PTSD – The Trauma Tree

I thought this was an excellent infographic explaining all forms of PTSD and displaying the horrific impact it has on a person in the future. 

Trauma Tree - this is a good graphic of how symptoms can grow from trauma and ignoring the issues. With good therapy, coping skills and support these symptoms can be more controllable:

Source: http://eyemovementdesensitizationandreprocessing.com/emdr-side-effects/

Trauma Therapy ~ 4 Important Things to Look For

To heal from trauma means finally dealing with the source of the trauma, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect, combat experiences, or a natural disaster or a violent assault. How can this be done, however, when trauma provokes such negative and overwhelming feelings – feelings that most try hard to keep safely buried?

Therapy can be a vital step, helping the person feel safe enough to revisit their trauma without being retraumatized in the process. Getting the right support is key, however. Not only is it important to connect with a therapist well-versed in effective therapeutic approaches, it’s also vital to seek out a person with whom you feel a personal connection.

Multiple studies confirm that a person who feels good about their relationship with their therapist is more likely to have a positive outcome. A recent study from Bowling Green State University researchers takes the concept a step further, noting that a deep connection between a therapist and patient can lead to “sacred moments” that increase well-being on both sides.

With that in mind, here are four things to look for to make your therapeutic experience most effective:

Knowledge. Your therapist should, of course, be up to date on treatment options – techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches new ways of thinking of old experiences; neurofeedback, which can help rewire the brain to overcome trauma-induced changes; equine therapy, which can be a helpful supplement for those who find it hard to trust human connections; and EMDR, which can help with the process of moving beyond the past.

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Little Girl

LITTLE GIRL

Hey, little girl, I saw you with that man

what were you doing, letting him have his way

didn’t you know it was wrong, why didn’t you stop it?

you could have said no, but you still let it happen

what’s wrong with you? how could you not know?

~~~~

I tried to say no, he was bigger than me

yet he made me feel wanted and special for once

I was his “princess” and he said I “danced like an angel”

and I was invisible to everyone else

even though it hurt, it was worth the warm feelings

that I craved so much, and he granted me so lovingly

but then came anguish and pain

~~~~

Finally, I did try to tell, but no one would listen

the words came out, yet no words were heard

no one will really know

that my mind and my heart

died back then

I was little and

I didn’t know how to say no

_______________________________________________________

Written & copyright Deb McCarthy/2017

*I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it feels so much better to be able to say ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ now.

PTSD ~ Are you the Black Sheep of your family? I know I sure am

QPTSDSHEEP5-18

That was me, the black sheep in our family of four. There was only me and my brother, he was treated like gold, the golden child, while I….you get the picture.  My brother and I were having lunch one day and these words stung “I don’t know why you have problems with Mom, we must have lived in different houses because I never saw any of this”.

On their PsychCentral.com blog, this article, written by: Jonice Webb, Ph.D, explains:

I’ve met many Black Sheep. It’s my job.

In a recent post called Black Sheep, I talked about some common myths, and how Black Sheep are not what they appear to be. Surprisingly, they are simply a product of family dynamics.

But today, Black Sheep, I have three messages just for you:

1. Research Supports You Continue reading

Mother, Do you deserve a Card? PTSD – Survivors of Abuse

As an unloved daughter of a narcissistic mother, the cards or flowers I handed to her with ‘love’ throughout the years were given with the expectations and desires that one day she would hug me with love.  Giving her a card each year was presented or mailed with a fake smile or strained “Love you always mom.”

She by no means ever deserved a card, lunch or dinner out, and especially a visit when I was an adult.  When I moved across the country, there was one year I ‘neglected’ to send a card or call.  This resulted in a ‘hissyfit,’ possibly threw one of her notorious tantrums including tears, resulting with my father phoning me, blasting “how could you treat your mother like this?”  I can’t recall my reply, but more than likely, I said I was sorry.

A few days passed, and what do I receive in the mail, a multi-page letter from my mother ranting how self-centred I am, this is the way I treat her after everything she’s done for me throughout my life, took care of me, and will sever our relationship now.  This was due to not sending a card?

To be honest, I feel jealous of others who have/had a wonderful mother.

So to all of those who are survivors of narcissistic emotional abuse, or never received the kind of motherly care, empathy, encouragement, and love; this post is dedicated to you. You are all Warriors!

Hugs,
Deb

Why is it so difficult to accept Compliments?

Make Someones Day!! PLEASE TAKE A COMPLIMENT Cos you or whoever you are giving to, deserves to be HAPPY! :D | By Lollybug Studio:

I’m notorious for that, receiving a compliment yet responding with something negative because I feel embarrassed receiving the compliment.

Example: I seldom run into any of my co-workers since I went on disability four years ago, and weight loss is noticeable. Several that I have chatted with have complimented me for losing weight and looking terrific, yet my response is “yes, but I have to lose so much more”. Everyone reacts with “Why?”.  Then I panic!

This article was in psychologytoday.com:

Most people like hearing praise but some people bristle when they hear compliments and others downright hate them. What is it that determines whether someone enjoys receiving compliments or whether they turn sour at the first hint of positive feedback?

Compliments and Self-Esteem

More often than not, how receptive we are to compliments is a reflection of our self-esteem and deep feelings of self-worth. Specifically, compliments can make people with low self-esteem feel uncomfortable because they contradict their own self-views.

People actively seek to verify their own perceptions of themselves, whether those are positive or negative. For example, in one study, college students with low self-esteem showed a stronger preference for keeping their current roommate if that roommate viewed them negatively than if their roommate saw them more positively.

In other words, receiving praise from others when we feel negative about ourselves elicits discomfort because it conflicts with our existing belief system. If we believe we’re truly undesirable, hearing compliments about how attractive we are will feel jarring and inauthentic.

If we believe we’re unintelligent, someone lavishing us with praise about how smart we are will feel more like a taunt than a compliment. And if we’re convinced we’re incapable of success, receiving praise about our how capable we are can feel like a set-up for future heartbreak and disappointment.

The Challenge of Complimenting Relationship Partners with Low Self-Esteem

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Could I have an Eating Disorder? Women Over 50

I originally posted this on my Niume.com blog (now edited) and received the most readers of any of my posts (4.4K).  Eating disorders may occur at any age, and it’s awfully difficult to accept when you are middle-aged and over 50+.

Two years ago, I was 58 years old and struggled with an eating disorder called anorexia.  That was extremely outrageous to me recalling a time when I had ballooned to a whopping 285 lbs.

During the late 1990’s I had been hospitalized too many times for major depression and on a cocktail of too many medications.  Countless meds with their side effects increased my weight, and the heaviness remained that way for many years.  But, before the gallbladder illness in November 2012, I had slimmed down to 185 lbs.

Yes, the gallbladder fiasco. Long story short, surgeons operated twice to finally remove this painfully unusable organ, and throughout this time,  my diet was:  “No fried food and no rich desserts or you will irritate your gallbladder.”

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Dark Clouds and Shattered Sanity

Dark clouds, isolated

Lack of faith

Laughter faded, only tears

~~~

I hate my mind, I hate my brain

I hate my heart for it breaks every day

~~~

I will perish this way I know

I’ve run away from life

I don’t fit outside

I don’t fit inside

I drown in my disgrace

~~~

Black circles beneath my eyes

Hands grip my head

I’m all alone

My life isn’t cherished

Why should I pretend it to be?

I’m not living for me

I’m living for you

~~~

Shattered sanity

Worthless, pointless, hopeless

Tears flow from my eyes

Depression has taken over

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Originally posted on Niume.com

What’s the difference between Sadness and Depression?

 

The difference between sadness and depression?  and why so many people get it wrong….. This article below appeared in www.psychologytoday.com written by Guy Winch Ph. D

Sadness is a normal human emotion. We’ve all experienced it and we all will again. Sadness is usually triggered by a difficult, hurtful, challenging, or disappointing event, experience, or situation. In other words, we tend to feel sad about something. This also means that when that something changes when our emotional hurt fades when we’ve adjusted or gotten over the loss or disappointment, our sadness remits.

Depression is an abnormal emotional state, a mental illness that affects our thinking, emotions, perceptions, and behaviors in pervasive and chronic ways. When we’re depressed we feel sad about everything. Depression does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation, a loss, or a change of circumstance as a trigger. In fact, it often occurs in the absence of any such triggers. People’s lives on paper might be totally fine—they would even admit this is true—and yet they still feel horrible.

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Do I want Group Therapy? Yikes!

funny

Most of my therapy has been individual, and I shied away from group therapy due to the fact that I was uncomfortable sharing my problems relating to depression and sexual abuse with a bunch of strangers.  To be honest, my biggest fear was losing it and looking like an idiot if I started bawling my eyes out!   However, I had no choice at the eating disorder program, it was 90% group and about 10% individual therapy.

I loathed it initially, others speaking out about themselves, revealing deep dark secrets that they had been holding onto, and slowly I became to trust them and I opened up.  In short, it was very helpful in my recovery, yet I have to say honestly, I still prefer one-on-one.  Give it a try though, it may suit you.

This article appeared in PsychCentral.com

Individual psychotherapy will always be the staple. It establishes the bond. It explores the ups and downs of that bond and probes the depths of the psychodynamic patterns of that bond and other bonds. It is the primary mode of understanding. It exists of and for itself and is not dependent on anything else. Group therapy is an adjunct to individual therapy.

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What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.

OR

Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.

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Maternal Narcissism ~ Mom, only wishing you could have said these words to me…

They burned the bridge, then ask why I don't visit. | unluckymonster made this with Spoken.ly:

Recalling my childhood, my mother seldom had any positive or encouraging words for me, mainly heartless or cruel remarks, only criticizing me for one thing or another spewed from her mouth. She was continually displeased, and only now recognizing that it would be impossible to accomplish ever pleasing this woman.

I was thinking the other day, what words would myself and perhaps others wish their narcissistic moms compassionately said to them.

Mom, if only you could have said:

~I know you don’t lie, of course, I believe you

~Always come to me when you’re upset or angry, I love you

~I’ll always believe in you, whatever your dreams are

~Let’s just have a girl’s day out once in a while, your choice, whatever you want

~You look so cute in those clothes

~Don’t focus on body image, it’s what’s inside

~You’re more important to me than anything

~I’m so damn proud of you.

~I love reading your stories/artwork/playing games

~You smell so nice and clean

~Don’t always spend time in your bedroom, we should spend more time together

~Your feelings matter you have a right to your opinion, I’m not always right and remember, we all make mistakes

~You look like something is bothering you, want to talk about it?

~Let me take care of you when you’re so sick, how about hot tea? Or I’ll sit beside you or we’ll lay in bed together

~Sure, have your friends over anytime, they are always welcome

~You’re so precious to me, having a daughter is a blessing

~Anything you want to ask me, go right ahead

~I love the way you laugh

~I’m sorry, it’s my fault, not yours/my mistake sorry I made you feel bad

~You are worthy, don’t let anyone make you feel that you are not

~Someone is going to be a lucky man to have you as his wife

~I want to just hug you, and keep hugging you

~I’ve got the best daughter a mother could have

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017

Lady Gaga Writes a Powerful Letter about living with PTSD

This is a Must Read!

The complete letter: I have wrestled for some time about when, how and if I should reveal my diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). After five years of searching for the answers to my chronic pain and the change I have felt in my brain, I am finally well enough to tell you. There […]

via Lady Gaga Writes a Letter About Her Experience With PTSD — Music In the Dark

Depression and Changes in Appetite ~ How does it Affect People?

For me: As far as those dark depressive years go, it was all weight gain.  The cocktail of medications I was prescribed (including a few antipsychotics), produced side effects causing a huge weight gain. Isolation, boredom, lack of exercise and eating all of the wrong foods (you know the ones that taste better), just contributed to me gaining over 60+ lbs.  It’s so easy to gain weight, but hell taking it off.


This article was found on HealthyPlace.com (Coping & Depression blog) by Erin Schulthies 

One of the most common symptoms of depression is a change in appetite. People who have depression either lose their appetite and eat less than they did before or else their appetite increases and they eat more than they did before their depression started. For me, my appetite has lessened but it’s affected me a lot more than a simple reduction of hunger pangs. Depression and lack of hunger can be distressing.

How Depression and Lack of Appetite Affects Me

Depression affects my eating habits mostly by making me apathetic about food. Flavors feel dulled so I never really enjoy anything that I eat. I opt for really sour candy, ice cream or whatever seems tastiest. I fill up on junk food and then don’t care about fruits and vegetables.

A Depressed Brain is Still Part of Your Body

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The “Everything Happens for a Reason” statement is Crap

Opinion

I think about this statement often, and when someone utters these words, it pisses me to no end. 

What precisely does it mean, and why do people say it? Are they so narrow-minded, wrapped up in religion, or in another world?

Does it mean when there is a world disaster, a plane crash due to a mechanical issue, a school shooting, childhood sexual abuse, people diagnosed with an illness, serial murderers and rapists, riots, war veterans killed or any other horrible occurrence, it happened for a reason? Please explain.

For me, it goes way back to my very ill years struggling with major depression and my mother once commenting the ever so “everything happens for a reason” words. Really, mom? You mean the sexual abuse, which led to therapy, which led to depression, which led to hospitals, a myriad of meds, which led to suicide attempts, countless ECTs, which led to losing my career, almost foreclosure on my house, hubby losing his job, losing friends etc. What exactly do you mean?

I don’t believe people recognize how much these words can sting, it’s almost a “whatever”. IMO, just support that person, show comfort and most of all keep your trap shut.

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy 2017

The 3 Most Devastating Kinds of Loss ~ but how do I recover?

“The human heart has a way of making itself large again even after it’s been broken into a million pieces”. ~~ Robert James

Understanding what kind of loss you’re experiencing can sometimes help you find your best self in the situation, say the authors of “You Can Heal Your Heart”.  Especially if you use these specific affirmations. (By Louise Hay and David Kessler)

1. Complicated Loss

To put it simply, a complicated loss is any loss that is complicated by other factors. Most of us know that we will experience loss when a relationship naturally ends. When two people mutually agree on separation and divorce, that is an uncomplicated loss.

When the death of an elderly relative happens in an expected way, after a good, long life, that is also an uncomplicated loss. How many of these are there? How often does everyone agree on endings, and how often do things end well?

Everyone’s lives are complicated, and so are their losses, of course. Losses become complicated when you don’t expect them to happen. In other words, the loss was a surprise. While you may name it, and it may well be a complicated loss, no matter how complex, the possibility for healing is always there. Let’s look at some examples of how we can change our thinking.

In a relationship, when one person wants a separation and the other doesn’t, you may want to add this to your thinking: “While I don’t understand this separation now, I will accept it as a reality so the healing can begin.”

This same thinking can be used with divorce: “I don’t believe we need to divorce, but my husband wants to (or, my wife has filed the papers). While I don’t agree with it, I do believe that we choose our own destiny, and my partner has chosen his (or hers). Everyone has a right to choose to be in a marriage or not.”

Remember that while the loss may be complicated, the healing doesn’t have to be. Continue reading

Now the police are at my door….

Dialing the Distress Center Hotline, speaking what seemed like forever with a counselor about my obsessive suicidal feelings and depression, then abruptly hanging up was a terrible idea. Thoughts danced in my head for days, dreaming and planning for ways to kill myself, yet I still reached out for help. The counselor’s voice was grating on my nerves, we weren’t making progress, so didn’t want to talk to this chick anymore.

Then a loud rap at my door, “Police”.  I cautiously open my door to discover a male and female officer standing on my front veranda, asking if I’m ok and can they talk to me.  Me? Why? Police?

They clarified the Distress Center’s “phone hang-up” policy, so they had no alternative but to call the police. I was ‘distressed’ to say the least, and the cops weren’t buying my story that I will be ‘ok’ now.

Neighbours, who as a rule don’t walk their dogs, now saunter by the police car peering in, along with other neighbours peeking through window blinds and curtains. The back seat of this cruiser is larger than I expected, however, I am seated with my mind in a muddle, confused, uncertain of the future yet despising the present. Continue reading

Finally, a clearer understanding of Narcissism & how it relates to CPTSD

If you are a survivor of PTSD, CPTSD or raised by a Narcissist this video is a must.  Don’t worry about emotions, I was tearful throughout the entire video. This gentleman showed empathy and shared his experiences.

TRIGGER WARNING!!!!  This may be upsetting for some people.

He has a series of excellent and informative videos on YouTube explaining various Narcissism and Complex PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) traits. Source: (https://youtu.be/L6l59nEn2ZY)