Tag Archives: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

winning the war with PTSD, facing the battle to come

I did something big today. And one reason it’s an even bigger deal is because it didn’t really occur to me just how big a deal it was until hours later. I visited the high school I attended for all four years. I went because it has been remodeled but enough of the old school remained that I defiantly saw identifying markers. Why is this a big deal? Because I bullied so badly that I developed PTSD (it began at around age 10 but continued on into high school). You name the type of abuse/bulling and I experienced it. So I went today and walked through the buildings without much thought. None of the bullying I experienced. A few random “I’m so glad I’m not in high school thoughts” and a definite “my life would have been so much better in high school if I had Gus” but PTSD thoughts? Nope. Absent.

It’s been a looonnnggg time coming to this place. Most of my trauma work in treatment was centered around the bulling. We approached what I consider the more major work but really hit this aspect of it hard. And this is the first time that I’m really seeing it pay off. I didn’t know if I believed someone could be “cured” from PTSD but it seemed at least today that my PTSD was long gone as I walked through a place that at one point would have sent me into flashback after flashback. I know there will  still be times when the memories hit me but they pain has receded some I think and that feels amazing. I never thought that would happen.

Now I have to move that hope onto the other aspect of my trauma we are just beginning to approach. This one feels insurmountable, terrifying and altogether impossible to handle. But I felt these things about the bulling at one time too. This time I have the benefit of experience on my side. The knowledge that I lived through the therapeutic process once and I give live through it once again. And this is invaluable because when you are in the thick of PTSD symptoms you think the very last thing that is going to happen is that you are going to live. But I need to remember that  I did once and I will again.

So tonight I go to bed with the knowledge that I have survived that part of my past. The rawness feels gone and I am now ready I think to close the therapeutic door. The relief is incredible. I also go to bed realizing how far I have yet to go. How many PTSD symptoms I still experience and the work ahead of me.

And finally I go to bed with a friend heavy on my heart as she fights with her own demons of PTSD tonight. I love you friend. I understand. And I am always here for you. You will survive. I did (and will continue to as I approach the next phase of my journey) and you will too.

 

 

 

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Filed under abuse, abuser, bullying, Hope, Life Story, PTSD, Recovery, school, survivor, the past, trauma

All I can write is this quote tonight:

 

One Day I will forgive you; until then there are scabs everywhere that you have touched me

– Salvador Plascencia, The People of Paper

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Filed under abuse, Life Story, PTSD, quotes, survivor, the past, trauma

grounding skills

I really try hard not to post more than once a day. In fact, I try to keep at least a couple of days in between posts. I don’t think anyone wants to hear what I have to say that often. Oh and also I usually don’t have much to say. But someone asked me today what grounding skills I use. Grounding is something that is done to help a person come back to reality. An easy example is if someone is in shock perhaps from an accident. You might place a piece of ice in their hand that will in turn make things clearer and help them come out of their head. Perhaps grounding is the modern version of smelling salts. A way to wake up the mind and come back to the present situation and reality.

Often grounding techinques are used to help people who have flashbacks, dissociate or have panic attacks. I have been taught extensive grounding tools and have had to learn how to find some that are specific to me.

Here are a few of my grounding tools:

Look around the room and identify five things you can touch. Five things you can hear. Five things you can see. Next count four things you can touch. Four things you can hear. Four things you can see. Continue on until you reach one. Start again if neccessary.

Look for certain textures that are comforting to you. Perhaps something really soft such as a stuffed animal. Or maybe something rough like a rock. I carry bits of cloth with me, rocks that are rough and pebbles that are smooth. I can take this out unobserved when I am in a public place and hold onto them.

Silly putty is also a great tool for me. Just be careful you don’t sit on it like I have. Play-dough also works. Or flubber actually (love that stuff) . Silly putty is just really handy because it comes in a small container that you can keep in your purse.

Make a comfort or hope book and look at it. I have both. My hope book contains cards, quotes, gifts, inspirational pictures and many other things that bring me hope. It is in a large three ring binder so I can’t carry it with me but it is great to have at home. My comfort book is a small compact book that has pictures of things that bring me comfort (dogs, sunflowers, pictures of Kansas, my ‘nieces’ etc.). I keep this is my car or somewhere I can access it when I’m not at home.

Coloring or drawing. Pastels is best for me because they are very textual and keep me present. Also things that are very detailed help keep me present. I love to use mandalas.

Being with a pet is the very best thing for me to do when I am not grounded. Simply feeling them breathe under my hand or having them give me kisses or even playing with them brings me back to the present.

Smells also help me. Peppermint is the best thing to bring me back. But I know people who spray perfume onto something or smell cinnamon gum or candy.

Chewing gum or sucking on a hard candy (peppermint again for me).

Going for a walk or getting out in nature and deliberately noticing everything around you. “I see a bird. I see a dog. I hear the kady-dids sing. I am sweating.”

Repeat mantras. “I am safe. I am loved. This is 2012. I am enough just the way I am.” Whatever works for you.

Cuddle up with a warm blanket.

Drink hot chocolate, tea or cider.

Squeeze stress-balls. Play with tangles or other stress toys.

Call a friend.

Watch funny videos on youtube. I love to watch Ellen segments.

Listen to your favorite music. I have specific playlists for specific moods or situations I am in. It is comforting and familiar music that brings along good memories.

Check your social media (email, twitter, facebook) ONLY if you can safely do that without creating more unwelcome emotions.

Blog (seriously this helps me).

Journal as long as you can keep things positive. A lot of times journaling triggers me or keeps me stuck in the past.

Play solitaire. Do a crossword or play a computer game. I love to play with the wii. It’s interactive in a way that is very helpful to me.

I have other skills as well that I am sure I am forgetting but here are a few. It has been good for me to review them today. And also good for me to have them written down.

I want to thank C.B. for asking me about grounding skills today. Again it has actually helped me as so often blogging does.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your Sunday.

-Kate

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Filed under coping skills, depression, eating disorder, eating disorders, Hope, Recovery