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Feb 26, 2019 · ~ Depressed and scared, not making it financially ~ in Mental Health

Check out some inspirational stuff..one of my favorite people to listen to to help my mood is Neil Pasricha. He is a 'real life guy' with a Harvard MBA who goes around talking about the best self help books, and how books can really help. I also listen to his podcasts which often have very inspirational messages as to why we get so down on ourselves and how it tends to be a cycle. The podcast is called 3books. He also fell into a depression and started a blog called 1000 awesome things. His work has helped me tremendously and I hope it helps you also! I unfortunately cannot include the links but check it out!

Feb 22, 2019 · Anyone Else With PTSD? in Mental Health

Hi Lisa, thank you for the inquiry and I am more than happy to help. When I had (very extreme) flashbacks, I had issues feeling like I could not even keep my feet on the floor. For instance, I would walk into a grocery store and feel so overwhelmed (I'm assuming due to hyper-vigilance and not being able to 'see/size up' everything going on because there was too much stimuli), and I'd immediately feel like I was going to faint. One of the main practices I was taught during my trauma therapy was that, while making certain there were no shoes/socks involved, taking my feet and pressing them into the floor as hard as I could to feel balanced. I struggled a lot with the yoga due to my inability to concentrate whatsoever. The first time I did Tree Pose (a yoga pose), my therapist actually cried because I was able to actually hold the pose and stay balanced, which meant my concentration had improved enough to actually stay focused. Moreover, I learned a ton about breathing excersices, which were critical (and continue to be, even as so recent as today) I get triggered and find that a lot of these feelings/emotions stem from me not breathing properly. This has been crucial to my recovery, as the more oxygen my body keeps in, the more CO2 I have, which is desperately needed for our brain to function properly. I found that I was either holding my breath (I think my body just overtime 'adapted' to this type of breathing from feeling a sense of constant fear – or that something bad was going to happy, and that I was not breathing properly into my abdomen. During both my EMDR and my yoga therapy, we'd either put bricks on my abdomen or sand bags as a weight. I went to the Juniper Center in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, and the people I worked with were absolutely phenomenal. Basically I would lay down flat and with either the brick or sand bag on my abdomen, the point was to breathe into my abdomen so deep I could actually see the brick/sandbag move up and down when taking deep breaths, which was telling me I was breathing properly. I actually still do yoga often when I am feeling stressed, anxious, or triggered. I have also began Tai Chi – which, as strangely as it sounds, has helped me tremendously to calm my brain down from anxious thoughts and be able to clear my mind and focus. Tai Chi has been phenomenal in helping me. I was prescribed several anti anxiety medications for my PTSD, but I try and be as holistic as possible. I took Klonopin, Effexor, and a number of other pharmaceuticals within the past several years to try and combat the PTSD. I am actually very proud to say I am no longer taking any of these meds. In my opinion, and this is only my opinion, the meds seem to mask the underlying problem, so to speak. To put it differently, we are not really dealing with the root of the problem because the meds are blocking them out and masking the feelings we need to be experiencing and identifying with to learn how to get over the past and move on, if that makes any sense. Instead of meds, I drink a ton of teas to relax (Chamomile, Wild Sweet Orange, Kava (Stress Relief), Lemon Zinger, etc. I wholeheartedly believe we can combat our PTSD/anxiety/depression through natural remedies such as exercise, brisk walks, natural teas, yoga, Tai Chi, Cardio, Pilates, etc – basically whatever works for a person and fits their particular lifestyle best. I try to do a blend of all of it to keep a healthy mind/body balance, especially due to having extremely anxiety. (For instance, if I'm feeling super anxious, brisk walk. If I'm feeling stressed, a double bag of chamomile tea, If I feel like I can't focus, I will stop and do some Tai Chi or yoga (when possible). I also recommend just charting whatever small steps a person has made on a calendar, to show their progress and chart it on a calendar. For instance, (and as an example), "On the 30th I felt anxious at a level of 8 out of 10. I drank some chamomile tea and did 15 minutes of yoga poses. Afterwards, I felt like a 3 out of 10 with respect to my anxiety." I think charting our progress really helps keep us motivated and also aids in not feeling helpless – showing that there is something that helps. The more we chart with our progress, the more focused we become on tweaking our own remedies and allowing ourselves to understand the PTSD does not control us if we do not let it. This, in itself, is very empowering and healing.
I have a 7 year anniversary coming up as to when my trauma happened – it will be the 23rd of February. Let me just say it has been EXTREMELY ROUGH (…understatement of the century). I have lost SEVERAL 3 figure jobs due to flashbacks coming out of the woodwork (stress makes worse/exasperates PTSD symptoms) and been literally left immobile, unable to move. If there is anyway I can help someone NOT loose so many years of their lives in the event they are continuing to have flashbacks, immobility, etc, I am happy to help in whatever way I can. I'd like to send you a couple of links/reference materials to share to whomever may be able to be benefit from this, but I'm going to need some time to locate them. One book that really helped me was Yoga for Emotional Trauma. Recently, I've been reading a book called A Morning Cup of Tia Chi (very easy, simple and cool read). While, as I mentioned, Tai Chis is 'out there,' Give it a chance! (It's not very known/'normal' to Western culture – it is practiced religiously in other parts of the world (Japan, China, etc) for a more balanced mind/body unity). I cannot tell you how much it helps me tap into my non-emotional (and therefore rational) part of my brain to combat what my emotional part of my brain is telling me. I've learned that emotions will take us over, but only if we choose to let them. Emotions are reactional – but if we know what triggers these emotions, we are able to tell ourselves that we are reacting based on a false feeling of fear based on something that happened long ago. We know we are being triggered from the past and therefore know that what we are feeling (although very strongly) is not actually real, as much as it feels like it. The rational parts of our brain know and understand that although we may be FEELING a certain way (afraid, anxious, etc), our emotions are not actually realistic (they are resorting to an 'autopilot' feeling they've adapted to overtime. Moreover, they are still very powerful if we do not know how to put them in check. However, and as mentioned before, until we can identify what makes us feel a way, we cannot put them into check. This is where EMDR and Nuerofeedback helped me the most. Please don't hesitate to contact me with any and all questions.

Feb 19, 2019 · Anyone Else With PTSD? in Mental Health

I have participated in several types of therapy for extremely severe PTSD. I participated in intensive trauma therapy which included EMDR, yoga for trauma, (all holistic) with several different doctors. One piece of advice, watch therapists and doctors that ‘think’ they can help. They may have studied it, but that doesn’t mean they GET IT. I’ve been to therapists that have actually made me feel worse because they thought there was some magical switch in my brain that could just turn it off. WRONG. While the EMDR seemed to help it was nearly impossible for me to get to discuss what actually happened as I became unable to sleep as well as pre-diabetic. It seemed the more I talked about it the more intense the flashbacks became. My therapist was wonderful and I certainly can’t say EMDR would not have worked, but I got to the point where it became too painful and difficult just going to the appointments. After going I felt great, but getting there was another story. The yoga for PTSD/trauma seemed to help tremendously in learning how to breathe, how to feel ‘grounded’ and getting rid of the constant looming feeling of fear.

I also did Nuerofeedback for my PTSD a couple years after the intensive trauma therapy. I chose to do this because I thought I wouldn’t have to talk about the trauma but also because someone I respected greatly had completed neurofeedback in Canada and said amazing things about it. While the Nuerofeedback did bring back the memories of the trauma (which I was not expecting) it helped TREMENDOUSLY. I went to the ADD clinic in Scottsdale, AZ for 2 weeks (they do several types of Nuerofeedback for different types of mental illnesses/disorders – it is also not impatient, I just knew I needed to be away from my family while I tried to deal with my PTSD and what might come by opening up the repressed part of my brain) to complete ‘intensive’ treatment. Nuerofeedback typically takes people several months to complete. I would not recommend trying to fit Nuerofeedback into an intensive 3 week schedule, as it was way too much for me to deal with in such a short amount of time with respect with getting through flashbacks and remembering more than what I was really ready/able to deal with in such a short amount of time. However, I would ABSOLUTELY recommend neurofeedback for anyone suffering from PTSD. It helps calm your brain waves so that you are not obsessing about the trauma. It is completely natural and is unfortunately not all that well known yet for treatment of PTSD as it is somewhat ‘new age.’ However, all the research behind it makes complete sense, so seriously check it out. You can find doctors who do it in major cities. Many people who complete Nuerofeedback actually get to a point where they can simply stop going to their appointments bc it changes our brain waves permanently and we loose the crippling feeling of fear that haunts us. For me it seemed to open up parts of my brain that my brain was not able to access (therefore bringing back flashbacks/repressed memories) but also gave me a TON of clarity as to why my behaviors became what they had and how the trauma affected who I ‘became.’ I learned what triggered me and made me feel certain ways as well as why my behaviors or feelings were what they were, even if I did not actually have a reason to feel afraid. A lot of what we feel comes from repressed memories and if we can’t identify them, we have no idea why we suddenly feel scared, anxious, freaking out, etc. Being able to identify what triggered me to feel such terrible ways was crucial in working through the PTSD. Most importantly, I lost the constant feeling of paralyzing and gripping fear. I certainly hope this is helpful, as PTSD is no joke and anyone suffering from it know this. They may just not be able to SPEAK IT. My heart goes out to all and again I hope this information was of some help!