C-PTSD conversation. October 21, 2021

I’m a peace maker at heart, wanting everyone to feel comfortable. I’ve been hesitant in talking about PTSD here very often because many of my friends are uncomfortable with the topic. Probably because they don’t have it themselves and can’t relate.

However, there is a growing audience for conversations around this subject. Personally, I see it as a good thing.

There are suggestions out there saying there are benefits to be had from writing about our experiences.There are also great benefits in hearing the stories of others. I’m finding both to be helpful in my healing process.

When I think about it, fellow bloggers are not obliged to read a post just because it’s there. I think I need to believe they can make a good decision for themselves without me shielding them. Read or not to read? They have a choice.

Earlier, I was researching some related PTSD material, doing a little fact checking before starting this. It added a few more questions to the mix.

One of my major symptoms is the startle reflex. Sometimes it’s strong enough to lift me off the chair. Not by much but even a sliver is too much in my estimation.

It’s amazing to me how reactions can change from person to person but it works consistently for each person. There was one guy in the office who could appear at my desk without causing so much as a ripple. There were two other guys who were consistently giving me heart attacks. I didn’t see them coming, didn’t know they were coming, so how did the right reaction happen for the right guy? One of the guys thought it was quite funny and took great delight in sneaking up and scaring me. Of course he had no idea what was behind it. Actually back then I didn’t either.

I’m guessing my hyper alert subconscious mind heard them coming and even recognized and identified the foot steps. I was used to these guys and I have no idea how my subconscious mind decided how to react to each one. Baffling.

Looking at them did not cause negative reactions, I had a level of trust which made it all seem rather strange to me.

I am guessing they remind me of someone who was a participant in a bad situation. One that I don’t remember.

Another trigger example related to men. One Sunday, more than 10 years ago, I walked in to the morning church service. As I crossed the foyer I looked up and saw the usher standing at the sanctuary door and stopped dead in my tracks. I wanted to turn around and run. I didn’t. After a few seconds I took myself by the scruff of my emotional inner neck and continued on past him.

I didn’t know the man, had never seen him before. There was nothing remarkable or scary about him. A short middle aged balding guy. Probably a very nice man.

I’ve never forgotten that morning. I still feel uncomfortable just thinking about it. I’m guessing he reminds me of someone. I don’t even want to know who.

You’ve probably guessed I rarely go to church much any more. I’ve gone from rarely missed to rarely there.

Too many triggers.

On a lighter closing note. One of my big plants is blooming for the third time this year. Unusual.

I couldn’t take a sharp in-focus picture to save my life, just saying.

I’m going to go read my book now for awhile and calm down about all of this.

It has been good though, I think.

It’s funny how the mind works. I had a whole other post in mind. One I was emotionally invested in most of the day.

In the long run, I’m sure it’s better this way.

Share your thoughts with me, I would love to hear them.

I’ve been thinking October 17, 2021

I’ve had this post in mind for two days now but it was on forgiveness, a comment yesterday changed my trajectory.

The observation was that I love books but people?… not so much.

At first I agreed with that assessment. It’s true I do have deep trust issues and live a solitary life on a day to day basis.

This morning I woke up feeling an overwhelming love for people. This is not uncommon. I’ve experienced this most of my life.

This last while, I’ve been troubled, not able to identify how both could be true, trust and distrust. Especially when it came to men. My dad was abusive. I have two brothers, they were abused. I hated my dad but loved my brothers? Is that what’s behind it? It doesn’t seem to fit but if not that, then what?

Take for example, my neighbor: I’ve shared with her some of my story. She has first hand knowledge of my struggle with trust issues and triggers. I’ve accepted her event invitations and cancelled at the last minute because I knew men would be there and I couldn’t make myself go. And yet… if we were standing in her drive way with her husband and he cracked a joke I was relaxed enough to laugh. I could tell by her body language that she was not happy and was now doubting my story. Which is true? The uptight or the relaxed?

So, how can I love and not love at the same time?

This morning I’m reminded, a survival tool for the severally abused is compartmentalization.

When I’m conscious of me and what I’m feeling, and people get too close – triggers happen, I’m reacting and not liking it.

When I forget about me entirely and my focus is completely on the other person, I feel empathy and love. I’m open and relaxed.

Where does all of this come from?

This morning I’m recognizing, it’s coming from my inner circle, the place where only three humans have ever been, or should have been. It would be truer to say they should have been there but all three chose to live outside of it, emotionally unavailable to me. One of them chose to visit the inner circle occasionally but only physically and in an abusive way.

Now, when I struggle with relating to people as the focus is directed toward me, I’m realizing it’s the result of the trauma inflicted on me by three. That’s one compartment.

There is another compartment where God shows up in the inner circle. This was my place of refuge in traumatic times. God was always there and has continued to be there, emotionally available to me my whole life.

This is how I can love and not love at the same time.

Wherever possible, I choose to love with the love I’ve experienced with God in the second compartment.

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The original thought for this post was – How could I be forgiving?

That’s a big question and I still want to share my story. Soon, maybe.

Photo by Peng Louis on Pexels.com

This and that at the end of the day.

This is a time when I just start talking and see where it goes. Usually it starts with a thought, an undeveloped thought. That’s how this one went. A thought and need to stop the endless round and round. It helped. Not sure it makes sense. 🙂 Also, I’m trying hard to be careful, which is constricting, for a few reasons. I hope this gives you hope.

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There is so much going on these days, Scary stuff, if we look at it closely. It’s easy to automatically expect the worst because we don’t have the ability to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

I spent a lot of time tonight watching news clips from contributors who seem more interested in honest journalism than biased manipulation. It’s good to keep up with what’s going on in the world but there is a downside to it. It’s draining and discouraging.

In response to tonight’s viewing session I’m writing to let out some of the angst and negativity. Maybe it will help me gain a new perspective.

All of my life there have been regularly occurring dire predictions about what was going to happen to the world one day. Time lines were built and we lived in fear, differing degrees of it depending on the whether. Whether or not someone, or something, seemed like more or less of a threat at that particular moment.

It was easy to believe that there would be a moment in time when destruction would take over and we would be forced to live in apocalyptic desolation and torment. I think many of us still live with that dreadful expectation. We believe that one day evil will take over the world and we will be living in slavery and punishment. Life as we know it will be over.

Decades-long thinking have been acting as a foundation to the thought pattern that resulted in my discouragement tonight. Intentionally or not, we are programmed to think the way others decided that we should.

What if we are wrong about the predictions of how things are going to go? What if we have been looking at things from the wrong perspective?

You might call me a little crazy, thinking like this but I know these worries are real. Especially with the newest generation growing into adulthood. Their view of the world is serious and worried. They are regularly being presented with possible catastrophic events and for some of them the future of life looks hopeless. I can relate to what they are feeling. I remember as a middle teen lying in bed worrying about aircraft overhead, wondering if it was a Russian bomber coming to get us. After all, how many times had we been told the Russians are coming to take over the world, be ready.

Ok, we won’t keep going on with that thought pattern but worries are real, in our minds at least.

By the way; the Russians did not come, aggressive threats went away, and after awhile life went on and we forgot we were ever worried. Until now. When things seem to be heating up again.

In the normal scheme of life, never mind what’s gong on right now, we seem to grow the most when we experience hard and difficult places. I’ve heard more than one person say I would never want to go through cancer again but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I’m different because of it.

What if – instead of punishment and destruction coming in our future, it’s something entirely different? What if – the purpose of these earth shaking events is not to defeat us, but to cause us to rise up and grow?

Globally, as a culture we have become weak, lethargic, and apathetic. Most of us have never had the chance or the need to stand up and fight for something.

What if the reason for the hard place we’re currently living in is to cause us to get up out of our soft chairs and become Olympic champions. What if we are being called to rise to a challenge, to become more than we ever thought possible.

Most of us will never be Olympic champions or Navy Seals but what if there is some need close to home that we could become passionate about filling?

I think that’s the secret right there. Passion.

Most of us think … but what could I do?

Paying attention to our surroundings will help us see needs we would normally miss.

So, I got a little off track with that train of thought.

What if – the purpose of these earth shaking events is not inevitable defeat but to strengthen us so that we are useful and evil doesn’t have to win?

I like this view for the future much better than the inevitable one of defeat.

This took much longer than expected, and my brain is fried.

I hope this makes sense to you the way it did in my head.

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I think – We are not meant to be overcome but to be over-comers.

Be encouraged.

This and that September 10, 2021

A little of this and a little of that, again tonight… just because I feel like it.

My daughter asked me to check through family pictures this afternoon, she was in need of photos taken with a particular family member. It needed a big chunk of time to find anything after this many years.

I did find a few that fit her needs. But that’s not all I found. There was one I’ve been thinking of lately that always makes me smile. I think it represents my personality fairly well.

I would never have dreamed of taking such a picture but my son-in-law thought it was a great idea. Since I was oblivious to what he was up too, I couldn’t even change to a more lady-like position.

Fine tuning the stove installation.

I have no idea, anymore, what precisely was going on but whatever it was I was the only one small enough to reach. Now that it’s been awhile, this is one of my favorite pictures. Yup, that’s me, climbing on things.

So, this brings me to another favorite picture and I think it kind of goes with my picture. We are like two peas in a pod when it comes to one or two things. That’s my assessment anyway.

We were looking for evidence of her visit a few months after I moved here to Manitoba, back in 2013. At least I was looking through photos. My daughter is already in British Columbia ready for the memorial service tomorrow and needing memories.

Mabel aka Granny, was amazing. Facebook, Face time, emails, messages, all that good stuff right up until the end. This was 85 years young at the time.

Checking Facebook with her morning cup of tea.
Making memories with three of her many great-grandsons
Trusty stylus in hand, emailing someone in the family.

This is my favorite picture of her. The pose says it all.

My next favorite thing in this picture is the stuffed snowman on the hearth. It’s a wind up music box. It plays “Cold as Ice” while it swings around. Makes me laugh every time. I have no idea why I think it’s so funny but after a dozen years I still think it’s hilarious.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

I love my mother-in-law like a mother/friend. I’ve been separated from her step-son for 17 years and in spite of it all, she understands and the two of us are still close. She has room in her heart for all of us and I appreciate it more than I can tell. Not everyone can love without choosing sides. Actually, the whole family is good at loving this way. I feel truly blessed.

♥♥♥♥♥

Rest in Peace Mabel. You are a special lady and we all love you.

I can be at peace with her passing because I know I will see her again. Sooner than I might wish, the way time flies by.

My last email to her ended with the chorus from an old Rusty Goodman song about heaven.

Look for me, for I will be there too
I realize, when you arrive, there’ll be so much to view
After you’ve been there ten thousand years, a million, maybe two
Look for me, for I will be there too

Short and sweet September 04, 2021

Sorry I missed a few days posting. I had been doing so well, 80 days in a row. We’ll blame the break on covid. I had my second shot on Thursday and Friday was brutal. Slept all day, and staggered to the washroom like a drunken sailor. The walls did a good job of breaking my fall. This morning was much better and I actually ate a piece of toast. My joy at feeling better is long gone, whatever energy I had earlier is all used up. Hence the short post.

I missed my birthday party yesterday, thanks covid shot. I share a birthday, sort of, with my grandson. His was yesterday. Mine is today. I’m sad because the “cake” looked awesome, I missed being with the people too, honest.

Today, I spent the day lounging around, doing what I love. Reading. The best thing about this book – I would give it 5 stars, no question.

Acceptable Risk (Danger Never Sleeps Book #2) 

Sarah Denning is a military journalist with the Army in the Middle East when her convoy is attacked and she’s taken hostage. When former Army Ranger Gavin Black is asked by his old unit commander–Sarah’s imposing father–to plan an extremely risky rescue, he reluctantly agrees and successfully executes it.

Back in the US, Sarah is livid when she’s discharged on a false psychiatric evaluation and vows to return to the Army. Until she learns of her brother’s suicide. Unable to believe her brother would do such a thing, she puts her plans on hold and enlists Gavin to help her discover the truth. What they uncover may be the biggest story of Sarah’s career–if she can survive long enough to write it.

Strap in for another breakneck nail-biter from bestselling romantic suspense author Lynette Eason that will have you up turning pages long into the night.


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Now it’s back to my book, just 20% more and I’m done.

I will do my best to be back tomorrow.

Happy Reading

Things I learned…

Several days ago I shared the helpful video I had the good fortune to run across. It was an interview with Jennifer Kolari and can be found here.

I’m still thinking about some things she shared that impacted me most.

I did take notes but they are in the form of phrases, just enough to remind me of the thoughts I didn’t want to forget. I won’t be able to share the clear or complete explanations contained in the video. I refer you back to the video for that wealth of information. (This is my disclaimer: much hereafter is on me, the author can’t be blamed for any issues or misunderstandings. I do want to give her credit for the good parts though.)

One of the first significant phrases was “your body keeps the score”. There are many reasons why our brains do not retain memories, especially of traumatic events, but our bodies remember everything Jennifer says. I have never thought about it quite like that before (stored in the body rather than in the brain) but I have always been convinced that some part of me does remember all the things I don’t or won’t.

Another point, in regard to the out of proportion reactions we often have to people, situations, comments etc. — we need to find healing before we can learn how to respond rather than react. I totally get this. I’ve been working on it in my life for quite some time and lately have seen positive changes in my thoughts and actions. I appreciate what she is about to say on how to go about doing this.

Jennifer says “to heal it you’ve got to feel it.” I agree, and to do that we have to give ourselves permission to feel our emotions. Most of us have learned to push down and bottle up our feelings. Typically, over time the feelings fester and eventually erupt into something much worse than they were originally.

So here’s the part I’ve not heard expressed quite this way. She says we feel love with our heart and we feel fear with our gut. I guess I haven’t really thought about the heart response because the feelings there would be positive and pleasant. I have definitely noticed negative changes in the gut though. When I’m feeling anxious things definitely do not feel pleasant in my digestive area.

She says one of the reasons for this concept to be plausible is due to neurons.

Apparently both the heart and the gut have neurons, who knew. I did a little internet research and here’s what I found.

According to several sources, including sciencemag.org the gut contains millions of neurons and is directly connected to the brain. The vagus nerve is one of the largest nerves carrying messages back and forth at a dizzying rate. The site linked above is as recent as 2018. If we feel fear or anxiety there will be a reaction in the gut. For some of us it morphs into painful intestinal disorders and other similar diseases.

The heart similarly has a large number of neurons but it also has it’s own nervous system and brain. Sometimes called the little brain according to heartmath.org. In 1991 a scientist made this discovery. The heart and the head brain are also sending a dizzying number of message back and forth.

Wow! I have to say this little bit of exploration done in order to speak intelligently to Jennifer’s comments regarding the gut and the heart, has opened up a whole new world of information. It’s calling out to me, to look into it more and more thoroughly.

Bottom line for the original subject of this post; to be emotionally healthy it helps to understand how the heart and gut are tied to our thoughts and memories. We feel love in our heart, we feel fear in our gut. When we react to people rather than respond, which part of our body is involved? Most often it will be fear, the gut. The next question is what happened to us to cause this reaction? How is it tied to our early life, what traumatized us. A dog? Lost? Abused? What?

Jennifer’s point is that if we can figure out the originating event and allow ourselves to feel the irrational fear it will lose it’s power over us and we can move on. Feel the fear of the dog, the bully, the dark, whatever it is.

Here’s a little teaser about the heart brain.

I’m not sure if I have been able to stay on subject well enough to make sense but I hope so.

I think the main take away is that our emotional well being affects our physical well being. After that, it becomes a vicious cycle. Learning to read the signs and figuring out what to do to alleviate/repair issues and memories, can be life changing.

Check out the interview and the other links to learn more about this fascinating subject.

The Superpower of the Calm Technique

I just watched the most amazing and helpful video podcast I’ve seen in a long time and I just had to share. It’s called The Superpower of the Calm Technique with Jennifer Kolari. I like learning how to do life better and how deal with triggers and reactions. This was so helpful.

She is qualified, wise, and articulate. Such a educational and eyeopening experience listening to/watching what she has to say about learning to respond rather than react. Conflicts in a relationship will loose their steam if we practice her techniques. They’ve done some role plays to demonstrate the way it will work. It was interesting to see how the calming influence changed the dynamics even in a pretend situation. Very cool.

Some of the concepts she presents I`ve kind of heard before but she explains things with new information I’ve not heard and it all makes such good sense.

Carey Nieuwhof introduces it this way – Jennifer Kolari on How to Deal with Irrational People, Customers and Team Members, and the Superpower of the CALM Technique.

Usually Carey`s interviewees have written a book but they didn`t talk about it this time although she has written at least one. In a YouTube search I found she has a lot of content related to parenting although she does a lot of corporate consulting as well.

I’m positive you will find this helpful in life’s situations if you are into good emotional health and productive relationships. Check it out.

This and that August 14, 2021

So, first off this morning, I’m catching up on sites I follow on YouTube. This particular guy is prolific and it’s very easy to fall behind on his channels.

I love the video I’m about to share and I think you will love it too.

The creator of this series is a Hollywood producer, he has worked on shows like Entertainment Tonight and other shows you may recognize. I can’t think of them all at the moment but I can tell you this… he knows how to do a good job.

He is not just a producer, he also a writer working on the script for an outer space type movie that doesn’t yet have a name.

While researching to make sure his script is production ready he formed a connection with an astrophysicist who, it turns out, is excited about his project. They clicked as like-minded people even though they work in vastly different disciplines. Out of this unlikely friendship they’ve created another video project, totally unrelated to the original film idea.

This explanation may be clear as mud but if you watch their first introductory video explaining how they met and what they are trying to do, it will make more sense.

They have many videos in the new series, already edited and ready to go. This lets us know it’s not a bright idea that will fizzle out after a couple of episodes.

These guys are interesting and funny. They have good chemistry and are relaxed with each other, which makes the watching experience enjoyable. The content is excellent and that makes it even better.

I enjoy listening to these guys and I’m very much looking forward to more. They have a new release scheduled for Saturday mornings, 6 am California time.

Check this out. Jeff and Mike

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Mike is currently on a road trip that started just this morning, well technically he left home last night but couldn’t have gone far. The idea of the trip is to share grassroots America with his fellow countrymen as well as the rest of the world. He’s hardly left home and is already posting short clips on some of his other channels.

This guy is a Type A personality with ADD. He has new ideas popping out everywhere… but he produces and he’s interesting to watch.

At least many of us think so.

He has his detractors like most everyone else on line these days. I’ve heard it said of leaders… if everyone loves you – you’re not doing it right. He must be doing something right.

I’m sure I will share more from this guy. He has a bunch of other channels, with different focus and goals in mind. He also has several episodes he does with his mom. She is an interesting lady and has an exceptional story to tell.

But that will be a post for another day.

Oops, I see he just posted another video on this channel about his mom, must go watch it.

There’s a good chance you will see more from me later on.

Happy Watching and Reading

Another this and that August 06, 2021

I think there is something wrong with me. I don’t feel like reading.

Shocking!

I’ve finished the book I was reading and can’t seem to settle on any of the five or six that are next in line. This rarely happens, I must be sick or something.

Maybe it’s or something. My mind has been pulled in a number of different directions today and right now it’s hard to settle down to a quiet occupation like reading.

One of the things I’ve been dwelling on this evening is the subject of the next couple of chapters read in the book called The Power of Writing It Down. The author makes a case for writing as a way to improve our health. Studies have demonstrated a change in moods by writing 20 minutes a day for two weeks, an effect that lasts for an even longer period of time.

The authors name is Allison Fallon. Allison is a writing coach and she has a large team of people working with her. Her book has come out of her personal and corporate experiences and in my mind that gives her credibility. The kind of writing addressed in this book is called expressive writing. Medical researchers have studied brain activity during writing experiences and they found that different parts of the brain would light up during different types of writing. What Allison calls expressive writing comes from the subconscious part of the brain rather than the conscious part where we live most of the time.

Today’s chapters talked about writing when we don’t feel inspired. We have nothing to say and yet if we sit quietly, meditatively, and we gradually set aside the conscious noise about all the things our mind goes to when we are supposed to be working or listening; something changes. Our mind becomes focused on a single thought and as we start to write, a conversation happens.

At the end, we read over what we’ve written, in amazement. Where did that come from? I wasn’t even thinking about any of that when I sat down and yet here it is.

Allison stresses that writing out of the subconscious helps us discover who we really are, not who we have made ourselves out to be to please others. It can be a little scary, thinking about what might come out of our subconscious. Maybe, hopefully, it will be positive more often than we might think.

I’ve experienced a little of this writing what I didn’t expect phenomenon while working on some of these this and that posts. I think they have turned out to be some of the best ones. Reader response seems to bear that out.

In the end. Writing like this was a very emotional experience and I was left with a pleasant aura that stayed with me for hours. It was very positive and I would love to have it happen many more times. Maybe it will as I practice this type of writing more often.

I know you have questions so I’ll say this…

The pleasant aura was kind of like when you read a extra specially good book or watch a movie that leaves you with an awww kind of feeling. Or when you do something that turns out so much better than expected and you can’t help but keep looking at it, thinking about how much you love it. And, at the same time you are thinking I can’t believe I just did that.

This turned out way different, and so much better than I visualized going in to this post. I was wanting to practice expressive writing tonight but I was worried at the same time. I’m feeling a big sigh of relief at the way this all went.

Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com

I think I can settle down now and read a book for awhile.

Happy writing and happy reading.

Check out Allison’s book, maybe it will inspire you and meet a need, all at the same time.

There was one more exciting thought on my mind tonight but I will save it for another post.

Later.