My trauma happened in childhood and completely severed me from any healthy sense of self. Later, one of my biggest problems in recovery from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was this: I felt completely disconnected from who I had been before my trauma and who I had never had the chance to be because of my trauma. I grieved that lost girl and the woman she might have become. In fact, the grief I experienced was so vivid it felt like a jab in my soul. I resented that trauma had taken from me so many opportunities at the same time that it turned me into someone I neither liked nor completely understood. Keep reading »

There’s no doubt about it: When you’re trying to achieve any task it’s much easier to do when you have the support of family and friends. Watch any sport and you can see how true this is – the fans in a stadium cheering on a team or player, the crowds that line the route of a marathon shouting encouragement, or even the caddy who walks with a golfer softly speaking words of belief in a successful outcome for the upcoming hole. Humans are social beings and, as such, we seek and even crave the connection of others when we attempt a difficult and meaningful task.

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Healing is all about being able to shift out out of survival mode, complete the trauma response, consolidate memories and move into a life focused on things other than threat and danger, safety and control. If you’re in a situation in which trauma maintains a high level of threat, either ongoing or sporadically, it’s going to be very tough to heal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In that case, it can be beneficial to switch to a different strategy: Bulking up your trauma coping skills. Keep reading »

After trauma, there’s a need for life to feel safe and in control. Sometimes, we put in place really good and healthy habits that help the transition from trauma to life afterward. Other times, it’s easy to slip into habits, cycles and patterns that are very destructive. For example, co-dependence. When you put this type of behavior together with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you can increase the time it takes to heal tenfold.

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Psychologist Helen Block Lewis said, “Guilt is about doing. Shame is about being.” In fact, shame is an emotion that is tied not to a specific behavior but instead to whom you feel you are deep inside. Most often it comes from an imagined defect in who you are. That’s right, imagined. Trauma creates so many lies, myths and distortions it’s easy to lose sight of fact and reality. That’s when shame can really sink its teeth and start shaking you around. Keep reading »

Sometimes you just do have to step away.

Sometimes posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has to cease being the focus of your life, even if only for a few hours or minutes. Healing work can be draining; shoring up your mind and emotions with an experience outside the realm of PTSD can actually help your recovery reach a whole new level. Keep reading »

About five years ago, my friend Tuck married a woman with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prior to the wedding Jane (not her real name) worked on her recovery just enough to stop her nightmares and flashbacks. With those big problems eliminated, Jane decided she didn’t want to continue with PTSD recovery work even though significant issues still remained. Tuck, wanting to respect Jane’s decision, didn’t press the matter. Instead, he set up a lifestyle that expected, accepted and supported Jane’s symptoms. Keep reading »

Back when I was struggling with symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I was also struggling with mercury poisoning, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Celiac Disease and suspected liver cancer. Sounds crazy, right?

How your body expresses the level of psychological stress in your mind is a very real and very treatable situation. Keep reading »

It’s a fact: There are some days, weeks, months or even years when you will feel it’s impossible for you to move forward on your quest to feel better from symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We all face those moments. Fear, disappointment, doubt and disorientation all promote the idea that you’re stuck the way you are forever.

Of course, that’s all it is, an “idea” because you can’t know for certain that you’re doomed. Especially when research and science point to the fact that your brain contains the possibility to change until you take your last breath, which means the possibility for you to heal is imminent in every moment. Keep reading »

If Putting Out Negative Energy, Are You Attracting The Right People?

One problem I see often in survivors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) moving through trauma recovery is unhappy self-discovery: They don’t like themselves much.

I remember feeling that way myself. Years after my college graduation, I hadn’t been able to build or sustain a career, income or professional or personal relationships. My ties to my family were terribly strained by both my self-imposed isolation and my raging to keep everyone at arm’s length.

Sleep deprived and anxious, I was convinced I was insane and beyond help. Moving through the private hell of my everyday life, I thought pretty poorly of myself. (Could you blame me?) Keep reading »