Within five years of the start of my posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms I was deep into self-destructive food restrictions that caused me to drop an enormous amount of weight. My parents had tried to get me into therapy after my trauma but I flat out refused to discuss it. With the weight loss, they forced me to see eating disordered specialists, none of whom knew what to do with me. I wouldn’t eat and I wouldn’t talk. Back in the early 80s the clear connection between PTSD and eating disorders wasn’t well documented or understood. Now it is and the data is clear: the link between PTSD and eating disorders is real and very common.

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When I was struggling with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) I didn’t know how to describe what it felt like  to others. How can you possibly express what it feels like to live with anxiety, depression, desperation, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, suffocating memories, terrifying sensations, boiling rage or anger and the slew of other PTSD symptoms?

Rather than describe it I just isolated further and felt more and more alone — and crazy. I didn’t realize then that I wasn’t alone in being stuck not knowing how to communicate my experience. I didn’t know, at the time, how to define PTSD.

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For anyone who experiences dissociation as part of the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), (and this includes me during my PTSD years) you know how frustrating, embarrassing and uncontrollable it can be. Reducing dissociation in PTSD is something we all want. Keep reading »

Enormous and consistent stress on a body will always be evidenced in maladies. Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) cause many physical changes that frequently create medical issues. In my own PTSD experience, I developed significant digestive, immune, bone, hair and liver problems. Now, new research suggests PTSD might also cause type 2 diabetes.

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In my own recovery from posttrauamtic stress disorder (PTSD), I came to see PTSD symptoms as a trauma addiction and this affected my self-esteeem. Let me explain. Keep reading »

Recently, I’ve spoken to two survivors who are just discovering (after years of invested time and work) that their therapists are not equipped to work with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  This breaks my heart to hear. You’re struggling enough to cope through the day without being stuck in a treatment approach that can’t truly do its best to help you reach your recovery desires.

But the two stories I recently heard don’t surprise me. In fact, it was my story too.

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You change after trauma, but everyone else expects you to remain the same. Up until the day of your trauma (whether that was birth or any time afterward) the people around you have expectations for who you are, how you should behave, what you will and won’t do and that you will make choices in alignment with their agenda. The stress and pressure of these expectations can become enormously overwhelming – especially over the holidays. Keep reading »

Obstacles in healing is an element of trauma and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery that deserves its own book. From the varied origins of what gets you stuck to the way resistance sneaks up when you least expect it the things that slow, stall and even flat out stop your progress can leave you feeling like a failure. Keep reading »

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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