I’m Sammi Caramela, and I’m excited to join HealthyPlace as the new author of "Trauma! A PTSD Blog." I’ve lived most of my life in survival mode, but it wasn’t until I was in my early 20s that I realized I was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from early childhood trauma. Learning why I was suffering was crucial to healing from the extreme anxiety and depression I coped with on a regular basis.
Because I grew up with the label "shy" instead of "anxious," there are a lot of things I didn’t realize I do because of anxiety, and no one ever recognized them as anxious behaviors. It took me reading about them somewhere else or hearing someone else say them for the lightbulb to go off about my anxious behaviors.
Two weeks ago, I embarked on a massive life change in sobriety. Moving away from the town where I got sober to begin a new chapter flipped my world upside down. I had to face my fear of change and part ways with the people, places, and things that kept me grounded for three years. My comfort zone was demolished, forcing me to start afresh.
Fear is an emotion I used to view in a negative light. However, understanding how fear influences my emotional state has helped me to harness its power and use it to my advantage. In certain situations, overcoming fear helps me achieve my goals, contributing to feelings of accomplishment, happiness, and a more vibrant life experience.
I have learned so many important lessons and revelations in the course of my interminable healing from anorexia, but one stands out above the others: I cannot take a day off from eating disorder (ED) recovery. Sometimes I want to, of course. Sometimes I'm convinced that enough time has passed since my life was at risk—or I have enough experience and self-awareness at this point—to ease off the accelerator and simply coast for a while. But I really can't take a day off from ED recovery.
Yesterday, I noticed an eyelash on my finger. I asked my husband Tom if wishing on eyelashes amounted to magical thinking, even though I already knew it did. I just wiped the eyelash away instead of wishing on it. I am trying to stop most forms of magical thinking.
Last time, I wrote about setting goals and using tasks to focus on to help channel my anxiety. But what happens when things get less busy in my life, and it is time to relax? How do I relax when you're anxious?
I live alone with bipolar disorder, and recently, someone asked me how I do it. I have rarely thought about such a thing as we all just work with the life with have, but let's talk about how I survive as a person living alone with bipolar disorder.
How often have you heard people say or imply that suicide is selfish? Well, if you are a netizen like me or have lost a loved one to suicide, I am sure you have been exposed to this line one time too many. Not only is this statement hurtful, but it is also completely untrue. I want to be clear: #suicideisnotselfish. (Note: This post contains a trigger warning.)
As my school year draws to a close, the notion of letting go is front and center on my mind. May is always a poignant month for a teacher, but this May has been particularly heavy as I prepare to leave the world of education behind and embark on a new career path. I will miss my students dearly and the person I have become under their tutelage, but as we march toward the last day of school, I am more and more ready to let go of who I have been in order to make space for who I will be.