Coping with big emotions is a challenge. For us, big emotions feel urgent and overwhelming. When we struggle to catch our breath, many of our traumas are triggered. Breath is so underrated. A deep inhale followed by a big sigh or prolonged exhale can feel so restorative. In fact, catching our breath is the goal … Continue reading Practicing skills when “calm”
Both children are in distress. Older Child has reached the point of 100% stress, 100% of the time. This is the point Younger Child reached last Fall. We are beside ourself with worry for them. We are recommending that Older Child consider mental health support. Spouse wonders if Older Child might move back home (classes … Continue reading Pandemic: prolonged mental health crises
Have brain zaps. Am so hypervigilant that doors opening and closing in our house are sending us up a wall. Tried to nap. No luck. It might be Xanax withdrawal. We are poor at tapering meds. We have apparently been on it too long. Years. Dangerous. New meds still has us sleepy. Not as much. … Continue reading Electrifried brain: meds
Hypervigilance, as most experiences, has shades, gradations. Many people feel a heightened sense of fear in times of high stress. If you have experienced Trauma, that increase can push you out of your window of tolerance. We are finding our baseline is now out of the window of tolerance. Practices to get back into our … Continue reading Practices to calm frazzled nerves
A Post from a trusted source:People are scared right now, and this fear is making them do stupid, greedy things. The fact of the matter is that everyone gets sicks, sooner or …In Times of Worry: The COVID Scare
Little ones still get confused sometimes when breathing. When we were young, we used to think our tummy should go inward on the in breath and balloon out on the out breath because you breathe in and exhale out. We could not quite understand the synchronicity of the breath, until a few months ago, when … Continue reading Breath work is work
So much of our thinking is flavored by these plotlines. Our mind does not appreciate uncertainty, and so these familiar stories help us write the rest of an unfolding or prolonged situation to its bitter conclusion.
You practice a fire drill when there is no fire. The goal is to know what to do in case of a fire. So it goes with mental health coping skills and crisis planning: practice when you are relatively calm so that you know what to do when you are panicked. We are panicked. We … Continue reading This is why we practice
We may not share disorders in common, and we may share feelings of low self-worth.
[This blog may use we/us and I/me pronouns interchangeably] We used to write fiction for fun. We wrote a humorous novel. It took us, like, twelve years to finish it. Maybe longer. We worked diligently on it for the last five or six years. It was among our primary hobbies and consumed many a weekend. … Continue reading Your hobby or your life?
I was getting annoyed that family member was starting to re-ask the same questions and was getting stuck in "analysis paralysis." I tried to look inside myselves to see how I could survive this
The air turns toothy and gnaws memories back to plasticity like two-day-old gum. The past stretches and bends and lacks the flavor of then. It absorbs ambient tastes. Feeds on dying leaves and burning wood. Instead of withering, I lose 30 years in a train whistle blasting through porous trees. I am dying of youth.
Shame doesn't have to be permanent. There is a "cure":
Though it won't stick, today's winter preview is beautiful to me. Heavy, wet snow clumping on everything. I think of the baby birds now on their own and seeing snow for the first time--and so early! This experience may make first-year animals more cautious with food caching. Survival imperatives kicking in. Something I am learning … Continue reading First Snow
One of the primary difficulties with incorporating new coping skills is that when you need them, you are in crisis, which often means you don't know that you need them or can't remember them! This is why it is important to practice coping skills when you're not in crisis. The barrier to practicing when you're … Continue reading Practice coping skills when you’re calm
I just spent 20 days as a patient in a trauma hospital. Patients were from all walks of life. No one complained about material deprivations in their lives, no one wished for more stuff or money, and plenty of patients were financially bereft. I pointed out that winning the lottery wouldn't help anyone here have … Continue reading Experiencing Life
The dreaded days of fireworks. With PTSD, fireworks are gunshots, bombs, danger.
Last night, we dreamed of zombies. In it, our spouse was straying from our side amid a nighttime zombie attack. We couldn't keep spouse close to us, which increased panic. We saw a fallen body and instinctively moved toward it to help. Before we could get within 50 feet, the body was dragged away legs … Continue reading Turning stress into joy
As we aged, we transformed the rich experience of surviving the tornado into a static data point to prove our misfortune. Our therapist shows us how to add it back.
Practicing presence, after using dissociative states to survive for the past forty years, feels the same as if a doctor told us, "You've been living wrong all these years. Breathing air is harmful. You're supposed to be holding your breath forever, not breathing." That is how automatic dissociating has become.
Maybe if we honk our horns less and talk to our neighbors more, we will all feel better.
starting a new practice--to look for good in things or to approach situations with no expectations at all--takes conscious effort
Five non-medication, fast and easy interventions for traumatic flashbacks.