Healing After Trauma- Little by little it gets better

Last summer my daughter was traumatized and had a very serious bout of anxiety and depression. She became suicidal and wasn’t able to go back to school. I found myself in a lot of fear. Terror actually. I felt like my whole world was falling apart.

It’s one thing when your spouse has troubles. But when your child is deeply traumatized, your whole world stops.

But then I slowly began to connect with others. Other mothers who had been through their children’s traumas. Other people who had survived their own depression and anxiety. Others who had lived through terrible things and come out on the other side. Continue reading

Posted in Stress Management, Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged , | 4 Comments

When You’re Down and People Disappoint You

A reader has been going through the ringer lately, with relationship and health woes. This is exactly what I am going through in my life lately. I thought today we could look at feeling disappointed in others, perspective, and how to help yourself while you heal.

Terry: I actually called on two friends over the last year (what I thought were my “closest friends”) and asked them to stay with me. Both bailed. I guess strong people don’t attract strong friends lol.

I realized that the place I feel “safe” is in the woods, which is why hiking was my save this past year. That plus pounding out / sweating out the anxiety relieved a lot of the physical symptoms.

Jill: Ouch about the friends. I’m sure that must have hurt very much. Been there…

But you know something though, the older I get, the more I realize that people are just people. And no one can act beyond their capacity of what is referred to as unconsciousness. If they are hurt or hurting, they will unconsciously hurt others- without even meaning to. That is what I am learning about my husband.

That is the meaning of: “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

Or even friends- really close “in real life” friends that I have reached out to. I have a friend who I love and work with and do outings with and girls weekends with. I confided in her about my troubles last summer and she was there for me.  And yet now it’s just never talked about. Does this mean she stinks as a friend?

That depends on ME and what I believe. 15 years ago I would have thought so. I would be hurt and angry. But today I’m not. We haven’t talked once about my gut wrenching situation in months, and we have a nice spa day planned in a few weeks. And we went to a spa last month, talked about everything under the sun, but not my situation… And while it’s a little weird, it’s FINE….

I have also shared – and immediately regretted doing so- with my mom. 🙁

People mean well. But they are uncomfortable around upsetting life things and no one really knows what the “right” thing is to do. Hell, I have no idea what I am going to do. There are just some things best handled by a professional. So I made a great decision and got my ass back in therapy yesterday. I had been feeling sad and scared and I just spilled it to my wonderful therapist. It felt so good to get my feelings out and get good feedback and support.

MY JOB is to be there UNCONDITIONALLY for myself, in my own corner, at all times. <This is your job too! 🙂

People with anxiety are over-thinkers and therefore are wonderful and masterful at self-sabotage, and it comes in many forms: negative thinking patterns, overeating, addictions, thinking they are not good enough, etc.

Hear me loud and clear: You are wonderful. You are enough. You are worthy of every good thing life has to offer. And you deserve love and happiness. (saying this to myself too).

You love the woods because nature has integrity. It’s always there. It’s reliable, safe, grounding, restorative, healing. No wonder we love to be outside.

Our animals accept us without judgment

Same with our pets. They just are who they are. My dog Buddy is quirky and needy and he needs to play and be exercised every day. And it can drive me crazy. But he never judges, is always in the now, always happy, and he is just a love. (And having a dog that needs to exercise is a blessing for someone like me, who has been regulating her nervous system with physical exercise since my teens.)

Being outside with Buddy takes me out of my head and gives me a different kind of workout than I can get in the gym, surrounded by people trapped in their headphones. It is less intense, but far more satisfying to be out in nature with him.

It sounds like your big hikes are how you are resourcing yourself- that is, that is what you are using to make yourself feel better. That is wonderful!

Terry: Sadly, my solo hikes, alone, were where I felt the least lonely and scared.

You think you need someone by your side to complete you. That is a common feeling. But you are already complete. When you can be there for yourself with compassion and be in your life situation without judgment, a space of great healing opens up. And then you attract the very thing in your life you think you lack.

Self care and healing is what I am living myself right now, so I can understand and empathize with what you’re going through. I have been disappointed in my husband and felt less than supported by my friends.

When you’re down and feeling disappointed, remember that this is not the time to shrink back. Instead take excellent care of yourself. Get your rest, eat healthy, and show up each day with a positive attitude. Be kind to yourself and those around you.

Your situation may not improve, but YOU will improve, and then I guarantee the situation won’t seem so bad.

What do you have to say about being disappointed in friends and loved ones? Can you lend your advice or suggestions? 

I wish you peace,
Jill G.

Recommended Reading:

No Mud No Lotus The Art of Transforming SufferingNo Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering, by Thich Nhat Hanh. I picked up this book a few months ago, after I learned about my husband’s shall we say indiscretions. It has been helpful in showing me how to slow down, be present, and use my suffering to as a way to heal myself. Especially recommended if you meditate and practice mindfulness, like me. Check out the reviews on Amazon here.






Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends on It

 If almost all your self esteem is directly correlated with what others think of you, Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It by Kamal Ravikant, will help you get out of your head and learn that you are the answer, no one else. Read the reviews on Amazon here.

Posted in Stress Management, Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Night Terrors, When Panic Attacks at Night: What To Do

A friend who is going through a hard time asked me how to best deal with panic attacks following traumatic events, and when having night terrors. The following is a discussion, Q and A, and advice for dealing with night terrors, panic attacks at night, and disturbing nightmares.

Question:  I’ve been sick for a month. I took TWO very long naps (2-3 hours each) and both times had night terrors and woke up in a panic that was hard to shake. I felt disoriented and panicked and couldn’t shake the images from the nightmares, to the point of tears.

Fortunately my doctor gave me nerve pills to help me get through this tough phase, which is the only thing that saved me from a total meltdown (lol)…

This isn’t my first go round with night terrors. They are associated with things in my real life, which makes it worse. Prior to getting sick, I witness two traumatizing things and couldn’t shake those visuals – and they “haunted me” every time I closed my eyes – even to wash my face in the shower.

What should I do?? Continue reading

Posted in Panic Attacks, Stress Management | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

How to Notice When Your Thinking is Distorted

Today we are going to talk about negative thinking, how it leads to anxiety, and a super simple tip to stop it in its tracks.

Reality is always kinder than the stories we tell ourselves about it Byron Katie

One of the hallmarks of being an anxious person is that we are highly tuned into our feelings. We feel things deeply and are highly sensitive to our surroundings. We notice feelings very much, how we feel, how our bodies feel, how others make us feel, etc.

And we make up stories about how we feel in our heads. This goes on subconsciously, so we don’t even know that we do it!

Negative thinking as we all know can be a vicious cycle. Once it starts, its hard to stop. And negative thought patterns can go on unchecked for years or even decades- leading to anxiety and depression… Continue reading

Posted in Stress Management, Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Is Anxiety Inherited?

In a recent conversation with my mother (age 76), the topic of social anxiety came up. This is something I have had a lot of struggles with over the years. We got to talking and I just can’t believe how similar some of our fears and anxieties have been in our lives! It got me wondering if anxiety is inherited.

is anxiety genetic

Continue reading

Posted in Panic Attacks | Tagged | 4 Comments

Staying Well Requires Some Effort

What occurred to me recently about my mental health is that I must be proactive in order to stay healthy. As someone who did do battle for decades with daily anxiety and panic, it is not realistic to expect to never have to help myself in this area- just because I am well now. It is not reasonable to think I’ll never have panic attacks or phobias again.

you deserve to have peace in this life

I’m now 51 years old. I have to eat right and exercise to keep my body healthy. That is common knowledge. If I give in to my carb cravings and just lay on the couch, I will go soft and flabby. That is a no-brainer.

So why should it make me feel like I have some sort of shameful character flaw that I have to also do things to maintain my optimum level of mental health? There was mental illness on my mother’s side of the family and being secretive and not talking about it was passed down to me. For me it morphed into shame. I am trying to break out of that stigma when it comes to considering myself and what I need and deserve in this life… Continue reading

Posted in Panic Attacks, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged , | 2 Comments

How to Be Powerful in The Face of Anxiety

how to be powerful in the face of anxietyLiving at the mercy of anxiety is painful. It restricts you, feels awful, and makes daily living very hard. Nobody wants anxiety or panic attacks, but many people continue to be riddled with anxiety, even after they seek help.

I think this has something to do with learning how to be powerful from a personal perspective. I spent years and thousands of dollars on psychiatrists, therapy, self help programs, biofeedback, hypnosis, you name it. And I was numbed out on medications for years to boot. But I was still anxious. I could still have panic attacks. My life still sucked. Continue reading

Posted in Panic Attacks, Panic Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Agoraphobia | Tagged | 2 Comments

I Switched From Synthroid to Armour Thyroid and Feel Better :)

synthroid side effects

As many of you know I have hypothyroidism. My particular diagnosis is Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. I’ve often felt there was a correlation between hypothyroidism and anxiety, since I’ve seen literally hundreds of patients over the years who suffer from both. (of course when I asked my primary care doctor about this he looked at me like I had two heads, but I digress…)

I have been taking Synthroid ( levothyroxine) since I age 15 years as a replacement for my underactive thyroid. You should also know that over the past decade or so, I suffered from a lot of night time and day time heart palpitations. They could strike out of the blue and happen even when i was not feeling emotional or anxious at all. In fact, they became a regular nighttime occurrence when I laid down to go to sleep at night. And I would make myself cough to get them to stop (something I learned from working in a cardiac catheterization lab- coughing can reset your heart when you are having erratic beats). Having those palpitations all the time really sucked! Continue reading

Posted in Healthy Lifestyle | Tagged | 7 Comments