Friday, August 26, 2022

Truth Bomb: Let’s Talk about Freezing


We hear about fight or flight all the time, but freeze is the red-headed step-child of trauma. All three, fight, flight and freeze, are all normal neuro-biological responses to fear, but, if we don’t know this, we can feel guilty, angry, or like we “let it happen” when our body freezes in the face of trauma.

First, let’s address the fantasy that we have a choice whether our body goes into fight, flight, or freeze because that’s not a thing. When we’re in danger, our brain kicks into high gear and takes over to protect our life. We do not get a choice; in a split second our brain makes the choice for us.

Think about those nature shows where lions are hunting gazelle-snacks. No gazelle is going to get its back up and whoop some lion’s butt, so he’s left with two choices: flight or freeze - and both are legit survival methods. The eye sees what is moving (“I’m up, they see me, I’m down”) so a lion may not notice the stock-still gazelle frozen right next to him. Folks who design military training know this and go to great measures to train the freeze out of Soldiers by practicing the same movements over and again so that the brain jumps into habit under fire. 

But no one trains us how to get raped, or how to hold a buddy while they die, or how to respond when we see someone get hurt. There is no fighting back, there is no running away; we freeze.

The self-blame that comes with freeze can be overwhelming. We can have a fantasy that, “if I didn’t freeze, everything would have been different,” or “if I didn’t freeze, I could have fought back.” 

I say this with love: it’s possible that you’re wrong

Freeze is not a choice; your brain took over and kept you alive. 

What is your experience with freezing? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Friday, August 19, 2022

Avoidance: A Symptom of PTSD


Avoidance symptoms are Criterion C of PTSD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Version 5 (DSM-5). The DSM defines avoidance as avoiding internal things (like memories, thoughts, or feelings) or avoiding external things (like people, places, and things that remind us of the trauma). Those of us with PTSD will go way out of our way to avoid anything that reminds us of our trauma. 

This makes a lot of sense: why wouldn’t we want to dodge memories and reactions that make us feel crazy? This is why drug and alcohol disorders are common with PTSD. Numbing the pain is easier.

Friends, we’ll go way, way out of our way to avoid anything that reminds us of our trauma. While this may seem downright insane to other people, it makes total sense in the context of PTSD.

 Common examples are:

·         Stop watching the news or using social media because of stories or posts that remind us of a trauma

·         Go out of our way to stay away from the scene of our attack or places that remind us of the assault

·         Running errands at odd hours to avoid crowds

·         Arriving early so we can choose a seat away from the window

·         Avoidance can get complex, and we will go to extremes to avoid potential triggers.

Our brain’s job is (1) to keep us alive, and (2) to understand meaning. Avoidance is incredibly logical in the context of PTSD, so be let's easy on ourselves.

What is your experience with avoidance? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Thinking of Suicide? Read This First

Suicidal thoughts are an unbelievably normal part of PTSD. Normal doesn't mean that they are pleasant; it just means that we can expect this with PTSD - and we need to talk about it because it is the norm and not the exception. 

Listen, I am not trying to read you. I’ve experienced this myself and I’ve literally heard this a thousand times with clients. 

But if you’re feeling this way right now, put everything away and read this: Suicide: the Forever Decision by Paul G. Quinnett, PhD. It’s available for free in PDF and there are several places to download the PDF for free. Dr. Quinnett was brilliant, and I highly recommend it. It saved my life.

You are important - your life is important. If you are looking for a sign, here it is: please reach out.

Also, let's remember our friends at the Veterans Crisis Line. They are there to help and they care. Call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or text 838255. You can also call 911 or go straight to the emergency room. 

Bottom line is that once we're better, we can reach out to get the help we need. 

We want to hear from you and value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Thursday, August 11, 2022

The 11th: Buddy Check Day

 

The 11th day of each month is Buddy Check Day reminding us to check in with other veterans. By getting in touch with others, we can enjoy camaraderie, check on each other’s well-being, and maybe even connect another veteran with a service they can use.


Buddy Check can be as simple as picking up the phone, talking, texting, or visiting.


Buddy Check Day is a great opportunity for veterans to connect with each other, and for other community members to reach out and connect with veterans.


It promotes camaraderie and connectedness. It also serves as an opportunity to educate folks on issues that are relevant to veterans across Texas and to educate folks on the services that are available to veterans.


We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

My Birthday - Your Gift! Download The Quick Start Guide


I love birthdays because they are a celebration of life. Today is my birthday and I am celebrating by giving back to this amazing community.

Download your "Soldiers Quick Start Guide" to learn about myths and rumors about PTSD that are not true and learn about your PTSD symptoms as they are outlined in the DSM-5.

This is for The Soldier's Guide to PTSD, and not the Women's Guide which will be released this month. You can pre-order your copy of Acknowledge and Heal: A Women-Focused Guide To Understanding PTSD and be one of the first to review!

We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Friday, August 5, 2022

What is the DSM?

Fact: there is one only one way to get an official PTSD diagnosis, and that’s with a licensed clinician who knows their DSM-5. There is an updated version called the DSM-5-TR - the "TR" stands for "text revision."

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Version Five, is a big purple book that should be on your therapist’s bookshelf with the title DSM-5 or DSM-5 on the spine. The version five came out in 2013, and this is important for you to know in case you got a diagnosis before 2013 - the clinical definition of PTSD changed significantly from version four to version five. 

The DSM-5 is the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of all mental disorders. It contains descriptions, symptoms, and criteria for diagnosis. I am stomping my foot for a reason: if I had a nickel for every client I’ve seen who said their base psych didn’t diagnose them with PTSD because they did not score high enough on a “test,” I’d have three or four bucks. There is no “PTSD test;” you have to have a no-kidding come-to-Jesus sit-down with a mental health professional. It takes time and effort. You have to choose to be radically authentic with the clinician, and the clinician has to know their DSM-V. Hence, there are a lot of misdiagnoses out there. 

Bottom line is that we all deserve to get our lives back, so find a clinician who understands your diagnosis.

What worked for you to get a proper diagnosis? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD