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Understanding Your Brain On Trauma

Your body remembers trauma. The brain and body are one, and the central nervous system will continue to sound the alarm well after the threat is gone, especially with complex trauma. This trauma is chronic (repetitive), interpersonal, and happens in childhood. Complex trauma can cause havoc to the developing brain and CNS, effects that last … Continue reading Understanding Your Brain On Trauma

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Strength (You must crawl through the darkness to find the light)

Lately the words are trappedDown below where the beasts lieIn wait and pace insideWe say, no more rhymesBut my mind is like stained glassSegmented colors and shapesRolling thunder and earthquakesGhosts that never stopped screamingIf it's quiet I'm far awayIf it's still they lie there deadJust let it go they saidBut the pain lives in themThe … Continue reading Strength (You must crawl through the darkness to find the light)

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Mind and Body

This past week has been difficult because I've had to deal with some health issues. People with chronic trauma often develop physical symptoms like frequent pain and other medical conditions. A child who experienced repetitive trauma is likely to have an overactive nervous system and more stress hormones released into their body. Stress hormones cause … Continue reading Mind and Body

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Phoenix

Trees set fire to the forest,dark red like deep wounds,orange ablaze, moving now,the wind's fingers find herunder yellow leaves, her eyesrecognize reflections in the water, and she takes this trail again,in spirals less dizzying,in gravel and root,up stony paths andwooden stairs she stepsover leaves the colour of flames, she starts to listen as the earthwhispers … Continue reading Phoenix

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All or Nothing Thinking and Trauma

Most of us have fallen into the trap of all or nothing thinking at some point in our lives. Studies show it's really common in people with depression and anxiety. I know I've experienced it many times, and I've tried to be more aware of it so it doesn't hurt me so much. I think … Continue reading All or Nothing Thinking and Trauma

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The Pandemic and Mental Health

I remember when the news first started covering covid-19 in January. I immediately thought that we needed to shut down travel from other countries, but I knew it wouldn't happen because our government didn't want to lose money (in the end, we lost more money and more people). One of my random interests has always … Continue reading The Pandemic and Mental Health

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Toxic Positivity and Unsolicited Advice can be Harmful to Trauma Survivors

We've all seen them, those positive memes and quotes that pepper our newsfeeds offering hopeful messages and inspiration. But are they really helpful? For most people, they aren't. This is especially true for trauma survivors. People can mean well when they post these positive affirmations, but toxic positivity can really negatively affect people with mental … Continue reading Toxic Positivity and Unsolicited Advice can be Harmful to Trauma Survivors

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What Therapists Need to Know About DID: Working With Child Parts of the Patient

It's difficult for me to listen to my kids. (My inner children, not my daughter). Most of the younger parts are in a great deal of pain. There are a few that want to play, laugh and connect with others, but most of them are suffering. Some of them cry, and it often sounds horrible. … Continue reading What Therapists Need to Know About DID: Working With Child Parts of the Patient

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Betrayal

**Trigger warning: this post talks about parental abuse and pregnancy loss** I think the worst betrayal is from my mother. She allowed him to take that baby, even assisted him. How can you be a mother and do that to another mother? How could any human being do that, take someone's child away? She was … Continue reading Betrayal

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Ghosts

Today I feel the pain of lost ones,Life and death, bloody remembranceBelly full and body screamingPausing my sleep with agony It's like she's still a part of me,Phantom firefly, feeling flutters,A faint dance before there was stillnessAnd red streams flowing endlessly A voice replays the words on loop,There's too much blood, a flood of life,Colour … Continue reading Ghosts

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How to help someone fighting addiction and also protect yourself

There's a famous study about rats and heroin that shows why decriminalization and mental health intervention is the way to treat addiction. To summarize, they gave lonely rats the option of food or heroin if they hit a lever, and guess what they usually picked? Yep, heroin. Like humans, many animals need social connection. If … Continue reading How to help someone fighting addiction and also protect yourself

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Trauma and Addiction: A Futile Attempt to Escape the Pain

It's been six months since I drank alcohol. I never really thought I had a problem with it, until it almost killed me. My alcohol abuse wasn't as obvious as some people's. In clinical terms, I never got to the dependency stage. I wasn't the obvious alcoholic who is always drinking. I didn't need medication … Continue reading Trauma and Addiction: A Futile Attempt to Escape the Pain

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Putting the Pieces Together

I think some people find multiple personalities (DID) fascinating. It's really not. It's just a daily hell to be honest. My memory is full of holes, and my mind is in pieces. These pieces think and live autonomously, and they make it difficult to function. Sometimes it's simultaneously confusing and funny as hell. The other … Continue reading Putting the Pieces Together

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I think about her all the time, my little firefly

**Trigger warning: post talks about pregnancy loss** This is by far the most difficult story for me to tell. This memory, this loss, affected me more than the rape and torture throughout my childhood. It's caused us to almost kill ourselves in the past. I didn't know why my suicide attempts happened in June. It's … Continue reading I think about her all the time, my little firefly

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Voices and Chaos

It's a particularly bad time of year for me. This is what it's like in my mind: Lost ones, the others, quiet nowSometimes they scream and cryOr they yell at each other stop cryingIt whimpers in the darknessBaby, pathetic wretch, weakPull yourself togetherStop feeling sorry for yourselfAre you a man or a mouse?I'm neitherDo you … Continue reading Voices and Chaos

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Medical appointments and hospitals are difficult for people with DID and PTSD

I'm sitting in the ER again today. I guess I'm grateful it's not for mental health reasons, but I've had serious physical health issues lately. Obviously this makes my usual anxiety much worse. I've always been afraid of the doctor's, ever since I was a kid. It was weird and unfair that my little sister … Continue reading Medical appointments and hospitals are difficult for people with DID and PTSD

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We’re Not Broken

It's like banging my head against a wall and expecting it not to hurt. It's like walking on the highway and hoping I don't get hit. I don't deserve this shit. People who grow up being abused seem to end up on similar paths as adults. They either look for someone to abuse them, they … Continue reading We’re Not Broken

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I don’t belong here.

I've been writing a lot of poems lately. Some are hopeful, and some are very much the opposite. I've been feeling like I don't belong in this world, and so I guess I'm going to post one of the hopeless poems. I struggle with relating to people even though I see all their pain and … Continue reading I don’t belong here.

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Systemic Racism Causes Trauma; It’s Everyone’s Job to Change Society

I've had a difficult time finding words to write in the past week. George Floyd was murdered by police 5 days after I posted about the cop who abused and terrorized me. But I'm not writing this to draw parallels, I am white and have no idea what it's like to live in a racist … Continue reading Systemic Racism Causes Trauma; It’s Everyone’s Job to Change Society

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Grief and DID: Staying in my Window of Tolerance

I lost a really close friend on March 17, 2020. I've lost a lot of friends along the way, and their deaths will always hurt a lot. Most died from suicide and drug use. M died at age 50 from a terminal illness. She survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma when she was 17, but the radiation she … Continue reading Grief and DID: Staying in my Window of Tolerance

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Severed Ties: The Grief of Losing My Abusive Parents on the Path to Healing

The reason DID exists is so that someone can continue to live a relatively normal life in extremely difficult circumstances. I was depressed and anxious all my life, but I had parts that did well in school, made friends and dated, and played sports. For most of my childhood, until my depression worsened as a … Continue reading Severed Ties: The Grief of Losing My Abusive Parents on the Path to Healing

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A Fire-Eater, Hypnosis, and a Gun

I don't even know how to start this post. I've been afraid for a week to write it down, especially in a blog for anyone to read. Although to be honest, I'm realizing that I've been afraid to tell this story since I was a little girl. I'll probably post it privately first, so if … Continue reading A Fire-Eater, Hypnosis, and a Gun

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Sitting With the Pain

This is a concept I've heard many times in therapy, but I only partially understood it. The therapist I had in my 20s (the one who lost her license for unethical boundary violations), tried to help me understand this. But she didn't explain it in a way that clicked for me. It was only recently … Continue reading Sitting With the Pain

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Trauma and Boundaries

My therapist sometimes jokes that I'm like a cat because I hate when people show me attention. I'm shy, but there is more to it than that. When I was a kid, my father and his friends raped me and passed me around to other disgusting men. I learned that I was an object and … Continue reading Trauma and Boundaries

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The Pandemic and the Increase in Domestic Violence and Harassment

We are all going through a difficult time right now. Social isolation and being confined to our homes is affecting people's mental health. But for domestic violence survivors, being isolated and confined with their abusers can be dangerous, and even deadly. Their abusers know they're cut off from their usual supports. I urge people to … Continue reading The Pandemic and the Increase in Domestic Violence and Harassment

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What I Want Therapists to Know About DID

Complex dissociative disorders are rare, but they're also being missed. Studies show prevalence to be about 1-3%, in most studies it's about 1%. This is similar to the prevalence of schizophrenia in the general population. I think that if therapists and other mental health professionals were trained in assessing complex dissociative disorders, the prevalence might … Continue reading What I Want Therapists to Know About DID

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Chronic Trauma and Love: A Story of Heartbreak and Hope

The love of my life died 4 years ago from a heroin overdose. When I knew her, she was a brilliant and beautiful person with a big heart. She was an amazing mom to her two daughters, and she put everything into raising them. Her boyfriend was an emotionally abusive alcoholic who used her for … Continue reading Chronic Trauma and Love: A Story of Heartbreak and Hope

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I Want to Help People Who Have Experienced Trauma

Welcome! This blog was created to hopefully explain the things about trauma and healing that people want to understand. With my personal history of chronic trauma and dissociation and my professional training as a therapist, I want to help others access information that can inform them or their loved one's care. Trauma is pervasive in … Continue reading I Want to Help People Who Have Experienced Trauma

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Being Vulnerable Enought to Fight Stigma

I have a rare mental illness that is extremely misunderstood. It makes me feel isolated and alone, so I'm hoping maybe some people will read this and learn something. I have a dissociative disorder caused by chronic childhood abuse. When I say "dissociative disorder," people usually don't know what I mean, and I'm scared to … Continue reading Being Vulnerable Enought to Fight Stigma

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Treatments for Chronic Trauma

Many studies over the years have shown that the best treatments for chronic trauma include outpatient therapy, group therapy, and psychiatric medications. It is not recommended to treat trauma with medication only. Outpatient based interventions Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) or other collaborative and relational approach to therapy. (If someone is diagnosed with, or suspected to … Continue reading Treatments for Chronic Trauma

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How Does Someone Develop Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Well, the answer is not an easy one, and it's somewhat painful for me to write about. DID is caused by chronic childhood trauma, usually starting at an early age. My first therapist, the only one to ever interview my parents, speculated that my abuse probably started in infancy. This is based on bizarre stories … Continue reading How Does Someone Develop Dissociative Identity Disorder?