined to be live not just survive.  I knew that this was my truth, and by publishing my story and continue to talk about the effects of trauma and the resulting PTSD that no one could ever take my past, my truth away from me again.

There are so many gifts from Untangled. The gift of writing, the gift of remembering, the gift of a congruent past, the gift of trying to remove the stigma of living with an illness. I wouldn’t have started writing a blog if I hadn’t written my memoir. I was told that I had to start a blog in order to market a book. I never, in my wildest dreams knew the world of connection that awaited me when I wrote my first post. Not only have I connected with survivors and mental health professionals, but I also have connected with poets, authors, thinkers, travelers, photographers, fun-loving lets blog for the heck of it people all over the world. I’m a better person because of all these connections. There are some people I’ve met that have changed my life. I’m grateful every day for my blog.

Even though I released another book last January, I’m not ready to leave Untangled behind. I’m excited every time someone purchases the book, I wish I could personally thank every person. I don’t ever take it for granted. I love getting good reviews on Amazon, I love hearing the feedback. I hope that the readership continues to grow each month.

I’ve been hurt, I’ve been threatened, I’ve been abandoned, but I wasn’t going to let the effects of what happened to me keep me from trying to have the life I wanted. I know what my goals are…to live with my past, live in the truth, and recognize and relish in the feelings of internal contentment. I didn’t realize that sharing my story with so many people would propel the trajectory of my healing in such a profound and sometimes ineffable way. Never does a day go by that I’m not grateful for the experice.

Happy 3rd birthday, and thank you for reading, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph

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

A Wonderful Podcast Interview Experience

I had the wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Matt Papas of Surviving My Past. (https://www.survivingmypast.net/tools-and-insight-on-living-with-ptsd-with-author-and-survivor-alexis-rose/) I have been listening to Matt’s podcasts for a while, and find his interview style very interactive, relatable, and real.  He has a wonderful way of putting you at ease, and the conversation flows.

Surviving My Past exists to validate and encourage all who have survived the trauma of abuse. Matt is a survivor of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Narcissistic Abuse, and Bullying.

On his site, you will find blog posts written not only by Matt but also guest bloggers who have decided to share their story and let the world know that they are not ashamed! You’ll also find podcasts where he interviews Therapists, Life Coaches, Mental Health Advocates, Bloggers, and others who have a passion to help raise awareness and do their part to help erase the stigma of mental health challenges and survivors of trauma.

Check out his website and when you have some time, I would love it if you listen to my interview with Matt.  You will definitely be able to hear my very Minnesotan accent come through loud and clear.  https://www.survivingmypast.net/tools-and-insight-on-living-with-ptsd-with-author-and-survivor-alexis-rose/

 

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

 

 

 

Victim Yes, Survivor, Definitely!

vic·tim/ˈviktəm/Noun

  1. A person harmed, injured, or killed as a result of a crime, accident, or other event or action.
  1. A person who is tricked or duped

I don’t like it, but by definition, I was a victim. From the earliest of ages until I was twenty years old, I lived a life of unimaginable abuse, neglect, and terror. For years, I was threatened to stay silent or suffer the consequences. The message was always a simple phone call with a person on the other end saying, “Nothing has changed.”

My therapist worked hard to teach me that one of the nuances of a traumatized person is that they believe that they are somehow to blame for what happened to them. Whether it is the abuser’s message or a way for a person to try and make sense of what has happened to them, it is something that people who have been through trauma have in common.

The word “victim,” can be rather stigmatizing. It’s sometimes bantered about when we talk about someone who won’t or chooses not to change their situation. How many times do we hear someone saying, “she/he’s such a victim.”  It can be confusing, because we don’t want to be a victim by an abuser, and we don’t want to be a victim by not standing up for ourselves. Two very different situations, but still the same word.

I understand I was a victim. I understand how my many perpetrators victimized me. I have let go of the false belief that I had been a willing participant in the events that happened to me.  This knowledge doesn’t take away the facts of what happened or the feelings that go along with what happened, but it does assuage the guilt.

I was programmed (for lack of a better word) to hurt myself should I remember, tell and/or try to heal from all that was done to me. “They” were thorough in ways to protect themselves and make themselves untouchable. I know and accept that I was a victim of extreme and senseless abuse, neglect, and torture.

sur·vi·vor /sərˈvīvər/ noun 

  1. To remain alive or in existence.
  2. To carry on despite hardships or trauma; persevere.
  3. To cope with (a trauma or setback); persevere after: survived child abuse.

However, they could not touch the core of who I am and my innate need to remember and heal. They could not anticipate that I would eventually figure out the more I stayed silent and crouched in terror, that I was only protecting them.

They never realized that I would learn that when I began to talk, I was safer because if I were to suffer the consequences that they had threatened me with, then it would only bring to light that what I was saying was the truth. They could no longer hide in the shadows of my mind and strike.

My perpetrators can write me off as a liar and/or crazy, but that doesn’t have any effect on me. I know my truth, and being called crazy is just sticks and stones.

So yes, I was a victim, Now I am definitely a survivor!

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

Photo by Matthew Smith on Unsplash

 

 

Thank You to the Never Give Up Institute

A Huge Thank You to NEVERGIVEUPINSTITUTE.ORG for including both Untangled, and If I Could Tell You How It Feels on their resources page.

Never Give Up Institute is a fabulous organization, founded by Alexis Acker-Halbur that helps people understand how unresolved stress and trauma can cause illness, increase financial difficulty, and keep you from living a meaningful life.

Alexis Acker-Halbur’s book titled Never Give Up is incredibly powerful and validating for anyone who has faced devastating physical illness, trauma, and loss. More than a self-help book, Alexis brings her own experiences and vulnerability into each chapter. Never Give Up is both relatable and validating for people who have been through trauma and/or serious illness. Part spiritual, part self-help, part memoir, Never Give Up is very inspiring.

Check out and give a follow to the nevergiveupinstitute.org blog at http://nevergiveupinstitute.org/my-blog/

http://nevergiveupinstitute.org/2018/03/resources-trauma-healing/#comment-2613

A Little Interview

Thank you, Vinny, at awesomebookpromotion.com for this short 4 question interview.

Featured Author Alexis Rose

Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?

Hello!

My name is Alexis Rose and I live in Minnesota. Besides writing, I love to be with my family and friends. I unwind by practicing yoga and spending time outside. Besides writing, I have a part-time marketing job for a couple of wellness centers and teach beginning writing classes. I have two cats and a wonderful emotional support dog that help me write every day.  Sometimes it seems like a zoo around here.

At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?

I have always had a fascination with books. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t love to read!

Writing came into my life purely by accident. I had never written anything more than letters or birthday cards, until seven years ago. A friend of mine wanted to know what it felt like for me living with PTSD. Because it’s such an invisible illness, she was at a loss on how to support me. At the time, I was unable to verbalize what it felt like to anyone, let alone to myself. I went home, thought about what I would like to say, and I wrote my first poem.

After showing it to her, she told me I had to start writing. I showed the poem to a few other friends and was invited to collaborate with a couple of artists, using my poetry paired with their artwork.

Three successful inspirational books later, I had developed a fierce love of writing. I took the chance to write on my own without a collaborator. Two years ago I published my memoir, Untangled, A Story of Resilience, Courage, and Triumph, and this month my latest book, If I Could Tell You How It Feels was released.

Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read? Who Inspires you in your writings?

I don’t really have favorite authors to read. I’m a fairly equal opportunity reader. I love to give new authors a chance as well as the authors who have been around for a long time.

I read a lot of books on mindfulness. I absolutely love reading historical fiction. I love an author who does their research. I have a pretty good BS meter and don’t like a lot of filler in a book. I’m a person who will sit down with a book and escape into the character’s world. I simply love good books. I read both non-fiction and fiction at the same time. It makes both sides of my brain really happy.

Tell us a little about your latest book?

If I Could Tell You How It Feels is a series of essays and poems about living authentically with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

I write about the reality of living with triggers, flashbacks, and the challenges of working through trauma. I write with vulnerability about the tough subjects of family, friendships, loss, grief, parenting, and therapy.

Whether you are a survivor, someone living with a mental or chronic illness, a professional working within the mental health industry, or you are simply interested in learning more about the intricacies of living and thriving with PTSD, this book will provide new insights and an appreciation of this invisible illness that affects millions of people around the world.

This book is a labor of love for me. My main intention is to begin to break down the stigma of mental illness, especially bringing awareness to PTSD. So far the response has been really good.

 

 

 

 

Connect with the Author on their Websites and Social media profiles

Alexis Rose’s Website

Alexis Rose Facebook Page