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

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

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.

An Agile Survivor

I was fine
Then it seems I wasn’t

What happened?

Seems I forgot
Then I remembered

Okay – now what?

My quirks began to make sense
to me, my family and friends

Am I irreparably damaged?
No, no I’m not
but there are limitations

They don’t define me
but it’s hard and confusing
to understand what that really means

Acceptance, self-compassion
understanding

So now what?

I work on healing
exploring new ways to live
within my limitations

Knowing the skeleton hands
may come and go
stress and health
ebb and flow, sometimes taking away hours
teaching me to notice the gift of perfect moments
of  breath, peace, and exhaled contentment

I wasn’t fine
Now I am – at this moment
I recognize and I’m grateful for impermanence

What happened?

I live the potential
embrace the possibility
and embody compassionate healing

I become who I am ~ who I always was
not broken, not fragile
An Agile Survivor

©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      

 

My PTSD – A Poem

Like so many others who live with PTSD or other chronic illness, people often ask me, “What does it feel like?”

My PTSD 

It doesn’t matter if it’s cold, hot, sunny, snowing  or raining

There is no telling when it’s going to strike.

Are they alive or dead?

Is that pain real or echoes from pain long ago that

Resurface with a memory?

It’s like being held hostage by your mind

Thinking that today would be the day I am free.

I look like everyone else

I know the difference between right and wrong.

Yet in my head, I sometimes can’t remember

The last ten minutes of my life, or what day, year or time it is.

Are those smells real or is that a smell from a place and time

when I was being held against my will.

Am I really hearing the sounds of helicopters, planes, cicadas or birds

Or it that the sound coming from a place that no longer exists and

Should never be talked about?

I want so much to be like everyone else.

So I will keep pulling myself up the rope,

Out of the clutches of PTSD and all the skeleton hands of the past that

Keep trying to pull me down.

I am like everyone else only my job is to live so I can live.

For now, that’s all I can ask of myself if I am going to have a future.

my PTSD

©Alexis Rose, photo: pixabay

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

 

The Woman Sitting in the Dark

Who is that woman sitting in the dark?

A mom, wife, friend

She is a survivor.

A reader, writer, hiker, dreamer

She is struggling.

A hopeful, helpful, optimistic. compassionate light

She is too weary to turn on the lights
or care about the monsters in her dreams.

A woman who works tirelessly to embrace her life
live in the truth, recognize joy. 

Where did she go? 

That’s her, over there, sitting in the dark.

Waiting…just waiting for the light of dawn.

sorrow-699608_960_720

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

image source: Pixabay

Whether it’s Daisy’s or Weeds it’s Still Your Life

There is a common expression that explains what it’s like to live with PTSD.  “PTSD: It’s not the person refusing to let go of the past, but the past refusing to let go of the person.”

One of the questions that people often ask is, “Are you sure you want to remember your past?” Or a common statement is, “Just let the past go.” Both of these are said and/or asked without malice.  I understand both the question and the statement. Most trauma survivors understand the intention behind these statements. They are meant to protect the person from suffering and bad memories which can be re-traumatizing. Also to remind survivors that it is okay to live in the present moment.

Going through trauma therapy, we work very hard to understand our symptoms so we can live in the present. We often have safety plans, distress tolerance tools, and grounding techniques that bring us back to the here-and-now. We learn to hear the birds singing, children playing, feel our feet on the ground, and though we may not feel safe, we begin to understand that we are safe, and no one can hurt us (like that) again.

We are empowered by the fact that we are survivors and celebrate resilience. And yet, with all that knowledge, and practice, and bringing ourselves back to the present moment, PTSD has skeleton hands that grab you and pull you into the past. It is the nature of the illness.

When I’m asked, “Are you sure you want to remember your past?” I say to myself, and sometimes to the person (depending on my mood), “How would you feel if you had big swatches of your life missing?” I’m not talking about little memories of places, or people that come and go, I’m talking sometimes years and years, blacked out. Imagine the feeling of knowing that you are alive because you are here, but you have no real congruent memories to make sense of yourself, your wholeness as a person. And, often when you do have flashes of the past, your emotions,  feelings, and a very protective mind stop you from remembering.

My mind wouldn’t let me repress my memories any longer. I knew intuitively that I needed to know my past. I needed a timeline of my life. I didn’t want darkness any longer. I wanted to live, not just survive.  I understood the truth would be painful. Traumatic memories are painful. But for me, in order to get some control over some of my most severe symptoms (flashbacks, fear, anxiety, hypervigilance, helplessness, and hopelessness) I needed to uncover my past, my truth.

It was hard, excruciatingly painful at times, but worth it! I still have symptoms, but now I can name them. I understand where they come from, and why they are happening and I can use the tools I have to cope and move through the waves. Sometimes, it’s easier than other times.

What I have now is awareness. That awareness makes it easier for me to stay in the present.  I don’t live in the past, but just like everyone else, I am partly who I am because of my past experiences. What I choose to do with that information is up to me.

I maintain that now, I live in the present because I know my truth. Before, I was too busy both consciously and unconsciously trying to bury, forget, and believe that I wasn’t worthy enough to have a lived life, whatever it looked like.

So when people care, and with love and affection innocently ask, “Are You sure you want to remember your past?” I can say back, with equal love and affection, “Yes, I do want to remember, because, Whether it Daisy’s or Weeds it’s still my life.”

 

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

Feeling Fragmented

This is a fantastic post from a wonderful mental health blogger. Check out this post and give I Walk with a Limp a follow. https://iwalkwithalimp.com/

I Walk with a Limp

Feeling Fragmented peter-sjo

How can I describe the feeling of being fragmented to people who have always felt whole? Perhaps none of us feel completely whole. Perhaps we all feel that we have lost a part of ourselves along the way.

As a victim of violence, incest, and rape it took a while for me to become truly lost. My survival instincts were strong. But, over time, the damage inflicted upon me pushed me further away from myself, until I found that I was drowning in a sea of alcoholism and despair, staring at a stranger in the mirror.

It’s as if I had been a beautiful, vibrantly colored stained-glass vase, and my perpetrators a chisel. Each punch, each belt lashing, each touch of violation, tapped a crack in the delicate glass of Light and innocence until, finally, it shattered into a thousand tiny shards. Their razor-sharp edges cut deep wounds into my…

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Silence

Dedicated to all the survivors I’ve met and the ones I’ve yet to meet along the way. For those who have found their voice and those who are still working on finding it. Silence can mean so many things…this is my interpretation of how the silence felt. 

The silence was the worst sometimes.

That moment when an abusive event ends.

The silence is sometimes the most uncomfortable part of being hurt.  It’s a strange feeling to see someone who has just hurt you in ways that are abhorrent just turn around and walk away.

Watching them leave. It felt as if they were also taking a little piece of my spirit with them leaving another tatter, another rip in my already shredded soul.

It wasn’t very often that my abusers would say anything when they are finished.

The feeling of invisibility was palpable.

No yelling, crying, blaming, scolding; they just simply finish and leave. It’s a rather powerless feeling because they don’t acknowledge me, or what they did.

That spirit shredding powerlessness left me with a dark heaviness.

I’m sure sometimes I was crying as they left.  I know I was certainly in enough pain physically, emotionally and psychologically to cry. But often I would just stare at them as they walked away.

Watching them go, I sometimes asked myself, why did that happen to me?

But other times, I silently observed as they moved away from me as if I didn’t exist.

As if what just happened didn’t really happen at all.

Their demeanor towards me was complete neutrality. It was as if I was a stranger who was just in their airspace, detached in a way, that if they saw me on the street in five minutes, they wouldn’t even remember who I was.

There was always that little while, no matter the place, the who, or the when something happened, that the “after” was accompanied by a thick silence.

Alone, with my mind now telling me, “okay, it’s over; stand up, clean up, unconsciously compartmentalize what just happened, and move on to survive whatever comes next.

The silence can be the worst sometimes.

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.

Learning to live with, not fight against my symptoms

I’m in the throes of fighting against my PTSD symptoms. I’m extremely angry at them at the moment. There are some things going on in my life that I want to change and my symptoms are preventing me from making the changes in a way that makes me feel useful.

I want to stop the flashbacks, hypervigilance, anxiety, depression and other assorted symptoms of my PTSD. When I finished therapy last spring, my therapist helped me understand that I was still going to be living with symptoms. He felt that I didn’t  need therapy any longer because I had reached a point where I had processed the memories, worked through the feelings, and emotions, and had mastered the distress tolerance tools I had learned over the course of the 8 years we worked together. He did the best he could to help me understand that I would still be quite affected by symptoms, that it was okay, that I was okay, and that it was because of the effects of the trauma. I didn’t like hearing that but was determined to find a way to live with my symptoms. Maybe we could form some sort of symbiotic relationship?

I want to work! I want to be able to work more than two hours a day without my brain getting overwhelmed and shutting down. This is a symptom that I fight against continuously. I have the wonderful opportunity to do some marketing for two wellness centers. I’m extremely grateful for this work and the very generous owners. Most of the time, I can accept that this is what I’m able to do right now. It’s not much, but it keeps me employed in a way that helps them, and brings me contentment. The other day,  a friend looked at me and said, “you’re underemployed!” Immediately, I felt the tapes of worthlessness, laziness, can’t get better, begin to play and my fragile balance of living with my symptoms turn into a self-esteem fight.

I’m also fighting against the fact that for me, there are triggers, triggers everywhere. I was asked to go on a night hike in a beautiful snowy field the other night with a friend who I know always has my back. The sky was clear and it was one of the serene landscapes. I saw the dark woods surrounding the field way off in the distance, and my heart and head panicked. I wanted to go, to ignore my symptoms, but my panic took over, and I heard myself saying, “no, I’m scared” over and over again. I was so mad at my symptoms.

These are just a  couple of examples that have been front and center this past week. These incidences put me into a fight-zone with PTSD. It’s not useful, nor helpful and really all it does is exasperate all my symptoms.

Recognizing that I’m frustrated right now creates some space and gives me the room to name it, rail against it for a moment (if I really feel the need) then rest and move back into acceptance. I’m still a work in progress and rarely lose hope that things will get better. They are already better (different)  than they were six months ago.

But right now…I’m in the throes of fighting against not living with my symptoms.

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