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1. listen to country music
PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers
I have been a different drummer all my life. However, I have found myself much of the time playing Chameleon just to fit in.... it can be so uncomfortable being the "odd one out''
Lately, I have improved upon that. I think that one of the things that is helping is reaching absolute bottom.
I left my husband last November and had to really think outside the box in order to find a place to live and get by financially. His behavior was unacceptable, particularly for my PTSD and I really had to stand my ground and finally love and respect myself to leave that situation. I am more my true self now more than ever and here is a non fiction piece that demonstrates that:
One of my joys is to create interesting things, particularly funky earrings. I have 75 pairs now, rolled two-dollar bills, turkey bones, tootsie rolls, rubber duckies, Sharpie pens, matchbox cars, etc. I wear them every day. I currently work in the dining room of an assisted living place. My earrings are the talk of the dining room. When I am not working a particular area of the room, the residents will wave me over just so they do not miss out on seeing what I am wearing that night.
I have made a friend in one woman who is also interested in bones. She invited me to her apartment to show off her massive collection.
Although most residents love my earrings, there is one woman for whom I have been praying because she seems so miserable. I figure she must be very very unhappy for some reason to take it out on others the way she does. She absolutely bristles when I am showing my earrings to others at her table. Instead of feeling self-consious or second-guessing myself, I have chosen to go with the flow and not allow her reactions to sway me.
In addition to that, the other waitresses seem to harbor a grudge against all the attention I get with my earrings. They have all been there for years, yet no one is paying any kind of interest in them. Sometimes it makes me uncomfortable, but I choose not to let it get to me. Tonight I will be wearing my DoubleMint Gum earrings!
Peace to all,
Humor is REALLY important to me, so I make sure I read the comics every single day. I figure it can't hurt to up the odds that I'll start the day with a laugh. I do think it helps to specifically plan for times that have the potential of being especially stressful though, and that could be when your therapist is on vacation or something like visiting family members. In those situations, I guess I think of tools as falling into three categories: prevention, reinforcement and emergency backup.
Prevention tools are those things that help manage emotional reserves. They may be things that are/could be done on a daily basis anyway, but potentially stressful times mean scheduling them so that my reserves aren't drained by the demands of my inner and outer worlds before I realize that has happened. Walks, spending time with animals, arranging to talk with a friend at specific times (rather than leaving it up to me to take them up on their offer to "call if you need me"), making sure there is at least one person around who has my back, things like that. But it also means limiting the stressors to manageable doses. For example, if it's hard to spend extended time with family, limit it to three hours at a time, then leave or go to a movie. Do an honest assessment of what you can take, how much recovery time you'll need, and schedule accordingly. (And adjust accordingly, being most protective of recovery time.) It's a health issue, just like recovering from pneumonia would be. We can only do so much.
Reinforcement tools are for when/if the balance starts to shift. These might be gentle things like looking at the folder of nice notes people have sent me or calling a friend. Sometimes I use more abrupt things to try to completely shift my mood, like listening to favorite comedians on tape or youtube. Music helps with this too. I know a lot of people have favorite relaxing tunes/sounds they use. I tend to use more energetic pieces that sweep me up and either raise (if I'm getting depressed) or channel (if I'm getting anxious) my energy. Dancing is good, even if I have to sort of force myself at first. (Car-dancing is good, too, even if people stare and laugh at you at stoplights.)
Emergency backup is having a plan in case all of that isn't enough. Just knowing that I have a plan often keeps me from needing to use it. If a therapist is out-of-town, know how to reach the back-up on call person. Since feeling trapped can be a trigger for me, I do what I can to make sure I have enough control in my stressful situations to know I have an out. If these situations involve being in groups of other people, my actions might seem a little quirky, but, you know what? I'm quirky. It's just the way it is. So, I may drive by myself or rent my own car and bring a sleeping bag. I may check to make sure hotel rooms are available.
This is less of an issue now because of my life circumstances but, at one time, seeing family (a stressor even with the best of them) always meant travel. I decided at one point that, if I didn't have the resources to leave or change my venue whenever I wanted, I couldn't afford the trip. Period.
Marla Handy, author, No Comfort Zone
Shredding Dreams and Nightmares
I just took one of those expanding folders to the shredder. Inside were years worth of financial documents. Credit card receipts, bank statements that I had hidden away, papers I had altered to hide evidence of my own money I had earned and spent for things I needed. For several years I was in the predicament of having to support my ex and myself, while I tried to muster the courage to leave completely. These papers were a sad reminder of that time when I had to, typically, hide my true self for fear of repercussions.
As I began to shred I felt that curious sense of sadness that comes from broken dreams. You know what I mean, don't you? The grief, the sense of failure, the self-doubt and self-imposed spiritual condemnation. Along with that I relived the emotions of fear, confusion, terror and visions of angry eyes, a red face, a mouth that spouted arrows that poisoned my soul.
But the longer I shredded I felt my emotions lift and change. I began to feel free. I was glad I was finally getting rid of this evidence of gloom. The sun began to feel brighter and warmer. By the time I was done I found myself thinking..."Look what I've done, look what I accomplished. I did it. I left. I found a new and better life for myself. I did this. I really did this."
Finally, after emptying the shredder three times, I looked down into an empty folder. I know it's wasteful, but, before I tied up the trash bag, I even dropped the empty folder inside. I wanted every last bit of hurt gone, as though it never was.
I felt clean and new and, somehow, lighter.
One of the things I've done which helped facilitate my recovery is to volunteer as part of a pet therapy team with the American Humane Association in Denver. My hairless sphynx cat, Piglet, is a registered therapy animal through the Delta Society, so she and I visit an assisted living home and a school for disabled children once a week. I've found the animal-assisted therapy visits have helped me as much as they've helped our clients, as they help me to get "outside of myself" and connect with others. One program that Piglet and I will be working with starting next month is to visit on a regular basis a home for military veterans who suffer from PTSD and substance abuse. It seems that with Piglet and I doing this program, my recovery will have come full-circle with helping others who suffer from PTSD, too.
When I joined Gift From Within, I found a "special" pen pal right away. After 7 years we are still very close friends, even though we are several states away and have never met. I call her my twin, as it seems we live parallel lives.
In the very beginning we encouraged each other to pick up our hobbies.
For us it was painting. It took us awhile but eventually our paintings were being e-mailed back and forth. I have always looked forward to seeing what she was going to paint next.
There has been many a time I could not / did not want to pick up a brush,
but her nudging me along was always my best medicine. She and I now have works by each other hanging in our homes. The reason I tell you this, the most important thing about healing to me is a friend! (next to a great therapist)!
Friends can come from the most unusual places, in many shapes and sizes.
Remember, one must be a friend to have a friend.
You MUST have someone who believes in you!
You MUST have someone you can relate to/with. An equal.
You MUST have someone you can tell anything too, without judgment!
You MUST get something going that makes you feel peaceful (hobby, classes, pets,)
Hang bird feeders. Go to your Humane Society or pet store, pet the puppies, kittens or the snakes if that's your preference.
For those of us who are taking baby steps right now, go outside, walk a bit, sit on your porch, take a bath, take/make your ME time. Get out of your head and into action!
Lisa, Support Pal.
Enjoys nature, helping others, and being a mom.
Take a time out, listen to my breath enter and leave my body slowly
Playing with my dogs
Meditation the Zen way
Reading inspirational books, articles, poetry
Talking with friends (well, whine to or with friends, call it a whine party)
Gardening (physical activity releases the pent up stress and anxiety)
House cleaning (sorting, clearing the clutter)
Using music for each task, the type of music depends on the activity
Aleah's Healing List:
Walking in the woods/park
Soothing music (Loreena McKennitt, Libana, Patty Griffin, Ron Sexsmith, Emmylou Harris, etc....)
A good, soft blanket
Lavendar linen spray
A phone call to an old friend
Looking at magazines
Cleaning (it is cathartic to do physical work sometimes)
Building a celebration display/healing alter
Going to fall fairs
Petting a cat
Writing (although this can be a trigger, so make your project specific, as not to let you mind travel to sad/fear based thoughts)
Things I do to help heal!
Hug my dog Noel and my two cats Rascal and Smokey!
Hike with my dog.
Go camping and fishing.
Talk to others who understand.....and listen.
Play the guitar or piano.
Woodworking (drawing and wood burning)
Therapy ( I would have never started to heal without this!!!)
Blow bubbles outside with my best friend.
Eat Pizza and wings!
Help and support others through volunteer work.
A poem I feel that has helped me through some of the rough times is this:
When you walk to the edge of all the light you have,
and take a step into the darkness of the unknown,
You must believe that one of two things will happen:
either there will be something solid for you to
you will learn
-Author unknown to me
Another healing factor for me is my faith in God!
A song I teach all my campers is by Michael Card called "That's What Faith Must Be."
The chorus goes like this:
To hear with my heart, to see with my soul, to be guided by a hand that I cannot hold,
to trust in a way that I cannot see. That's what faith must be. My faith in God has helped me to heal and to move on.
For a free bookmark send an SASE to Joyce c/o Gift From Within, 16 Cobb Hill Road, Camden ME 04843.
* If possible we would appreciate a donation.
Healing & Imagination by Carolyn:
One of the ways I have nurtured my imagination is to use children's books on tape to sooth myself to sleep and to create a place in which children either had caring parents or found other caring adults to help and not harm them. I realized even before my healing began that I had been on guard most of my life, looking to make sure that I was not going to be exploited as I had been as a child. My parents did not read to me and so when I started regular visits to my psychologist and a support group, I felt safe enough to take my guard down and begin to nurture my inner child with good children's literature
Stories like Alice in Wonderland, Catherine called Birdy and The Monkey People have given me good role models of interesting children acting in creative and resourceful ways as they confront life's problems, both real and fanciful. I have listened to my favorites two and three times and my inner child often goes to sleep with a smile on her face. I think she helped me write this poem about two years ago:
I Am The Child
I am the child feeling new and carefree
Enough for "peppermint dreams."
I am the child popping my eyes out in wonder
At a story like The Monkey People.
I am the child growing up slowly
Through days of long warm summers
Not of the past that lack power
But in the present where I have choice
To trust, to care for my dormant interests
To develop a passion for MY life.
Cindy Lou's List of Favorite Healing Stuff:
Playing with my children
Talking to friends
SPENDING MONEY! (ha)
Things I would like to try to help in healing...
Work in a center with those who have been sexually assulted or abused.
Traveling all over the world
Writing a book to help other survivors
spending time with close friends
being in nature- walking, sitting, exploring
really good food
2. go shopping for everyone but myself
3. water my plants,and transplant them
4. watch a funny sitcome on tv
5. watch my country videos on GAC
6. take pictures
7. go to pet stores and have fun petting all the animals
8. play with my hamster
9. drive in the country where its quite,and listen to birds
10. talk to my best friend on the phone,and laugh until I cry!
11. go to bed with a soft blanket, and sleep through the night.
sharing letters with my pen pals is comforting
God is always a great inspiration to me
Being by myself to think things out and clear my head
listening to rain and to crickets chirping
One of the good coping strategies my therapist taught me involves using all of your five senses to help you feel calm inside. You begin by shutting your eyes and imagining the most peaceful place you can. I personally use one particular beach I love and feel especially peaceful at.
When you picture this place (whatever or wherever it is), picture all the visual details you can--the sun hitting the breakers, the color of the sand, the way the clouds look, the way the people (if there are any )look, the gulls, etc.
When you have a "perfect" picture of this place in a visual way, gently press your thumb against your arm or leg (like counting on your fingers as a child). Then plug into another sense, such as your sense of hearing.
Keeping your eyes closed, hone in on this place and its sounds--the gentle sound of the breaking waves on the shore, the crash of waves against the rocks, the sounds of the gulls, small children laughing on the beach, etc. until you have captured what for you is the "perfect" picture of this place--in terms of sounds.
Then gently depress your index finger against your arm or leg, kind of checking off in your mind that you have dealt with two senses now, sight and sound.
Then do this same thing with smell, taste, and touch, gently depressing your third finger, ring finger, and finally your pinky finger as you reach the perfect place with its perfect smells, tastes, and physical feelings (examples: the smell of fried clams, clam cakes, suntan lotion, salt air; the taste of a beach picnic with its "sandy" tuna sandwiches, grape Koolaid, etc.; the feeling of the sun on your warm skin, the light breeze on your face, the warm, soft sand under your feet, etc.)
Eventually you will get to the point at which all you have to do to calm down inside is just to gently press your thumb, index finger, third finger, ring finger, and then pinky against your leg.
You don't even have to go through the slow mental process of picturing this favorite place with your favorite sensory images. It is as though your mind, after a lot of practice with this strategy, simply calms down when you touch each digit to your leg. I used to use this when I would start to have flashbacks or get extremely anxious. It helps a lot!
Also, I have been very pleased with using light and sound therapy which I have been able to get with a therapist. This therapy worked very well in helping me to recover very traumatic childhood memories, and also has helped tremendously with anxiety. I purchased a small home model which is very portable and helps a lot with my anxiety.
It has a number of different programs for different uses and cost (if I remember correctly) in the neighborhood of $300. It is not nearly as versatile as the machine my therapist used, but it does what it purports to do.
By the way, this machine is not at all scary to use.
It has strange looking "sunglasses" that you put on for the lights and a very small computer type thing that these glasses plug into.
There are also headphones that plug into this computer thingy. It is all very unintimidating and you can turn the lights and sound down low and keep your eyes closed so the low light doesn't bother them but does
change your brain wave activity. It is all very peaceful, and I have often even fallen asleep using the machine.
Healing Ideas by Jean
My Therapist has recommended drawing to help me become familiar with my different "parts." However, artist I'm not. I heard about "sand tray" work so I brought this up with him. We tried it a few weeks ago. There's a large tub of sand and then lots of small toys. I think of my "committee" as people on a "bus" so I was picking out little figures to represent the parts on the bus. I found it "fun". First I just went through the little toys to see which ones interested me or had some energy for me - incl little animals & trees. Then I took my selection, outlined a bus in the sand and placed everything where it seemed to fit. When I was done I explained a little about each one to my T. There were some I did not know anything about and a few more that I felt were on the bus but I couldn't find them - for those I ended up using coins in the sand - then I realized that I used coins because they had Value!!
We took pictures of the sand tray I had completed and will work more with it as we go. It was fun and took me out of my head because it was so like playing and not as much pressure to "create". Maybe a thrift shop would have miscellaneous little toys or bags of them (I remember little army men my brother used to play with) and I can try this at home.
I am trying another coping tool - I bought a rocking chair and I try to make it a special time of self -soothing when I use it. It helps me remember to be compassionate with myself - a hard one.
Healing Ideas by Jeremy
After my rape, my friend brought me into a a safe and loving
environment where no decisions had to be made -- from eating to
sleeping -- to allow the crying, the screaming -- the healing. It
was horrible with the flashbacks and all but my friend was there and
was a constant support which helped me greatly.
Getting the proper medical treatment and getting tested for AIDS.
Locating a counselor who knows not to look at you like your crazy -
not one where they just want to put you on Prozac and do an interview
in a hallway.
Locating your Gift From Within. To stay with and communicate them
because every one has that knowledge of the pain that we all share.
It's a knowledge that goes deeper than words. It's something that
touches one's very soul to give a special support and understanding
where and when needed.
Doing meditation helped and listening to good meditation music such as "Journey to the Goddess". See "http://www.sacreddream.com".
Listening to Tony Robbins motivatonal and positive thinking tapes
For those who have been drink-spiked, find out what happened. Know
who, what, when and where. Do not stop looking until answers are
found. The SOACOR Foundation The Silent Ones Against Crimes of Roofies is there to aid with resources. We hope one day be able to support an Innocent with more investigative services and legislation changes.
The following helps me to unwind and get centered.
I usually light candles and put them around my bathroom. Then I fill my Jacuzzi with scented salts. I put my walkman on with a tape of nature sounds, or the ocean, or (my favorite) hymns by the sea and float away. I force my mind to stay focused on the sounds and not on any thoughts.
I also take a yoga class and try to find 15 minutes to practice in the morning before my day starts.
These form of meditations helps to keep me refreshed, grounded and in touch with God.
creating a special place on my table to draw and doodle with crayons & paints
warm bubble baths
good sushi with lots of wasabi
having a couple of good friends to call when I'm sad
reading biographies, philosophy, science, self help
listening to jazz and country
walking in the woods
watching hawks in the sky
watching the stars on my back porch
Nature is a very big part of my healing.
( I know that some of you will not understand the plants and stuff I am typing about as I live in Australia but we still share the same problems)
I like to go in the forest, as much as I am able.
The forest that I go into is a eucalyptus forest, we call them gum trees.
I have lived opposite this forest for most of my life. I have seen this forest come back after very bad bush fires, and wind storm, drought, and flooding.
I would like to get the strength of some of these grand old trees, ok they may show a scar on their bark, but the Aussie bush just fights back at what every comes its way.
So I feel strong and more in touch with the inner me, when I am deep in the forest, and the air is full of the scent of eucalyptus from the sun hitting the leaves, and the kookaburras sings their song, sometime there may be a Wallaby( this is like a kangaroo, just smaller) eating some grass, then it will jump off in the scrub.
This makes me feel alive.
Fighting Depression with Visualization by Judy
Fighting depression for me was difficult. I have learned though that
everyone has to fight depression on their own ground. I talked with many
people before I was able to formulate a plan for actually attacking the
problem. Even as I was working through this problem, I found that if I
thought about it too much, it sent me backwards. This is what worked for me
and is still working.
My first step was recognizing that I was depressed. Sometimes it took me
several days just to realize that I was depressed. I used visualization to
help myself. I needed to see a picture and identify a problem before I could
move on. I called this visualizing the black hole. I had to actually
visualize this before I could move forward. What I saw was me on a path or
street, walking along, minding my own business (which at this point is very
easy for me to do). I see in the path a medium sized black hole, that looks
bottomless (big enough for me to fall in). At first, when I realize that I
am depressed, I just find myself at the bottom of this black hole. I have no
idea how I got in, but there I was. The only way out is a ladder. This
ladder is always there, but it can be difficult to climb. Sometimes it took
me days to climb it (slippery sucker). I just kept visualizing myself a few
rungs higher until I could peek out into the daylight. Sometimes, I just
peeked out and got right back in. But, eventually I did climb all the way
out. Ok, that is depression to me, the bottom of a black hole.
Now, my first job is to notice that I am walking into the black hole and fall
ing to the bottom. That is all I need to do. Just say to myself, oops, into
the black hole again. Climb back out and try to see the black hole coming
next time. I eventually could see the black hole coming and actually step
around it. That took awhile for me to accomplish. I hope this is helpful to
others out there who are depressed. It has been a good tool for me.
1) Learn a martial art (including Tai Chi). I have a collection of black belts in various styles if anyone has questions about any martial art styles.
2) Hot baths with bubbles or scented oils.
3) Taking "time outs" when I start getting overwhelmed or too anxious...not always easy, but it can be done.
4) Allowing myself the occassional mental heath day where I hide under the covers and read books by flashlight like when I was a kid. (Don't forget the Oreos!)
5) Swim till the anxiety or whatever "dissolves" physically and mentally. It is hard to be anxious when your muscles turn to jello.
6)Hangout with little kids...it is difficult (for me anyway) to maintain a depressed view on life when my 2 1/2 year old nephew has just discovered tadpoles!
I've been a long time with PTSD and all it's various stages. At one point I never thought I would be saying this: but there are many blessings, joys and rewards that come out of PTSD even though it is mixed in and at times lost with pain, struggling for balance, and suffering. There are many things that helped me get to this point of being able to experience joy, love, friends once again, but for now there is just one I'll share with you:
For ones whose PTSD is related to childhood, this was very helpful for me: Either join a book club and begin ordering children's story books or go to your local library and check out several children's books. Children's books tend to always have a positive theme. They are funny. They can prick your curiosity. They are easy to read, lots of pictures distract negative thoughts.
When my PTSD was real bad, periods of depression prevented me from reading, concentrating, loss of desire to do things, Yet I was able to respond to flipping through a child's book..... Go figure? I can't explain why it helps, but I know it did help. Especially at night when disquieting thoughts can intrude, there just was no comparison to reading about Miss Piggy visits the City, or a Giggle, Giggle, Quack, Quack story to knock out the negative thoughts. When concentrating is difficult, a child's book was a realistic choice. Now, I simply find that the best down to earth, healthy, simple humor is found in children's books = no matter what your age is.
I like going to conferences to learn more about my disorder. It helps me to advocate for myself as well as learn how to advocate for others
I like to listen to all types of educational tapes such as learning about better nutrition, learning about the newest medications that are coming out, how to deal better with anger, etc.
I use massage as a regular part of taking care of myself. It is a special gitft I gift to myself on a regular basis. It is fun to work with aeromatherapy and oils which can reallly affect my mood for the better.
I enjoy humourous movies like the Bandit
Listening to uplifting christian music
Writing pen pals and giving them encouragement.
I practice yoga and I find it a great stress reducer
Spending quality time with my best friend; that is my Dog Casey
A comfort tool I like is my favorite Lullaby music that I picked out for my son when he was born (23 years ago). I found it online at http://www.lullabysongs.net/ It is the prettiest lullaby music I ever heard. I play it for myself to comfort myself just like I comforted my little baby. It has magical lyrics. I had ptsd when he was born until now. I used to put him to sleep with it, then take the tape into my room and play it for myself. It still works, of course, now it's a cd! They have samples of the music on that site. I prefer the one called "Songs from Dreamland."
Another tool I am using right now sounds corney, but it is helping. I found a set of old Tony Robbins Personal Power course at the thrift store and started listening to the cd's and doing the assignments. It's like having a personal coach. It's a 30 day program of personal empowerment. It came out so long ago that it can be found inexpensively. I paid 2.00 for the set.
I also found a nice tool is to play with photos on the computer and make dvd's or books on snapfish.com. For snapfish, you upload favorite photos and they make a nice book out of them and send it to you in the mail. It's not expensive. If you don't like to leave the house, like me, it's fun because you never have to go anywhere. For dvd's, I used iphoto and idvd on my mac. I did have to leave to buy dvd's. By the time I finished it on the computer, I was happy to go to the store because I couldn't wait to see it on dvd so I could play it on the dvd player on the tv. Someone without a mac could do it on snapfish and get a book for under 20.00 I think. On the mac, you can add your own music and it comes out professional looking.
My most helpful tool to find someone to do something for or give something to without them knowing who did it. It is a great mood booster and good karma and increases my self esteem right away. I don't usually do things for others, it's easier for me to send something to someone online because I don't like to leave, but even taking something to the thrift store and donating is good. It should be something decent though.
Also, if someone is nice to me on the phone, I get their supervisor's name and call them or email them with a compliment. It makes me feel good for about a minute, which is more than I get to feel good most days!
Healing things for me:
bubble baths with a good book or magazine
talking to my best friends
talking to my therapist
taking walks on my Dad's farm with my little Boston Terrier, Sniglet
Playing with kittens
walking in the rain barefoot and splashing in the puddles with my dog
sit outside my apartment and watch the sun go down over the tops of the mountains
lay in a silent apartment and listen to a thunder storm
Music--love music!!!---put on my cordless headphones and turn it up loud to block out the world
cook a friend a good meal
movies---lots of movies. Anything but gory ones!
writing letters to my penpals and my friends and my aunt
writing "you hurt me letters" but NOT sending them...I give them to my therapist
surfing the web
writing unexpected thank you letters to people that made me feel good...including my busy nice family MD and his staff
listening to learning tapes on biology or spiritual topics
Make someone a birthday cake instead of buying one
Do for other less fortunate people and NOT expecting anything in return
stretching out flat on the floor and stretch and think about how gravity affects our bodies and how good it feels to not be on my feet
looking up at the moon and stars when I take my dog out for her nightly duties
walking in a new snow at 3:00 A.M. before the world has a chance to turn it into dirty slush
Knowing that Joyce and Gift From Within is there for me (hi Joyce! :) )
Below are listed my top ten ways I use to promote inner healing:
10. Take a nap
9. Listen to uplifting selections from a Yanni album
8. Watch the Jerry Springer Show - watching that reminds me that I'm
not totally out of it!
7. Call a friend
6. Visit a friend
5. Pray to St Jude, the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes
4. Read a good, uplifting book - "The Secret Garden" is one of my
3. Pray to God and Jesus for the strength to carry on
2. Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet
And my 1. way to promote inner healing is.........................
Pray the rosary - IT REALLY WORKS!!
Things I do:
Spend time with my puppy, who is so alive and full of joy and loves me unconditionally
Read, and read and read
Journal and write lots of poetry
Pamper me (when I have time)...hot bubble baths with candles
Religious music or just feel good music
Cook and invent new recipes
Walk and enjoy nature...nature is so very healing
Sleep in and get rest when I can
Making a special gift for someone and watching their eyes light up
Eating my favorite thing
Taking a day off and doing what I want to do
Things I'd like to try:
Starting my own business (I dream of working at home)
Volunteering with children in some capacity (I always wanted to have children but never did)
Learn to roller blade
Spring 2010 seems to be coming slowly to central Florida, as is true for most of our country. I welcome the warmth that we get around mid-day, enjoy watching the birds celebrating and watching people working in their gardens.
Spring has always seemed somewhat magical to me, even as a child. It amazes me to see seeming dead shrubs turn green again, barren ground one day having green sprouts the next. Spring seems miraculous and indicative of a benevolent creator bestowing blessings on a weary, sad world.
Today I am following the techniques found in "Black Swan" by Susan Anderson for bringing myself into the present. (If you have not read the book, I highly recommend it. You can find a review of it in the Gift From Within review page at http://www.giftfromwithin.org/html/bookrev.html . The techniques can be used any time you feel yourself slipping into the past or worrying about the future. All it entails is focusing on your senses. You sit still and just notice what your senses reveal. What do you hear, what do you see, feel, smell? Right now I feel my desk chair under me. As I pause I feel my fingers against my keyboard keys, my dad's sweater against my skin. I hear my computer humming, my dog softly breathing asleep in his bed next to me. I hear the birds chirping as they happily visit my bird feeder. Once in awhile I hear the tinkle of my wind chimes on the porch outside my window. I see a blue sky above tall pine trees, a squirrel eating bird seed that has fallen from the feeder, a moth flittering on the porch. I cannot smell anything right now in particular, or perhaps the faint residue of my morning coffee that I brewed an hour ago. I'm closing my eyes. I hear the house creaking as it warms up, a sound I didn't even notice before I concentrated on what my senses were telling me. Now I hear the distant train horn. I open my eyes and feel strangely refreshed.
I highly advocate trying this technique for renewing yourself whenever you feel weary and your mind is raw from fighting off the residue of a difficult life.
I've discovered Sound Therapy. They have found that certain sounds promote healing. It is a recognized therapy and it is highly recommended for people who have been traumatized or who do stressful jobs such as caregivers, and for people who work in negative environments. Sound Therapy works very well for me. I've discovered that certain sounds like the ocean, native American music, crystal bowls, piano music can help sooth my PTSD symptoms. PTSD symptoms interfere with my daily activities and also my writing.
I am still playing around to see what sounds help and this is fun. Finding this healing tool has been wonderful. Sounds can sooth my negative feelings, and allow them to pass in a gentle way. So far Native American music has been the most effective. This has helped my writer's block. Here are some websites that you may find helpful.
Useful websites have been:
Some of the things I like to do that help me is writing in my journal.
Going for a quiet walk or listening to the crickets at night when it is calm.
I like to play with my cat she keeps my spirits up sometimes. She is very perceptive and knows when I feel low and she will not leave my side.
The other thing I like to do is to watch planes,trains and automobiles that makes me laugh when I need to.
I do a puzzle or I work on woodworking things that allows me to keep focused when I need to.
I like to just listen to Enya, and Yanni. I have a tape that my one therapist made that I listen to. It is filled with songs that are soothing.
A nice bubble bath with lavendar often can boost my moods.
Sometimes I like to sketch in my sketchbook when sitting under a tree where there is not a lot of noise.
These are some of my favorite things I have read and listen to on my healing
I have an exercise called "Safe." And Safe means being prepared when the difficult and scary emotions surface like for example, a flashback.
I create a "safe" place in my head - where I can go. An image of being someplace nurturing, comforting, like a desert island, on the beach, seeing puffy white clouds; and I add smells of everything like the ocean, the songs and sounds of birds, the wind in the trees, etc.
One can also type these images up and save them in a "safe" place. Then it's all ready when you want to go there and use it when you need to get away emotionally/mentally from the situation.
When I have had a rape flashback, I tried to think of a "safe" person's face instead of the perp's. It helped. The thought of my "safe" person hugging me when the flashback occurred helped the rape images fade away.
Someone told me about making a "safe" wooden box. You can put things from friends, people who care - like a little seashell, a rosary, a card - anything to remind you of the good people in your life. Take out the box when you are feeling lonely, scared - to remember there are people who care - who would want to be with you, hold you, help you feel better. Imagine they are doing that when you need it.
Healing & Imagination by Tammy
There is a secret place that I created in my mind as a little girl, that I would 'escape' to while I was being abused. Dissociation became my greatest blessing, when I would arrive at this safe haven I created in my mind. My place was deep in the woods, a fairytale type place. A very large, strong tree was in the center, perfect for climbing and hiding in. It was surround by every shade of green foliage imaginable. It was like a leprechaun land. A small creek ran by it, making a constant and reassuring gurgling sound, and gave the sense of unfolding. I would retreat to this place until the torture was over and I could come back to my self again.
The most amazing thing about this place/space my imagination created, is that when I went on a retreat to Ireland three years ago, I visited this 'place'. The last day of our trip we went to a place called Coleman's Well. John O'Donohue was leading us across the burren, and my steps became heavier and heavier. I had no explanation as to why, and then we entered a lush thicket of green, which after a short distance opened up into my place. I almost fainted. It was real. . . not just similar, but the actual place I had created in my mind.
So from the time I was a child, until today, imagination has helped me to heal, step by step.
-Deep breathing, that is I focus on my breathing when I am agitated. In
through my mouth, and out through my nose. A count of 25 that I concentrate
on, and it leaves me relaxed, or it knocks me out so I fall asleep much
-Bubble baths with lighted, scented candles. When I feel triggered, I get
cold all over. In order to feel safe, I fill a tub and submerge with some
classical music playing in the background. I find that my mind will
drift--it is a form of meditation for me. I visualize the negative energies
leaving my body once I am in the water.
Once I release the plug of the tub, all the anxiety is washed down the drain
with the bath water.
-Silence. There is healing in the quiet. I will gaze out the window at the
birds in my feeder, write in my journal. Sometimes, I am just still. I
listen to the sounds all around me, and let my panicked self talk subside.
I remind myself during these times with a small mantra: I am wealth, I am
abundance, I am joy, I am peace, I am safe, I AM.
-Let go of fear. I fear nothing, no one. I trust that everything is as
it's meant to be, and I acknowledge the power of thought. If you think it,
you can attract it to yourself, so I monitor any negative thinking and self
talk and replace it with positive or at least realistic, factual
-Snuggles with my dogs. Studies show that the power of hugging your pet can
decrease your levels of stress. I have three dogs, so if there is stress in
my day--it is related more to the essence of time, versus the actions of
-Massage therapy. I recommend this for releasing some of the cellular
memory stored up in our bodies over time. It is also helpful to relieve
some of the daily stressors we tend to internalize, and because I believe in
the connection between our emotion-selves and our physical-selves, I have
found regular massages to be an excellent part of my extreme self care
-Reading. I am an avid reader. I like to escape to new places, identify
and learn from the novel characters--practice empathy while being absorbed
in the stories themselves. I view some books like conversations with old
friends. Wisdom is everywhere so long as I choose to see it.
Helpful in my journey to healing were books. They help me understand why
people do what they do. It helps me clarify what my response will be. Then
I facilitate my own healing process by knowing who I am, and where am I
standing, and what's next for me.
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Last updated by
on 21 February 2019
1. listen to country music