I’m talking about the damage that being forced through a system or structure created to serve itself causes. Add any kind of history of trauma and this system tips the scales into crisis.
Name the structure and we can identify the damage it causes to people who have to endure it.
The specific structure of course that I am referring to here is the medical system.
We all experience traumas… Carrying the load of healing is hard all on it’s own; adding the gauntlet of the medical system seems inhumane.
The medical system is funded politically. Funds are allocated by the government based on the decisions of government officials and boards of directors made up of investors and stakeholders with very little regard for serving anyone but themselves; and a narrow scope of how life is lived outside of the top tiers of society.
Decisions are made by people wealthy enough to pay for any private medical services they require, no expenses spared. No deciding between food or medicine for these folks. They are accustomed to the best of the best.
Make no mistake. The medical system is a trauma minefield!
First flaw; a lack of fluidity between mental health and physical health. They are entirely separate!!!
The polarity between the support I needed for my physical symptoms and the support I needed for my complex post traumatic stress disorder symptoms almost broke me.
I couldn’t find anyone in either system that could help me with both!!
I would ask about my central nervous symptoms, and pain… ask about my emotional symptoms with the physical doctor… no one could help me connect the dots. They all left me disappointed and more and more helpless.
The mental healthcare system has been heavily underfunded since it’s inception. People have been forced to suffer through the effects of trauma alone, in fear of the stigmatization and treatment of patients who need mental health support.
Until you have had no choice but to be on the receiving end of this “care” you will not resonate with what this truly means. But those who know, know.❤️
Structural damage starts at the basic care level and extends into every crevasse.
Long wait times amplify symptoms, and symptoms amplify chaos and fear.
The more I connect with others and hear their story of their personal battle through the gauntlet that is the system the more I believe that the structure is causing way more harm than help!
Basic care has doctors booking 10 minute appointments, and throwing their hands up at you for seeking help beyond the prescription pad.
I don’t know any person with a complex chronic illness that can explain everything that is going on with them; and thoughts about how symptoms might connect in 10 minutes; unless you bring notes or a power point or something.
I bring notes, and a whole file of medical documents and my own research with me to appointments. Because intakes cause medical ptsd symptoms for me now.
The system that supports the most vulnerable is broken, and it has been for decades.
Long before the thing in which we do not speak of arrived in 2019.
It is because it is a system for the system by the system that has been underfunded and under resourced for decades.
In 2021 I could not be helped because we couldn’t get the emailed req off my phone and into their system by email- because they only use fax. How does this happen?
The patient has insurance to cover the cost of the medications that are prescribed using the supply chain that is the medical system.
When you step back and understand the structure of the systems, it is easier to adjust your expectations about the kinds of help available.
When someone is facing the courageous act of healing, the last thing they need is structural damage on top of it all.
I continue to be an advocate for post traumatic growth…. But if we can bring light to the issues within the structures, perhaps we can advocate for change there too!
I hope sharing my journey through helps you advocate for a more trauma informed journey for yourself!
A component of my complex ptsd diagnosis is medical trauma caused by years of structural damage.
Safety is a precious commodity that very few have the means to hold.
Safety is not something that should be sold like a commodity, but it is, just like everything else.
How much safety do you buy?
Insurances of any kind, equipment, safety services?
It’s a huge market, because it is a basic human need.
Just like the beauty industry that plays on the basic human need for belonging.
Or the medical industry that plays on the basic need for access;used to be access to care… but they’ve currently bumped it up to access to society.
Billion dollar markets my friends! Think about that for longer than a second.
I thought that perhaps the pursuit of safety was just a cptsd healing thing; but when I look deeper it’s a human thing.
We all need safety, and many of us have no idea how to achieve it. Because it is safety that we need, and fear that keeps us stuck. It is the ultimate paradoxical dilemma… the juxtaposition between safety and fear.
The pursuit of safety for me has been stitched closely together with my pursuit of wellness; because in order to achieve wellness I also require safety, go figure!
It has been the missing piece the whole time for me, and I think that is true for many of us; because safety is something that all of us still seek in one or more aspect of our lives.
We seek financial safety in our abilities and skills.
We seek emotional safety in our relationships, the need is even more with intimate relationships.
We seek the safety of belonging.
We seek safety because we need it to self regulate and reach the rejuvenation advantage. Safety is the secret sauce.
When I can’t accomplish safety for myself I am very easily triggered into trauma responses, that’s cptsd. But it still holds true for all humans. We go into survival mode if we feel threatened or unsafe.
It is when we don’t have that sense of safety; plus we don’t have the tools or help we need to regulate during or after that a traumatic experience is formed.
It’s a simple equation really.
Helplessness and neglect of needs or isolation is “all”it takes for a traumatic experience to form as an emotional blockage.
We cross the line from a feeling of regulation and safety into a space where are not capable of regulating and initiate the fight, flight, freeze, or fawn subconsciously to survive.
We are emotionally designed to disassociate and detach ourselves from the experience of trauma. We will always have a unique mixture of our own emotions, but noticing the ways that you specifically disassociate to cope is helpful knowledge to have.
There are 4 common response paths. Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn. Certain circumstances call for each of them depending on your needs. I’ve experienced all of them, I think we all do to some degree.
That’s all complex trauma responses are built of. Compounded band aided neuropathways created after that unregulated experience. It gets complex when there are multiple experiences that help form many limiting beliefs, but that is the basic structure.
The experience of trauma happens in any circumstance when something happens to you, or around you, where you do not feel safe and don’t have the power to control your circumstances.
This happens quite naturally in parent-child relationships in general. Everyone who was once an infant communicating your needs, without language or ability has experienced helplessness linked to literal survival needs. It’s great if caregivers practice urgency and attentiveness. But it is traumatic if the needs aren’t met with some shared sense of urgency for the one feeling helpless. ❤️
If a child is “acting out” which is a child’s way of asking for more attention, and an adult is having an emotional reaction and say raising their voice… the child has no control over that. On top of that, the child also doesn’t get the advantage of regulation that they expressed the need for. This inadvertently changes the child’s behaviour to avoid asking for support, because it has been proven an unsafe path.
It can happen just once, or repeated times both are traumatic if left unresolved. Unmet emotional needs are traumatic for children to experience.
The same is true for adults unmet emotional needs are traumatic for everyone.
Chronic illness or disease is often a trigger for feeling unsafe because there is no control of what was happening, or when. There often isn’t much choice but to participate in invasive tests. Non-compliance is met with loss of access. Then often the support that is available does more harm than good.
People healing any kind of trauma pathways need safety for their healing journey, and it is hard to come by. The system is broken and it is hard to navigate, and close family and relationships are often tainted with historically charged emotional issues, judgement and unrealistic expectations; so safety is often really hard to find in healing, especially before you learn to create it for yourself.
Safety is a commodity that we exchange trust time and money to create for us the advantage of feeling safe in our lives. It is something we both need, and deeply desire.
There are layers to safety that are not widely understood; yet we know we need it and keep searching as a primal response.
We barter for it.
We want to feel safe, and we seek safety for our lives even subconsciously.
In relation to others we seek safety in their confidence with our vulnerabilities.
In general we seek safety as one of the values we guide our lives with as we meet our basic needs for shelter, water and food. We want safe environments- physically and emotionally. We want safe clean drinking water, and we want safe chemical free food to eat.
We seek safety in authentic belonging; being freed from the discrimination of others.
For ourselves we seek safety and trust from within that gives us the understanding of our implicit worth. We seek, and find that our self worth is always 100%, regardless of what we think about ourselves that day. It is there we find safety.
The emotional needs of humans are just beginning to be understood as mental health education continues to break barriers and spread emotional intelligence among society.
Safety is a precious commodity to humans, like water.
Safety; and the perception of it is dependant on individual perspective.
The feeling of safety is achieved when you get the sensation that you will be comforted in your authenticity, and not shamed. Then it is reinforced when the actions meet the intentions of your life consistently.
Some of us will only every experience the luxury of safety after unlearning the patterns that keep us from it.
If you feel like you are in a position, like me, where you know safety is available but you aren’t in the position to purchase it- I feel the injustice!
For example: Our medical and public health system isn’t designed around safety; it is created by people who can buy it for themselves. The world looks different through their lenses. They take that position for granted, and we aren’t granted safety because we can’t purchase it.
If you are struggling to feel the feeling of safety in any area of you life, know that it is possible to feel safe again it takes practice, and a boatload of self advocacy.
Buckle down and learn your needs, and how to meet them as best you can. Show up for yourself.
Do what you can do. If you have some unlearning to do; cancel the pity party you normally throw and Start unlearning now.
Small steps forward is the prescribed method for any long term change; but you have got to do the work. Seeking safety for your life in all of the areas that you desire will walk you right onto the path of self love.
When you choose trauma informed self love you learn to cultivate safety independently. By leveraging safety as a valuable commodity you learn to trust yourself and honour yourself enough to walk away from people, places, or things that no longer serve you. You begin to trust yourself differently, because you know that you have your own back.
If you have the confidence to do any of that, you’ve achieved cultivating safety independently…. Congratulations you hold safety as a renewable resource commodity; that’s some high level achievement!
Love yourself first, love yourself through it my friends!
An interesting thing happens when you begin to become aware of what is actually occurring in your current life is because your perceptions are skewed from gaslighting. It’s a very powerful acknowledgment.
Once you became aware of it you begin to find it everywhere. That’s the backhand of awareness, you can’t un-find what you’ve already become aware of it just doesn’t work like that.
The experience of medical gaslighting while accessing care for chronic illness needs is a reality for many. The system is not “free”. We exchange our vulnerability and access to our bodies for invasive testing alongside the 18month wait times to be medically gaslit after a 10 minute consultation.
It comes from “friends”, relatives and even strangers. They will shamelessly gaslight you in the name of their personal beliefs and fixed mindset narratives.
Look at any news article right now and then look at the comments. As a coach it is hard to watch so many people be so blindly cruel to other humans over a personal choice.
The government has even taken a liking to the use of gaslighting to feed their narratives these days. It’s literally everywhere!
We as a society are steeped in the experience of being gaslit, so much so that it is nearly a social norm to experience narcissistic behaviours: discrimination and stigmatization are all ways to enhance gaslighting’s ability to debilitate someone.
And if you have done the work of healing from the emotional abuse of a narcissistic person, discrimination, racism, stigmatization, you know exactly how deep the sharp edges of gaslighting cut; because you have survived them.
Invisible wounds from invisible words feeding invisible illnesses. It is its own toxic cycle.
Gaslighting has unfortunately become so trendy that people replicate it unconsciously. It is time to become aware, consciously aware.
Ive had really close friends and even family choose gaslighting over taking accountability for their intentionally harmful actions. Ive had to end those relationships.
Narcissists will always choose ego over accountability; notice that.
Since gaslighting is such a catch phrase that is commonly used incorrectly…. Let’s review the dictionary.com definition:
“To cause a person to doubt his or her sanity through the use of psychological manipulation”
According to Wikipedia manipulation is described as follows:
“Manipulation or emotional manipulation is the use of devious means to exploit, control or otherwise influence others to ones advantage”
I’ve been taking a deep dive into both gaslighting and manipulation as I am healing from the felt experiences of both in their various forms.
To further explain the experience of gaslighting here are some common indicators that it is happening, or that you might be blindly participating either as the victim or the gaslighter 😬.
✨using intense emotional connection to control the other persons behaviour “but I’m your (insert family hierarchy status) I expect (insert some behaviour that they are demanding) because (insert emotional manipulation via guilt)”.
Example: “but I’m your Father, I expect you, as an adult, to allow me to have authority over your choices because I gave up my dream career and perceived future to marry your mother when she got pregnant. So it would mean lots to me if you would just do what I say, for once”.
✨ playing on a persons insecurities. If a person has disclosed their deepest insecurities to you and you use that information to manipulate them or sabotage them somehow by over sharing information not yours to disclose.
✨ lying and denial. Pretty straight forward.
✨hyperbole and generalization you”always”… “this one thinks the world revolves around her”
✨changing the subject, or not being willing to have conversations that involve emotions.
✨moving the goalposts, or conditions to accessing non-abusive support.
✨using fear to control another person
Look around your life. Everyone’s got people who play with the fire of gaslighting. It has been woven into our society, into our communities and it seeps into our relationships and homes. If you’ve never noticed before it does slap you in the face to find out that it has been happening.
The experience of being gaslit makes the person receiving it question their own self worthiness, and sometimes their purpose in the world. We lose people because the people around them are ignorant to the harm that their words and judgements have when they are practicing gaslighting.
Gaslighting is everywhere these days, all driven by fear basted, anxiety ridden hurt people… all out there hurting other people instead of resolving their need to avoid feelings.
Since gaslighting is emotional warfare, if you do notice that you are finding gaslighting around you… it is a good time to seek some supportive learning communities on the topic.
Ive relied on the support of my counsellors, coaches and psychologist to help support me in my navigation of healing. Of course there are books and videos and lectures by the thousands… but there is something unique that only 1:1 support can offer you.
That is a deeper understanding of your personal experience, you can’t get this doing solo work. You often need the perspective of a safe person to help recognize the patterns of a few key points that are holding you back.
The growth happens beyond the limitations we keep for ourselves. The purpose of gaslighting someone is manipulation and limitation. We can’t grow if we are constantly having to emotionally reconcile the betrayals of manipulation. Growth happens after safety is achieved and self reliance is established.
If this has made you recognize that you are sometimes guilty of some moderate gaslighting tendencies- this is a beautiful opportunity for you to just notice. Don’t judge yourself, some people were raised in environments where emotional gaslighting was called love. ❤️
Noticing now gives you a choice.
Now You can choose not to replicate old patterns. It starts with awareness that it is happening, then a commitment to make changes to stop it from continuing.
I won’t allow gaslighting to be a pattern I repeat.
Where did you even start? We start with awareness, every single time. And every single time awareness has the power to stop us in our tracks.
I’ve asked for help to heal physically, and been told that my symptoms are not urgent enough, and that I must wait… then when the help arrives my needs are too complex and that the wait must continue to wait in a longer line for a more specialized specialist. This made me more aware of my needs and more aware that they were not being met.
I’ve asked for help to heal emotionally, but am blocked by my lack of emotional intelligence and my conditioned trauma responses, making my emotional needs complex, and therefore I was unable to find a suitable, and affordable solution in a timely manner. This process made me very aware of my inadequacies when I no longer had the coping skills
That left me with this sense of abandonment, I was sick but told to wait. But waiting with abandonment trauma and compounding symptoms came to a stress point within me that said…
“I have to figure out what I CAN do right now”
What don’t I know?
What am I missing?
What do I need to let go of to make space for healing?
What areas or experiences in my life did my circumstances alter/ drastically differ from the spectrum of normal?
What did those different experiences give me that I utilize as part of my skill set today?
Are those skills still healthy and helping me achieve goals?
Have you ever had to defend what is best for you and your body from a position of vulnerability and awareness with the real risk of supports that you rely on for survival being removed?
This has been my life for 3 years since I began asking for help.
Along the way I have asked and answered these questions for myself, found what I CAN do now, what I was “missing”. I did all of that deep work to bring me to where I am in my healing journey today.
This has been a battle FOR my life, and it has touched every layer, and utilized every survival skill I own.
What I would like from those who are fortunate enough to not experience the need to heal… is to be kinder to those who choose it. It is a confusing place to be when you have no choice but to access support that abuses you in the most traumatic of ways. The systems, supports and relationships we access are not trauma informed in the beginning stages of our healing- because in the beginning we aren’t asking the right questions, because we are often not aware of the depth of the issues we are facing; or why we are facing them.
Advocating for yourself is currently noted as deviant, selfish, and the public are doing an excellent job of highlighting how society treats people who advocate for themselves in ways that help them hold their personal values when it is outside of their version of “normal”.
Having integrity for yourself is punished, openly and often these days. People are being discriminated against openly for private medical decisions. Although it is more prominent and noticeable as we watch the events of the world support this nonsense of segregation and discrimination it is just highlighting what anyone accessing care has to endure.
People like to target people who are healing with all kinds of abusive behaviours or even just intentionally insensitive ones. They go as far as emotional and verbal abuse in simple conversation by refusing to come away from their own fixed mindset about your choices, that they have not taken the time to understand. The emotional landscape of support is riddled with people who are very loud about their fixed mindset, especially around emotionally sensitive topics that often contribute to re-traumatization in your process of healing.
They will try to sabotage your success with judgement, and for the first few stages of your healing they may even nearly succeed if you aren’t fully aware of your mindset.
In the beginning it is so easy to slip backwards, and with practice over time, you slip less and try to fall forward…. but it sucks in the beginning.
It’s easy to spiral a bit when someone disintegrates your growth; and is ignorant to your values, for a moment you are snapped back into a trauma response cycle. With practice you know that authenticity is where you are trying to grow and learn from. Part of growth is becoming aware that your triggers will likely always be there for you as you continue to grow, so learning how to embrace your authentic whole perfectly imperfect self will help the process.
Flaw finding has always been a way to hold people in shame for themselves, their urges, or any other thing someone gets ridiculed for in society now. Being aware of yourself helps you understand and manage your own perceived inadequacies, because we all have them.
Even though there will be criticism, don’t fear it enough to let it stop you from making the best choice for you; move forward with your authentic self. Turn that fear into the cue for you to stand taller in your authenticity and love for yourself and your journey. This is the work.
Face the fear. Practice that. Practice choosing healing no matter what, until your instinct in fear is to practice growth. That is the path to post traumatic growth my friends, and that is what I am here for.
Choosing to find healing means choosing to be aware of your so called flaws, to learn from them, choosing to grow, and ultimately choosing to become aware of all of the ways that you have contributed to your current state.
Awareness is a hard thing to practice, and the first dive into awareness can be devastating to those who are silently, secretly, battling the long term side affects of coping in a life with unresolved trauma like I was.
Awareness is a prickly bitch for everyone at first… but can quickly turn into a spiral pattern for those of us who already have those programs installed in our brains.
Awareness that you are living in a full blown trauma response cycle doesn’t exactly bring about feelings of safety.
This is where we most often get lost in some sort of emotional spiral. We become aware- then we need to change our 3.5 decades or so of neurological processing in 24-36 hours or we have somehow failed at existing.
Oh… that’s just me… lol??
I spiralled HARD when I became fully self aware of how I was doing the whole self -fulfilling prophecy thing on my life; and not in the good way. Realizing that you have been living textbook trauma responses as an underlying program; and that was why my body was screaming at me to heal was a hard thing to come to terms with. Facing the consequences of your own actions, and making changes for better results is the goal. Knowing that growth is the goal settles the need to “win” and moves forward with the goal of understanding and fulfilling your own needs.
Then once you are in the already vulnerable position of asking for help you are asked to dig even deeper for answers to problems you just became aware of. It is a double down for awareness, and it feels like a giant slap in the face.
The awareness that your need for help is real and exists for you to safely navigate the present.
That is a challenging line for people to walk, made more complex by pre existing traumatic experiences that play a part in emotional development.
For me, this happened very quickly when I discovered the trauma link. The observation of my felt experiences led me to trauma, every single time.
Then I came to the realization that my brain bee-lines for trauma responses… every single time.
What…. Holy shit that ALL needs to go was my initial reaction.
How do I get trauma out of every part of my life as quickly as possible without causing any further harm to my very bomb-like central nervous system. I was finding that I was coping-out in the areas that I valued the most.
As I tootled along collecting information, knowledge and hard lessons to gather wisdom
I became the observer of my own behaviours and I practiced it for a painfully long time to heal the trauma connections as they surfaced.
I noticed the trauma link all over my life.
I felt like I had little fires of trauma response fuelled emotional processing in very important pockets of my life. Some areas felt like those little fires had turned into hectares of energy being burned… when you do the forensics beneath those fires you find that the truth about your emotional processing is embedded by your earlier experiences and whether your whole body needs were met, mine seldom were.
For people who’ve repeatedly experienced not having their needs met; it often turns into not understanding how to meet our own needs.
And, of course it does.
When we learn that our needs can’t or won’t be met we learn how to cope-out with our unmet needs remaining unmet, or we find things to replace the “need” like emotional eating disorders, addictions and cognitive thought processing patterns like ocd.
We cope-out of feeling feelings; when the only way to heal is through allowing space to understand the unmet need within yourself, then taking even more time, energy and space to move through “ I don’t know, I can’t” and answer as though you can… maybe just not yet.
Resist the urge to cope and replace it with a curiosity for leaning more into the realm of self-discovery.
I asked for help a hundred times before I came to the realization that I was the one I was searching for. That I am the one that I needed to understand, and love first to make the changes I dreamed of become the life I am living. Now as a practice, I check in with myself first, meet my own needs and then ask for help falling forward.
Of course I am talking about the masks that we wear.
You know the ones.
The ones that hide the truth about what makes you who you are.
We wear them out of fear.
Fear of judgment. Fear of isolation for being unique. Fear of discrimination. Fear of abuse. Fear of processing challenging emotions. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of awareness.
Fear… every human has a unique blend of it that they subconsciously allow to manipulate their intended outcomes.
We wear invisible masks to avoid facing our fears. Masks that are so well hidden that they become personality traits and isms that we develop to cope with wearing the masks in the first place! (Tricky!!)
Fear based decision making and reactions are a problem within the human experience. When we move through life unconscious of how our fear based actions and behaviours are contributing to our outcomes we are truly letting our natural conditioning guide us.
If we are both unaware and undisciplined in our response behaviours we find ourselves suffering with central nervous system based symptoms like anxiety (over load of the CNS), depression (fear based/living in the past/ unable to imagine a bright future for yourself). As well as every auto immune disregulation process under the autoimmune umbrella that is not from a structural abnormality. Ie: pcos, ibs, chronic inflammation, adrenal problems like cushing syndrome, gut issues, brain fog, loss of motivation to name a few. Then we get stuck not being able to understand why, and not being able to break the patterns. All because they are outside of your awareness, and stuck inside a layer of masked behaviours and isms that we’ve created to survive or perhaps even thrive.
It isn’t until we finally take off all of the masks and look at why we wear them in the first place that they can give us the knowledge we seek so desperately to understand. 🙌🏼 it is HERE where you come to find your answers.
All of those quotes about the answers being within you… THIS is what THAT means!! 😘
The healing begins when you take off the mask and find your awareness of why you put that mask on in the first place.
Once you do that you can decide if you like that mask for any reasons that truly serve you, take the wisdom; but leave the mask!
We all have this looming anxiety about the vulnerability of being unmasked, for others being able to detect our flaws if we admit to having them.
Society teaches us not to get caught with our masks off; and conditions is with the fears of being different, or seen as different. We often endure some form of punishment that keeps us masked and hidden and “in line”.
If we do manage uniqueness and authenticity we risk being singled out as different.
Fear of being yourself ought not be a condition that you love or live by, in my opinion.
You are perfect, just the way you are. Show the world your authentic unmasked self.
The more I get caught with my masks off and embrace the vulnerability, the more authentic and meaningful my interactions with others become. We make deeper connections because of the vulnerability and awareness present when people are authentic.
Don’t let society, or even fear keep you with those masks on… take them off one at a time and at your own pace.
You deserve the joy of being your authentic unmasked self.
Go get caught without your masks on… and see what awareness can really do for you.
I can allow for three days grace, through trial and error I have found the magic number for me.
It is 3.
My specific window of tolerance for not following through with my self care baselines is three days. I’ve deemed it my three days grace.
This means that I know that if I am feeling unwell, and need to take a break to process emotionally, I can comfortably allow myself three days grace. Three days to process, feel and heal through whatever I am processing. I can release myself from all of the super hero shit I usually manage to pull off.
Let it go for three days.
From experience… trial and error, and practice.
On about the third day of lacking responsibility for progress is when the anxiety- depression concoction that is cptsd starts to become intolerable and too challenging to ignore. The mom guilt, the regular guilt, the not enough stuff, all that comes to the forefront if I skip out on the self care for three days.
Three days. That’s how much grace I allow myself.
That’s it. That’s how close to burn out my body still is as I pace my way through and level up by clawing back at my energy levels. Some of us are only days or hours away from burnout, and some of us are in the thick of it with a side of fatigue and the bitter taste of the last two years of the world being on fire have us all in the same burnout boat.
Three freaking days is all it takes to alter my mood and turn me into a #hotmessexpress! My hormones go haywire, and the system initiates a stress response, immediately followed (for me) by a trauma response cascade.
Any more than Three days of the emotional guilt rollercoaster plus the emotional considerations that chronic illness is suffocating my life those thoughts and feelings come back in three days. With the stress of it all… back some of the symptoms that I loathe, like nerve sensitivity, and widespread inflammation, pain, tension headaches, tightness, ibs, nausea, all the fun grief spiral stuff. Full blown central nervous system temper tantrum symptoms, also known as centralized sensitization syndrome symptoms begin for me in three days.
All become very prominent, and increasingly more uncomfortable if I am not meeting my baselines for self care.
This is because my baselines literally keep the symptoms away, because I have designed them specifically to regulate my central nervous system. I use trauma informed self care practices.
I’ve designed my life and my baseline routines on purpose; to meet my basic needs first. On the daily I manage my symptoms and create opportunities to grow.
I utilize my routine for self care that I use to manage my symptoms as medicine. I had to incorporate pacing I’ve taken all of the information that I have received from the professionals that I have encountered and I cultivated their recommendations into a lifestyle that reflects my values and it allows me three days grace, which for me means : the freedom to rest when I need it- without causing issues with my other conditions. I put the advice into practical practice into my life, and had no choice but to learn pacing as part of my post traumatic growth strategy.
With patience and dedication I see results, more and more every single day.
Pacing, and learning it, and respecting it like the delicate bomb that it is is integral to healing success. Pushing too hard makes me crash, not pushing enough keeps me in my anxiety and depression symptoms. It feels like it takes precision and dedication to find this sweet spot.
For those of us who struggle with people pleasing and perfectionism, having the ability to give ourselves grace and space to rest is against beliefs that we have held for a long time! Learning the delicate art of pacing has tested and tried me like no other challenge this far!
Now that I have a grasp on my pacing needs, I am gifted this grace.
I don’t always have to be “on” and feel the weight of my perfectionism on me – this gives me some space to breathe and just be present.
Mindfulness, trauma awareness and authenticity all together hold space to create Chronic wellness for the win! But it is pacing that moves you forward. The seemingly insignificant intentional efforts in my self care routine keep me on pace. One day at a time I lean on my trauma informed self care, and I grow…. Slow as molasses it feels like, but it’s better than not moving at all. That is pacing.
That’s how powerful self care in this way is, without it- my symptoms return for me in 3 days. With self care, they are reducing on pace with my healing practices. ❤️
5 small acts of self care each day keep my complex ptsd symptoms manageable for me. 5, that’s it. And they are mostly things I need to do anyway! Like shower, and walk. If I can’t do 5, I do 3, if I can’t do 3 I do 1. If I can’t even do one I probably need a date with my therapist! ❤️ and those are simply my baselines, my own gauge for wellness, that I created, for me, by me, out of love
Our bodies thrive in consistency and routine because our brains love predictability. Predictably provides us with a sense of safety. When we become consistent with how we take care of ourselves and how we love ourselves, our bodies start to come alive and flourish because of that consistency. When we are providing ourselves with consistent self love, affection and attention to our needs are met. Having our needs met equals safety. This is what I call the rejuvenation-advantage. This safety heals your cells because your central nervous system is properly regulated, and can remain out of trauma response cycles.
Safety in this sense brings your entire system out of reactionary responses that mimic and replicate your survival mode responses, and bring you back into what is called a window of tolerance.
When we meet our own needs first, we expand the window of tolerance for everything; including other peoples’ bullshit. We are more accepting and tolerant.
When we really do the work that everyone talks about and get to a place of truly loving and appreciating ourselves, we see more clearly what we hadn’t seen before.
We see how we weren’t meeting our own needs, and we ensure they get met, by meeting them ourselves first!
I have my three days grace, as a safety net. I am grateful to have it.
The truth is that I prefer to feel better, I prefer to do those self love basics because my body is counting on me for consistency now. I prefer the discomfort of growth and I choose to pace myself through growth.
Self care is my wellness plan, and I am grateful to have three days grace if I need them.
There was guilt around resting for me, and this helped me place my need for resting in line with my desire to expedite growth for myself.
I like this balance. I thrive in this consistency. I’m so grateful for this knowledge, it eases so much of my chronic illness management stress.
I learned a long time ago that you can’t heal in the same conditions you were hurt in, and you can’t heal in chaos… you’ve got to grow through it.
Knowing that I have three days grace has kept me headed in the direction of health, with less crashes into ptsd, it truly is three days grace.
Many people are so burnt out and desperate for their basics that they have lost their grace trying to scrape together what they really need. We lose our grace when we lose our patience.
Do you know how many days grace you have?
It’s a good answer to find for yourself. It saves me so much chasing to know and understand that I’ve got three days grace, and accept that as my pace.
I wish you wellness and grace as you navigate your pacing. Work on your routine, find your baselines and grow from there. Understanding pacing is a key to understanding how to motivate yourself. The pace of my pace nearly drove me mad! This takes time. Pace yourself, embrace the journey.
I am regarded as a very patient person, but the task of pacing tested me like no other! Just keep moving forward to find your grace.
I am learning to cognitively re-master my trauma responses, and that triggers others.
I am actively working on the regulation of my whole body while I am triggered or in a heightened response state, and that triggers others.
I’m working with my sensitivities, and learning how to create safety where I used to feel unsafe, both physically, emotionally and in relationships, that triggers others.
I’m learning to integrate Calm where there used to be chaos, and feelings where there used to just be numbness, this triggers others.
Anyone who has healed from anything knows that it gets worse before it gets better.
It’s true for all grief.
It’s true for a breakup, or divorce.
It’s true for healing after most surgery.
It’s true for healing emotional wounds.
It’s true for navigating change.
It’s been true for the global shitstorm we have all tirelessly endured.
It rings true for all grief.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better.
I want to highlight this again, because it is so hard to navigate all of this.
While you are healing and as you learn and change people who haven’t figured it out yet will judge you, even openly criticize you for doing your own damn work.
You keep doing what you need to do to heal.
Hurt people hurt people. Remember that when someone throws shade, or outright intentionally triggers you.
Hurt people hurt people.
Awareness is the key to making it through, but it also makes us aware of how shitty and discriminatory people actually act.
Or,sometimes they isolate you because they aren’t sure what to do, so they do nothing.
Discrimination is when someone changes the way that they behave based on who they are interacting with. The same thing happens when people are being stigmatized, people have a separate set of rules for you, usually when something you experience is triggering for them.
Discrimination and the mental health stigma have walked hand in hand in my journey to healing.
I was surprised when they both walked through some of my closest relationships though…
That truly caught me off guard.
It all happens in various stages depending on how much intimate personal information someone, or a system has, and it happens more from people, or systems who aren’t present in your day-to-day life. People who don’t only see pieces, or see just what they want to see and fill in their own blanks with their own judgement and opinions. I noticed that it was never anyone close enough to have the whole story that pass judgement.
If there is also generational healing at play that makes healing more complex because the family unit is in the midst of learning, and all at various stages, awareness levels and with differing stamina’s for this type of work.
I didn’t imagine that someone going from what was seen as extra high functioning mom, rig wife with a great career- to experiencing a medical trauma that flipped a coin sending me spiralling into cptsd (very openly) would have given people everything they needed to decide that I was not welcome, but it did.
It was probably really challenging to witness that coin flip from the outside as I rapidly sunk into illness, chaos and utter shock and confusion, alone feeling like I’d lost everything because in that version of my reality I had. I had lost my career, and some key relationships crumbled, then my marriage began to teeter on the edge of failure with the decline of my mental health.
I was a mess, on all levels.
Imagine what it was like to experience it all, abandoned and alone.
Being called too much, or told that the inward focus that I had taken on was selfish.
Nothing that I scraped together to accomplish was ever seen as a win. When I accomplished something huge for me it was always clouded with judgement. All because of the huge juxtaposition of me being capable of doing so much MORE when I was well.
No one ever really slowed to consider that impact on me.
Going from high functioning to bed ridden so quickly scared the shit right out of me. I was terrified that I was dying. I was living in that fear and it was making me sicker than I already was.
When I finally found the trauma link, I finally found my answers, and with the right answers I was able to ask the next level and layer of questions.
Childhood trauma healing was the answer to many of my debilitating symptoms.
I found the limiting beliefs I had stood by and honoured and looked really closely at them and where they came from. Then I chose. What to keep, and what to grow from.
I had lots of growing to do, and more to come.
The truth is that I was never allowed to authentically exist without judgment, stigmatization or even discrimination. So I had to practice authentically existing, feeling feelings that I was taught to repress, surpress or otherwise disengage from. I have been healing from this, slowly, and painstakingly.
From early in life I was conditioned to believe that my worth and value were tied to my capacity to serve others; regardless of the cost to me. I was to show up within a certain standard, or not bother showing up at all.
That is what I had replicated in my relationships, and I needed that to stop so that I could break the cycle within me.
So when I found myself in bed I made the choice not once, not twice but 1,000,000 times that I was going to show up authentically to save my life. Over and over I had to actively choose authenticity.
I’ll show up authentically, and love myself through this.
That’s what I decided after I gathered some more courage after growing pains knocked me down. Over and over. Growth, pain, lesson, integration, knowledge.
The juxtaposition between healing and healthy for me somehow gave people a right to dismiss me. That pissed me off.
The thing about me is that I’ve got an attitude problem, and the sharpness of my tone can be a bit poignant.
Authenticity somehow provides ammunition for all of the guilt trips, the shoulds, the personal monologues and soap box speeches about “what’s best” or their colourful yet fear based presentations about “worry” aka judgement about the DECISIONS that I have for myself; that are helping me heal!
The decisions that I make for my health, my lifestyle, and my emotional well-being are my own to make. My body is my body and I get to choose how to heal it.
If my chosen approaches don’t make sense to you, that’s fine, it’s not your body so don’t concern yourself that deeply. You see, you don’t have authority over me.
I’ve said it before, and I will say it again stop doing this to people who have the courage to attempt healing every single day. We need your support, not your judgment, and certainly not your advice, abusive concern or judgemental worry.
When people have done this to me I have felt judged, shamed and even like I have to defend my right to sovereignty for myself. I have the right to make informed decisions about my health; regardless of anyone’s opinion.
Stop guilting people.
Stop shaming people.
Stop isolating them with your fucked up versions of love!
Stop standing on your ignorance and trampling on my freedom to choose for my body.
Just STOP, please.
My healing and the ways it transpired for me triggered people. I am learning that the jealousy and envy can make even seemingly supportive people treat you like crap. These interactions often include unsolicited advice, judgement and misdirected shame because someone else is triggered.
Me choosing to dance this dance without prescription medications triggered people to learn the steps to their own dance.
My choice to blog about my whirlwind of a journey triggered people to muster the courage to journey along their own paths.
Me retracting the over-extensions of myself triggered people who benefitted from my over giving to view the importance of my relationship to them in a new light.
Me deciding that I can’t always be the only giver in relationships triggered people, and broke most of those relationships.
Me speaking my needs and setting healthier boundaries in relationships triggered people to begin doing the same.
Me asking people to ALSO be held accountable for their OWN behaviour triggers people because accountability feels like an attack to those who don’t ever practice it. Keep practicing, I promise there are humans who have space for the authentic you.
Me acknowledging ways abusive behaviour is present in relationships triggers people because no one wants to be held accountable for their own damn actions these days.
My symptoms trigger people. In good ways and in bad.
My presence triggers people. I am getting comfortable with not being able to please everyone.
Watching me battle with pain and chronic illness triggers people. It’s a helpless feeling to not be able to “fix me”.
There is nothing that I can do to not trigger people sometimes.
So I carry forward anyway.
I do my dance with as much courage and vulnerability as I can muster. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one second at a time if needed. Knowing that I will face judgement. Knowing that I have many complex ptsd moments ahead of me in my life, and that I have the grace to not let my illness rob me of my life. I will not allow the ignorance or neglect of other people to debilitate me ever again because my healing triggers others to heal.
My healing is proof that healing exists; and my healing journey triggers others to desire healing for themselves.
To desire chronic wellness.
This chapter of healing has been about neutralizing triggers; and responding in new ways. I am proud of this work. For my mental health this has been integration practice. Hours and hours of cognitive behavioural practice with complex ptsd symptoms as guidelines for window of tolerance. This is intricate work, it absorbs energy and motivation to move forward. It is tireless, seemingly unrewarding work.
Until… finally it all compounds in the right balance. Don’t give up. Keep loving yourself first. ❤️
Wellness for me means keeping my over active central nervous system regulated for long periods of time.
This was a mountain of a task from my bed… but now; I am fully equipped for any pain cycle, any anxiety attack, any hormone plummet, anything… I’m ready.
I am navigating the secondary layers of trauma and integration the lessons as I move through them with the tools I have now.
Yes, healing triggers others.
I’ve said it all along, my intention with what I share, what I teach and what I write is to be someone else’s survival guide. I couldn’t find the combination that I needed. I hope to be that for someone else.
Love yourself first, and then trigger others to love themselves first too.
Finding authenticity has been a golden thread through my healing journey, and in my opinion it is part of the work.
Authenticity for the experience of my journey to whole body wellness is what I decided that this blogging adventure is all about for me.
It is about me having the freedom to share, and finding the courage to tell my authentic story, what is real for me.
It’s about learning vulnerability safely for me, it is healing for me to be able to write what I believe is important from where I stand on my journey. I know that this vulnerability has already served so many on their own paths. This is why I write.
My writings are long, short, emotional or informative- but they always provide me with an opportunity to grow and share an inside perspective of my journey and truthfully, I am building a legacy of healing ❤️🩹 one day at a time! One healing story at a time.
We tend to believe that healing is something that we do in hiding, and alone.
Society and ignorance have made it this way, just know that you are not alone.
I want to change the common perception of growth because no matter how messy it all feels… progress is progress and growth is a win! Take some time to celebrate, because you are doing amazing things.
One of the most important pieces is being aware of just how amazing you are. How much you have already done, and knowing that the work you are doing is going to help you feel amazing again.
One of the most vulnerable things anyone healing has ever done is ask for help.
Asking for help is one of the most potent combinations of authenticity and vulnerability! (Mark that down at the top of your grateful list if you’ve ever asked for help)!
Then keep that knowledge. The knowledge that asking for help is the right choice for you. Hold it close to you, and use it to deflect the shame, resentment or anything else that surfaces, like the colourful and various forms of stigma.
When someone seeks help slaying their personalized demons, they are almost always shamed by someone close to them, or they feel the guilt/ shame of needing help and end up being the source of their own sabotage.
Stigmatizing or projecting shame or guilt onto someone sabotages them, and what they are trying to accomplish. Don’t accept this as your truth, or let it be a belief that limits you.
When we are in a trauma response cycle we need to be reminded of how we belong and have purpose before we can even begin to rationalize a situation.
I didn’t have a diagnosis, so I was frantically searching for the answers I needed to help me help myself.
I didn’t have the capacity to process/ filter interactions while I was in crisis; and I wasn’t making it out of crisis mode very often in that stage of my healing journey.
I did the only thing I know how, I was authentic about how I felt, and that I needed help.
Succumbing to asking for help, then battling through the gauntlet of a system broke me down even further.
For a moment all my progress halted and put me into a deep spiral causing regression. It was compound trauma and I was in crisis from attempting to heal my childhood trauma mostly alone.
I was attempting this while I was in chronic pain, from mostly my bed, when I had only enough energy to shower or bath before I had to get back into bed. I was fighting for my physical and mental health simultaneously.
Healing is painful and for me it got really messy before it got better, that is simply the truth.
People who are choosing to heal, choosing to do the “work” are attempting the act of courage that changes the trajectory of their life.
They are attempting what feels like an impossible goal… the goal of feeling emotionally well and balanced in health and relationships, especially the ones that they have with themselves.
So much of the extra suffering could have been avoided if there was access to appropriate mental health support.
But it wasn’t only the system that I needed.
The system is where we go when we don’t have the support we need from our communities.
I needed support from the people that claimed they love me.
I needed to be authentically me, and be loved for my messy parts.
I needed to have my healing respected.
I needed to be allowed to be in transition from who I was to who I wanted to be.
If you are here, just note that you are good enough right now. Be who you are now, even if it isn’t who they expect you to be.
Authentically show up as you, today regardless of what anyone will say or think.
I started doing this and it changed the way I was healing because it changed the way I was thinking about myself. It helped me find authentic love for myself and establish my purpose.
Decide for yourself how you want to show up in your life and what authenticity means for you then live by that. Celebrate living by that.
It started with the decisions to heal, learn, fail fast, and live my awesome life NOW.
Don’t make yourself small.
If you are too much, they can go find less.
Be authentically you, the you living your highest intentions. Be the you that serves you best and stop seeking any approval but your own.
Love yourself first my friends, loud and hard and with authenticity… love yourself first and pour from your overflow.
Love does not isolate, it does not judge, it does not discriminate and it certainly doesn’t stigmatize.
Love does not attack and abandon.
Love does not allow someone to suffer alone.
Love does not create obstacles to itself, it is people who create obstacles to love.
Love is a thousand choices that we make.
Love is a commitment to how we show up for each other.
Love is the effort that goes into understanding someone on a deeper level.
Love is connecting in the present moment with the other person, holding space for them.
Love. Everyone will have their own definition of it, some of us were told that colourful forms of abuse are love. Some of us endured neglect because our adults were engulfed in surviving; and they themselves had never experienced authentic love.
To some, being “loved”meant being controlled, or being burdened with adult responsibilities, or even actions “for your own good”. This is not love, this is survival, this is trauma, this is abuse. Intentional or not, no one truly escapes their upbringing, and it’s psychological impact based on what you received or didn’t as a child.
As we all walk the path of life, I think it is important to define love for yourself in a meaningful way. To let go of the definitions that you choose not to replicate; because you know better, we have better information.
Define how you want to live, and how you want to love for yourself and then live by what you decide.
I decided when I was young that when I had the reigns to my life I would do things differently; and I have.
I am so grateful for the era in which I get to live my life. The access to information I have today gives me advantages that generations before me only dreamed of. If I have a biological, medical or psychological question I can use the internet to ask the 1000 questions that could never fit into a medical appointment. Then I ask the important questions once I get there, and get better answers. The accessibility to the information that we have now truly had a huge impact on my healing, because it has given me a base for self advocacy, and that is part of what has saved my life.
It was in this research that I was able to put together my physical and emotional symptoms and connect it all back to self love, and the love and support of safe and healthy community as the best healing tools for basically any ailment. But it is in community that every aspect of healing is expedited.
We are not meant to be isolated, our basic needs, especially belonging are alive in us and especially when we are “at our worst”.
When a human is behaving out of character for them, or maybe even having a temper tantrum, they need belonging and acceptance in those moments. Not to be driven away and invalidated left with a layer of aloneness in an already chaotic state for them emotionally.
Leaving a human in emotional distress alone and isolated is cruel, because regulation comes from experiencing examples of regulation in central nervous system safety. The fastest way to regulate a central nervous system is to bring a regulated one near it. That is a fact. This is why babies calm with touch. It’s all in the regulation.
Belonging and community are key healing factors, you don’t get the full affect from the healing until you have integrated into community and truly hold a sense of belonging in your heart, that is healing.
That is feeling whole, that is the definition of a fulfilled life.
I’m so grateful to use the same technology that saved my life to spread my self love knowledge with groups of people, in communities where healing is encouraged and feelings are welcome! I am creating High Vibes Lifestyle Society – a community for cultivating self love for the greater purpose of healing.
The truth is witnessing and supporting someone is a challenge, and almost always even the people we love don’t know how to support us the ways that we need to be for this type of growth and healing. Find a healthy community that supports, understands and holds space for your journey.
Love does not isolate, criticize or judge- those are all personal reflections of the human projecting them upon you. Remember that.
Self love is never selfish. Sometimes it is all we have left.
Broken people isolate, judge and dismiss the feelings of others. Hurt people hurt people, that is not love it is just a circle of hurt.
Healing is far from glamorous! It is painful, chaos, confusion, self doubt, balance, rejection, stigmatization, tears and panic attacks, and everything in between.
The transitions from surviving to recovering, to healing, to stabilizing, to growing to thriving have been the wildest, profound, and fulfilling moments of my life. I called on myself to stand up in ways that I had never done before; because I needed to change my circumstance.
I wanted to live, not survive, that is until I found out about thriving in post traumatic growth.
This meant that I needed to change how I was showing up for myself in my life. I had to find the literal strength to live (from my bed), the desire to recover (through complex trauma, stigmatization and isolation), the motivation to do the emotionally treacherous labor of love that goes into healing and doing “the work”. (While navigating chronic illness)
It wasn’t until I decided that I was living no matter what that the impacts of the changes began compounding and forming the foundation that my growth will be based off of for this chapter of my life.
The amount of time I spent researching, learning, solving, creating, setting goals, writing, journaling, and then strategically creating action for myself to be sure that I was not over-extending my energy and creating an adrenal crash became my purpose. My health and living my life became my purpose. My healing became my purpose. Post traumatic Growth became my goal.
I made it my mission to learn my way through this and get myself to the best possible health before I begin to endure the next phase of my healing. Whether that be a physical component, or a mental health component or a combination of both- as all things are. The trauma informed approach that I use now addresses both the physical and emotional components of my basic needs.
Healing, the beginning phases, are the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced, and I honestly wish someone would have given me a heads up that what I was experiencing was normal! Healing hurts, but it is worth it. Consider this your warning!
What I learned along the way is the “work” is never really finished; the hardest parts subside as you heal and release the grip that trauma has on your life. That’s the reason we heal!
The characters in this chapter of my life at the time shamed me and isolated me for the emotions, reflections, and very sensitive and intimate vulnerabilities that I expose during my ptsd episodes, which were activated for an extended period of time. The life I knew was taken from me because of my cptsd symptoms and how I chose to take my journey.
This happens and is part of the process. People who don’t want to understand will criticize, judge and provide unsolicited and very harmful attempts at their version of “helping”. They mean well, or think they do- the damage they cause usually confuses your own process with this injection of “shoulds” from others.
It isn’t usually until someone is through something that they are comfortable sharing their experience… and even then people shy away from anything big- in fear of being emotional or needy, and being isolated or stigmatized, like I was.
Part of my healing path has been this blog, for this exact reason. I share before I butterfly on you, I share so you don’t have to feel so alone in your journey. I share while I still feel the emotions.
I want anyone navigating their path to Health to know that everything you are experiencing is normal and relative to the experiences in your life. There is no shame in healing… it doesn’t belong here regardless of what those close to you do or say, you have the right to choose your own healing path.
Healing was necessary for me to survive, but I believe it is the path for everyone to thrive!!
I’m so glad I made the commitment to myself to start when I did. I had a lot of work to catch up on.
I guess what I am trying to say is it isn’t easy; but if you find a way to be worth the effort it gets easier, and you will feel better. Post Traumatic Growth as a lifestyle feels amazing.
You want to live not just survive, so you can move forward and thrive rather than simply live.
It is possible. Find your path to post traumatic growth… or make one!