My Letter To Humpty Dumpty

Dear Mr. Dumpty:

I heard about your great fall.  I’m sure it was humiliating and you feel ashamed.  Everybody’s talking about it.  I want you to know it doesn’t matter what you were doing on the wall, why you were there, or what you were wearing.  You didn’t deserve to fall.  Even being drunk or impaired on the wall doesn’t make your fall justified or earned.  I hope you believe me when I say that it’s not your fault.  I find most with broken shells believe it to be their fault.  This is simply not the case. I’m sorry that you fell and I’m sorry that you broke. 

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

I am grateful that the King sent horses and men to you.  The King cared enough to send both.  You are lucky.  Some get no horses and no men to come to the rescue. But know if horses or men don’t come, it does not mean you are alone.

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

I am sorry that the horses and men were unable to repair you and put you back together again. Shells are fragile things.  They take time.  A quick rush in by horses and men is sometimes helpful and effective in the reassembling of oneself.  But sometimes not.  Sometimes in the quiet stillness of broken, after the horses and men have left, it feels like you will always be shattered.  But don't give up.

Photo by me

Photo by me

I hope my letter finds you before it is too late.  We are, you see, comrades in arms of sorts.  I get it. I’ve been there. I too have suffered great calamity doing something as benign as sitting upon a wall.  I broke too.  Shattered.  Into hundreds of tiny pieces.  Horses, men, counselors, and doctors tried to put me back together again. They failed as well.

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

I had to put myself back together.  It was long and slow.  Painful.  And while the reassembly of myself still leaves me with some cracks and broken pieces, my scar tissue is strong.  Don’t give up Mr. Dumpty.  Be open to new possibilities.  Look for the good.  Find people to help.  Over time you will heal and you’ll come to appreciate the broken pieces.  You are not alone.

Photo by me.  I drew these faces and my husband had quite the surprise when he went to make an omelet a few days later...

Photo by me.  I drew these faces and my husband had quite the surprise when he went to make an omelet a few days later...

If you don’t mind, and with apologies to Mother Goose, I have added another stanza to your poem.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the Kings horses and all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

 

Humpty Dumpty looked in his heart

Humpty Dumpty decided to start

He found a new circle, he found a new tribe

He healed his shell and got back his vibe

Photo of me.

Photo of me.

All my best EggMan,

XOXO

KyAnn

Butterflying is Hard....

I'm in a cocoon of sorts.  I'm making a transition.  A MIGHTY transition.  Finding myself again.  Figuring out what's important.  And what's not.  I'd like to tell you it is over and I'm complete.  I'm not.  I feel like I'm basically hanging upside down.  Wondering what in the sweet hell I'm doing and scared of what comes next...

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

The weirdest part is that I feel like I was a butterfly and that I had already moved past caterpillar. I think it's circular.  I think life is about continually upleveling.  So here I go again.  Bring on the butterflies! 

Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube

I am a child of the 80's.  I was born in the 70's and the 80's were my glory years.  Dude, like the Rubik's Cube was totally gnarly to the max!  I'm a giant nerd and I could solve a Rubik's Cube in lightning speed.  I knew all the tricks to do it. 

Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube www.ptsdchick.com

After my rape, I felt like this:

Recovering from Trauma is Like a Rubik's Cube www.ptsdchick.com

And I thought to myself "I can solve this."  I set out trying to get my mixed up Rubik's Cube back to solid colored sides.  I tried lots of things to help.  I tried self help books.  I read over 100 books on rape recovery, self improvement, personal development, positive thinking, etc.   

I tried examples and mentors, I followed their step-by-step instructions EXACTLY, but my sides wouldn't line up...

I tried seminars.  I went to dozens of seminars looking for a simple solution to fix my jumbled up soul.  I got some short term relief and my colors on my Rubik's Cube looked a little better, but I wasn't aligned.  I was increasingly frustrated because these "experts" told me everyone I knew could solve the Rubik's Cube in 20 turns or less.  You see, a "normal" Rubik's Cube can be solved in 20 turns or fewer.  That's a real fact from the Rubik's Official Website.  No matter how messed up.  20 turns or less to solve.  No matter how many times I twisted or how hard I worked I could not get my internal Rubik's Cube right.  And imagining that everyone else could fix themselves in 20 turns or less made me feel more broken.  I had twisted myself thousands of times trying to get fixed.  

I tried adding confidence, optimism, the power of positive thinking, sweating the small stuff, awakening my inner giant, thinking myself rich/happy/fixed, learning the secret, becoming highly effective with 7 habits, moving my cheese, and every positive power tool UNDER THE FREAKING SUN!  I felt better about my messed up cube.  For a bit.

I grew increasingly frustrated.  "Screw it with solving the cube" I said.  And I looked for other solutions besides twisting it.  I tried to cover my screwed up, unsolvable Rubik's Cube.  I decorated it, I painted it to look like the other cubes. 

"This will fool them" I thought.  Look at how well I fit in.  But I knew it was an illusion, and on the inside I was still messed up.  It was a lot of work to keep the illusion of all my sides the same color.  And then a Brand New Method promising to solve my crazy mixed-up world would come out and I'd throw money at it and clear my schedule to attend...

Extremely frustrated, I gave up trying to solve my Rubik's Cube and set about to destroy it.

I was especially skilled at self hatred and self destroying.  I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to destroy my Rubik's Cube because I felt I was unfixable.  I was on a path to numb, destroy, and sabotage myself.

When numbing didn't work, I'd hide my color, isolate, and try to make myself go away.

Or I'd dwell among the damaged.  And we'd commiserate about how screwed up we all were and wasn't it a shame that we were always going to be like this.

And then a new program would come out.  It was usually Top Secret, or SUPERCHARGED, or cloaked in ancient wisdom.  GUARANTEED to be a quick fix, or a magic pill, and a simple solution.  And off I'd rush again.  Handing my messed up cube to whomever was leading the program/group/seminar and expect them to add a few twists that I had been missing and hand the cube back to me fixed.

And one day I stood, alone,  feeling totally broken.  I was sick to death of the horror and the depression and the running and the broken pile that had become my life.  I was done.  I couldn't do it another day.  And in my brokenness and blackness I had an epiphany.  It came to me.  My solution:

Stickers!  I could create a new color scheme on my soul like putting new stickers on a Rubik's Cube.  I stopped trying to twist myself back into the form that I was before the trauma.  I realized I could use stickers to rebuild my pattern.  I could be anything I wanted.  There was no going back to what I was.  Back was gone.  But forward was still totally an option.  I'd been so busy trying to "fix" it, that "creating" it had eluded me.

So I began to create. 

And do you know what I discovered?  If I apply stickers one at a time, I get my Rubik's Cube closer to normal with each one I apply.  I get stickers from all over.  Some I get from myself.  Some I get from books or workshops or conferences or experts.  Instead of wanting someone to fix my whole cube, I get a sticker from them and fix the cube myself.  One block at a time.

Each sticker I collect and apply gets me closer and closer to recovery.  I've moved from victim to survivor to empowered to healed.  One sticker at a time.  One block at a time.  One layer of trauma at a time.  Slowly.  And I do the work myself instead of looking for an expert to "fix" me.  I allow and seek experts, books, mentors, and seminars to teach me to fix myself.  Then I add the sticker over the top of the mixed up part and invite it to line up in a new way.  I create my alignment from my current position. 

These days, my Rubik's Cube mostly looks like this.  I am high functioning.  I consider myself cured.  PTSD, rape, and trauma do not own me or run my life.

rubik2.jpg

When I do get scrambled (because a bad day can scramble anybody), I can quickly bring myself back.  Life is like a Rubik's Cube; full of twists and turns. Some people seek to solve it in minutes, or hours, or days.  Some will give up totally and won't even bother.  But if those who try are patient and give it time, then they will discover through time and tears and trials that fear disappears and they will be gifted a beautiful opportunity to create themself.

Here's the morale of my Rubik's Cube story: The important thing about a problem is not the solution, but the strength gained in finding the solution.

Photos in this post purchased from 123RF, Pexels, Stockphotos, Photolater, Photo To Go, and taken by me.

What is a Trigger? Hint: It's not just Roy Roger's Horse.

I had to Google if Trigger was the Lone Ranger's horse.  The Lone Ranger rode Silver.  Roy Rogers rode Trigger.  Now you know.  

Print purchased and then photographed by me.

Print purchased and then photographed by me.

If you are too young to know who Roy Rogers is Google "Roy Rogers Happy Trails" and watch the You Tube Video.  You're Welcome.   When Trigger the horse died they stuffed him (creepy) and put him in a museum.

The type of triggers I am concerned with are not horses, they are emotional triggers.  You may or may not be familiar with triggers, but let's get some common language and understanding so you'll know what I mean when I tell you about triggers. 

We throw the word “trigger” around all the time in our lingo so we end up thinking we know what it means…but let’s double check.  So what do I mean when I say “trigger”?  Well, a “trigger” in psych lingo is when someone, something, or an event sparks in us into an automatic, usually negative, reaction that’s extreme for the context of the situation.

Made with Wordle

Made with Wordle

A trigger can set off a memory tape or flashback (we’ll cover flashbacks in another post) or it can make you scared.  Or it can leave you feeling discombobulated and crazy.  Or it can make you isolate or cry or “flip out” or any number of other behaviors that take you negatively away from your “normal”

Triggers are very individual; different things trigger different people. A person's triggers are usually activated through one or more of the five senses: sight, sound, touches, smell and taste.

Sight

  • Someone who resembles the abuser or who has similar traits or objects (i.e. clothing, hair color, or distinctive walk).
  • Any situation where someone else is being abused (i.e. anything from a raised eyebrow and verbal comment to actual physical abuse).
  • An object that was used to abuse
  • Objects that are associated with or were common in the place where the abuse took place (i.e. alcohol, piece of furniture, time of year).
  • Any place or situation similar to where the abuse took place (i.e. specific locations in a house, holidays, family events, social settings).

Sound

  • Anything that sounds like anger or danger (i.e. raised voices, arguments, bangs and thumps, something breaking).
  • Anything that sounds like pain or fear (i.e. crying, whispering, screaming).
  • Anything that might have been in the place or situation prior to, during, or after the abuse or sounds like a reminder of the abuse (i.e. sirens, foghorns, music, cricket, chirping, car door closing).
  • Anything that resembles sounds that the abuser made (i.e. whistling, footsteps, pop of can opening, tone of voice).
  • Words of abuse (i.e. cursing, labels, put-downs, specific words used).

Smell

  • Anything that resembles the smell of the abuser (i.e. tobacco, alcohol, drugs, after-shave, perfume).
  • Any smells that resemble the place or situation where the abuse occurred (i.e. food cooking, wood, odors, alcohol).

Touch

  • Anything that resembles the abuse or things that occurred prior to, during, or after the abuse (i.e. certain physical touch, someone standing too close, petting an animal, the way someone approaches you).

Taste

  • Anything that is related to the abuse, prior to the abuse, during, or after the abuse (i.e. certain foods, alcohol, tobacco).

I have triggers in all five senses.  Super non-awesome!  Some I am aware of and some I am still discovering. 

Unfortunately, much of the time we’re COMPLETELY unaware of our triggers.  But if we find them, we can get proactive about discovering ways to mitigate them.

From Free Stock Images

From Free Stock Images

How do you know when you've been triggered?  That’s fairly easy to determine in hindsight and much more difficult to nail down in the moment.  All you know is that you were going along just fine, and then, all of a sudden, you’re feeling intensely anxious, or angry, or both.  If you feel in hindsight like you may have overreacted or if afterward you feel like a schmuck. Well guess what, you've been triggered, buddy.

The first step is to know what your triggers are. If you can name it, you can tame it, as the common wisdom goes.  How do you find out what your triggers are?  I suggest you spend time examining the times when you know you've been triggered, and then tracing your steps back to see if you can discover your trigger.  In my Rape, Sexual Assault, and PTSD Mentoring Class (the link to find out more is HERE) we break down your triggers one by one, look at them objectively, and give you specific and real coping/mitigation strategies to deal with each one. 

I’m sure this has been said somewhere before, but I can’t find the source, and I find it to be a really helpful analogy.

Being triggered is like having an allergic reaction.

Image from Free Medical Images

Image from Free Medical Images

A good description of an allergic reaction (speaking as someone who has a child with food allergies) is an involuntary reaction to a substance which can vary from mild discomfort to serious debilitation where you need emergency help. Change ‘a substance’ to 'trigger’ and that’s pretty much a description of what goes on. The reaction is psychological rather than physical (although it can, of course, have physical symptoms), but it is just as serious and just as involuntary.

Do you tell someone with a food allergy to 'just deal’ with an exposure to the allergen?  Do you say they’re overreacting when they are allergic?  Do you tell them they are being silly and to get over it?  Do you say that they should just avoid all public food if they’re going to complain about being allergic to some of it?

No. You empower them by teaching them what they are allergic to, teaching them to avoid it eating it, and teaching them to read food labels so they can see identify ingredients they are allergic to.  Then you ensure they have an epi-pen and access to 911 when things get really bad.  PTSD triggers are the same.  You learn what triggers you, learn to avoid it, learn to identify it, learn the PTSD version of an epi-pen to stop it in its tracks, and have an emergency plan for when the crap hits the proverbial fan.  I can teach you how to do all that.

Sometimes people with allergies can reduce their reactions with exposure and with a series of shots. Animal allergies are a type that can sometimes be treated this way.  Likewise, it’s true that gradual exposure in a safe environment is one way to minimize PTSD symptoms.  That doesn't mean it’s okay to drop a cat in the lap of someone who is allergic to them and say 'exposure will cure you!’  That’s not the right way.  I can help you with gentle exposure to triggers to mute them and make them more manageable.

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

But it's not the "triggers" that are evil, it's the sexual assault. And you’re going to get triggered if you live in the real world. It would be nice to never have to feel anything connected to my rape again, but that's not how it works unfortunately. That bell can't be unrung.

Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

Learn your triggers.  Learn to mute them and your plan for when they come.  Because come they will.  This is a process you can do on your own or I can help you.  I have triggers I’ll never get over.  I will never be able to watch HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones.  It’s too rape-y and I’ll never get there.  But armed with the knowledge of what my triggers are and what to proactively do when they pop up their ugly heads, my life is a whole lot more pleasant than when I lived reactively.

Da Police: To Report or Not to Report

My rape was reported to the police.  Not because I reported it, but because I was found naked and unconscious in a pool of blood and someone  (I have no idea who)  dialed the police.  This was before 911 was installed in that tiny town.  It's sort of a mindblower that 25 years ago there was no 911 in small towns.  Anywho, all I know is that cops were summoned and I was taken to the ER.  

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

Over the years I've wondered if I wasn't knocked unconscious, if I'd of called the police on my own and reported what happened.  While I don't know for sure, I don't have a crystal ball, I'm hoping I would have been strong enough on my own to report it, but guessing I would not have called and reported it.  Don't turn your back on me yet, let me explain why.  I'm remarkably average and stunningly normal.  I am guessing that I'd of followed the trend.  This is a graphic from RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).  You can find info to contact RAINN on the PTSD and Rape Recovery Resources tab.

 You can find info to contact RAINN on the PTSD and Rape Recovery Resources tab above

 You can find info to contact RAINN on the PTSD and Rape Recovery Resources tab above

Only 1 in 3 rapes get reported according to this data and according to Time magazine "In a 2007 study funded by the U.S Department of Justice that surveyed 5,446 undergraduate women and 1,375 undergraduate men, just 2% of sexual assault victims incapacitated by drugs or alcohol and just 13% of "physically forced" victims reported the crimes to law enforcement."  Rape is the least reported crime in America.  Someone who has no problem dialing 911 to report noisy neighbors won't make the same call to report a rape.

Most rapists are serial rapists, so reporting can be an act of saving someone else.  There is no way to undo what happened, but reporting can prevent other victims.

It is a hard, and very personal decision, to decide to report.  I encourage reporting.  But I don't judge.  I don't pretend to know another's circumstances.  And I've walked through the emotional turmoil in the days/weeks/months that follow.  I believe you.  And I know you did what was best for you.   

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

So how long to you have to report a rape or sexual assault?  What's the statute of limitations?  It varies by state.  The quickest way to find out is to Google "Rape Statute of Limitations in ....add your state" or go to the following website to look it up: https://www.rainn.org/public-policy/laws-in-your-state

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

No matter what know that I love you.  I believe you.  I know that there is hope and healing for you.

Blue Nightlight or I am a Grown Ass Woman Who Sleeps with a Smurf Colored Nightlight

What It Is: A blue nightlight.  With a wee, blue bulb so you get a small amount of blue light into your subconscious while you sleep.  It's most effective in your bedroom, but if you cannot sleep with the light, I've found that for my clients it works anywhere in the house.  Sound crazy?  Stay with me.  Read on...   

The Claims:  There are a bargeload of studies on the topic of blue light's healing effects on the brain, so I'll just pick a few. Adolf Deppe discovered " PTSD is associated with traumatic events, experienced as participant or observer that lie unresolved and produce intrusive thoughts, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, and hyper-vigilance.  Every patient who had overt manifestations of PTSD responded to blue light.  The results have been very consistent, very predictable--over 90 percent."

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

The next claim comes from Dr. Phil (so it MUST be true!).  Dr. Phil said, "Research shows that our frontal lobes respond to blue light, improving our organizational skills and memory. My clinic has been recommending blue light for PTSD for years with excellent results." 

Why blue?  I have no idea and neither do scientists, they just know it works. My hippie dippy magical friends tell me that blue is the color of truth, serenity, and harmony.  It cools, calms, reconstructs, and protects.  It connects the body to the third eye chakra

What It Did For Me:  My psychiatrist and I did some blue light therapy with blue light glasses, but they are $200 and they gave me a headache.  I was not impressed.  I thought the glasses were stupid.  I tried a blue bulb in a lamp.  It made everything in my house look like the Smurfs lived there... 

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

I read about nighttime blue light therapy and moved to a blue nightlight.  The very first night I tried it I had relief from my nightmares and woke up feeling rested and refreshed.  

Photo by me

Photo by me

I have done my blue nightlight research.  I bought 7 different kinds of blue lights from Walmart, Target, Home Depot, and Amazon.com.  I slept with them each for 2 weeks to see if I could tell a difference.  

Photo by me

Photo by me

Not to brag, but the blue nightlights that I make and sell are the best.  I take one nightlight base and special order bulbs and then add my own healing energy of oils, stones, and healing magic and then add an "I am safe" decal to the night light.  I sell them in my shop (click on the link above) for 5 dollars each. 

Caution:  Blue light has been shown in some studies to slow the production of melatonin.  These studies were done with lots of blue and they all say to shut off the blue for a few hours before sleep when melatonin is produced (blue light is produced by electronics and TV).  I use a small amount of blue at bedtime and while I sleep after my main melatonin banks have been filled..  My small blue light doesn't hurt my sleep, it helps it.  Remember, this blue light is to decrease PTSD symptoms, not improve sleep.  If you find blue doesn't help you then you move the blue nightlight into the hallway.  It's a trade off, anxiety for melatonin.  Only you know how your body will react and a quick experiment with my blue night night will tell you. 

PTSD Chick Rating: 5 of 5.  This works for me!  Blue nightlights are an effective, inexpensive way to get some immediate relief from PTSD, anxiety, and depression symptoms.  I even travel with my blue nightlight.  All my clients have seen some relief.  I have blue nightlights in several rooms in my house.  Something about the energy of blue light is very good for my PTSD symptoms.  It's cheap and easy way to get results.  

I'm Nuts About This Nut and I Love it a Brazillion

What It Is:  Brazil nuts.  Three of them a day.  You eat them, you feel better.  It's AMAZEBALLS!   I prefer certified organic, from the source (shipped in from the Amazon River Basin in South America), and already shelled because you pay the price per pound and the shell that gets chucked weighs more than the nut.  Regular grocery store Brazil nuts are not certified organic and may not be from the source.  

The Claims:  Brazil nuts are unique in that they are the richest known food source of Selenium.  Selenium is an important mineral that is an effective in minimizing the incidence and symptomatic severity of PTSD.  Google "Selenium and PTSD" and read the studies for yourself.  This is a Brazil nut in the shell.  

Photo purchased from 123RF

Photo purchased from 123RF

Yes I know what they used to be called and I am offended that we called them that and grateful that we no longer refer to them as that.  

Can't I just take a supplement pill and get Selenium?  Yes, but pill form does not absorb as well as the selenium in organic Brazil nuts and I always choose real food to chemical supplements where I can.  

Do I need organic?  I do, but you may not.  You can buy non-organic Brazil nuts at most grocery stores that carry bulk nuts.  The prices on this nut come way down at Christmas time and they are easier to find then.  Grab a nutcracker and go for it.

Organic Brazil nuts boast more selenium than any other nut - about 2,500 times as much! 

Brazil nuts are considered a complete protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids. This makes them a beneficial addition to vegetarian and vegan diets. Also a rich source of dietary fiber, Brazil nuts make a filling snack that can help with weight control.

CAUTION: Do not eat too many Brazil nuts because too much Selenium isn't good for you either.  Three nuts a day is a perfect amount to give you the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of Selenium you need.  Like with any other vitamin or mineral, if you eat a TON of it you can get sick.  There is a House episode about a dude who Dr. House diagnoses with Selenium Toxicity from eating tons of Brazil nuts.   

What It Did For Me:  Selenium is a game changer for me.  Those of us with PTSD need a Selenium boost.  I saw a decrease in symptoms after taking them about a month.  Plus I enjoy the way they taste and I like the other health benefits of them.  PTSD Chick eats three certified organic, shelled Brazil nuts every day and after trying several brands and sellers, I sell the ones I found to be the best and least expensive in my shop on the link above.  Because I buy them in bulk, I beat the prices on Amazon.

PTSD Chick Rating: 5 of 5.  Selenium is my friend.  I would invite Selenium over for dinner and hug it if I could.  Most of my clients see relief.  I have a client who take supplements due to nut allergies.  I eat three of them daily and I like the variety of eating them whole or chopping them and throwing them in a salad or in a bowl of ice cream.

PTSD Chick Puts On Her Big Girl Panties and Launches a Business

So yesterday I made the leap.  I launched my business officially.  I've been an LLC for a long time and I've seen clients for about a year.  But I signed up for a vendor show three months ago and set the timetable in motion.  I figured three months was enough to time to get products ready, get a booth together, and have about two dozen panic attacks (give or take).  My timing was PERFECT.  For those of you who followed me over from the old anonymous website/blog I used to run, you know what a big leap this was for me.  Here I am. All set up. Before the show started.  Wetting my pants.  It's about to get real. 

Vendor Booth.  Setting up for a Vendor Show.  How to do a Vendor Booth.   Successful Vendor Booth.  Vendor Results. PTSD Chick.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Rape Recovery.  Sexual Assault Recovery.  www.ptsdchick.com

I sold about 10 necklaces, a whole bunch of other things, and ALL 25 blue nightlights.  Sold out of them.  100% gone.  Boom.  Next time I will bring more.  (I have filled all the orders in my shop this morning and now have some nightlights to spare, but for a minute yesterday I had my first sell out!)  I handed out over 100 business cards.  I had 37 people sign up for my monthly newsletter.  Whoa! 37 people VOLUNTARILY gave me their email to get the newsletter.  I posted my website on my personal page in Facebook.  And <drumroll please> yesterday I had over 1,250 hits on this website.  Holy Schmoly!

I had about 20 people reach out to me one-on-one yesterday via email, text, and instant messenger, but after a full 8 hour day at the vendor show talking rape alllllll day long I was too spent to respond last night.  I made my husband take me to dinner and put me to bed to recoup.  Today I'll touch base with them all.

So here's what I learned:

  • It was scary to attach my face and name to my rape, but not NEARLY as scary as I had made it in my head.  Reality was waaay better than all the scenarios I had created in my head.  I lived and nobody judged or shunned me.  I'm still allowed in my county and I don't have to bag my head (my crazy brain had me convinced I would be head bagged shunned)
  • There are ARMIES of women like me.  I was at a medium sized vendor show and I had a steady stream for 8 hours of women to talk rape with.  I barely had a lull or pause between people talking to me.  That saddens me, but thrills me because I found my peeps and I am not alone.  They are not alone.  We are not alone.  I made some fantastic connections.   
  • I heard others' stories without triggering.  Granted, nobody gave me the down and dirty blow-by-blow version of their rape, but they talked openly and I was able to hold space for them and hear/feel/share and stay present.  

Here was my favorite part of yesterday:

Note: The woman who I tell this story about will read this.  She will come here to this blog.  I want her to know how much I bonded/connected with her and I how much I want to meet her again.  She is my soul sister.  I met so many people yesterday that although she told me her name, I do not remember it.  Please email me at ptsdchick@yahoo.com.

I watched a woman with spiky green hair go past me three times.  She would read my booth and look from a distance and each time she would pass my booth she would become more agitated.  She was like a bull.  Beautiful and strong, but angry, and pawing the ground ready to make a run at me.  I made full eye contact with her and she charged my booth. 

"What the hell do you mean 'You're not broken'?" she asked pointing at the banner at the front of my booth (it's in the picture above).  She continued her tirade about being broken and told me a heartbreaking story of ritualistic rape and horror committed by her family.  She continued with all the reasons she is broken and finally concluded with "I am broken, you are broken, this stuff breaks you, it's bullshit that you're not broken."

I responded in four parts. 

  1. I hear you.  I honor you.  I love you.  I am proud of you.  I believe you.
  2. I used to believe I was broken too.  I spent much of my life feeling broken and shattered to smithereens.  I told her my Rubik's Cube theory (I'll cover it in a future blog post).  I told her I shared her sense of brokenness.
  3. I told her I learned about Kintsugi which is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery (and also a pretty awesome Death Cab for Cutie Album) with powdered gold or silver to make the piece more beautiful and interesting.  As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the history of the object rather than something to disguise.  It celebrates and highlights imperfections rather than looking at them as absent or damaged pieces.
I learned about Kintsugi which is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery (and also a pretty awesome Death Cab for Cutie album) with gold or silver to make the piece more beautiful and interesting.  As a philosophy it treats breakage and repair as part of the object rather than something to disguise.  It celebrates and highlights imperfections rather than looking at them as absent or damaged pieces. www.ptsdchick.com

4. Lastly I told her that Kintsugo was a deception.  "I AM NOT BROKEN," I told her loudly.  I have extensive battle damage, every atom in my body has been pulverized, I have spent time in Hell itself.  BUT YOU WILL TAKE MY LIFE BEFORE YOU WILL BREAK ME.  And you, my sweet sister are the same way.  You're not broken either.

And she smiled.  And softened.  And stayed and talked for 20 minutes.  We compared notes and stories and promised to reconnect.  I told her I would hug her if we didn't both have PTSD but knowing how hard that is for people like us to physically touch and hug I told her I would send her soul a hug.  That made her laugh.  She thought she was the only one.  I thought I was the only one.  Her trauma's origin is much worse than mine, but her soul has seen the same pain that my soul has seen in the years that have followed.  I love her.  I don't know her, but I know enough to know that I love her.  Even her parts that she doesn't feel are worthy of love.

And if you are the man who was with my beautiful green haired friend yesterday who I granted "sainthood" status to, reach out at ptsdchick@yahoo.com and I'll put you in touch with my husband and you can grab a Pepsi and talk about living with PTSD Chicks. :)

Yesterday was a good day.

STOP the Train I Want to Get Off

Last night I triggered.  A medium sized trigger. I used to blog anonymously.  That was safe.  That was hidden.  Now I blog with my name and face and my blog is growing.  Smally.  But growing.  People are finding out about me.  People are reaching out to me.  I am signed up for my first vendor show.  People who I know in real life have found my blog. (YIKES!)  And people who should know about my blog, still don't know.  I have to tell them.  STAT.  It all just got tooo much last night.  I wanted to run.  To hide.  To go back to old patterns of stuffing and ignoring.  I announced I was taking this blog down and quitting.  I crawled in bed last night at 9 pm to escape and slept for 15 hours.

When I trigger I just want to run.  To hide.  To fall into old patterns of fight or flight.  Of stuffing and ignoring.  I am lucky.  I can sleep my way out of a trigger about 60% of the time if I can get to bed (sometimes at noon).  PTSD Triggers Suck!  www.ptsdchick.com

Sleeping my way out of a trigger works about 60% of the time for me.  Usually I can stop a trigger by sleeping.  Sometimes, it doesn't work and  I'll just lay awake.  All night.  Sometimes for several nights.  Fortunately last night, sleep came quickly and I crashed HARD for hours.   

When I awoke, my trigger had subsided enough that I could face it.  Mostly.  I'm still not sure what I'm doing here and why I vacillate so wildly between: Keep the blog and Remove the blog.  I'm still in this trigger, but I'm stepping though it.  I'm reminding myself that just because life gave me a day with one flat tire, I don't have to pop the other three. I can fix the one and move on.    

When I get triggered by my PTSD I spiral downward quickly into negative emotion.  This is a good reminder for me.  Bad day.  Not bad life.  I got this.  www.ptsdchick.com

Brerathe.

Why the Heck am I Sharing my Story?

I got hit with the big question this week.

I got hit with the big question this week.  Question (accompanied by baffled look): "Why would you want to tell anyone about your rape?"  I dug deep for my why I tell people about  it.  You can read the reasons on my website www.ptsdchick.com

Question (accompanied by baffled look): "Why would you tell anyone about your rape?"

I dug deep about my "why".  Sure, I could keep it a secret another 25 years.  I have a good life.  I could hide my rape until my death and beyond and not let a soul know.

But MY TRUTH  and my "why" and what my soul burns for is that I want the world to know.  I want you to know.  Not because I want pity, not because I want to make a business out of my rape, not because I want attention.  But because I have a deep, genuine, and true desire LEAPING out of me to help survivors.  I don't want anyone to ever sit alone in their closet and cry (I have done this plenty).  I don't want anyone else to think they are crazy (I honestly thought I was).  I don't want anyone to have the middle of your core shame feeling that they are the only one with this secret.  Rape is not a secret.  It's a crime.  And I'm done being silent about it. 

This is PTSD Chick.  And you can totally see my broken nose from playing indoor soccer 5 or 6 years ago in this picture.  :)

This is PTSD Chick.  And you can totally see my broken nose from playing indoor soccer 5 or 6 years ago in this picture.  :)

This is my face.  I was raped.  It wasn't my fault.  I don't care who knows.   I'm sharing my story.  I'm sharing what helped me.  I'm sharing which products I used and which methods I tried to heal myself.  I want to help others.  Even if I only help one, my speaking up will be worth it. 

I tell my story of rape recovery.  I share which products I used and which methods I use to heal myself.  I want to help others.  Even if I only help one, my speaking up will be worth it.  www.ptsdchick.com

Cranial Sacral Therapy Or the day i found out my sacrum is not the same as my bum

What It Is:  Oh my heck Cranial Sacral Therapy is like a tiny baby is touching you on your head and back.  Like, a tiny baby using an angel feather.  Seriously, she barely touched me.  When done correctly, the touch in Cranial Sacral Therapy is the weight of a nickel on the brain and spinal cord.

This is a reenactment because it was super awkward to pause and take a photo during the session.  Just imagine I have angel feather hands.

This is a reenactment because it was super awkward to pause and take a photo during the session.  Just imagine I have angel feather hands.

The Claims:  So according to the Uplenger Institute it's supposed to "release tensions deep in the body around the brain and spinal cord to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance.  It is listed as a specific aide for PTSD by the developer of the practice.  It unblocks the chi and we all know my chi is in need of some serious rotor-rooting.  Costs vary by practitioner.  I paid $80 for one session. 

What It Did For Me:  So I gotta be honest.  I didn't exactly know what this was when I went to have it done.  Sometimes I just wing it without any research and try something new.  Go me!  To be completely honest I found out about Cranial Sacral Therapy when a friend mentioned it on Facebook that someone I REALLY look up to (like, I idolize this woman and can barely breathe when she's in the room) does Cranial Sacral Therapy.  I messaged the goddess woman (sort of just to be in her presence, because I am in AWE of her) and she booked me a sesh.  I learned that the cranial is the head (you probably knew that) and the sacral is the sacrum (which I pretended like I knew what/where my sacrum was, I guessed near my bum, and I googled it when I got home).  I was close (same zip code but north), it's at the bottom of the spine between the hip bones.  I was worried she was going to touch my bum, but she didn't.  Just my spine and lower back over my clothes. I Googled you this pic so you can locate your sacrum:    

PTSD Chick Rating: 3 of 5.  I TOTALLY felt my energy move (which was weird but awesome) when she (barely) touched me.  I also TOTALLY felt the movement stop when she said certain words negative words that were intended to stop the energy.  The woman who did this to me is my HERO and I know she infused me with her love while working on me.  Truthfully, I was probably so enamored with her that I didn't give the session my full concentration.  I definitely felt more open, positive, and flowing.  It's important that energy moves.

"Worms will not eat living wood where the vital sap is flowing;
Rust will not hinder the opening of a gate when the hinges are used each day. 
Movement gives health and life. 
Stagnation brings disease and death."
- proverb in traditional Chinese Medicine  

Definitely try it if you feel like want a non-intrusive, light-touch, energy moving experience.