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Anxiety

Trauma, PMDD and Women’s Mental Health: Straining to See Through Premenstrual Fog 


My car is almost 16 years old. I love it. But it’s at the end of its road, I’m afraid. Time to retire my trusty steed. In my search for a new car, I found one I knew I needed to act on this week before it was gone. Something I wasn’t prepared to do just days before my period. Because when my premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) shows up, I suffer at its mercy until I bleed. 



Advocacy

CPTSD, PTSD and Intergenerational Trauma: Breaking the Trauma Cycle Before Becoming a Parent 


I’ve been feeling the clock tick. At 39, I find myself shedding tears of hope and joy when I hear a toddler's voice or a baby’s cry. It happens as if from nowhere. Once about eight months ago (pre-pandemic if you can remember what that was like), my husband and I sat in a small diner in Santa Monica next to a couple with two toddlers. We were enjoying our breakfast, and then one of the toddlers started speaking, and then the tears came. That little voice. Those curious little words. My husband looked up from his omelet puzzled, “Are you crying,” he asked lovingly. “I told you, this is what happens,” I said, tears streaming down my face. Another time, I was in Target. A kid was whaling, and I welled up and thought, I want one, surprising even myself. The same thing happened in my backyard the other night — I heard a little voice, I cried. Part of me realizes it’s probably my body’s inner cry. My maternal clock ticking. Letting me know it’s almost time. 

But as much as I’ve wanted a child over the last few years, I haven’t felt ready. Not in the way people say you’ll never be ready. But in the way trauma survivors need to feel ready. Collected. Grounded. Unwavering. And I’m getting there. But I’ve had to deal with my trauma first. Birth that child. The demon child. 



Change

CPTSD, PTSD and Intergenerational Trauma: Don’t Let Fear of Change Prevent You from Growing

After contemplating getting my first tattoo for the past year, I finally found someone I think is the right artist for me, so I sent her an email. I received an automated response asking me for details: what I’m thinking of getting, the size, the placement and pictures that could help the artist see my vision. As soon as I started writing down the information she requested, I felt a sensation come over me. I felt uncomfortable. Awkward. I started second-guessing myself. Second-guessing her. And then as I clicked, Send, I realized what the feeling was: it was fear. 



Anxiety

CPTSD, PTSD, OCD and Trauma: How Creating Boundaries Will Set You Free


For the last few months, I’ve started telling myself I can no longer cry because things are hard. Because life is hard. Because crying does nothing to change it. I’m not referring to the pain-releasing crying that is healing. I’m referring to the defeated crying that keeps me down. Stuck in an underworld. Unable to see my way out. 

But what I’m realizing is that I can set boundaries with myself. Boundaries that will help me rise up when I’m feeling pulled down. Boundaries that will help me feel productive and not burned out. Boundaries that will help me remember who I am — that will help me find my way out of the darkness. The boundaries I set save my obsessive mind from falling down that dark hole — into the nothing — no matter how intriguing or inevitable that hole may seem. It’s all about boundaries, boundaries, boundaries. And then more boundaries. 



Boundaries

Trauma, Empathy and Mindfulness: Creating and Holding Space and Boundaries

After suffering extreme loss of myself, I’m learning to let go of the pain. To move all the pain and trauma out of my body to create space for love and joy. For regardless of what happened or what happens, life moves on. And it’s up to me how I live it. 

During this process, I’m also learning how to create space for another. Because when it comes to someone else's suffering, to someone else's pain, it is sometimes more difficult to let go. Perhaps it's because it is not my pain I’m holding onto — so I don’t recognize it in the same ways as I do my own. Perhaps it’s because I’m still learning boundaries: where I end and another begins. Either way, I’m learning I have to create and hold space in order for either of us to have the chance to heal. 



Agoraphobia

OCD, PTSD, SPD and COVID: Masks, Panic Attacks and a Trip to Target 

Right before COVID hit, I was just starting to break free from the stiff hold my rules have had on me for decades. The rules I’d set in place to help myself survive were slowly lessening. Melting away as I learned to let go. And everyday things like going to the store started feeling easier. Less panic-inducing. But now that COVID outbreaks are the reality, my need to control my environment is back in full swing. Causing me to risk having a panic attack every time I leave the house.



Childhood Emotional Neglect

CPTSD, PTSD, OCD and Intergenerational Trauma: The Danger of Controlling and the Joy of Letting Go


Learning to practice mindfulness has helped me understand what it means to let something go. Growing up with a whole host of issues, it was something that was said to me often: “Just let it go.” As if it was easy. But I couldn’t. Because I didn’t even know what I was supposed to be letting go of. 

In order to truly let go, we have to face ourselves. And all of our pain. And all of our fears. All of the things that have happened to us. That we’ve done or that we've been a victim of. Our darkest secrets. The secrets our ancestors probably carried too. And then, as we do the work to heal, day after day after day, we will learn to let go. And in the place of all the things we let go of — the things we used to try to control — we will find joy. 


Ancestors

CPTSD, PTSD and Intergenerational Trauma: We Are in This Together (And 8 Tips for Healing)


Dear Reader,

It's been a tough few weeks, and I was at a loss for what to write about because I have been too depressed to feel creative. But then as I caught up on emails, I noticed how important it is for those of us suffering to know that others share our struggles. Not that others suffer, that part is heartbreaking. But when you suffer from disorder and if you've suffered a trauma, you can feel completely alone, and the support of knowing others get it — get you — is sometimes the first step toward healing.



CEN

CPTSD, PTSD and Intergenerational Trauma: How the Pandemic Became the Predator 


I knew the pandemic was triggering for me. Bringing back old compulsions. Familiar fears. Making me feel stuck. Anxious. Ready to fight, flee or freeze. But I didn’t quite understand why until speaking with my psychotherapist and learning that it is precisely my fear response that has made me relapse into a post-traumatic stress response. So basically, the pandemic became the predator.